Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat: The Next Generation

No one in recent memory has more lovingly paid homage to the original Disney cartoon shorts than Tony Craig and Robert Gannaway. These two gentlemen were the creative forces behind two Disney television shows, Mickey’s MouseWorks and House of Mouse. Both programs aired as part of ABC’s Saturday morning lineup from 1999 to 2001, and episodes have subsequently rerun on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.

Tony and Robert essentially created Disney cartoon shorts for a new generation of viewers, revisiting the format, characters and spirit, if not necessarily the visual style, of those earlier studio shorts. They also cleverly included theme park icons and references throughout both series. They clearly did their homework when creating the shows, and their love and enthusiasm for classic Disney fills every frame.

One of their most entertaining efforts is the Donald Duck short Donald’s Scary Halloween. A slightly hipper version of the duck’s 1952 Trick or Treat, it once again pits Donald against Huey, Dewey and Louie in a new series of Halloween misadventures. Mickey, Goofy and Minnie all make appearances as the boy make the rounds of the neighborhood.

After Donald scares them and steals their candy, the nephews set about exacting revenge on their malicious uncle. The images of the boys rising from graves in undead form, and chasing a terrified Donald, would likely have never made it to the screen back in 1952.

Here’s hoping Mickey's MouseWorks and House of Mouse arrive on DVD sometime in the near future.