Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Pet Store

Mickey as a working stiff is not something we’ve seen a lot of in his shorts, but in today’s subject, The Pet Store, Mickey is out on the town and picks up a job. As is the usual in Disney shorts, something goes horribly wrong, leading to hilarious consequences.

The main focus of this short is Mickey getting a job in Tony Dinero’s pet store. As you can imagine, Tony is an Italian stereotype, but that doesn’t stop him from being funny. One of the great little jokes in this short are all the signs littered around the pet shop that features writing in an Italian accent, such as “Birda Seed Cheep.” They’re in almost every scene, and you have to have a sharp eye to catch them, but it’s worth the hunt. All of them are very funny.

As I said, getting the job is only step one for Mickey. After that, he has to perform the job, and that proves a little trickier. Tony leaves the store for lunch, leaving Mickey in charge. Mickey reverts back to his earlier self a bit, using some of the birds in the store as tools to get his job done, like sweeping trash into a pelican’s mouth or using another exotic bird as a grabber to stack bird seed. This harkens back to his earliest shorts, when Mickey always used the local wildlife as tools.

Minnie comes into the store and distracts him, as any good woman is wont to do. Minnie is thrilled to see Mickey in the store, and comes in to say hello. She then starts singing and gets the animals involved. They all start singing along, and Mickey and Minnie start dancing. Seriously, if you’re an employer, why would you hire someone who starts dancing at the drop of a hat? Not a great example, Mickey.

The twist in this one comes with our old friend Beppo the Gorilla. Beppo is in a cage in the store, and starts reviewing a movie magazine. The first picture he comes across is Stan Laurel, and Beppo does an imitation of him. The second picture he sees is King Kong. You can guess what comes next.

Yes, after grabbing Minnie, Beppo scales a tower of cages and boxes, and fights off the attacks of birds and other pets trying to knock him down. Mass chaos ensues in the pet store. It’s a throwback to some of the Silly Symphonies, like The Spider and The Fly or The Bird Store, where the inhabitants team up to attack an interloper.

Mickey and Minnie choose discretion as the better part of valor here, and after Minnie is freed, they run for the hills. It’s funny and quite different than what you would expect. Normally, we get to see Mickey give his embarrassed or sheepish face when the boss shows up. This time, though, Mickey runs like crazy. Can’t say as I blame him.

This is a great short, full of good gags, great work on Mickey and Minnie by the animators, and fun stuff with Beppo. They even make Beppo sympathetic by introducing his wild side as a result of the magazine, not a natural characteristic. Good work all around and well worth the viewing.

All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.


  1. It's rather fitting that you reviewed this one today. It was released on October 28, 1932 ... exactly 77 years ago today.

  2. Another really good one that's just full of gags. I like how the brand of bird seed is called Sure Sing! Disney was pretty quick to get a King Kong reference in – this classic film was released the same year.

    I actually think this may be the first appearance of Beppo. He's much gentler than the beast from "Gorilla Mystery", but I suppose he's rather like the ape from "The Castaway". I like how every time Beppo does something aggressive he then looks worried and curious. Of course every one else in the shop is too panicked to notice how friendly and playful he is and it's not long before the place is trashed!

    One curious thing about this cartoon and the preceding one, "The Steeple Chase" is that they both have the 'wrong' opening and closing music – taken from much later colour cartoons. I think this must have happened when they were reissued, maybe at some point in the 40s.


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