Donald’s struggles with his voice are well documented in the canon of the Disney films. He’s switched himself with a double because of it. He got hit on the head and changed his voice, leading to great fame. And now, in Donald’s Dream Voice, he finds a pill that solves the problem. It’s a new solution to an old problem, and it leads to a gag filled short that continues an improvement in the Donald cartoons of this timeframe.
First of all, I got a kick out of seeing Donald strolling the streets as a brush salesman. If you’ve ever heard stories of the Fuller Brush man who went door to door selling brushes, that’s what Donald is doing here. It’s an amusing role for someone with the temperament that Donald has, and destined to fail. That makes for good comedy.
It’s not just that turn that makes things funny, though. There are subtle things that improve the gags in this short. Take, for example, the home owner with the thick
accent who says he can’t understand Donald. That’s some funny stuff. It all leads to Donald’s depression with Daisy that he can’t sell anything, and his desperation to try something new. That’s when he sees the voice pills on the street. New York
Buying and taking the voice pills leads not only to a better, clearer voice for Donald, it also leads to a massive increase in his brush sales. Women start taking him seriously, even throwing money at him. It increases Donald’s confidence and makes him eager to ask Daisy to marry him. So, of course, it has to go horribly wrong. His pills get away from him and spill into the street, leaving him only one.
Donald’s pursuit of the final pill is a hilarious bit of business, as he chases the pill through the streets and onto the hat of a particularly large gentleman. When the pill finally ends up in the mouth of a cow, who then chides Donald for his voice, things have come full circle. This short ties all of that together extremely well. It’s a well crafted piece of work that shows attention to comedic timing, detail and the types of things Disney is known for. Sadly, that is not the norm during this period of shorts, which makes this one stand out so much more.