Mickey is selling hot dogs at a carnival next to the tent for Minnie the Shimmy Dancer. He gets into an argument with the barker. Minnie beckons him over to her trailer; he shows off the ...
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Mickey comes in his horse and buggy to pick up Minnie for the barn dance, but he's aced out by his rival, Pete, with a car, until the car breaks down. At the dance hall, Mickey dances on ... See full summary »
Mickey is a railroad engineer with an anthropomorphic locomotive. He feeds the train (coal), then feeds his dog, then makes lunch for himself. Minnie drops by and plays a tune on her fiddle... See full summary »
Mickey puts on a show in his barnyard. A short dramatic scene by a chicken and rooster; an operatic ode by Patricia Pig, and then the main attraction: Mickey sings and plays his theme song, then dances to it.
Mickey goes about his farm chores, plowing with Horace and milking Clarabelle, while Minnie sings (until Mickey kisses her, when she stalks off). Clarabelle gets too friendly with Mickey, ... See full summary »
Mickey is selling hot dogs at a carnival next to the tent for Minnie the Shimmy Dancer. He gets into an argument with the barker. Minnie beckons him over to her trailer; he shows off the tricks his pups have been trained to do, and she picks one. It climbs onto the bun but runs away when she bites in. Later that evening, Mickey plays guitar and two cats sing outside Minnie's window; they eventually awaken someone, who throws things at them until they stop. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Mickey finds his voice, but the setting sure isn't Disneyland
From the very first shot of this animated short we know we're in Cartoon Dream World: the setting is a rowdy carnival in full swing, but our view of the festivities is blocked by swirling helium balloons. When the balloons drift away it's revealed that a cow is dangling from them, levitating over the crowd, grinning happily and blowing on a noise-maker that uncoils like a snake and emits a "Bronx cheer." Floating above a peanut vendor (who happens to be a pig), the cow razzes him with this device and scares him so badly that the pig leaps out of his clothes. Now clad in underwear, the angry porcine peanut vendor uses a sling-shot to burst the cow's balloons. The cow plummets to the ground but is cheerfully unaffected by the experience, which she demonstrates by turning to the camera and defiantly blowing a raspberry right in our faces. And that's just the first shot!
It looks very much like something produced by the Fleischer Studio, and we expect to see Koko the Clown and Betty Boop pop up any second, but in fact this is a Disney cartoon dating from the earliest days of Mickey Mouse. The atmosphere sure is different from what we might expect, based on familiarity with Mickey's later, buttoned-down adventures in suburbia; this cartoon has a low-down attitude quite unlike Disney's later output. Here, Minnie Mouse is a midway dancer who makes like Little Egypt, while a monkey beats out a tattoo rhythm on bongos and the barker promises "she'll put you in a trance/with her hoochy-coochy dance." Mickey is a hot dog vendor who sasses the barker and tries to make time with Minnie. The Karnival Kid marked the first occasion when the Disney animators gave the Mouse dialog to speak, but it was made before Walt himself began supplying the voice. It's not the familiar innocent squeak, either; as befits the setting, Mickey's voice is a bit raspy, as you'd expect from a carny worker.
There's a startling scene where Mickey sells Minnie a frankfurter, a scene that is far more suggestive what the Disney folks would tend to do later on. To pay for her purchase, Minnie reaches into her stocking for her money supplywhich makes Mickey blushbut when she attempts to bite into the hot dog the thing suddenly comes to life, and attempts to escape. Mickey catches it, pulls down its "pants" and gives it a good spanking. (I'm not making this up!) The frankfurter pulls its pants back up, weeps with shame, then bites Mickey's finger and escapes again. And then, having no place else to go, our story culminates in a midnight serenade. Outside Minnie's trailer, under the moon, Mickey strums his guitar while two disreputable-looking cats yowl "Sweet Adeline" in weird, nasal tones. After this extended musical number the film wraps up with an anticlimactic gag, something quite unlike the neat resolutions we find in the Disney studio's mature work, and when the show is over you still feel like you've just watched a Fleischer cartoon.
This short is historically significant because it's Mickey Mouse's first real "talkie," but in a larger sense it signifies the road not taken for its production house. If you ever wondered what Disney cartoons might have looked like if the animators had been more loony and naughty, more like the gang at the Fleischer Studio or WB's Termite Terrace, then take a look at The Karnival Kid. I don't believe the guys at Disney ever again designed such a seamy setting for a Mickey cartoon, but perhaps that's just as well.
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