Director Burt Gillett
Film series Mickey Mouse
Producer Walt Disney
Country United States
Genre Family, Animation, Short
Music director Frank Churchill
|Release date August 11, 1934 (1934-08-11)(USA)|
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Mickey mouse orphans benefit 1934
Orphan's Benefit is an animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was first released as a black-and-white cartoon in 1934 and was later remade in Technicolor in 1941 under the title Orphans' Benefit. The cartoon features Mickey Mouse and his friends putting on a Vaudeville-style benefit show for a group of unruly orphans. It contains a number of firsts for Disney, including the first time in which Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck appear together.
Orphan's Benefit features original music by Frank Churchill. The voice cast includes Walt Disney as Mickey, Clarence Nash as Donald, and Florence Gill as Clara Cluck. The original cartoon was directed by Burt Gillett and distributed by United Artists while the remake was directed by Riley Thomson and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.
The mice orphans arrive at a theater for a free show entitled "Mickey's Big Show: Orphan's Benefit." As they file into the building they are given free lollipops, ice cream, and balloons.
Donald Duck begins the show by reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and then reciting "Little Boy Blue." But when he says "come blow your horn," an orphan loudly blows his nose to disrupt Donald's performance. He recites it a second time, but this time the orphans blow their noses. Donald loses his temper over his performance being interrupted and challenges them to fight, but is pulled backstage by an off-screen stagehand.
The next act is Goofy, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow performing an acrobatic dance. Horace dances with Clarabelle and Goofy attempts to pick him up but gets his head stuck. Goofy then throws Clarabelle back to Horace. Horace spins Clarabelle around and throws him in Goofy's direction. Goofy catches her dress and Clarabelle closes out the act by hitting Goofy on the head. Donald decides to exact his revenge by reciting "Little Boy Blue" again and blows his own horn before the orphans can respond. An orphan blows ice cream at him to provoke Donald and the orphans punch Donald into a daze with their boxing gloves. Then, Donald is once again pulled backstage.
For the next act, Mickey introduces Clara Cluck, who clucks "Chi mi frena in tal momento" from Act II of Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, accompanied by Mickey on piano. When she is unable to reach a high B-Flat note, an orphan fires a slingshot to help finish the song.
During the final act, Donald returns to the stage and quickly recites one line – "Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn" – and waits for the orphans to interrupt him. Yet as they seem well-behaved this time, Donald continues the recitation. But when he says "Where is that boy who looks after the sheep?" the orphans answer in unison "Under the haystack fast asleep, you dope," causing Donald to lose his temper again. The orphans tie bricks, a plant, a fire extinguisher and eggs onto their balloons, float them over his head, and fire their slingshots. After being laughed by the orphans, Donald closes out the show and finally accepts defeat.
Orphan's Benefit was the first appearance of Donald Duck in a Mickey Mouse series film, marking the characters' first joint appearance. Donald had previously appeared only in a Silly Symphonies film.
Although Orphan's Benefit was Donald's second appearance, the film was the first to significantly develop his character. Many of Donald's personality traits first seen in Orphan's Benefit would become permanently associated with him, such as his love of showmanship, his fierce determination, belligerence, and most famously his easily provoked temper. The film also introduced some of Donald's physical antics, such as his signature temper tantrum of hopping on one foot while holding out one fist and swinging the other. This was the creation of animator Dick Lundy who termed this Donald's "fighting pose."
Orphan's Benefit also represented a new direction for Disney cartoons, as noted by Disney historian Marcia Blitz: "It can be seen that the framework of Orphan's Benefit was traditionally slapstick. Audiences laughed at Donald's physical mishaps much as they laughed at Chaplin's or Keaton's. But in this instance there was the added dimension of Donald's abrasive personality. Surely nothing like it had ever been seen in a cartoon". Animator Ward Kimball who worked on the film called it a "turning point" for the studio, citing its extensive use of character animation which was used to physically convey personality.
The 1937 Disney film Mickey's Amateurs was directly inspired by Orphan's Benefit. Both films feature stage shows with various acts interspersed with Donald attempting to recite a nursery rhyme.
The film was also the debut of Clara Cluck who would go on to appear in six other cartoon shorts.
The response of audiences to the film, particular Donald's character, led to the duck being featured more in future cartoons. Ward Kimball said "the reaction [to Orphan's Benefit] that came pouring into the studio from the country was tremendous[.] The kids in the theater loved or hated or booed Donald Duck."
In the summer of 1939, in anticipation of Mickey Mouse's 12th anniversary the following year, Walt Disney commissioned a two-reel short film tentatively called Mickey's Revival Party. The plan was for this film to show the characters attending a theater where they would watch scenes from several old, mostly black and white Mickey Mouse films (among them Orphan's Benefit). The story artists envisioned the characters humorously interacting with themselves on the movie screen. This required the old animation footage to be redrawn completely rather than added in its original state.
It was during this process that Walt Disney decided to completely reproduce several of these old shorts in color. It was also an opportunity to update the character models, since many characters had changed in appearance since the early 1930s.
Orphan's Benefit was the first of these films to be redone. The result was an almost exact shot-for-shot version of the original, with added color and redrawn characters and backgrounds. The film was directed by Riley Thomson and used almost the entire original soundtrack, the only change being the final line, from "Aw nuts!" to "Aw phooey!" which had become a catchphrase for Donald by that time. The title of the film also saw a small change making it more grammatically correct, although this was not reflected in some promotional material such as the film poster (seen right). Orphans' Benefit was released to theaters on August 12, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures.
The next film scheduled for reproduction was Mickey's Man Friday (1935), but it was never completed. The original concept for Mickey's Revival Party was shelved and Orphan's Benefit became the only Disney film to be recreated scene for scene. It is unknown what led to the cancellation, although animation historian David Gerstein speculated that World War II or the Disney animators' strike of 1941 may have played a role, or that Walt Disney simply preferred to work on all-new films rather than "extensively revisit the past."
In 1968, Disneyland Records released an abridged audio-only version of Orphan's Benefit on the album Mickey Mouse and his Friends as the track "Mickey's Big Show." The album was re-released in 2010 as a digital download on Amazon MP3 and the iTunes Store.
In October 1973 the story was adapted into a 13-page comic book story in the Italian publication "Cartonatoni Disney" #14. The story was called Recita di Beneficenza, or Benefit Recital. The same year an English version was published in the American comic book "Walt Disney Magic Moments" #1, called The Orphans' Benefit.
ReferencesOrphan's Benefit Wikipedia
Orphans Benefit IMDb Orphans Benefit themoviedb.org