Monday, August 24, 2009

The Beach Party

In my opinion, when you’re watching a Disney short, you should feel good at the end. The “magic” that is associated with Disney these days is probably more a corporate marketing term than anything else, but the origins of that came from the great feeling you would get watching Disney entertainment. The Beach Party is a great example of that. After watching it, you just feel happy.

Much of this short reminds me of one of my absolute favorite Mickey shorts, Hawaiian Holiday. Instead of Donald and Goofy joining the festivities in that short, it’s Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow here. But these gags are some of the best in Horace and Clarabelle’s career.

Mickey and the gang head to the beach to enjoy an afternoon of recreation, including a picnic. The fun ensues as we see each member of the party proceeding down the beach in a line. Horace and Clarabelle come first, then Pluto, then we see Minnie looking like she is wearing a huge hoop skirt. Then, we slowly get the reveal that it’s actually Minnie riding on top of a huge beach umbrella carried by Mickey. It’s a very fun visual trick by the animators.

Pluto again has some of the best gags in the short. Like in the later Hawaiian Holiday, he gets into it with a crab. His involvement here is limited to some circling and a quick fight, but it’s funny stuff. He also gets to drag in the main antagonist of the short, an octopus.

It starts when Mickey flings a chain of link sausages towards the ocean, and Pluto chases them. As Pluto dives into the water and manages to grab hold of the sausages, something pulls them back. It turns out to be an octopus rather than the sausages! The octopus quickly scampers onto land, menacing the beach party.

The resulting food fight with our heroes attacking the octopus is hilarious. Clarabelle serves as a cannon, getting jars loaded in her throat that she fires at the octopus. The others throw all sorts of various items at the octopus, in a futile attempt to cause retreat. Mickey finally saves the day by throwing an anchor over the octopus’ head and catching it with the tail end of the rope attached to the anchor.

That’s just a few of the gags. There are many, many more. Clarabelle gets her rear end in a tube, then loses her bloomers. Horace dives into the water as it retreats and hits his head. Pluto drinks coffee trapped on his head. All of it makes the whole short really funny and a great example of fantastic Disney animation “magic.”

All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.


  1. I've got to agree, this one's a lot of fun. Not only does it contain loads of irresistible rhythmic and bouncy animation and music, there's a lot of fun gags. Horace pulls off a couple of gags that are cartoon standards, but I can't think of earlier examples off the top of my head. One would be when dives off the board and straight into the sand leaving a Horace-shaped hole. The other is when he eats corn on the cob – typewriter style!

    The funniest moment for me was when Clarabelle lost the bottoms to her bathing suit at sea and Mickey accidentally drifts inside. Thinking they contain some kind of sea creature, Clarabelle clobbers them and shakes Mickey out on shore. When she see who it is she walks off very indignantly as if he had it coming. She must have thought he was some kind of pervert!

    This cartoon sees the return of the octopus from Frolicking Fish. According to the animator draft there should have been an extra final scene with the octopus thumbing his nose with all eight hands. I'm not sure if this scene was cut or simply never animated. The character design includes no hands so I imagine it would be a tricky gag to execute!

  2. Mac, how do you know it's the same octopus?


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