Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
He was best known for creating the long-running SpongeBob Squarepants franchise, which made sufficient use of his
teaching background in marine biology. Beyond that, he also worked on fellow Nickelodeon shows Rugrats and Rocko’s Modern Life as a writer and storyboard artist.
For the history of Mickey Mouse, check out the post here.
Various characters flocking to the House of Mouse.
Disney’s House of Mouse was the
new and improved version of Mickey
Mouse Works. Developed by Roberts
Gannaway and Tony Craig,
the series was comprised of a collection of shorts like the previous show,
however this time they were unified by being exhibited in a club, The House of
Mouse, run by Mickey Mouse (Wayne Allwine). The House of Mouse was a trendy
club frequented by characters from throughout the entire Disney library of
film, shorts and comic characters (excluding live-action and CGI properties,
although references and brief cameos were worked in for those).
The staff takes a rare break: Mickey, Clarabelle, Donald, Daisy, Horace, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto.
Working with Mickey in the club was Minnie (Russi Taylor) as the club’s
show planner and bookkeeper; Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo) as the deputy manager
in charge of overall customer service; Daisy Duck (Tress MacNeille) as the
reservation clerk; Goofy (Bill Farmer) as the head waiter; Pluto (Farmer) as
Mickey and Minnie’s personal assistant, as well as the club’s mascot; Horace
Horsecollar (Farmer) as the technical engineer; Clarabelle Cow (April Winchell)
as the gossip monger who shared everyone’s secrets; Max Goof (Jason Marsden,
reprising his role from the Goofyfilms) as the
parking valet; Huey, Dewey and Louie (all Anselmo) as the house band usually
employing different styles under different parody names (The Quackstreet Boys, Quackwork, Kid
Duck, The Splashing Pumpkins);
Gus Goose (Frank Welker) as the head chef who tended to indulge in as much as
he made; Magic Mirror (Tony Jay) as the club’s on-site consultant who provided
information and advice; and Mike (Rod Roddy), a talking microphone who served
as the club’s announcer. Rounding out the staff were Penguin waiters (from Mary Poppins) and Magic Brooms (from Fantasia) as the custodial crew.
The crew confronts Pete and his latest scheme to shut them down.
Part of the entertainment at the club was the showcasing of the shorts.
Employed were all but two of the shorts from Mouse Works, including a couple that never aired there, several
classic shorts from the 40s and 50s (either in full or edited down for time),
and a few all-new shorts created for the show. Framing their presentation were
the adventures of Mickey and his friends as they ran into difficulties during
the operation of the club, especially when those difficulties were caused by
the club’s landlord, Pete (Jim Cummings), in an attempt to put it out of
business. A running gag was that the Alley Cats from The Aristocatswere
always scheduled to be musical guests, but their act always ended up cancelled.
Another running gag was the sponsorship of a particular episode by a fake
Disney-related sponsor, such as “Long-term storage facilities for the House of
Mouse have been provided by: Cave of Wonders”. Notably,
the show was the final appearance of Pepper Ann and her
mother (Winchell) from Pepper Ann, who had a cameo in the first episode. They were the only Walt
Disney Television Animation characters to be featured.
Mickey introduces the next cartoon to the audience.
House of Mouse aired in reruns
on Disney Channel
until 2006, and stayed on Toon Disney until it became Disney XD in 2009,
marking the last time it was seen in United States broadcasts. During the show’s
run, it was nominated for two Annie Awards,
winning one, a Daytime Emmy Award
that it won, and a Motion Picture Sound Editors
award. Two direct-to-video movies were released spinning out of the show: Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the
House of Mouse, and Mickey’s House of Villains. The first dealt with the gang trying
to keep the Christmas spirit alive while being stuck in the club, while the
second had Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) leading a
group of villains to take over the club for themselves. As with the show, both
aired a combination of classic and more-recent shorts tying into the themes. Magical Christmas utilized scenes from House of Mouse episodes that had not yet
aired, and parts of Villains were
later reused for “House Ghosts”.
Mickey catches Pete in a Kanga disguise.
Only the first episode of the series was released in its entirely as a
bonus feature of Magical Christmas. Several
of the shorts exclusive to House of Mouse
and others from Mouse Works were
made available in Europe on the DVD Mickey’s Laugh Factoryin 2005. Another collection of 10
Donald Duck-based shorts from both shows were included as bonus features on The Chronological Donald, Volume 4in 2008.
EPISODE GUIDE (* repeated from Mickey Mouseworks, ^ classic short):
“The Stolen Cartons / Pluto Gets the Paper: Wet Cement / Donald’s
Dynamite: Magic Act* / Hickory Dickory Mickey” (1/13/01) – Pete steals all the
cartoons, forcing Mickey to leave Donald in charge as he and Goofy head off to
film a new one. / Pluto gets stuck in some wet cement while fetching Mickey’s
paper. / Donald’s magic act is interrupted by a reappearing bomb. /
“Big Bad Wolf Daddy / Donald’s Charmed Date / Pluto gets the Paper:
Mortimer* / How to be Groovy, Cool and Fly” (1/27/01) – Donald hires the Big
Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs to perform at the club. / Donald’s date with
Daisy is fraught with bad luck. / Mortimer tries to steal Mickey’s paper. / Goofy
tries to keep up with the times.
“The Three Caballeros / Donald’s Fish Fry* / How to be Smart” (2/3/01)
– When people forget he’s a Caballero, Donald takes steps to make himself more
memorable. / Humphrey goes to get a big fish for the winter and ends up taking
the one Donald just caught. / After losing a gameshow, Goofy tries to increase
“Goofy’s Valentine Date / Donald’s Valentine Dollar* / Mickey to the Rescue:
Staircase* / Pluto’s Arrow Error*” (2/10/01) – Minnie and Daisy set Goofy up on
a blind date. / The only dollar Donald has for Daisy’s gift gets blown away. /
Mickey has to traverse a dangerous stairway to rescue Minnie. / Pluto plans to
use Cupid’s arrows to win back Dinah.
“Unplugged Club / Music Store Donald / Mickey’s Cabin*” (2/17/01) – Pete
sabotages the club’s electricity. / Co-workers Pete and Donald compete to make
the next sale in order to keep their jobs. / Mickey ends up trapped with Pete
and Zeke after they stole an ATM.
“Timon and Pumbaa / Pluto’s Magic Paws* / Mickey to the Rescue: Cage
and Cannons* / Golf Nut Donald” (3/3/01) – Timon and Pumbaa split after arguing
about their act. / Mickey accidentally gets magic gloves from the drycleaner. /
Mickey must rescue Mnnie from Pete’s funhouse. / Chip and Dale complicate
Donald’s desire to win the big trophy at his golf club.
“Gone Goofy / Pit Crew / Goofy’s Extreme Sports: Shark Feeding* /
Donald’s Goofy World” (3/10/01) – Budget problems leads Donald to try and get
Goofy fired as head waiter. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy serve as Pete’s pit
crew…if they can ever get to the track. / Goofy heads out to feed the sharks. /
Donald’s annoyance over Goofy’s goofiness leads to him having a dream where everyone is Goofy.
“Jiminy Cricket / Mickey’s Mistake* / Daisy’s Road Trip*” (3/10/01) – Mickey
tries to repair the rift between Jiminy and Pinocchio, but Jiminy ends up
becoming his conscience instead. / Mickey uses money he found to buy Minnie a
gift, only to discover that money belonged to the orphans. / Daisy invites
herself on Mickey and Minnie’s quiet sunset drive.
“Rent Day / Mickey’s Mountain* / Maestro Minnie: Circus Symphony / Big
House Mickey” (3/17/01) – Mickey unwittingly spends the rent money on cheese. /
Mickey races Pete up a mountain to win the rights to name it after Minnie. / Minnie’s
instruments act like a group of circus animals. / Mortimer frames Mickey for burglary
in order to get him locked up and kept away from his date with Minnie.
“Donald’s Lamp Trade / Survival of the Woodchucks* / Goofy’s Radio*”
(3/24/01) – Jafar offers to make Donald the club’s owner in exchange for
Aladdin’s lamp. / Donald’s nephews discover he never finished a required Junior
Woodchuck survival course. / Goofy decides to relax in the park with a radio.
“Donald’s Pumbaa Prank / Mickey’s April Fools / Whitewater Donald*”
(3/31/01) – Mickey plays a prank on Donald and Pete encourages Donald to
retaliate. / Mickey engages in a war of pranks with Mortimer on April Fool’s
Day. / Daisy thinks Donald is taking her on a romantic date when he’s actually
taking her fishing.
“Thanks to Minnie / Minnie Visits Daisy* / Mickey’s Big Break*”
(4/7/01) – A rumor causes Minnie to feel unappreciated and quit her job. / Minnie
brings a pie to Daisy but can’t seem to get her attention. / Mickey and Donald
have to replace a picture they broke while playing football indoors.
“Pluto Saves the Day / Goofy’s Big Kitty* / Pluto’s Kittens*”
(4/14/01) – Pete uses magic sleeping apples to put everyone in the club to
sleep. / Goofy gets a new kitty at the same time a lion escapes from the zoo. /
Pluto rescues three abandoned kittens and tries to hide them from Mickey.
“Disney’s Debut / Daisy’s Big Sale / Topsy Turvy Town*” (9/22/01) – Minnie
feels left out when Daisy gets to perform a duet with Mickey. / Daisy gets
Minnie to help her with her new hair bow business. / Mickey and Minnie
accidentally break Topsy Turvy Town’s strange laws and end up imprisoned.
“Goofy for a Day / How to be a Waiter* / Maestro Minnie: Hungarian
Rhapsody No. 6* / Donald’s Dinner Date*” (9/29/01) – Goofy challenges Max to do
his job when Max doubts its importance. / Tired of being a waiter, Goofy sets
out to become a film star. / Minnie and the instruments disagree over the kind
of music they want to play. / Donald has to hold his temper on his date with
“Clarabelle’s Big Secret / How to be a Spy* / Double Date Don”
(10/6/01) – When everyone tells Clarabelle they’re tired of her old gossip, she
promises to reveal something big about someone. / Goofy gets a mail-order spy
kit to find out what his neighbors are up to. / Donald just wants to build Daisy
a wall, but Clara Cluck wants Donald.
“The Mouse Who Came to Dinner / Mickey’s Mix-Up* / Maestro Minnie:
Flight of the Bumble Bee* / Donald’s Grizzly Guest*” (10/13/01) – The gang mistakes
Mortimer for an important restaurant critic. / Mickey sends faxes to Minnie and
Mortimer but is afraid he got them mixed up. / Minnie’s orchestrations are
interrupted by a bumblebee.
“Max’s New Car / Mickey’s New Car* / Car Washers* / Motor Mania^”
(11/3/01) – Max is told he’s not ready for his own car, so he takes a living
one from one of the cartoons. / Mickey’s new car is too advanced for his own
good. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy’s first customer is Pete, whose car goes
through a destructive washing machine. / Everyman Goofy becomes a maniac when
he gets behind the wheel.
“Not So Goofy / Roller Coaster Painters* / Goofy’s Extreme Sports:
Wakeboarding* / How to Wash Dishes*” (11/10/01) – The gang tries to teach Goofy
to be more graceful. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy compete to paint the most of a
rollercoaster for a free lifetime pass to the park. / Goofy wipes out as he
tries some wakeboard stunts. / Goofy goes traveling and makes liberal use of
his credit card.
“Everybody Loves Mickey / Mickey’s Rival Returns* / Mickey to the
Rescue: Train Tracks* / Donald’s Failed Fourth*” (11/17/01) – Donald’s jealousy
of Mickey leads him to become allies with Mortimer. / Mickey’s good day is
ruined by the appearance of Mortimer Mouse. / Mickey must rescue Minnie from an
approaching train. / Donald finds difficulty in setting up for a romantic
fireworks viewing with Daisy.
“Max’s Embarrassing Date / Pluto’s Penthouse Sweet* / How to Ride a
Bicycle*” (1/19/02) – Everyone at the club tries to help Max’s date with Roxanne
go well by keeping Goofy away. / A lonely Pluto sets his sights on a dog that
resides in a skyscraper penthouse. / Goofy learns how to ride a bike to feed
his desire to compete.
“Where’s Minnie? / Mickey and the Color Caper / Donald’s Pool*” (1/26/02)
– When Minnie goes to find a present for Mickey, everyone believes she’s
disappeared and starts searching for her. / The Phantom Blot seeks to steal the
world’s color to become The Phantom Rainbow. / Donald’s relaxing day at the
pool is interrupted by Mrs. Turtle and Shelby.
“Super Goof / How to Take Care of Your Yard* / Locksmiths*” (2/2/02) –
Contaminated peanuts turn Goofy into a superhero just in time to save the club
from a meteor. / Goofy learns yard care for every season. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy
are bumbling locksmiths.
“King Larry Swings In / Mickey and the Seal^ / Goofy’s Extreme Sports:
Paracycling* / How to be a Gentleman*” (2/16/02) – King Larry visits the club
and ends up causing a mess. / After a visit to the zoo, a little seal follows Mickey
home by hiding in his picnic basket. / Goofy demonstrates paracycling off of a
cliff. / Goofy learns manners in order to join a ritzy country club.
“Ladies’ Night / Purple Pluto* / Daisy Bothers Minnie* / Maestro
Minnie: William Tell Overture*” (2/23/02) – The ladies are put in charge of the
club for a night, and Mortimer tries to convince the guys that they’re doing a
poor job. / While prepping Pluto for a dog show Minnie accidentally dyes him
purple. / Minnie’s quiet evening is interrupted when Daisy wants to hang out. /
Minnie’s orchestral duties are put on hold due to a runaway trumpet.
“Dennis the Duck / The Whoopee Party^ / Pioneer Days^ / Mickey and the
Goat Man” (5/18/02) – Black and White Day at the club finds Dennis the duck
trying to win over Donald, who finds him annoying. / Mickey and Minnie throw a
party for all of their friends. / Mickey and Minnie are captured by Indians
until Minnie escapes and rescues him. / Mickey, Minnie and Mortimer are kidnapped
by the mysterious Goat Man.
“Suddenly Hades / Donald’s Pool* / Donald’s Lighthouse*” (9/2/02) – Pete
breaks the club’s A/C, running off all the guests except Hades. / Donald’s
relaxing day at the pool is interrupted by Mrs. Turtle and Shelby. / Donald
attempts to get rid of a stubborn pelican.
“Pete’s One-Man Show / Pinball Mickey / Von Drake’s House of Genius:
Time Reverser* / Housesitters” (9/2/02) – Pete agrees to be nicer if Mickey
lets him perform, however nobody comes to his show. / Mickey gets so into a
pinball game his imagination begins to make it seem real. / Von Drake’s time
machine ends up landing him in some trouble. / While housesitting at a farm,
Mickey, Donald and Goofy get into a fight with Pete over the use of the outhouse.
“House of Crime / Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot* / Von Drake’s House
of Genius: Teledinger*” (9/2/02) – Mickey investigates a rash of thefts and
disappearances at the club. / Von Drake’s mysterious package is stolen from
Mickey, Donald and Goofy by the Phantom Blot. / Von Drake unwittingly
“Mickey and Minnie’s Big Vacation / Around the World in 80 Days* /
Donald’s Dynamite: Fishing*” (9/2/02) – Mickey and Minnie head off on vacation,
leaving Donald and Daisy in charge. / Mickey has to travel around the world in
80 days to get his inheritance and save an orphanage.
/ While fishing, Donald reels in a bomb.
“Donald and the Aracuan Bird / Pluto vs. the Watchdog* / Bird Brained
Donald*” (9/2/02) – Donald isn’t too happy about the Aracuan bird being the
club’s special guest. / Mickey gets a new watchdog, which plays perfectly into
Pete’s plans. / Donald attempts to get a picture of the Aracuan Bird.
“Goofy’s Menu Magic / Sandwich Makers* / Mickey Tries to Cook* / Pluto
Gets the Paper: Bubble Gum*” (9/2/02) – Goofy’s covering for Gus is a disaster
until he finds the Fairy Godmother’s wand amongst the dirty dishes. / Goofy’s
management of a sandwich shop makes him mad with power. / Mickey tries to cook
to win back Minnie’s affections. / Pluto battles with a piece of gum for the
“Music Day / Symphony Hour^ / Goofy’s Extreme Sports: Skating the Half
Pipe* / How to be a Rock Star / Donald’s Rocket Ruckus*” (9/2/02) – Mickey,
Donald and Goofy try to reunite Huey, Dewey and Louie in time for their band’s
performance at the club. / Goofy drops the orchestra’s instruments down an
elevator shaft just before their performance. / Goofy tries to become a rock
star. / Donald tries to prevent his nephews from riding the best ride at the
“House of Scrooge / A Midsummer Night’s Dream* / Von Drake’s House of
Genius: Money Increaser*” (9/2/02) – Scrooge buys the club and begins making
changes to increase its profit. / The mice and ducks deal with mismatched
lovers and a love potion. / Von Drake’s new invention was meant to quell
poverty, but ends up getting him busted.
“Donald Wants to Fly / Mickey’s Airplane Kit* / Mickey and the
Seagull*” (9/2/02) – Various characters attempt to help Donald achieve his
dream of flying. / Mickey rushes to assemble his airplane kit for his date with
Minnie. / Mickey is assigned a replacement seagull after his regular one is
“Dining Goofy / Answering Service* / Von Drake’s House of Genius:
Remote Controlled Laser Lawnmower* / computer.don*” (9/2/02) – Goofy attempts
to help the other staff when technologically-advanced penguins take over his
duties. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy start a telephone answering service. / Von
Drake’s latest invention goes out of control.
“Chip ‘n’ Dale / Up a Tree^ / Goofy’s Extreme Sports: Rock Climbing* /
Two Chips and a Miss^” (9/2/02) – Donald tries to keep Chip and Dale from
stealing all the club’s nuts but gets blamed for the theft himself. / Chip and
Dale try to save their tree home from lumberjack Donald. / Goofy’s goofiness
adds a challenge to rock climbing. / Chip and Dale both unknowingly have a date
with the same girl.
“Humphrey in the House / Hot Tub Humphrey / Beezy Bear^” (9/2/02) –
When the club covers the Magic Brooms’ vacation with the Brownstone Park Bears,
Humphrey helps himself to their food. / With the river too cold for a bath, Humphrey
plots to get into Ranger Woodlore’s hot tub. / Humphrey keeps going after
“Ask Von Drake / Hydrosquirter* / Relaxing with Von Drake*” (9/2/02) –
Mickey tries to prove Von Drake wrong when he claims to know everything. / Fixing
his shower leads Von Drake to accidentally make it a teleporter. / Von Drake
uses Donald to demonstrate various methods of stress management.
“Salute to Sports / How to Be a Baseball Fan* / Goofy Gymnastics^” (9/2/02)
– Goofy fudges the national anthem while Donald tries to keep his temper in
check and prove he’s a good sport. / Goofy takes a break from sports to be a
fan. / Tired of being tired, Goofy decides to buy a home gym and get fit.
“Pluto vs. Figaro / Pluto Runs Away* / Donald and the Big Nut* / Pluto
Gets the Paper: Street Cleaner*” (9/2/02) – Minnie hires Figaro to take some of
the workload off of Pluto and it doesn’t end well. / Pluto runs away after
Mickey disciplines him for digging up the yard. / Donald has to defend his
giant nut from Chip and Dale so that he can enter it into competitions. / Fetching
the newspaper leads Pluto to be sucked up by a street cleaner.
“House of Magic / Presto Pluto* / Donald’s Dynamite: Bowling Alley* /
Babysitters” (9/2/02) – When Daisy’s magic act makes EVERYTHING disappear,
Mickey is forced to turn to Jafar to get it all back. / Pluto swallows a magic
wand while competing for Dinah’s affections. / Donald’s bowling ball ends up
being a bomb. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy are tasked by the sick Mother Time to
take care of Baby New Year…once they find him.
“Mickey vs. Shelby / Donald’s Shell Shots* / Domesticated Donald*”
(9/2/02) – Mickey babysits Shelby and discovers what a handful he is. / Donald
is hired to take a photo of the uncooperative turtle, Shelby. / Donald has to
“House of Turkey / Turkey Catchers* / Mickey’s Mixed Nuts*” (9/2/03) –
Everyone eagerly awaits Mr. Turkey’s arrival as the literal dinner guest. / Mickey,
Donald and Goofy start a turkey catching business but end up befriending their
prey. / Mickey competes with Chip and Dale to get a store’s last batch of nuts.
“Pete’s Christmas Caper / The Nutcracker* / Donald’s Dynamite:
Snowman*” (12/2/02) – Pete volunteers to play Santa at the party in order to
steal all the gifts. / Minnie’s nutcracker doll turns into a handsome prince in
order to rescue her from the Mouse King. / Donald discovers his snowman’s head
is a bomb.
“Clarabelle’s Christmas List / Donald on Ice* / Mickey’s Christmas Crisis*”
(12/2/02) – Clarabelle gets her hands onto Santa’s list and adds anyone who
tries to look at it to the “naughty” side. / Donald accidentally destroys the
snowman his nephews were building for a contest. / Mickey and Mortimer compete
for a house decorating contest.
“Snow Day / Pluto’s Seal Deal* / Mickey’s Remedy* / Donald’s Dynamite:
Snowman*” (12/14/02) – Salty the Seal is the only guest at the club during a
raging snowstorm. / Pluto must guard Mickey’s package, which mistakenly ends up
being a live seal. / Donald lets Mickey try watching his nephews. / Donald
discovers his snowman’s head is a bomb.
“Pete’s House of Villains / Li’l Bad Wolf / Donald’s Dynamite: Opera
Box* / Organ Donors*” (3/2/03) – Mickey lets Pete and other villains run the
club to show them how difficult it really is. / Big Bad Wolf tries to teach his
son how to catch pigs. / A night at the opera is interrupted when Donald finds
a bomb in Daisy’s purse. / Mickey, Donald and Goofy’s organ delivery ends up
becoming far too literal for their liking.
“Halloween With Hades / How to Camp / Donald’s Halloween Scare*”
(10/3/03) – Mickey tries to help Hades and Maleficent come together. / Goofy’s
adventure in camping leads to his being abducted by aliens. / When Donald
scares his nephews to get their candy, they plot their revenge.
“House Ghosts / Hansel and Gretel* / Pluto Gets the Paper: Spaceship*
/ How to Haunt a House*” (10/10/03) – Donald sets out to win the costume
contest while Pete unleashes ghosts on the club to scare everyone off. / Mickey
and Minnie encounter an old witch in the woods. / Fetching the paper leads
Pluto to be abducted by aliens. / Goofy plays a ghost tasked with scaring
“House of Genius / Futuremania / Mickey’s Mechanical House*”
(10/17/03) – Von Drake replaces the staff with more efficient robotic versions.
/ Von Drake invites Mickey, Donald and Goofy to test out his new device that
lets people see into the future. / Mickey buys a new house that can run itself.
“Mickey and the Culture Clash / Mickey’s Piano Lesson* / Dance of the
Goofys* / Maestro Minnie: Brahms’ Lullabye*” (10/24/03) – Mickey thinks Minnie
wants a more sophisticated boyfriend. / Minnie signs herself and Mickey up for
a piano recital that Mickey doesn’t believe he needs to practice for. / The
head Goofy Fairy is captured by a young boy with ambitions to be a mad
scientist. / Minnie dozes off while conducting her favorite lullaby.
“Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse”
(11/6/01) – The staff tries to get Donald into the Christmas spirit while
they’re stuck at the club.
Shorts: Donald on Ice*, Pluto’s Christmas Tree^,
Mickey’s Christmas Chaos*, The Nutcracker*, Mickey’s Christmas Carol^
“Mickey’s House of Villains” (9/3/02) – The villains take over the
Shorts: Trick or Treat*, Mickey’s Mechanical House*,
How to Haunt a House*, Lonesome Ghosts^, Dance of the Goofys*, Donald Duck and
the Gorilla^, Donald’s Halloween Scare*, Hansel and Gretel*
For the history of Mickey Mouse, check out the post here.
Promo image for "Roller Coaster Painters".
Feeling Disney had begun to lose
touch with its characters and the traditions that built it, Roberts Gannaway and Tony Craig pitched a new series
to the studio designed to recapture the feel of its golden days of animated
Ludwig invents money!
Disney’s Mickey Mouse Works was
Mickey’s (Wayne Allwine, with Quinton Flynn covering in several episodes) first
time being the subject of short films since 1953; although he had appeared in
full-length features in the interim. The series was built around being an
eclectic collection of short stories of varying length utilizing a simple color
palette and the studio’s original sound effects from its Golden Age. Gannaway
and Craig’s long-term ambition for the series was to reinvigorate the concept
of the theatrical short, using these shorts to air before Disney features once
they had finished their network run. Allwine, the official voice of Mickey, was
looking forward to playing the character closer to the mischievous and cunning
version he had once been as opposed to the white-bread, goody goody corporate
mascot he had become.
Minnie being startled by an unruly trumpet.
The majority of the skits involved individual characters from Mickey’s
universe, including new characters Mrs. Turtle (Estelle Harris) and her son, Baby Shelby (Jeff Bennett). A recurring
series would feature Mickey, Donald (Tony Anselmo) and Goofy (Bill Farmer)
running some kind of specialized business; often with disastrous results. There
were also several recurring 90-second gag segments marked with umbrella titles:
Mickey to the Rescue, which showed
Mickey rescuing Minnie (Russi Taylor) from the sinister machinations of his
arch-rival, Pete (Jim Cummings);
Maestro Minnie, which had Minnie
trying to conduct an orchestra of sentient instruments as an homage to the Silly Symphoniesseries;
Goofy’s Extreme Sports had Goofy
showing off various sports to the words of an unseen narrator (Corey Burton); Donald’s Dynamite saw the hapless duck
always ending up with a bomb he had to get rid of safely; Von Drake’s House of Genius explored the many inventions of Ludwig
Von Drake (Burton); and Pluto Gets the
Paper followed the misadventures of Pluto (Farmer) as he tried to retrieve
a newspaper for Mickey. Goofy also starred in a segment of “How to” shorts with
the narrator explaining to him how to preform his given tasks; an homage to the
series of theatrical shorts that began with 1940’s Goofy’s Glider.
Minnie held captive by Pete and awaiting Mickey's rescue.
Mouse Works ran for two
seasons, receiving nominations for three Annie
Awards, three Daytime Emmy Awards,
winning two, and three Motion Picture Sound
Editors Awards, also winning two. Despite that, and the high quality of the
production, the series failed to draw a significant audience. Gannaway and
Craig ended the series in order to retool and revamp it with a unifying
feature, debuting Disney’s
House of Mousethat January. House
of Mouse would go on to reuse all of the shorts produced for Mouse Works, save “Minnie Takes Care of
Pluto”and “Pluto Gets the Paper:
Vending Machine” due to their violent content (which also got them banned from
ABC after their initial airings, although were still seen in international
“Pluto Gets the
Paper: Vending Machine* / Mickey’s Answering Service / Pluto’s Magic Paws /
Mickey’s Big Break” (11/18/00) – Mickey, Donald and
Goofy start a telephone answering service. / Mickey accidentally gets magic
gloves from the drycleaner. / Mickey and Donald have to replace a picture they
broke while playing football indoors. *Repeat
In 1927, Walt Disney had a
hit with the creation of the character Oswald the Lucky
Rabbit. Oswald was one of the first cartoon characters to have a
personality not only displayed by his dialogue, but through his every motion in
what would be called “personality animation”. But, instead of getting a budget
infusion, producer Charles Mintz
wanted Disney to take a pay cut. And, at the same time, he was scalping most of
the members of Disney’s studio
to form his own. Since Oswald was owned by Mintz’s distributor, Universal Studios, Disney was forced to
leave him behind when he and those still loyal to him quit.
Mickey takes Minnie flying in Plane Crazy/
realized he needed a new character, as well as to retain the rights of any
character created by his studio. After some trial and error with various animal
characters, Disney and animator Ub
Iwerks finally found their character: a mouse. They named him Mortimer, but
Disney’s wife Lillian
convinced them to change it to Mickey
(Mortimer would be reused
later for one of Mickey’s rivals beginning in 1936). Mickey resembled Oswald, except
for the nose, ears and tail. Iwerks designed Mickey’s body entirely out of
circles to make him easier to animate. His ears were initially animated with a
realistic perspective, but it was decided to have them always appear circular
no matter which way he faced to keep him instantly recognizable (which proved
problematic for merchandisers when they had to create a 3D model of the
character). Mickey was also given four fingers on each hand to both make them
seem less cluttered and to save money on having to animate an extra finger in
the 45,000 drawings it took to make a 6 ½ minute short. Eventually, Mickey was
also given white gloves to contrast his hands against his body.
The rivalry between Mickey and Pete begins in Steamboat Willie.
short was Plane Crazyin 1928.
It was a silent film that also introduced Mickey’s long-time girlfriend, Minnie, and the prototype for what
would become Clarabelle
Cow. It was produced in just two weeks with Iwerks being the sole animator
drawing at a rate of 700 drawings a day. Although it was shown to a test
audience that May, it failed to pick up a distributor. Mickey and Minnie’s
official debuts came in the next short, Steamboat Willie, which
also introduced Mickey’s chief rival, Pete. It was distributed by Celebrity Productions on November 18 and
became the first Disney cartoon with synchronized sound, which included
character sounds and a musical score arranged by Wilfred Jackson and Bert Lewis. Disney realized
synchronized sound would be the future of film, and it was proven as it became
the most popular cartoon of the day. Plane
Crazy had sound added to it and would become the fourth Mickey short
Mickey's 5th comic strip, part of an adaptation of Plane Crazy.
popularity began to grow as he appeared in more shorts, voiced by Disney
himself until 1947, newspaper comic strips and in comic books (such as the
long-running Italian Topolino).
Characters were gradually added to his universe, including Horace Horsecollar
(The Plow Boy, 1929),
his dog, Pluto (a prototype in
1930’s The Chain Gang, as
Minnie’s dog in in The Picnic, and
finally as Mickey’s in 1931’s The Moose Hunt), Goofy (as Dippy Dawg in 1932’s Mickey’s Revue), Mickey’s nephews in
1934’s Mickey’s Steam Roller,
and Clara Cluck and the
introduction of Donald Duck to
the Mickey universe in Orphan’s Benefit. By
1935, the Mickey series went to color beginning with The Band Concert(however, he was first colorized in 1932’s Parade of the
Award Nomineeswhich was made by Disney Studios for the 5thAcademy Awards). In 1938, animator Fred Moore gave Mickey a
redesign, changing his body to have more of a pear-shape, his face a Caucasian
tone instead of pure white, and shrank his eyes so that the black at the top of
his face became akin to a hairline rather than an eyeline. Mickey’s popularity
experienced a slump after 1940, but kept appearing in shorts until 1953’s The Simple Things.
The core Disney gang: Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie and Donald.
In 1954, Mickey made the
transition to television as part of Walt Disney’s Disneylandanthology series, and then the following year with The Mickey Mouse
Clubwhere Disney resumed voicing the character. This saw a resurgence
in his popularity, especially as his classic shorts were released to air on television.
In the years that followed, Mickey appeared in feature films and television
programs, as well as made cameos in various Disney productions. He became the mascot
of the Walt Disney Company, which led to
the alteration of his personality from a cheeky, lovable rogue into more of an
all-around nice guy. This squeaky-clean version of Mickey would remain until
2009, when Disney decided to try and rebrand the character by bringing back
some of his original mischievous side beginning with 2010’s Epic Mickey.
Mickey and his friends enter the third dimension.
Mickey’s role with the company and his endless cameos, it wouldn’t be until
1999 when he would finally come to Saturday mornings…