As part of the Walt Disney Company’s 100th-anniversary celebration, Disney is releasing classic shorts on Disney+. So far, 12 of these classic shorts have been released as part of the celebration: six in July and six in August. The six released in the month of August have put a highlight on some of Disney’s most iconic characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They cover a wide range of years to help remind Disney fans of some of the great work the company has produced.
BARNYARD OLYMPICS – 1932
In this short, Mickey Mouse is competing against several other barnyard animals in a contest similar to the Olympics. Mickey is at a disadvantage as one of the contestants continues to cheat, and Mickey is usually the one he cheats against. In the end, one of his cheating attempts backfires and Mickey wins while his bicycle flies back and hits the cheater preventing him from crossing the finish line. It’s an old black-and-white short with very little dialogue. It’s very reminiscent of the “Steamboat Willie” days of animated Mickey Mouse. It had its fun moments, but really didn’t do a whole lot for me.
MICKEY’S STEAM ROLLER – 1934
This short puts a focus on Mickey Mouse and his relationship with younger mice. Minnie is serving as a nanny of two young mice who see Mickey working with his steam roller. Mickey gives them a ride, but they pair end up taking the steam roller for a ride without Mickey. This leads to them destroying a lot of the town and crashing into a hotel. While this is a format that has been re-visited several times in Disney’s shorts, this was one of the funniest version I’ve seen. It’s from 1934, so it’s less sanitized than some of the re-visited version, but it’s still a lot of fun.
DONALD’S NEPHEWS – 1938
This short introduces Donald Duck’s, sometimes, troublemaking nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. His sister sends them to visit him, and he should’ve known right away when she referred to them as “darling” there would be trouble. This is just one of many shorts involving these four characters where the boys’ actions cause problems for Donald and he gets frustrated with them. It’s a bit odd seeing Dewey in orange instead of the blue he would become known for later, but it was still a great introduction to characters that would become iconic.
GOOFY AND WILBUR – 1939
Goofy is going fishing with his close friend, a grasshopper named Wilbur. Wilbur distracts the fish and lures them into Goofy’s net. Basically, Goofy is using Wilbur as bait. But Wilbur ends up getting swallowed by a frog and that frog is, in turn, swallowed by a bird. Goofy fights the bird to get his friend back and Wilbur is hatched from the bird’s egg. It’s an odd short, but it was a lot of fun and highlighted some of what makes Goofy great early on in Disney’s animated run.
DONALD’S COUSIN GUS – 1939
This was probably my least favorite of the six released this month. Donald’s Aunt Fannie sends his cousin Gus Goose to visit saying he “doesn’t eat much.” This leads to Gus being a glutton and eating Donald out of house and home. It’s fine. It’s cute. It’s a little fun. It just didn’t hit as well as the others from this month.
THE FLYING JALOPY – 1943
This was my favorite short from this group of animated shorts released for Disney 100. Donald Duck wants a plane but doesn’t have the money for a down payment. Ben Buzzard gives him the plane with “no down payment” but has Donald sign a paper awarding Ben money should anything happen to Donald. This leads to Ben trying to cause Donald to crash, and Donald always finding a way to get by. It ends with Ben trapped in the plane, and Donald still flying him. I found this one hysterically funny and laughed the entire time it was on. It’s my highest recommended for the month of August.
Those were six really fun shorts that I’m glad to see added to the service. Disney+ has also added a Disney 100 collection so feel free to check it out. What was your favorite of these classic Disney shorts?