Mickey and his friends build an airplane from wood, using a dachshund like a rubber band. This plane never takes off, and quickly crashes into a tree. Mickey stretches his car into a semblance of an airplane, and brings Minnie along this time. Mickey is thrown from the plane, and struggles to get back in. The plane finally takes off. Mickey tries to get a kiss, but Minnie resists, and after Mickey kisses her anyway, she jumps out, using her bloomers as a parachute. Mickey crashes the plane soon after that.Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
"Plane Crazy", designated as Disney's first Mickey Mouse, was revived, along with Josef von Sternberg's "The Last Command", at The Auditorium (41 West Fourth Street) in NYC on Monday, November 29, 1937 as part of New York University's cinema-appreciation class for adults. See more »
In the beginning of the cartoon, Mickey is reading "How to Fly", but the title is written on the wrong cover - it is written on the back cover of the book, not the front cover. See more »
Just as great, if possibly better, than Steamboat Willie for its tight storytelling
If you go on YouTube, you're bound to find or two uploads of Plane Crazy, the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced by Walt Disney productions in 1928 (his way of finding a new character after losing Oswald the Rabbit at Universal). And while the short was originally done as a silent short - from a biography I read, Steamboat Willie was the third Mickey Mouse cartoon - it can now be watched with sound. On the one hand it's crazy to think that it would ever be silent considering how the music and sound effects and occasional voices for Mickey and Minnie (both from Uncle Walt) work so in sync and, really, perfectly with it all. And yet on the other hand it's easy to see how everything is told visually, without any real dialog being needed anyway (there is a moment where Minnie goes "Who, me?!" when Mickey asks her to go on the plane, but it could be left off just as well).
The gags come quick and fast, but the story is tight considering the suspense that happens once Mickey and Minnie get up in the air. Actually in a way this has more character stuff than in Steamboat Willie, which in that case was a little bit of story (the set up of Mickey as a captain and being chased by proto-Pete), but then with a lot of gags involving the playing of animals as musical instruments. Here it's all about this: what will Mickey get Minnie into next, and will he wise up and not be such a jerk? It's great to see an early Mickey short like this for a couple of reasons aside from the sharp quality of the animation - the timing of it all makes it, well, timeless far as storytelling goes, even with the old-school iris - one is that Mickey is not the perfect, bashful gentleman/mouse of later cartoons. He's actually kind of a jerk, and it's refreshing in that Bart Simpson way.
The second reason is how self-conscious the creators, Disney and Ub Iwerks, were in some of the visual gags. It may have one of my all-time favorites, one that lays kind of the blueprint for cartoons for decades to come: at one point Minnie decides she's had enough of Mickey's horsing around and gets up and leaves to parachute off the plane (luckily her dress will do). Mickey follows her off, and we see him just suspended in the air, in a straight line really, without anything showing him going down. It's only when HE realizes he's off the plane that he rushes back to get on the plane, only for it to crash. That is the magic of animated comic cartoons right there in about 15 seconds of celluloid: you don't know you're going to die until you notice it.
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