Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sleepy Time

It’s very difficult to come up with new ways to talk about Donald Duck every day, when you write about his shorts 2-3 times a week. So I sort of understand what the Disney animators had to be going through when creating Donald Duck cartoons during the mid-1940s. It had to be a problem to find new things for him to do, but Sleepy Time was not the answer.

This is a short of Donald sleepwalking. That’s it. There is not much more to it. Now, I know I have seen this sort of thing before in shorts, even if it may have been something that came after this. There is no originality or fun in this short that we have seen in the recent efforts of 1947.

Instead, we are treated to scene after scene of Donald walking blindly into trouble, while Daisy chases after him to try and save him. It makes for some less than inspiring humor. We have Daisy keeping Donald out of traffic, getting him down from walls and making sure that he doesn’t walk off a building. All of this because of the premise that waking him up would be more dangerous!

This leads to another question: how does being asleep help Donald defy the laws of physics? For some reason, Donald the sleepwalker is able to walk on buildings, walk upside down on the roof and basically defy gravity. How is that even possible? Is it because he is unaware that he’s supposed to fall? While that brings up a great philosophical argument, it is strange in the concept of a cartoon.

The basic problem, though, comes back to the fact that this short is just not interesting. For a short diversion to watch Donald be silly, it’s fine. Unfortunately it doesn’t measure up to the things we have seen Donald experience in the past. I think back to things like Modern Inventions and even the recent Straight Shooters, and Sleepy Time doesn’t measure up.

All images copyright Disney.  All rights reserved.

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