The Tortoise and the Hare is a 1935 Silly Symphonies short, 49th in that series, and is a milestone short in the Classic Disney Shorts lineup.The story is a basic adaptation of Aesop's classic fable, centered around the cocky speedster Max Hare, competing with the friendly but slow-witted Toby Tortoise. However, what sets this short apart is not its bare-bone story, but rather what it introduced into cartoons. The characters, while simplistic and one-dimensional, were a fairly good advancement as far as characterization went for Disney shorts of the time period. Another important aspect the short helped pioneer was the use of faster speed in cartoons, setting an example that would be copied by the Looney Tunes studio in some of their own cartoons. Another thing this short is notable for is Max Hare being the inspiration for the character of Bugs Bunny, as claimed by Tex Avery.The short was a hit when it was released, earning the 1935 Academy Award for cartoon short subjects. The short was popular enough to receive a follow-up in 1936, Toby Tortoise Returns, featuring a rematch between Max and Toby, but with a boxing match rather than a race. The short is particularly interesting in that it features not only an original story not based on a previous fable or myth, it was Disney's most cartoony short ever done since the earliest days of Mickey Mouse, with lots of strong exaggeration, cartoony gags and a non-sentimental tone that make it feel like a proto-Looney Tunes short—quite ironic when one realizes the Looney Tunes were only mildly cartoony during that time, instead trying to fruitlessly ape Disney's traditional short cartoons in terms of pathos and storytelling. "Returns" was also notable for being the first major animation assignment of Ward Kimball, one of Disney's Nine Old Men and noted for being Disney's most cartoony director, which is probably why this short turned out so different from a typical Disney cartoon.Curiously, a similar cartoon would be made to this in 1938 by Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett, a short cartoon called "Porky & Daffy", which also features a boxing match and decidedly cartoony gags. Perhaps the short was, shall we say, an "inspiration" for Mr. Clampett?
Tropes Both Shorts Contain: