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South Pole or Bust (1934)

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A dog pilots an airplane to the South Pole where he and his mouse assistant encounter an angry walrus.

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A pilot - a white dog with one black ear - takes a trip to the South Pole, which is a physical thing with red stripes, making it resemble a barber pole. He is rude or indifferent to his assistant, a mouse who is forced to make him lunch, carry supplies in a bag several times his size and shovel snow from the top of the plane. Midair refueling is accomplished by flying elephants who pour the fuel from their trunks. Once the pair reaches the antarctic wasteland, they plow into a snow-capped mountain top and end up with a sleeping walrus on their plane. The mouse pushes off the walrus, who is still in his bed. Walrus and bed crash through the ice below, infuriating the creature. Later, the penguin Rotarians present the dog with a symbolic key, but the walrus interrupts the ceremony to take his revenge. Written by J. Spurlin

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walrus | dog | mouse | bed | plane | See more »


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14 December 1934 (USA)  »

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A dog and his mouse-slave are the stars of this run-of-the-mill Terrytoon
10 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A pilot - a white dog with one black ear - takes a trip to the South Pole, which is a physical thing with red stripes, making it resemble a barber pole. He is rude or indifferent to his assistant, a mouse who is forced to make him lunch, carry supplies in a bag several times his size and shovel snow from the top of the plane. Midair refueling is accomplished by flying elephants who pour the fuel from their trunks. Once the pair reaches the antarctic wasteland, they plow into a snow-capped mountain top and end up with a sleeping walrus on their plane. The mouse pushes off the walrus who is still in his bed. Walrus and bed crash through the ice below, infuriating the creature. Later, the penguin Rotarians present the dog with a symbolic key, but the walrus interrupts the ceremony to take his revenge.

I watched the silent Castle Films version, which gives little evidence that "South Pole or Bust" (1934) is any different from the run-of-the-mill Terrytoons of the 1930s or 40s. Sound is unlikely to make the uninspired gags any funnier. Instead, there's evidence throughout that the cartoon is poorly thought out and hastily put together. It's especially odd that the dog (an ancestor of Puddy the Pup?) is allowed to be the hero, and win a happy ending, when his callousness to the mouse makes him unsympathetic. The comic logic is peculiar anyway. There have been cats with mouse-slaves since the silent-era Paul Terry films. But a dog with a mouse-slave? I think by 1934 the Terry crew had used the mouse-slave as a comic device so often that it was now just a blind habit.


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