It’s a Mickey Mouse short! The late 1940s and early 1950s have mainly brought us a slew of Donald and Pluto shorts, with the occasional Goofy thrown in for good measure, but today, we get a Mickey short. It’s called R’Coon Dawg and it’s about Mickey Mouse…hunting raccoons? This is a short about Mickey in the woods, and…it’s not really about Mickey at all. It’s teased with a Mickey title page, but this is a Pluto short in disguise.
Mickey gets introduced early in the short, as a somewhat country sounding voice narrates the story of how hunters tromp through the woods to hunt. But almost immediately thereafter we are introduced to his hunting dog, Pluto, who is sniffing out the scent of raccoons for Mickey to shoot. It’s Pluto’s sense of smell, inf act, that provides the majority of the gags in this short. If that sounds like a poor premise for a cartoon, you may be a regular reader of this site.
It means that Pluto spends most of the short chasing a non-existent raccoon that is a visualization of the raccoon’s scent. That is very strange to start with, but gets weirder when Pluto spends his time chasing this scent and getting into all sorts of slapstick predicaments without actually seeing the raccoon. Let me repeat that – he never actually sees the raccoon for most of the short.
When Pluto starts expanding his sniffing capabilities is when we get the very interesting gags. Because this is the world’s smartest raccoon, Pluto catches the scent of a horse, a frog and more animals, and begins envisioning some amazing animal hybrids that drive him quite crazy. This is the best moment of the short, where we get to see some very inventive stuff.
The final gag, too, is pretty good, as the raccoon gets away from Mickey (who reappears at the end) and Pluto by pretending to have a baby. The baby turns out to be Mickey’s coonskin cap that the raccoon stole. But it serves the purpose and gets the hunters to turn away. So that’s two good gags in a seven and a half minute short. The rest is typical Pluto slapstick humor, and that’s not enough to sustain the interest for the viewer.