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Director: Harry Bailey
Release Date: December 1, 1929
Stars: Milton Mouse, Rita Mouse
Rating:
Review:

Close Call © Van Beuren‘Close Call’ is one of Van Beuren’s earliest sound cartoons, and it shows. Its visual language is still from the silent era, including the use of words on the screen.

The short unashamedly features two clear ripoffs of Walt Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We watch them frolicking in a field, when a large cat kidnaps “Minnie” and takes her to a sawmill. “Mickey” comes to the rescue, only to be tied up by the cat to a sawmill, in a classic scene. As luckily as incomprehensibly the North West Mounted Police rides off to rescue the loving couple. They kill the cat (!), and the two mice are married.

The animation on ‘Close Call’ is terribly primitive, and there’s a lot of squeaking, but apart from the final “I do”‘s, there’s no dialogue. Moreover, there’s more drama to the short than humor, making it a tiring watch. The Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters (which off-screen apparently were christened Milton and Rita) would return in several of Van Beuren’s ‘Aesop’s Fables’ cartoons, e.g. ‘Circus Capers‘ and ‘The Office Boy‘ from 1930.

Watch ‘Close Call’ yourself and tell me what you think:

 

‘Close Call’ is available on the DVD ‘Uncensored Animation from the Van Beuren Studio’

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Director: David Hand
Release Date: November 17, 1934
Stars: Donald Duck, Fifi, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pete
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Mickey and Donald (in his third appearance) are policemen hunting Pete who has ‘dognapped’ Minnie’s dog Fifi. The chase, which includes a lot of gunfight, ends in a sawmill where all three have to cope with a runaway circular saw.

The cartoon is outstanding for its fast pace and high content of gags. Mickey and Donald are staged as a duo, but, like in ‘Orphan’s Benefit’, Donald Duck is given the last shot. ‘The Dognapper’ would remain Mickey’s and Donald’s only genuine duo cartoon, but it set the stage for the famous trio outings of the late thirties in which Mickey, Donald and Goofy would fight the odds together. Goofy, the only missing element, would join Mickey and Donald a few months later, in ‘Mickey’s Service Station’ (1935).

Watch ‘The Dognapper’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 70
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey Plays Papa
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Two-Gun Mickey

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