Alice in the Big League
Studio: Disney Release Date : August 22, 1927 Series: Alice Comedy
Cumulative rating: No Ratings Posted


Alice attempts to umpire a big league baseball game where the animals begin to take exception to her bad calls.


Alice and Julius



Walter Elias "Walt" Disney


Ub Iwerks
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Hugh Harman
Isadore "Friz" Freleng
Ben Clopton
Norm Blackburn


Rudolph Ising
Mike Marcus

Live Action Actor

Lois Hardwick


  • The final "Alice" short.

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 8:23
Animation Type: Combined Live-Action and Standard Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Color Type: Black and White
Sound Type: Silent
Print Type: 35mm
Negative Type: 35mm
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Original Language: English
Original Country: United States

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From Toadette :

It's safe to say that Walt Disney and his crew were tired of making the Alice Comedies, if this final short is any indication. Julius doesn't even show up in this cartoon; meanwhile, Alice as the umpire seems to show favoritism towards the home team while calling foul to anything the other team achieves, and by the end of the film she is for all practical purposes booed out of the stadium—a metaphor, perhaps, for how the audience felt about the Alice Comedies by this time. Most of the focus, rather, is on the antics of the baseball players; most interestingly, there are several characters throughout the cartoon who bear more than a passing resemblance to Oswald, a sign of what will come in less than a month.

Much like the already-reviewed Alice's Brown Derby, the cartoon begins with various setting-related gags, irrelevant to the actual plot. First, as the baseball stadium's crowd cheers, a bunch of young animals (among them a pantsless, white-tailed Oswald!) run up to and look through a peephole through the stadium, only to be chased off by a cat cop; this happens two more times. Note that the cheering crowd freezes whenever the focus is supposed to be on the kids; it looks cheap, as the crowd is literally frozen in cheering positions, and it speaks volumes about how much the studio cared about these films at this point.

Cut to two mice at a mouse-size peephole; one mouse gets to look while another impatiently waits, finally moving the hole over to his side. (The two mice look like Oswald, but with stick legs and arms and mice tails!)

Back to the youngsters, they again try to peek through the peephole, the cop again chasing them. Then one cub tries to get under the stadium fence, only to get stuck; the cop comes by and (using his nightstick!) spanks the kid on the rear while a kitten climbs onto the cop's rear to look through the peephole. When the spanked cub manages to squeeze through to the other side of the fence, the cop turns his attention to the kitten, who squeezes himself through the hole before the cop is able to do anything, while another cub tries to get under the fence, resulting in more spanking!

Back to the Oswald-lookalike mice, it's the first mouse that's impatient now, pulling the hole back to his side; in turn, the second mouse pulls the hole back to his side, and the two mice argue. In the next shot (in which the mice, for some reason, no longer have their Oswald-style pants!), a flamingo seizes the opportunity to steal the hole for himself, putting the mice out of the way and sticking his head and upper neck through the hole.

The two mice solve the dilemma in a way that satisfies all the mice: one mouse, standing on the flamingo, moves the flamingo's butt feathers out of the way, while the other slingshots the butt, the reaction bouncing the first mouse over the fence; this is repeated for the rest of the mice, with one mouse helping the others onto the flamingo.

Now the cartoon focuses on what goes on inside the stadium, and stays there for the rest of the cartoon. In the establishing shot of the ball game, there's a neat visual effect as batted balls (depicted as black circles) go towards the screen; cue a close-up of the pitcher, who is a rodent with Oswald's head. He and the batter (a weiner dog on his hind legs) ready themselves; signalling OK with his ears (they literally form an O, then a K), the pitcher pitches (initially coiling then de-coiling, then throwing the ball).

The batter does not even swing (the catcher behind him is thrown back by the force of the ball, only to be sprung back into position by a wooden platform with springs); it is here that Alice enters the cartoon, here as the umpire calling ball. The Oswald-head pitcher angrily objects; as the catcher throws the ball back, the pitcher jumps up to catch it, only to be left in mid-air, so he simply steps back down to his platform.

The pitcher throws the ball again; this time, the batter makes a hit (accompanied by a crudely-animated cheering crowd; it's practically just every other animal in the crowd raising their arms and putting them down while opening and closing their mouths, followed by all the other animals doing the same, repeated several times in a cycle)! He proceeds to run past first base, now down on all fours with his long body.

The ball lands on the running catcher (a dog), sending him underground; the catcher burrows (to reuse of the crude cheering crowd animation, except mirrored and on a different background so as to give the idea that they're the crowd on the other side of the stadium!) directly to the batter (who's now running on his hind legs) just before he reaches home plate! And evidently the original crudely-animated crowd has no confidence in their own team...they're the ones shown crudely cheering, not the mirrored version!

Alice calls foul, resulting in beratement from the other team (especially the Oswald-headed pitcher); a heated argument ensues between her and them (the pitcher even steps off of his platform to rant at Alice!). The next batter (a hippo) then enters the field.

The pitcher proceeds to throw a ball (having spat on it to the point that saliva drips from it) that curves in the air and bounces around on the ground, and even flies into the distance for a time; the batter cannot hit it no matter how hard he tries (at one point, it even freezes, only to move again once the batter tries to hit it)! Finally, the batter manages to grab it and keep it still in the air; stroking it, he sneaks away (throwing away his bat)...and bats it high up into the sky using what seems to be a broken telephone pole!

The other team is by this time bent on winning; the Oswald-head pitcher drives a long, thin truck with a long ladder, alerting the running catcher (by ringing a built-in bell) to climb on; a bearded cat (or some other animal) cranks the ladder up, allowing the catcher to climb up and get the ball high in the air; the sheer force causes the ladder to bend back and recoil, sending the catcher flying!

Meanwhile, the batter is still running (much to the reused crudely animated crowd's delight; I swear, even the crowd at the beginning that kept freezing looked better animated and closer to reality); as he approaches the home plate, now so determined that he gets on a sled, the catcher (who has been flying with his ears) dives in with the ball, destroying the batter's chance at a home run!

Alice again objects; this time, she earns the ire of the whole crowd, who throw a buttload of bottles and apples and various other objects at her! As she runs away into the distance, diving over the fence, she very conspicuously turns animated...thus ends the final Alice Comedy.

It's telling that Disney chose to end the Alice Comedies like this. The opening gags take up a quite a bit of time; a deliberate choice, perhaps, since they're the best gags in the whole cartoon. Julius never appears even once; most of the gags that take up the actual plot (save the hippo using a broken telephone pole as a bat) aren't anything too special, even if some of them are rather neat and quirky. The freezing cheering crowd is just sloppy, especially given how good it looks when it actually moves; the constantly-repeated cheering crowd as seen from inside the stadium gets really annoying to look at over and over again. On the bright side, the cartoon gives a preview of the improvement to come; several characters resemble Oswald in their heads, at least. And there is the spectacle of the last Alice Comedy ending with Alice running away from a rioting crowd sick of her antics (and really, in this cartoon she doesn't do much other than be a faulty umpire). Overall, not a great end to a rather hit-and-miss series, though it does have its few moments.

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