Season 3, Episode 7: “!Feliz Cumpleanos!” 11/18/15
Starring: Mickey Mouse
Co-starring: Goofy, Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, Panchito Pistoles, Minnie Mouse, and Daisy Duck
Appearances by: Horace Horse Collar, Clarabelle Cow and Mickey's Orphans
Plot: Mickey is forced into battle when his birthday fiesta is interrupted by a pack of unruly piñatas.
The short was released on Nov. 18 which is Mickey Mouse’s 87th birthday and anniversary of Steamboat Willie’s (1928) release.
Although Mickey starred in both Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho (1928) earlier that same year, Steamboat Willie is considered to be his debut since that was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to have a distributor.
Mickey’s pals show out for his party but where is his best pal Pluto?
Jose Carioca (the Brazilian parrot) and Pancho Pistoles (the Mexican rooster) join Donald to reprise their roles as The Three Caballeros (1944).
Jose Carioca also appeared in Saludos Amigos (1942) as well as the Season 2 short O Futbol Classico (2014).
I originally incorrectly identified the young mice as Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse but the three young mice more closely resemble (in age and dress), the orphans from Orphans Benefit (1934, 1941). Thanks to commenter "Phillip" for pointing this out!
Not to be outdone, Minnie and Daisy appear as traditional Mexican dancers in the style of Ballet Folkloric de Mexico, Goofy a mariachi band leader and Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar as glorified extras.
We can presume that the elderly mouse of generous carriage is Mickey’s Mexican mama.
The song Goofy sings to open the short is called “La Mananitas” (Little Mornings) and is traditionally sung to wake up and congratulate the birthday boy or girl.
“Miguelito” (Español for “Mikey/Mickey”) is embroidered on the back of Mickey’s robe.
The jefe/leader of Las Piñata Banditas is voiced by famous Mexican American actor and “that guy” Danny Trejo.
In Las Pinatas Banditas there is a donkey (el jefe), a dragon, a bull, a pirate, a chicken, a luchador, a puppy, a bunny rabbit, a princess, an armadillo and two pig/hogs. Their gang also includes a fleet of confetti-and-popper-firing, drone-like pinatas.
The pirate piñata chasing the red-headed chicken evokes the famous scene from Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean (1967).
The tail Mickey pins on the donkey piñata is Eeyore’s of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.
Mickey gets so mad he sprouts a moustache.
When the piñatas laugh, we get “Ja Ja Jas” because, in Spanish, the “Js” sound like “Hs.”
The song Mickey dances to while trying to avoid the onslaught from the piñatas is the “Mexican Hat Dance” or “El Jaraba Tapatio.”
Mickey isn’t so upset that his face got plunged in and through his birthday cake but more-so that Minnie’s and the rest of his pal’s cake baking efforts were for naught.
However, my Mexican wife tells me that shoving the birthday boy or girl’s face into the cake is a Mexican tradition called “La Mordida” (which you can hear the piñatas chanting… albeit, it’s supposed to be more playful than how it occurs here).
Mickey enacts his revenge on the piñatas by using a table leg to slice through them in a scene evocative of the violence in the Kill Bill (2003) movies.
As a last ditch attempt, the donkey piñata hurls the Mexican dessert, flan, at the back of Mickey’s head.
As they should be, the piñatas are filled with candy… much to the delight of the orphans who go on to feast on the fallen’s “innards.”
There’s no need for this short to take place in a specific city because Mexico is just a monolith of small, adobe villages settled on a hill.
Seriously… where’s Pluto??? It just doesn’t make any sense not to have him take part in Mickey’s birthday episode :/
Final Grade: A+
More so than any other short, this one made quite the impression on my wife. And, since this is her blog too, I’m more than happy to give her final say in grading this short. Anyway, I couldn’t imagine giving it anything less than an A- so the lofty score of an A+ is well within reason. As with most of the destination episodes, this one did a fantastic job of introducing us to wide array of traditions from the country by which it takes place. It’s not often that a three minute Mickey Mouse cartoon can teach you so much in the way of other cultures but this one totally did. But, more importantly, it was just a fun, funny, action-packed short which included a few characters we hadn’t seen in a while and a Disneyland reference which ALWAYS tickles my fancy.