Saturday, January 26, 2008

Freeze Frame! - Mickey's Polo Team

While the 1936 short Mickey's Polo Team is best remembered for its many movie star caricatures, it also features a number of scenes that serve up a veritable who's who of Disney Studio cartoon characters from the mid 1930s. Most prominent are Mickey, Donald, Goofy and the Big Bad Wolf as the players for the Mickey Mousers team, who square off against the Movie Stars team comprised of screen comedians Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Marx and Laurel and Hardy.

But even more interesting are the numerous personalities that fill the grandstand:

1. Legs Sparrow, one of the three prime suspects from the Silly Symphony Who Killed Cock Robin.

2. Peter and Polly Penguin from the Silly Symphony Peculiar Penguins.

3. Three of the many miniature Mickey orphans that appeared in the shorts Orphans Benefit and Orphans Picnic. Because there are three, I identified them as such rather than as Morty and Ferdy who made their lone screen appearance in Mickey's Steamroller.

4. Cock Robin and a distinctly off-model incarnation of Jenny Wren from Who Killed Cock Robin. The Jenny Wren character was in fact a caricature of Mae West, though the resemblance is not apparent in this particular version.

5. The Wise Little Hen from the Silly Symphony of the same name. That short is best known for the debut of Donald Duck.

6. King Midas and Goldie from the Silly Symphony The Golden Touch.

7. The title character from the Silly Symphony The Flying Mouse, who is accompanied by his mother.

8. Ambrose and Dirty Bill from the Silly Symphony The Robber Kitten.

9. Pluto and his occasional girlfriend Fifi.

10. The Three Little Pigs surround famous child star Shirley Temple.

11. Two unnamed rabbits possibly derived from the Easter-themed Silly Symphony Funny Little Bunnies.

In separate scenes, Max Hare from The Tortoise and the Hare and Toby Tortoise Returns shares the screen with film star Edna May Oliver . . .

. . . while Clarabelle Cow swoons over ladies man Clark Gable.

Cheering the Movie Stars team in another area of the grandstand are a number of other notable Hollywood personalities of the era:

Clockwise from top left are Charles Laughton (from his title role in Henry VIII), Eddie Cantor, Greta Garbo, W. C. Fields and Harold Lloyd.


Maz said...

Great stuff Jeff. It's always great taking a closer look at some of these classic cartoons. They have so much to offer each time you see them at so many levels.