Night 9: Runaway Brain (1995)
Starring: Mickey Mouse
Co-starring: Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Pete
Setting: Around Town
Plot: A mad scientist (Frankenollie) swaps Mickey’s brain with that of a giant monster named “Julius” (played by Pete). Mickey then must save Minnie as Julius becomes smitten with her.
Tricks and/or Treats:
This is the third of just four Mickey Mouse theatrical shorts to be released since Walt Disney’s death (Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), The Prince and the Pauper (1990) Get a Horse (2013)).
The short was first attached to A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995) and then with the international release of A Goofy Movie (1995).
Mickey’s house looks similar to that of his at Toontown in Disneyland.
Mickey is playing a Snow White themed video game modeled after Street Fighter II/Mortal Kombat on his Sega Genesis-looking gaming system.
Mickey is playing as Dopey against the Queen-as-Witch.
Despite the messy house and lack of evidence that Minnie lives there, she still says “I’m home” when coming through the door.
Mickey and Minnie have implicitly been living together before but nothing as explicit as this – how modern and 90s of them.
There is a picture on their wall of a piece of cheese on a mousetrap that says “Just Say No.”
Dr. Frankenollie (a monkey scientist voiced by Kelsey Grammer) lives at 1313 Lobotomy Lane.
Mickey’s arrival at Dr. Frankenollie’s is an homage to the famed movie poster for The Exorcist (1973).
While at Dr. Frankenollie’s front door, Mickey whistles the theme from Steamboat Willie (1928).
The name “Frankenollie” is a tribute to two of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men” Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson.
The “Nine Old Men” were a group of Disney’s core animators whose work spanned from Snow White (1937) to The Rescuers (1977).
After falling down the trap door, there is a pink slip among the debris fluttering about with the initials of “J.K” on it. This is a reference to the recently ousted Disney Chairman Jeffery Katzenberg.
Here, we learn that Mickey’s brain extends to his ears.
Julius, Dr. Frankenollie’s “son,” is a gigantic, peg-legged and bolted version of Pete.
Dr. Frankenollie is burnt to a crisp during the transferring of brains.
Mickey’s wallet includes a black and white photo of him as Steamboat Willie, a Guillard County Library Card (#2495 21095), a Social Security Card (#746-55-2769) and a picture of him and his girlfriend Minnie.
The Wet Rat, where Minnie buys her mini bikini, is a parody of the popular clothing retailer Wet Seal.
The Lion King’s (1994) Zazu appears twice: once, getting sucked down the trap door with Mickey and then getting spit out of Julius’ mouth.
This short is decidedly 90s and definitely gives a different sense of nostalgia than the classic shorts do. I grew up watching the classics (which are so old that 90% of them even precede my parents’ birth) but I was actually part of the era that birthed this cartoon. I can appreciate the video game references, Kelsey Grammer as the mad scientist and the parody of Wet Seal. Plus, we all know A Goofy Movie but what kid who didn’t grow up in the 90s knows the forgettable Kid in King Arthur’s Court? The short itself was fun too and definitely showed Mickey in a new, more modern light – albeit, as a lazy, video game playing slob who ignores his live-in girlfriend. That’s soooo 90s…