Season 5, Episode 7: “For Whom the Booth Tolls” 2/9/19
Starring: Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse
Setting: Potsdam, Germany
Plot: Mickey and Minnie find themselves in the midst of a Hitchcockian thriller when an aggrieved toll booth begins stalking them through Sanssouci Gardens.
This is the first episode to take place in Germany and the rare Destination Short where the dialogue isn’t in its country’s native tongue.
Sanssouci (one word) was the summer palace of Frederick the great in Potsdam, Germany. It was built in the mid 1700s and became a popular tourist attraction shortly after World War II.
A VHS of the long forgotten Walt Disney Animated Feature, The Black Cauldron (1985), can be seen hiding under Mickey’s seat.
The short is a clear homage to legendary director, Alfred Hitchcock, and his catalogue of films. Here’s a list of the references i caught:
There was actually a brief but legendary point of contention between Hitchcock and Walt Disney himself. After hearing of rumours that Hitchcock wanted to do some filming in Disneyland for an upcoming project, Walt immediately quashed the idea because of that “disgusting” movie Psycho.
During their walk through the park, Minnie sings a few bars from “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo.” The song made its debut in the 1929 short, Mickey’s Follies.
The San Francisco cable car driver from “Cable Car Chaos” (S2, E1) makes his second appearance as a trolley driver at Sanssoucci Gardens.
Final Grade: A
With its muted colour palette and tense musical score, this short does well by its inspiration, the “Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. This episode reminds you of the heights the series can reach when it focuses on a singular theme; be it Disneyland in “Potatoland,” Snow White in “Wish Upon a Coin,” or the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland in “Nature’s Wonderland” No, Hitchcock isn’t Disney but his films still provide for an excellent thematic backdrop for story, atmosphere, and characters.