Mickey, Goofy and Donald work as janitor at a clock tower in the 1937 Walt Disney Animation Studios short, “Clock Cleaners.” The trio attempt to clean the clock tower, but hilarity ensues when they end up getting their own “bells” rung. Mickey tries to clean the face of the clock without waking the sleeping stork outside but ends up waking up the bird who knocks him off the face and leaves him hanging on a rope. Donald tries to fix the mainspring but when it doesn’t work, he hits it with a mallet causing him to get stuck in a balance wheel shaft. And Goofy tries to clean a bell but the ringers keep hitting it while he’s inside. Eventually all three of them end up stuck in the balance wheel shaft as the clock tower defeats them and they didn’t even know they were in for a battle.
This is one of the funniest early shorts featuring the original trio. The physical comedy of this short with Mickey, Donald and Goofy is outstanding. It would be hysterical to see this played out in live action, but there’s no realistic way anyone could survive what these cartoons go through. That’s the beauty of animation, being able to do things that can’t be done in real life.
This is one of the early shorts that was subject to controversy over the years, and honestly, it was the dumbest controversy I can ever remember. Someone misheard Donald speaking to the mainspring and was convinced he used vulgarities while speaking to it. Given the reputation of the Walt Disney company and animation of the 1930s, anyone thinking that Donald Duck would be swearing really isn’t paying attention. But, in the early 1990s, nearly 55 years after its release, someone misunderstood and made a big to do about nothing leading to this to not be sold in some stores. It was odd then and it seems even odder now.
This “controversial” animated short from the 1930s provided me some of the best entertainment I’ve had in the past week, as of this writing. It was a well put together, well drawn, well voice acted short. It was fun and it was good. The company has come a long way since 1937, but it’s nice to see where Disney got its start and how it has evolved over the years.
Ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Clock Cleaners?”