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"Mickey's Gala Premiere" is an above-average Mickey Mouse cartoon from
Disney's best period. The premise is simple: Mickey Mouse produces a movie,
and all the biggest stars in Hollywood (1933 vintage) show up for the
Unfortunately, most modern viewers will be unable to identify some or all of the big stars who appear (in cartoon form) in this cartoon. The caricatures are quite cruel: Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler are drawn to look like a couple of gross hippopotami. Greta Garbo is drawn with exaggerated feet. (During Garbo's stardom, she was frequently the butt of jokes about her allegedly large feet ... actually, her feet were quite normal, but she had an ungainly gait that made them seem larger.)
Even viewers who recognise all the film stars in this cartoon might still be baffled by some of the references. Why are Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante shown handcuffed together? Answer: this is a reference to one scene in 'What! No Beer?' ... a film that was released just as "Mickey's Gala Premiere" went into production.
From a British standpoint, the most notable aspect of "Mickey's Gala Premiere" is its unique role in the history of television. Before World War Two, television reception in Britain was only available in London and the Home Provinces, from a transmitter at Alexandra Palace. On the first day of September 1939, executives at 'Ally Pally' decided to shut down tv transmission for the duration of the war, so that the transmitters could not be used as signal beacons by German bombers. At the precise instant when the plug was pulled, London audiences were watching "Mickey's Gala Premiere" on television ... and the screens went blank about halfway through the cartoon. After the war, when the time came to resume tv transmission, a BBC executive jokingly suggested that transmission should begin with the same Mickey Mouse cartoon ... starting in mid-film, at the precise spot where it left off six years earlier.
Cooler heads prevailed, and on 7 June 1946, the Earl of Listowel threw the switch to resume British tv transmission ... starting with "Mickey's Gala Premiere" shown from its *beginning*. The cartoon was followed with performances from ballerina Margot Fonteyn, harpist John Cockerill and the New Zealand-born cartoonist David Low whose political cartoons had done so much to maintain wartime morale.
I'll rate "Mickey's Gala Premiere" 7 points out of 10, but at least one point is for this cartoon's unique role in the history of British television.
A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.
The famed Grauman's Chinese Theater is the Hollywood location for MICKEY'S GALA PREMIERE, with a multitude of luminaries showing up for the occasion.
This is a marvelous little black & white feast for movie mavens who get to try to spot & name as many of the caricatured celebrities as possible. With this film Walt Disney was signaling that both he & his little buddy had reached the big time with the rest of Hollywood, literally, at their feet. The film within a film, GALLOPING ROMANCE, is treated like an authentic, stand-alone Mouse cartoon; featuring Mickey, Minnie & Peg-leg Pete, it is necessarily short, but fully up to Disney's standards. Walt supplies Mickey's squeaky voice.
Many of the stars whose likeness appears in MICKEY'S GALA PREMIERE are now quite obscure, therefore making their identification a difficult procedure. Here then, as much as possible, is a listing of the celebrities, noting when they make their first appearance in the cartoon (many show up more than once):
Out in front of the Theater: The Keystone Kops - Ben Turpin, Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, Harry Langdon & Chester Conklin.
Emerging from limousines: Wallace Beery & Marie Dressler (she was box office queen at the time); Lionel, John & Ethel Barrymore (all costumed for their roles in RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS, 1932); Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy; Groucho, Chico, Zeppo & Harpo Marx.
At the microphone: Maurice Chevalier; Eddie Cantor (costumed for his role in THE KID FROM SPAIN, 1932); Jimmy Durante; Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford (costumed for her role in RAIN, 1932) & Bette Davis; Harold Lloyd, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson & Adolphe Menjou.
Entering the Theater: George Arliss, Sid Grauman, Joe E. Brown, Sir Charlie Chaplin (costumed as The Little Tramp), Buster Keaton & Mae West (costumed for her role in SHE DONE HIM WRONG, 1933).
Emerging from limousine: Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Horace Horsecollar & Clarabelle Cow.
Seated in the Theater: Chester Morris, Gloria Swanson & William Powell; Will Hays (dressed in regal robes and crown to spoof his position as Censorship Czar); Greta Garbo; Will Rogers; Ed Wynn; Bert Wheeler & Robert Woolsey; Bela Lugosi (costumed as Count Dracula), Fredric March (costumed as Mr. Hyde) & Boris Karloff (costumed as Frankenstein's Monster).
Rolling in the aisle: Douglas Fairbanks.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a blizzard of doomsayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an early Mickey Mouse cartoon done by the Disney studio. There
will be spoilers ahead:
The various cartoon studios did cartoons with caricatures of Hollywood film stars, to varying degrees of success. This is one of the better ones.
The caricatures come so fast and furious that I won't even try to list them all, just a few of the more obscure ones and the ones I enjoyed the most. Early on, there's one which most people these days would not catch, with Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore in character from the film Rasputin and the Empress. The Marx Brothers make their almost obligatory appearance, as do Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and a raft of others.
Mickey, Minnie and Pluto make their grand entrance, with a great gag involving Pluto and a palm tree. Everyone enters the theater and they watch the premiere of a Mickey Mouse cartoon, which is itself pretty good, with some good gags which I won't spoil here. The ending is good and I won't spoil that either.
This short is available on the Disney Treasures Mickey Mouse In Black and White, Volume One DVD set and it and the set are well worth tracking down. Most highly recommended.
IN AN ACTION that could be described as "one hand washing the other",
Walt Disney saw the opportunity to both flatter the denizens of the
Movie Colony; while at the same, time make use and exploit their
familiarity with the public in producing a Mickey cartoon. The very
nature of the short left very little need for any extensive plot or, as
we reviewers say, a scenario.
AS ONE WOULD most likely expect, MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER is set in Los Angeles, Hollywood, California. Also, being a White-Tie affair of a Movie premier, the logical venue would be Grauman's Chinese Theatre. It was.
IT OPENS WITH rows of admiring fans crowding around and pushing to get a glimpse of the many stars in attendance. One after another, chauffeur driven limousines pull up and leave; first depositing their celebrity cargo on the red carpet. The Theatre is well represented in its own caricature, as batteries of searchlights sweep the skies.
THE FIFTY OR so movie stars & other Hollywood big-wigs present us with a most distinguished of an audience for the premiering movie in question. The characters present the animation team with a plethora of natural gags that flow almost naturally over the duration of the cartoon's eight or so minutes.
EVVRERY BIT, BE it sight-gag or verbal, seems to have been tailored to the star being lampooned. Many of the characters are limited to just appearing; which is more than enough for their "contribution" to the cartoon.
UNLIKE JUST ABOUT any other animated short, MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER has, of necessity, a "Cartoon within a Cartoon"; a storyline device that is often used in live action feature films that deal with the Film Capitol and its people. This seems to be a very standard Mickey & Minnie vs. Dirty Pete and employs a succession of standard sort of gags, with the mouse winning out in the end.
WE DON'T BELIEVE that this is an excerpt from another cartoon as that would be contrary to Disney's methods of doing things. The "cartoon" also seems to be too tightly constructed to a mere 2 or 3 minutes; without appearing to have been abridged.
THIS TITLE IS worth a screening or two, if only for the purpose of viewing and identifying the Hollywood stars being spoofed.
THERE IS SORT of a twist in the conclusion that makes all of the happenings and assemblage of talent to be rendered more believable; as if an animated cartoon short is required to be realistic!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Released at the time which could very well be said to be the height of
the popularity of Mickey Mouse, still before Donald and Goofy had
become his permanent sidekicks in order to gain more laughs, MICKEY'S
GALA PREMIER is remembered for two reasons: one, that its sole concept
is about giving the public a riot recognizing caricatures of the stars
of the early 1930's; and two, that it was the last program to be aired
on BBC Television before Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. The
latter fact seems to have been coincidental; while the station was
showing this cartoon, all TV broadcasting from BBC was stopped in order
to prevent German bombing planes from using the broadcast signals to
their advantage. Naturally, the availability of TV was very limited in
Britain at the time, so not too many of the population can have been
bothered by the sudden interruption. Nevertheless, this cartoon was
also the first thing to be aired when BBC resumed TV broadcasting after
the war; by that time, this cartoon must have appeared as quite a
nostalgia piece, as Mickey Mouse's appearance, and also his degree of
popularity, had largely changed through that time.
However, even though Mickey Mouse was somewhat less worthy of note by the mid-1940's, when MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER was initially released in 1933, that possibility could hardly have been on Disney's mind. The story appears to be a mere excuse to do somewhat heartless, but often funny caricatures of the hottest movie stars of the era (sans King Kong, who was to be parodied in another Mickey-cartoon released the same year). Dozens of movie stars have come to attend the premiere of a Mickey Mouse-film: among the most notable are Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler, both of whom were soon to make another hit in DINNER AT EIGHT; Greta Garbo, whose QUEEN Christina would be her next triumph; Clark Gable, a recent star at that point; The Marx Brothers, who were making DUCK SOUP at this time; Charlie Chaplin, who was undergoing a crisis regarding whether or not he should abandon silent films; Buster Keaton, who had just made his last, unhappy appearance with Jimmy Durante at MGM; Mae West, who had recently shocked audiences with her frank, sexual appearance in SHE DONE HIM WRONG; Boris Karloff, in-evidently presented as Frankenstein's monster; Bela Lugosi, likewise in the role as Dracula; Adolphe Menjou, who'd recently appeared in an adaptation of FAREWELL TO ARMS; Harold Lloyd, who had still not made it quite as good as he'd hoped for in talking comedies; Laurel & Hardy, most beloved comedy team of the time (and possibly still today); comedians Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin, Ben Turpin, Mack Swain and Harry Langdon as Keystone Kops (among these, only Sterling and Conklin actually ever appeared as Keystone Kops, by the way), and numerous others.
To do comical, wildly exaggerated portrayals of movie stars had been fairly common practice during the silent era; Felix the Cat had done FELIX IN Hollywood ten years before, and movies about star-crazed, naive young guys and gals such as SHOW PEOPLE with Marion Davies had been popular. With MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER, Disney did in other words use a quite tried-and-safe idea, which the studio was to use again a few years later in MICKEY'S POLO TEAM, to arguably better effect; whereas the idea of letting an entire polo team consist of well-known movie stars is quite genuine, it appears less inspired to throw in an older, authentic Mickey-film on the screen which the stars are watching, underscoring even more clearly that this film, in the end, is made for us to recognize the stars, whereas an actual story feels absent. Even so, the film is still interesting as it sort of documents the popularity which Mickey Mouse enjoyed at this point; during this very year, his stardom had reached greater heights as he was one of the very, very first cartoon characters (if not the first) to be gained his own comic magazine. Thus the sight of real-life movie stars celebrating his success seems to be more than sly advertisement on the part of Disney; in 1933, Mickey Mouse was truly one of the most popular movie stars to be found, and MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER, for all its amusing puns at Garbo, Chaplin and Karloff, is probably most fun to watch due to how it illustrates that point.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mickey's Gala Premiere is a superb cartoon that I loved as a child and
still love to this day. There is so much to love about it, with
everything I love about the Disney cartoons present here. The animation
is crisp, clean and beautifully shaded. I do agree somewhat about the
character designs of some of the caricatures being on the slightly
cruel, but never offensive, side, but that didn't deter me from
enjoying, loving even, Mickey's Gala Premiere. Besides Mickey and the
gang were animated perfectly I felt. I also loved the cartoon for its
energetic music(as ever enhancing the action wonderfully without it
feeling repetitive) and the glitzy, exciting Hollywood atmosphere. As
well as having Mickey(the star of the cartoon), Minnie, Pluto(their
stepping out the limousine signifies classic Hollywood), Horace and
Clarabelle, there is the wonderful gag where Mickey keeps changing
vehicles with a galloping xylophone, a turtle, an octopus and a
Mickey's Gala Premiere is notable also for three things. The caricatures, some I recognised immediately like Greta Garbo, Mae West, Laurel and Hardy, Joe E.Brown, The Marx Brothers, Maurice Chevalier, The Barrymores, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks, and others like Will Hays(looking very like Prince Charles), Sid Graumann, Wheeler and Whooley, George Arliss and Janet Gaynor that I wasn't so familiar with. Also, the interesting use of the cartoon-within-a-cartoon with Galloping Romance, which is like Galloping Gaucho, The Birthday Party and The Cactus Kid all in one and with amusing if slightly predictable results. Finally, the "it's all a dream" ending; some may find this strategy a cop-out, and at first it did disappoint me, but after watching it many more times since then I realise that this approach was deliberate, not just because the cartoon like with the cartoon-within-a-cartoon idea was acknowledging its medium but also taking away any since of arrogance the cartoon could've had. The voice work from all is spot on.
In conclusion, a classic cartoon. 10/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a Mickey Mouse cartoon that is absolutely jam-packed full of
celebrity cameos. While I have seen similar sorts of things with Donald
Duck and Bugs Bunny, I can't recall a single cartoon that crams as many
movie stars into one short film! And, for fans of the golden age of
Hollywood, it's an absolute must-see. You'll see appearances by Laurel
& Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Maurice Chevalier, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy
Durante, a trio of ladies (I think one is Constance Bennett another is
Joan Crawford and I am unsure of last--perhaps Carole Lombard), a
quartet of men (Harold Lloyd, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson and
Adolph Menjou), Joe E. Brown, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mae West,
Mickey and Minnie, Pluto, Horace, Clarabelle, William Powell, George
Arliss, Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler, Greta Garbo, Will Rogers, Ed
Wynn, Wheeler & Woolsey, Dracula, Mr, Hyde, Frankenstein, Harry
Langdon, John Barrymore (as Svengali) and perhaps one or two others I
couldn't identify. And, if you can identify the one or two others, let
Overall, the film is a lot of fun and I loved the cute ending. Well worth seeing and its Disney Studios at its best during the black & white era.
By the way, the film seeing on the screen is "Galloping Romance"--a movie within a movie that was made for "Mickey's Gala Premier".
This Mickey Mouse cartoon, as well as being extremely charming, is a
joy to watch if you are a 1930s movie buff. The caricatures of leading
players of the time such as Clark Gable, Eddie Cantor, Wheeler and
Woolsey, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Marie Dressler,
Greta Garbo, and Will Rogers are fun to spot; I especially laughed at
Will Hay (film censor of the time) in regal get-up, and at the slouchy,
big-footed Greta Garbo.
The film within a film, Galloping Romance, is a kind of companion piece to an earlier Mickey cartoon, Galloping Gaucho. Again Pete kidnaps Minnie and again Mickey saves the day. This film is funny, snappy, and well put-together.
'Mickey's Gale Premier' stands out from many of the other shorts made at the time because of its currency and reference to many stars. Other studios made similar forays into celebrity caricature (Warner Bros. Coo-Coo Nut Grove for one) but this one is the most successful, even if you can't place who many of the people depicted are - if you can, this cartoon is a sheer delight.
Mickey's Gala Premier (1933)
*** (out of 4)
Simple Disney short has all of Hollywood shutting down so that the major stars can show up at Grauman's Chinese Theater to see Mickey Mouse's latest movie. Mickey arrives with Minnie and Pluto but the real stars include Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Laurel and Hardy, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, Joe E. Brown, Chaplin, Keaton, Mae West, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Fredric March and countless others. This isn't the greatest written cartoon ever made but the real reason to watch is for the A-list talent from Hollywood. Laurel and Hardy probably get the most screen time but the Marx Bros. get a few good jokes in as well. The stuff dealing with Greta Garbo coming onto Mickey was pretty funny but the other highlight is the twist that follows. The short features Lugosi as Dracula and Karloff as the Frankenstein monster but they really don't play too close to detail. The same is true for March who appears with them as Mr. Hyde but he looks more like a werewolf than anything else.
This is an enjoyable black and white Mickey Mouse short in which Mickey is the guest of honor at the premiere of his latest film. Most of this short's humor relies on cartoon versions of many famous faces from when this film was made. I'm sure many of today's viewers would have a difficult time recognizing all of them. Some of them are kind of bland but others are very funny, the Joe E. Brown character is especially funny. The movie within the movie has it's share of funny moments.
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