Friday, July 26, 2013

Animation Appreciation: The Plow Boy

   In 1929, just a few short cartoons into his career, Mickey Mouse had already experienced a meteoric rise to fame.  But would you recognize early Mickey Mouse as the sedate corporate figurehead that we all love today? Probably not.

   The Plow Boy is a great example of early Mickey.  Rascally, sex crazed, and overtly plastic. The animation in these early shorts are primitive by our modern CG standards of whats acceptable, but at the time are pretty advanced despite the characters overt fluidity. We find very few opportunities to fall in love with Mickey. Whether he is shrinking himself into his own pants, or tumbling wildly over jagged rocks this is not a sentient mouse.  We need a character who is grounded in reality.  While these wild and bizarre movements become passé within a few years for Mickey, they find the perfect home in Donald Duck.

   The short is full of early Disney short gags, be it Horace Horsecollar's sassy gait as he helps Mickey plow the field, or Minnie Mouse's grotesque squealing...there is no moment wasted. Every opportunity is filled with potential laughs, especially at the expense of the main characters.  Now take six minutes out of your day and enjoy.