Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Freeze Frame! - A Trail Mix-Up Mystery

2719 Hyperion reader Jason Saldivar contacted me after last week's Rollercoaster Rabbit Freeze Frame! to point out another great Roger Rabbit detail, this one in the 1993 cartoon Trail Mix-Up. When Roger goes into a full-blown panic over a very small bug, the green-fumed insecticide he uses carries the brand name "MINK-OFF." This is a clever tribute to Rob Minkoff, the film's co-executive producer. Minkoff also worked as an animator on several Disney features including The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective and The Little Mermaid.

Jason also presented me with a Freeze Frame! mystery of sorts when he pointed out this other very interesting detail also from Trail Mix-Up. During the sawmill sequence, a small wanted poster featuring the picture of young boy flashes past in a real blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. Just who is this unidentified lad?

I have to admit that up until just moments before putting together this post, I was still stymied. Then recognition suddenly dawned on me. The reference is as equally obscure as its moment in the film.
The character is from the Disney-produced 1992 animated short Off His Rockers. Here's a description of the film from Dave Smith's Disney A-Z:

Special experimental cartoon, making some use of computer animation; released on July 17, 1992. The magical tale of a young boy who has abandoned his faithful rocking horse playmate in favor of the latest video games. Unwilling to be "put out to pasture," the wooden horse uses some inventive and hilarious means to remind his fickle friend of the great times they used to have when his imagination was free to roam. Soon the boy is back in the saddle again as he gallops off into the sunset in search of exciting new adventures.

The connecting thread between Off His Rockers and Trail Mix-Up? Both cartoons were produced at Disney-MGM Studios and both were directed by Barry Cook. Cook would go on to direct Mulan, also produced at the Florida studio.

Off His Rockers was released in theaters with the Disney feature Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, and was subsequently included on the laser disc edition of that same film. It has been by-and-large unseen outside of those two presentations.

Thanks again to Jason for forwarding all this on. And for another fun Freeze Frame! from Trail Mix-Up, check this earlier post from right here at 2719.

Images © Walt Disney Company


linklewtt said...

Great job at finding out who that little boy was!


Tim said...

Check out the whole short here: