It's quite nice that Mickey starts out with a job in the big city, but by the end his cab's been smashed to bits and he's quite happy back in the backyard! There's a couple of cameos to spot in this one. Horace Horsecollar is pretty easy to see, but you'll have to look quick to find Clarabelle!
Finally, I thought, "I’m going to show Walt he can’t be that smart
with me"—I’m a year older than him, and even though that didn’t matter,
it was just that he wasn’t an older man—I said to myself, "I’m going
to show that fellow a trick or two." So went back to my desk to redo
this scene a sixth time, and I said, "I’m going to make this thing so
extreme, so outlandish, so crazy, that he’ll say, "Well, Dave, I didn’t
mean to exaggerate it that much." So I did, I was really dirty—the only
time I remember being dirty with Walt—and I made that thing so outlandish,
and so extreme, I was ashamed of what I had done. But I brought the
new test in very self-righteously and put it on for Walt, and said,
"All right, Walt, I did this thing over again, I hope it’s OK," while
slyly watching for him to explode—fly off the handle. He put his foot
on the pedal, and he started the loop around and around and around,
looking at it and looking at it. Then he stopped the loop and looked
up at me with a big smile and said, "There! You’ve got it! Why didn’t
you do it that way in the first place?"
That lesson stuck with me as I progressed through the studio, into
supervising animator and then director. A supervising animator had three
or four juniors, and he would take a small section of the picture, or
a third of the picture, from the director and farm it out to his juniors,
and he would work with them to show them how to get what he was supposed
to be able to get. That was a part of the development of the animator
in the studio in the early days, and continued, juniors working under
seniors, and seniors being responsible for juniors. The lazier the senior
was, the more the junior got to do, because the senior would sit and
read books and make the junior do the job properly, and that’s how the
junior learned so well.
So that lesson about exaggeration stayed with me through the supervising
animation to the direction, and the supervising director that I eventually
became. I never forgot that, and I think it might have shown up a little
bit in my working with Walt—what he wanted, I suppose I could convey
to an animator.
In this short, Mickey serves as a taxi driver, driving a car with eyes and a mouth that made me think of Bennie the Cab from
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I don’t think those animators drew from this film, but as someone who saw that first, that’s what it brought to mind. The expressions of the car were very similar to Bennie.
Mickey has two passengers in this story, Percy Pig and Minnie Mouse. The first one was Percy, who is dressed here as a prominent businessman. The interesting thing about this is the setting. Mickey’s opening sequence and the ride with Percy is set entirely in the city. It’s a very poorly run city, though, as we will see.
One of the best gags in the film is the pothole sequence. After passing some rather large puddles, Mickey’s cab gets caught in a bunch of potholes. There’s some animation similar to other shorts where we see the cab driving head on towards the viewer, stretching its wheels or contracting itself to avoid the potholes. That’s pretty funny as is, but then there’s the fare meter.
As the taxi hits each pothole, the bounce causes the fare meter to increase, prompting a big smile from Mickey. This happens a couple of times, until the car hits a very large hole, and bounces the meter back down to the beginning. The frustration on Mickey’s face is a great piece of animation, and very funny.
The Minnie sequence shifts to the countryside. Mickey is able to pick up Minnie in the city, then takes her on a detour out over the fields and plains. Of course, there are still rocks and potholes here as well. Once Mickey’s car hits one more rock, it bounces up and the license plate falls upside down, and the numbers spell out “Oh Heck” in a very clever gag.
Ultimately, they get the car started again when Pete, in the second of his two roles in the short, pours some sort of snake oil in the tank. The car takes off and ends up getting ripped off its axles, falling onto the back of a cow for the end of the short. Again, all very well done and extremely funny.
This may have been the funniest of the Mickey shorts so far, although I’m sure there’s one I can’t remember at the moment. There were gags throughout that were funny even if not entirely original. The gags with the car have mostly been done before, either in Alice, Oswald or earlier Mickeys. But mixing in stuff with the potholes, the cow and Pete as a police officer make this a really fun short.
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Submitted by eutychus