Day 4: Magician Mickey (1937)
Starring: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy
Setting: A theatre
Plot: Donald does his best to heckle Mickey while he makes him part of the show and the butt of his tricks.
Yada, Yada, Yada…
Goofy wardrobe watch: blue coveralls, pink turtleneck and orange hat.
The majority of Mickey’s magic tricks involve animals:
- He turns his cape into a crow
- A popping balloon reveals a lobster
- A deck of cards transforms into a flock of birds
- A magic mirror first transforms Donald into a kangaroo, then a walrus and finally monkey.
Holy Hell! Donald steals Mickey’s gun and even shoots at him multiple times!
Donald’s fire bucket from Mickey’s Fire Brigade (1935) falls on his head while backstage.
You hear the occasional smattering of applause from the audience but they keep curiously quiet for the majority of the show. You don’t even hear a peep after the crescendo of fireworks that leave Mickey and Goofy crashing to the stage on top of Donald.
A Short About Nothing
Of course, right after I make mention of the pattern these shorts have fallen into, this one completely breaks serve… and we’re all the better for it. Both Donald and Mickey are at their absolute best in the roles they were born to play: Donald; as a jealous and short fused heckler and Mickey; a smug and playful magician who is impervious to it all. It’s interesting how much more we get out of both characters when they are at odds with each other as opposed to pals working in concert. To keep Mickey away from the milquetoast and bland straight man he has become, he needs an adversary – a foil for him to get the best of. At his core, Mickey has always been a rascal (until he wasn’t) and even a bit of a jerk when paired with an even bigger and less equipped jerk like Donald. This is what the new series of Mickey shorts have done so well; they’ve restored the mischievous and charismatic twinkle back to Mickey’s pie eyes.
Meanwhile, Goofy takes a backseat as the clumsy stagehand. It’s tough to find a spot for him when Mickey and Donald are firing on all cylinders like they are. In fact, Goofy is much more of a costar than the “star” I generously bill him as. One may even quarrel with me for including this cartoon in the “Mickey/Donald/Goofy” series.