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Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 1
Starring Mickey DVD Review

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DVD Details

Running Time: 59 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen, Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
Originally Released Between 1935 and 1941
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
White Keepcase


After seventy-five years, Mickey Mouse still remains the image most closely associated with Walt Disney. It's not surprising then that Mickey is the subject which launches the first entry in the first wave of the Disney studio's newest DVD line. Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 1 - Starring Mickey provides an hour of the likable mouse in seven comic short films from the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Mickey's popularity surpassed any cartoon star before him, and even if his everyman appeal would eventually find less favor with moviegoers than other Disney creations, the seven films here are from the height of Mickey's color short career.

This collection of shorts is pretty random. There's no specific order or theme to the 59 minutes of content here. In many of the included cartoons, Mickey doesn't even feature as largely as some other characters, not what one might expect from a compilation devoted to him. For those seeking more of the Mouse's shorts, four Walt Disney Treasures sets on Mickey Mouse (2 black & white, 2 color) have been released which offer the entirety of his career in cartoon shorts. These are out-of-print and if you're still able to find any of them, you won't for long.

This single-disc DVD is not geared for those intent on having a complete Mickey Mouse collection. Nonetheless, most of the shorts were released on the first volume of Mickey Mouse in Living Color, which hit stores in December 2001 and left them soon after. Those who lack the funds or drive to track down a copy of that should be pleased to find some of Mickey's classic color shorts presented here with care.

"Mickey's Circus" "Mickey's Garden" "The Little Whirlwind"

The seven shorts on this DVD are as follow:

"Mickey's Circus" (1936) (8:05)

A rowdy lot of orphans comprise the audience for a circus introduced by Mickey Mouse and headed by Donald Duck. Donald's wrath quickly shows when his seal sidekicks act up.

"Mickey's Garden" (1935) (8:47)

In an effort to maintain his garden, Mickey wages war against the troublesome insects. The bugs put up quite a fight, and manic battle ensues when everything in the garden grows large, including the pumpkin in which Pluto's head is stuck. Mickey tries to overcome some imposing critters.

"The Little Whirlwind" (1941) (8:35)

Minnie promises Mickey some of her freshly baked cake if he tends to her lawn. A tiny but menacing tornado wreaks lots of havoc and makes work difficult for Mickey.

"On Ice" "Moving Day" "Orphans' Picnic"

"On Ice" (1935) (8:05)

It's a snowy winter day and everyone's down at the frozen pond. Mickey tries to give Minnie a skating lesson, Goofy does battle with tobacco-spitting fish, and Donald discovers Pluto whose ineptitude at skating gives the duck reason to laugh. It's nice to see the different storylines all come together for this amusing short's finale.

"Hawaiian Holiday" (1937) (8:22)

Everyone's on vacation in Hawaii and familiar hijinks ensue. Mickey strums a ukulele, Goofy goofs around on a stiff surfboard, Donald dukes it out with some rear end flames, and Pluto makes a number of salt water friends.

"Moving Day" (1936) (9:24)

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are six months late on their rent, which brings in sheriff Pete with a notice to dispossess them. Getting all their stuff together to move out proves to be quite the gag-filled adventure.

"Orphans' Picnic" (1936) (7:57)

The rambunctious mouse orphans are let loose at the park for a picnic and much of their fun comes at the expense of Donald.

VIDEO and AUDIO

All shorts are presented in their original aspect ratio, which approximately is 1.33:1 or "fullscreen." Several shorts are windowboxed to assure that the frame edges are not lost to overscan. As with the Walt Disney Treasures, the age of these shorts remains apparent; while they are clearly remastered and hold up well, there are limitations to just how good they can look. Colors remain vibrant and solid, but backgrounds sometimes exhibit a bit of flickering. Specks and imperfections crop up from time to time

The shorts offer monaural Dolby Digital two-channel soundtracks. While the audio presentation is presumably pretty faithful to the original source, it also shows its age. Sound effects and music make up a good amount of the sound elements and they can at times sound thin and tinny to a harsh degree. Considering these shorts are sixty to seventy years old, they could be in a lot worse condition.

Starring Mickey Main Menu "Hawaiian Holiday"

BONUS FEATURES AND MENUS

This and the other Classic Cartoon Favorites are equipped with "Disney's FastPlay" a mode which essentially plays DVDs like VHS, requiring no remote control pushing or menu tinkering. Before anything else loads, you are presented with a choice to go directly to the main menu or let it proceed via FastPlay, which takes you through two previews and all the cartoon shorts.

In other instances of FastPlay, there would be a select number of bonus features to play after the feature. But there are no bonus features to be found here. In addition to more comprehensive short collections, the yearly Walt Disney Treasures sets have served up supplemental content.

Before the feature plays, previews run for 2005's two upcoming Platinum Editions, Bambi and Cinderella. From the Sneak Peeks menu, there are two additional trailers for Mulan II and February's Studio Ghibli titles.

The lively 16x9 main menu rotates through a rainbow of colors with some animated sparkles and Mickey Mouse on a stage. All menus feature lively instrumentals.

Mickey, Donald, Goofy: "Moving Day" Mickey and the land of giant mushrooms, a.k.a. "Mickey's Garden"

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A mouse started it all for Disney, and it's Mickey who is behind the Volume 1 launch of the studio's Classic Cartoon Favorites, a new low-priced alternative to the more comprehensive and collectable Walt Disney Treasures. All seven of the shorts in this compilation have been released as part of the two Mickey Mouse in Living Color volumes of the Treasures line, so anyone with those probably won't be interested in this. On the other hand, those Mickey fans who aren't looking for a complete collection with fancy packaging and bonus features should be reasonably pleased with this DVD. While the shorts here provide some fun, they're often not centered around Mickey and often not among his strongest cartoons. Still, it offers an hour of properly-restored color shorts from the '30s and '40s, suitable to introduce someone to the format or as a taste of vintage animation for the casual fan.

More on the DVD

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Classic Cartoon Favorites: Wave 1 | Walt Disney Treasures Page

Walt Disney Treasures DVDs with Mickey Mouse Shorts
Mickey Mouse in Black & White
Mickey Mouse in Black & White, Volume 2
Mickey Mouse in Living Color
Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2

Related Reviews
Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2
Mickey Mouse in Black & White, Volume 2
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 2 - Starring Donald
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 3 - Starring Goofy
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 4 - Starring Chip 'N Dale

Reviewed January 10, 2005.

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