Season 1, Episode 9: “Bad Ear Day” 8/16/13
Starring: Mickey Mouse
Co-Starring: Minnie Mouse and Goofy
Guest Appearance by: Clara Cluck
A Cameo by: Horace Horsecollar(?)
Setting: Chicago, IL(???)
Mickey is fast asleep when a phone call wakes him. It’s Minnie; and Mickey is late for their date and has fifteen minutes to meet her at the theatre. While in the bathroom getting ready, Mickey’s fan blows his ears clean off his head, out the window and into the night sky.
Mickey has now gone deaf and is left wandering the streets, looking for his missing ears. With his ears nowhere to be found, he runs into his pal Goofy and engages him in a one-sided conversation until a frustrated Mickey takes Goofy’s ears to use as his own. It’s then that Mickey overhears hockey play-by-play from a nearby television shop where the broadcaster announces that there are three pucks on the ice and Mickey realizes two of them must be his ears! Mickey runs to the arena, jumps on the ice and scores a one-puck, two-ear game-winning goal.
With his ears back on his head, he rushes off to meet Minnie. He joins her in their seats just in time for the start of the show but when he realizes they are watching the opera, he removes his ears again so he can enjoy it in peace.
The music in Mickey’s dream is Ranz de Vaches from William Tell’s Overture.
What’s Mickey dreaming of? The chalet in the distance is exactly the same as Mickey’s in “Yodelberg.”
The waterfall in Mickey’s dream is actually him drooling onto his Alpine themed pillow.
Mickey has a bottle of Old Mice on his sink.
It takes Mickey five minutes to get ready in his bathroom, leaving him ten minutes to get to the theatre.
The advertisement for King Candy on the storefront window is a reference to the villain from the Disney feature “Wreck-It Ralph.”
The clock/bell tower strikes 1am… what time is this date???
The sign for the Family Books shop says it was established in 1955. Is that a Disneyland reference?
The city has a very 1940-50s feel to it. However, the TVs in the window all look to be flat screens.
That’s legendary broadcaster and Canadian icon, Don Cherry, providing the voice of the hockey announcer.
Horace Horsecollar makes another forgettable appearance (if it's even really him) as a face in the hockey crowd.
With the American and Canadian flags hanging from the rafters, one could surmise this is an NHL game. And, while the visiting team’s black and green sweaters most closely resemble (though barely) those of the Dallas Stars, the home team is never shown and the only clues to their identity are the red and black retired numbers hanging from the rafters. Yet, none of these banners match any NHL teams’ lists of retired numbers so I’m guessing both teams are completely generic.
Mickey Mouse’s celebrity is evident here as Don Cherry announces him by name and the crowd responds in turn.
Another great performance by Goofy as his two “Whaaaats???” provide the biggest laughs of the episode.
That operatic chicken is Disney shorts veteran, Clara Cluck, who is making her first appearance in the new series. She is singing Largo al Factorum from Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
I exhausted google trying to figure out where this episode was set. There are just too many clues for me to accept it’s merely just a generic city setting. I even emailed the dude who designed the backgrounds hoping he could shed some light on the situation but he has yet to comment.
The case for Chicago: In the shot of Mickey running into the city, the clock tower just to the right of the moon resembles that of the Wrigley Building. However, nothing else comes of the other buildings in the skyline (at least that I can find). The other puzzling thing in this particular shot are the rows of distinctive looking A-Frame homes that don’t seem to exist anywhere. Minnie also mentions that the theatre they are meeting at is on 8th Street… Chicago once had a theatre on 8th Street that got torn down in the 60s. Then again, Google will tell you there’s been A LOT of theatres in various cities that reside on 8th Street.
The case for Canada: Don Cherry and hockey… that’s really all I got.
The clock/bell tower is also very distinct looking yet, I couldn’t find one clock/bell tower that resembled it close enough to make a definitive call on it.
The hockey arena may also be something but I don’t think an open-aired, domed arena of that ilk even exists.
Final Grade: A
It’s fitting that this episode has a call-back to “Yodelberg” because it’s right up there in terms of creativity and originality. The operatic bookends along with the muted, ambient sounds of the city set a dreamlike tone and intensify Mickey’s panicked helplessness. Also, Mickey removing his ears at the opera provides the perfect example of who Mickey Mouse is and what makes a great Mickey Mouse cartoon - not only does he win in the end, but he does so with a style and panache that’s as charming as it is clever.