Western Animation: Classic Disney Shorts
aka: Classic Disney Short
Back in the 1920s, during the late years of The Silent Age of Animation
, an animator named Walt Disney
was starting up a new animation studio after he got in a dispute with Universal over a character of his, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
. Disney, along with fellow animator Ub Iwerks
, needed to come up with some new character ideas. Finally, he settled on one - a little mouse named Mickey.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The classic Disney shorts, made during The Golden Age of Animation
, centered around the adventures of a group of Funny Animals
- Mickey Mouse: The first and most recognizable of the cast, often depicted as a good-natured, optimistic fellow - but also a determined and often feisty fighter with elements of both Kid Hero and Badass. Intentionally designed with universal, broad appeal in mind. (Debut: Steamboat Willie, 1928note )
- From roughly the 1950s through the mid-1990s, Mickey's more adventurous side was usually seen only in comics. Even today it's easy to meet many who are surprised that Mickey can be a more interesting character. Of course, if he wasn't, then how would he have held his initial fame?
- 2010's Epic Mickey by Junction Point, now owned by Disney, makes Mickey almost as mischievous as he was originally.
- Minnie Mouse: Mickey's love interest, who often took on the role of a Damsel in Distress. (Debut: Steamboat Willie, 1928)
- Word of God says that when not "acting" (the term used for when on screen in shorts and the like), Mickey and Minnie are married.
- Donald Duck: The Ensemble Dark Horse, a hot-tempered waterfowl who often ended up being the Butt Monkey. (Debut: The Wise Little Hen, 1934). Though Mickey remains the face of the company, Donald is arguably the true moneymaker as far as long-term commercial success, spawning his own little corner of the Disney Universe that expands towards comics, cartoons, and video games.
- Daisy Duck: Donald's love interest, with a similar - but more controlled - temper (Debut: Don Donald, 1937, as "Donna Duck")
- Goofy: An anthropomorphic dog (though his species has been debated), and the world's biggest klutz. Often Too Dumb to Live. He was originally called "Dippy Dawg", but they wisely changed his name. (Debut: Mickey's Revue, 1932)
- Pluto the Pup: Mickey's loyal pet dog, but he's often a klutz (like Goofy), a Butt Monkey and hard to keep under control. He was originally called "Rover" and was actually owned by Minnie Mouse until 1931's The Moose Hunt when he was confirmed as Mickey's dog and his name was changed, most likely after the planet, Pluto, which had just recently been discovered at the time. (Debut: The Chain Gang, 1930)
Other characters included Mickey, Donald, and Goofy's nemesis, Pete
(sometimes known as Bad Pete, Black Pete, Peg-Leg Pete, Pistol Pete, and so on
); Donald's mischievous nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie; cheerfully egotistical Horace Horsecollar and his Grande Dame
Clarabelle Cow; opera singer Clara Cluck; two mischievous chipmunks named Chip 'n Dale
who often have a bone to pick with Donald; and many, many more.
Also of note were the Silly Symphonies
shorts, which were one-shots (usually, though a few of them got sequels, plus Pluto appeared in two and Donald debuted in one and appeared in another) set to popular music. Later, it primarily served as a showcase to try out animation techniques and technology before using them in the company's feature films. These were immensely popular in the 1930's and led to a Follow the Leader
approach from rival studios, with Warner for example creating Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
, and MGM creating Happy Harmonies
, among many others. The Silly Symphonies
shorts were responsible for Ridiculously Cute Critters
becoming a staple of animation at the time.
Occasionally, the classic characters would appear in feature films
, usually anthology films like Fun and Fancy Free
, Saludos Amigos
, The Three Caballeros
, and, most famously, the Fantasia
films. In the '90s, Chip 'n Dale
received their own series
, as did Uncle Scrooge
, and Donald
. Recently, they've made appearances in series such as Mickey MouseWorks
, House of Mouse
, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
, and, most recently, Mickey Mouse
, as well as the direct-to-DVD Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
. Some of these characters, mainly Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, also feature prominently in the Kingdom Hearts
games. The second game paid tribute to black and white Disney shorts
with the level "Timeless River".
If you're looking to find all of these shorts, all of them have been neatly compiled into a series of truly excellent DVD compilations in a series of sets called the Walt Disney Treasures
series. All of these collection DVD sets with the classic shorts included on them are conveniently listed below just for you:
- The Adventures of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: Made to celebrate the big comeback of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Disney, this DVD compiles 13 of the 15 existing (of 26) Disney made Oswald cartoonsnote , with some pencil tests for another lost short (Sagebrush Sadie) and some other misc. extras as well. This collection also includes the first two Mickey Mouse cartoons (Plane Crazy, Steamboat Willie) three of the Pre-Oswald "Alice Comedies" live action/animation shorts, The Skeleton Dance, and a whole documentary on Ub Iwerks.
- Mickey Mouse in Black and White Vol. 1-Vol. 2: Compiles all 74 of the black & white Mickey Mouse shorts, 34 shorts on Vol. 1, and 40 shorts on Vol. 2.
- Mickey Mouse in Living Color Vol. 1-Vol. 2: Compiles all of the color Mickey shorts, 28 shorts on Vol. 1, and Vol. 2 has 18 classic shorts, the entire "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia, the entire "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment of Fun and Fancy Free, "Mickey's Christmas Carol", "The Prince and the Pauper" note and the 90's Mickey Mouse short "Runaway Brain", Mouse Mania (a rare late 70's stop motion short made to celebrate Mickey's 50th Anniversary) and a whole truckload of other extras.
- The Complete Goofy: Compiles all 46 of Goofy's theatrical cartoons.
- The Chronological Donald Vol. 1-Vol.4: Easily the largest of the Walt Disney Treasures sets, these sets cover all of Donald Duck's theatrical shorts. Vol. 1 has 37 shorts, Vol. 2 has 33 shorts and a A Day In the Life of Donald Duck, a Donald Duck centered episode of the 1950's Walt Disney television series. Vol. 3 has 30 shorts, and Vol. 4 has 34 shorts and 10 modern "Mickey Mouseworks" cartoon shorts. That's 144 shorts.
- The Complete Pluto Vol. 1-Vol. 2: Compiles all 52 of Pluto's theatrical shorts. Vol. 1 has 28 shorts, Vol. 2 has 24 Pluto shorts and three obscure shorts starring Figaro the Cat from Pinocchio.
- Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920's - 1960's: Compiles 32 misc. Disney related shorts, including the ancient Pre-Oswald Alice Comedies.
- On The Front Lines: Compiles war cartoons done by Disney of the time period. Compiles 31 theatrical shorts, the World War II film Victory Through Air Power and an old training montage video, plus two complete training films.
- Silly Symphonies: Compiles the first 46 of the Silly Symphonies theatrical shorts.
- More Silly Symphonies: The successor to the previous collection. Compiles the remaining 38 Silly Symphonies theatrical shorts.
That's 16 well crafted compilation DVDs to collect. Good luck finding them all, though, since they only saw a limited release. They're loaded with great extras and for the most part the films have been cleaned up really well, however so it may very well be worth tracking them down.
For a full list of characters, see here
For noteworthy Disney staff, go here
For non-series specific Disney shorts, see Miscellaneous Disney Shorts
Noteworthy Shorts Include:
The shorts contain examples of:
- A Bloody Mess: Done in a Donald Duck short, where he and the nephews go camping. Donald puts ketchup on himself to get his nephews thinking he's severely injured, but gets bandaged up from head to toe, as is typical of those shorts.
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pluto and Clara Cluck only wear a dog collar and a hat and shawl, respectively.
- In the really old cartoons Horace Horsecollar is wearing only a horsecollar, a bowler hat and White Gloves.
- In the short "Pluto's Sweater," Minnie Mouse forces Pluto to wear a sweater. At the end of said cartoon, she forces Figaro to wear it.
- In the Figaro cartoon "Bath Day," Minnie ties a red bow around Figaro's neck. He thinks he looks like a sissy wearing a bow, so he tries (and fails) to take it off.
- Accidental Hero: Goofy in Two-Gun Goofy.
- Accordion Man: The Cactus Kid (1930) for one.
- Acme Products: Only, in this case, it would be Ajax Products.
- Alertness Blink: Possibly the progenitor of this trope.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Elmer Elephant
- Alliterative Name: Nearly everyone.
- Amusing Injuries: Used most frequently in the Goofy shorts.
- And I Must Scream: This is Donald's ultimate fate in Donald's Snow Fight, in which he ends up being frozen alive.
- Angrish: Donald, in spades.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: The 1929 cartoon When the Cat's Away depicts Mickey and Minnie as actual mice, squeaking and all (well, sort of).
- Apple of Discord: Used by Donald against Chip and Dale in "Toy Tinkers."
- Art Evolution: The earliest Disney cartoons were very crude-the construction of the drawings was just piled on top of each other, using lots of rigid shapes, straight lines and symmetry with rubbery limbs, making the drawings look flat and move in a very mechanical, floaty way. In the mid-'30s, this started changing when the animators like Fred Moore began using more pliable, organic shapes combined with line of action and more refined timing and squash and stretch, which gave them the illusion of mass and weight, as well as actual construction on the heads and bodies to allow them to look three-dimensional and properly turn them in space-compare Mickey from his earliest cartoons like "The Chain Gang" to the Mickey in "Pluto's Judgement Day" and "On Ice", or example. And in a brief time in the '40s, Fred Moore did away with the symmetry of Mickey's design in shorts like "The Little Whirlwind", making him look much more loose and organic, but also earning the moniker of "Drunk Mickey" from the animators (the original model sheets for Mickey's "Little Whirlwind" model even have some very questionable dialogue written on them related to drinking).
- Art Shift: The Nifty Nineties (which was a throwback to The Gay Nineties, as in the 1890s) had Mickey and Minnie go to a vaudeville theater and watch a non-animated slideshow done in the sketchy style of John Held, a Roaring Twenties illustrator who also liked to send up The Gay Nineties.
- This '55 Nash commercial directed by Ward Kimball, which has a completely redesigned, UPA influenced Mickey and Pluto.
- Donald and his nephews are given a similar treatment in a similar commercial, this one for the Hudson AMC.
- Aside Glance: Goofy is a frequent offender, but none of the other characters are completely innocent, either.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The classic Mickey Mouse short The Brave Little Tailor.
- And earlier, there was the black and white cartoon Giantland.
- Author Avatar: Mickey, for Walt Disney.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Chicken Little.
- Beach Episode: The Beach Party, Hawaiian Holiday, Beach Picnic, Pluto's Playmate, part of How to Swim, and Bee at the Beach.
- Bears Are Bad News: This is how Donald certainly feels about Humphrey.
- There are also numerous shorts which involve a run-in with a generic grizzly bear, such as the Mickey cartoon The Pointer, the Goofy cartoon Hold That Pose, and such Donald cartoon as Good Scouts, Donald's Vacation and Dumbbell of the Yukon.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The orphans from "Orphan's Picnic" and "Orphan's Benefit".
- The Angel from "Donald's Better Half."
- Even Goofy gets like this when his pet grasshopper, Wilbur, is threatened.
- Big Friendly Dog: Pluto and Bolivar the St. Bernard (in Alpine Climbers and the Donald Duck comic strips/books)
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: The Goofy short How To Play Golf.
- Black Comedy: From Who Killed Cock Robin: "We don't know who is guilty so we're gonna hang 'em all!" (sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell")
- Bragging Theme Tune: Donald Duck's post-1947 theme. Possibly a subversion as none of it is true, aside from "Who get stuck with all the bad luck?"
- Bratty Half-Pint: The pig kid from "Mickey's Good Deed".
- And the majority of Goofy's class in "Teachers Are People".
- Brick Joke: Near the start of "Teachers Are People", Goofy confiscates a number of items from George, including a gun and grenade, the latter of which he drops in a water bucket (presumably to deaden the explosion if it happens). At the end of the short, the school blows up, and George is made to write "I will not bomb the school again" on the chalkboard.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Trombone Trouble
- Bullet Seed
- Bumbling Dad: Played straight with Goofy in the '50s cartoons where he plays a suburban dad named George Geef. A perfect example is "Father's Day Off", in which Goofy, as Geef, is woefully unprepared to take on the responsibilities of running the house in his wife's absence.
- Butt Sticker: In cartoon "Tiger Trouble": an elephant lands on a tiger. In a variation, only the tiger's stripes are stuck to the elephant's butt.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes
- Canon Immigrant: Figaro from previous Disney Animated Canon feature film Pinocchio was adapted as a pet kitten of Minnie Mouse, and an occasional foil for Pluto. The character was even promoted to lead star for a handful of shorts, something even Minnie and Daisy did not gain in the classic era.
- Captain Ersatz: During the early '30s, Rudolph Ising of the Harman and Ising duo (who were both former employees of Disney) cooked up an incredibly blatant Mickey Mouse clone named Foxy for their Warner Bros. distributed animation studio. In fact, his image is proudly adorned on the main Captain Ersatz page. Fortunately, Walt himself got wind of the ripoff and personally asked Ising to stop using the character after only three measly shorts. However, Foxy was brought back for an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures called Two-Tone Town (albiet redesigned to look less like Mickey, while still having some similarities to a Golden Age rubberhose character).
- Catch Phrase:
Mickey: "Swell!" "Hot dog!" "Gosh!" "Oh, boy!" "Gee..." "Hiya, pal!" "See ya real soon!" "Y-y-y-yes, ma'am!" "For gosh sakes!"
Donald: "Hiya, toots!" "SO!" "Aw, phooey." "Aw, nuts." "What's the big idea?" "You can't do that to me!" "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" "Well, I'll be doggoned!" "Why, you doggone stubborn little... (incoherent muttering/squawking)..." "WAAAAAAAAAK!!" "Uh-oh!" "That's the last straw!"
Goofy: "Gawrsh!" "Ahyuck!" "AHHHHHHHH-HOO-HOO-HOOEY!" "Somethin' wrong here..." (singing) "Ohhh, the world owes me a livin'... deedle-didle dodle-didle dum..."
Minnie: "Oh, my!" "Isn't that sweet!" "Oh, Mickey..."
- Cartoon Conductor
- Cartoony Tail: Daisy Duck, a female duck, has curled tail feathers, a trait exclusive to male ducks.
- Mice have thin, naked tails, but Mickey, Minnie and Mortimer Mouse have tails that are unusually thin even for mice. Pluto has the same kind of tail, despite being a dog.
- Chip 'n Dale have short tails that end in a point, sort of like deer tails. In Real Life, it's the female chipmunks that have short tails.
- Cats Are Mean: Pete.
- To an extent, Figaro (in the shorts, he was typically shown as a foil for Pluto), even if he doesn't excel much past a Bratty Half-Pint.
- Chekhov's Gun: As soon as you find out Minnie's car horn sets Mickey's Mechanical Man off, you just know it's going to get used in its boxing match against the Congo Killer in the 1933 short Mickey's Mechanical Man.
- Also, both the gas leak and Pete's lighting his cigars in the 1936 short Moving Day. Put the two together and stuff blows up.
- Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano in the Goofy cartoon Hello Aloha.
- The Chew Toy: Donald and, to a lesser extent, Goofy.
- Characterization Marches On: Ever since Epic Mickey came out, I should review the old Mickey Mouse shorts in preparation for it. Okay, here's Plane Crazy and...is he doing G-Rated Rape on Minnie?
- Chaste Toons: It WAS the '40s...
- Subverted in that Goofy has a son in the '50s.
- Chronically Crashed Car: Any cars Donald and Goofy have happen to this.
- Clothes Make the Legend: Just where would Mickey be without those red shorts, white gloves, and yellow shoes? Or Donald without his sailor suit and no pants?
- Well, Mickey in particular would still be wearing the green shorts, yellow gloves, and brown shoes that were featured on merchandise a good 40% of the time before his cartoons moved to color...
- Colossus Climb: Mickey's patented way of taking down a giant (right before tripping them with a rope).
- Comedic Underwear Exposure: Happens a lot more often than you'd think (and the girls are not immune, either).
- Comic Trio: Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Arguably.
- Commedia Dell Arte Troupe
- Colour Coded Characters: Huey, Dewey, and Louie, as well as Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, are usually in red, blue, and green.
- Covered in Kisses: Occasionally, this happens to Mickey and Donald (thanks to Minnie and Daisy.)
- Cranial Eruption
- Crapsack World: Donald seems to live in one...
- Cut-and-Paste Suburb: Donald and Goofy often live in this kind of neighborhood.
- Damsel in Distress: Minnie, frequently. Other times it was the love interest in shorts such as "The China Shop" and "The Moth and the Flame".
- Darker and Edgier: The early concept art for the game Epic Mickey show a ruined Steam Punk world filled with horrific chimeras created by a monstrous version of the Phantom Blot.
- Depending on the Writer: Mickey and friends either live in the same neighborhood (shorts in the 1930s placed them in Hollywood, California), or in separate cities (Mouseton and Duckburg, shown as next to each other).
- The 1992 series Goof Troop moved Goofy out of Mouseton to Spoonerville, but this has been written out of canon in more modern material?where Mickey and Goofy once again live in the same neighborhood.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Two Chips and a Miss. Including some of the viewers.
- Dripping Disturbance: What happens to Donald in Drip Dippy Donald, which takes this trope Up to Eleven.
- Driven to Suicide: Donald in The Old Army Game
- Daisy comes close in "Donald's Dilemma", where she tells her psychiatrist "I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I didn't wanna live!" and is seen pointing a gun to her head. This is often edited out in modern TV showings...
- Edutainment Show: Several Donald shorts of the mid-to-late '50s had an educational bend, one of the most notable being Donald in Mathmagicland, in which Donald learns that "there's a lot more to mathematics than two times two."
- Also, Scrooge McDuck and Money, in which Scrooge gives lessons to his nephews on the history of currency and the capitalist economy.
- Era-Specific Personality
- The Everyman: All of the main trio, to some degree: Mickey (when he's not too good at being a hero), Donald (when he's not being too nasty), and Goofy (when he's not being too clumsy) have all functioned as everyday working stiffs in viewer identification scenarios.
- Everything Is an Instrument: A dominant trope in most of the early Mickey Mouse shorts.
- Everything's Worse with Bees: Again, just ask Donald, who often squared off against bees.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A lot of the names of the shorts.
- Averted in "Donald's Dilemma", because, contrary to the title, it's actually Daisy that has the dilemma...
- Extreme Omni Goat
- Fake Rabies: In "The Mad Dog", Pluto escapes while Mickey is brushing his teeth, causing panic throughout the neighborhood.
- Faux To Guide: Goofy always screwing up the narrator's instructions.
- Flying Broomstick: Trick or Treat
- Five-Man Band / Color-Coded Characters
- Funny Animal: Nearly the entire cast.
- Furry Confusion: Horace and Clarabelle started out as four-legged Talking Animals and became Funny Animals over the space of several cartoons. Pluto is usually a relatively realistic dog, but did say a few words in a few early appearances.
- And then there's the ever-complicated issue of Goofy, which comes from determining what Goofy (anthropomorphic man-dog whose is treated like a human) is in relation to Pluto (non-anthropomorphic dog, who's treated like a dog), whom he is occasionally shown to interact with. While it's possible that anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic dogs may simply exist side by side in the Disneyverse, it still has odd connotations (imagine if some humans were kept as pets, and treated as such, alongside seemingly similar humans).
- Gag Boobs: Clara Cluck, no doubt.
- Garden Hose Squirt Surprise: In "Beezy Bear", beekeeper Donald Duck catches Humphrey the Bear siphoning honey from his hives with a garden hose, so he connects the hose to a garden hose spigot, squeezes it until the water bulges up inside, and sends the bulge racing toward Humphrey. But then the ranger arrives and gives Donald back the hose, resulting in a game of Hot Potato that leaves all three soaked.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Okay, how did this scene from Truant Officer Donald get past the Hays Office in 1941?
- Ghost in the Machine: Reason and Emotion
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Pete's relationship with the gang varies.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The entire premise of Donald's Better Self.
- Pluto also had this in a few shorts, most notably Lend a Paw.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Mickey and Donald both talk this way a lot.
- Gossipy Hens: Literally used in "Cock O' The Walk" and "Chicken Little".
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress
- Green-Eyed Monster: Both Mickey and Donald feel this way when their respective ladies spend more time with a rival than with them, in Mickey's Rival and Donald's Double Trouble, respectively.
- Guns Akimbo: Mickey in "Two Gun Mickey."
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Donald Duck is famous for his.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and (occasionally) Minnie.
- High-Pressure Emotion: Donald.
- Hollywood Magnetism: In the Classic Disney Short "Donald and Pluto", Donald Duck is a plumber who uses a magnet to retrieve his tools from atop a ladder. Pluto ends up accidentally swallowing the magnet, and spends the rest of the cartoon dealing with the various objects that are mysteriously following him around.
- Human Popsicle: What happens to Pluto in "Rescue Dog" after the baby seal pulls him out of some icy water that he fell into.
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Donald Duck and other ducks have a plantigrade stance, as do Pluto, Butch, and other dogs and cats.
- Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar from the Classic Disney Shorts have a plantigrade stance even though more modern appearances always depict them with shoes. You don't see their back hooves anymore and their front hooves are drawn as hands, but in their really early appearances, you could see that they clearly exemplify this trope.
- Goofy, Max, nearly all other Dogfaces, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse have feet that look awfully like human feet. Mickey and Minnie also have hand and foot proportions that would be more appropriate for a Canada Lynx than for a mouse.
- Idea Bulb: Goofy gets one when trying to think of what to do about Mickey's birthday cake.
- Dale also gets two in Crazy Over Daisy when he and Chip try to think of a way to get revenge on Donald. The first bulb that Dale gets is small, but Chip dismisses it. The second bulb Dale gets is much larger and Chip approves.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Commando Duck
- Inevitable Waterfall: Commando Duck
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Several '40s and '50s Goofy shorts took place in a universe where every character was Goofy.
- Insomnia Episode:
- Involuntary Dance: In "Trick or Treat", a witch casts a spell on Donald after he swallows the key to the pantry where he hid all the Halloween candy. The spell made his feet dance and kick in an attempt to remove the key, while the witch accompanied on the banjo.
- Joker Jury: Pluto's Judgement Day
- Kangaroo Court: Also Pluto's Judgement Day
- Karma Houdini: A handful of shorts feature the Orphans, a group of obnoxious, cruel mice that look like little Mickeys. Their constant harassment of Donald (and sometimes Mickey) never goes punished. This contributes to some fans' view of them as The Scrappy.
- Their cruel behavior won't go entirely unpunished though. Do you really think any of those little brats will get adopted? I can't see any parents lining up to adopt such mean-spirited kids, no matter how cute they are. Why do you think they're orphans?
- Chip 'n' Dale at times, though granted they were less directly antagonistic par a few odd occasions (and usually took as much abuse as they dished out beforehand).
- Kids Are Cruel: Elmer Elephant
- Most of the main cast's younger relatives were Bratty Half Pints of the highest order, Junior in Bellboy Donald (not so much P.J.), Huey, Dewey and Louie, Mickey's Orphans, and sometimes Goofy Junior (not so much Max), just to name a few.
- Lemony Narrator: The narrator in Goofy's "How To" cartoons.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Played annoying straight with the Walt Disney Treasures DVD sets.
- Disney has been doing this for decades. Remember the Limited Gold Editions series of videotapes from the 1980s? There were two sets of those.
- Literal Ass Kicking: Donald was often a victim of this.
- Loveable Rogue: Chip 'n' Dale, when not acting as Screwy Squirrels or out of Disproportionate Retribution, played this role, usually after food in Donald's possession.
- Meaningful Name: Red, Huey's color, is the brightest hue, and blue is the color of dew, hence Dewey. This leaves Louie, and leaves are green.
- On the other hand, it's not like all artists and translations are at all consistent about which nephew wears which colored cap... the nephews being indistinguishable or swapping their caps has even been a plot point several times. The earlier shorts also featured Dewey and Louie wearing orange or yellow, with only Huey consistently wearing red.
- Mickey Mousing: The Trope Namer.
- Misleading Package Size: In "Pluto's Party", Pluto gets a present shaped like a huge bone, but when he bites into it, it turns out to be a wagon.
- Morally Ambiguous Ducktorate: Take a wild guess.
- Narrator / Interactive Narrator: An important element of the "How To" Goofy shorts.
- Nice Mice: Mickey and Minnie, naturally.
- Nightmare Dreams: Cartoons like Mickey's Nightmare, The Mad Doctor, Pluto's Judgment Day and Donald's Diary.
- No Fourth Wall: Goofy seems to think so.
- At the end of Mickey's Amateurs, the black circle that usually marks the end of the show closes around Donald's neck.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Goofy suffers one throughout "The Art of Self Defense", which takes "Shadowboxing" to its literal extent and has him be the punching bag for the various moves demonstrated.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Clara Cluck again.
- No Sex Allowed: Walt himself once said when asked about it that Mickey does not have a sex life.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Everybody but Max and P.J., apparently.
- Obstacle Ski Course: "The Art of Skiing" has Goofy doing all kinds of variations of this, most memorably accidentally skiing backwards.
- Official Couple
- Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse
- Donald Duck & Daisy Duck
- Horace Horsecollar & Clarabelle Cow
- Out of Focus: Donald eclipsed Mickey in popularity through the late '30s and early '40s, and Mickey began starring in less and less shorts. There were no Mickey cartoons at all between Symphony Hour (1942) and Mickey's Delayed Date (1947) (granted, Mickey did appear in Pluto and the Armadillo (1943) and Squatter's Rights (1946), but they are considered Pluto shorts). And then after 1953's The Simple Things, it would be another 30 years before Mickey would appear again in Mickey's Christmas Carol.
- Oven Logic: For some reason, Minnie's oven goes all the way up to "volcano heat." Goofy uses the setting to speed up baking the cake for Mickey's Birthday Party with explosive results.
- Packed Hero: In "Modern Inventions", Donald Duck is wrapped in cellophane by a gift wrapping machine.
- Panty Shot: Played for humor with Minnie.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Some ladies wore these, like the classical style dress in "The China Shop", to the short dress trimmed with white fur in "The Moth and the Flame", but the most oddly pimped out dresses are in "The Cookie Carnival", where the dresses are food based. One guy got a girl a nice dress just by mainly using eclair cream in the shape of a frilly dress.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Out of Scale", in which Donald has a model train set in his backyard, is based on Walt Disney's own backyard train set.
- Rescue Romance: Plenty of it.
- Sadist Show: Donald Duck
- Scary Shadow Fakeout
- Screw the Rules, I Have Plot!: In the short Toby Tortoise Returns, why didn't the game automatically go to Max Hare after Toby was knocked out of the ring by him? Instead, they just let the fight continue as if nothing happened.
- Screwy Squirrel: Chip 'n' Dale on occasion; Huey, Dewey, and Louie in many of their early appearances; and Mickey's Orphans (the crowds of mouse-faced kids in nightshirts).
- Shout-Out: Two Chips and a Miss is one to Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood, complete with the chipmunks temporarily turning into drooling wolves.
- Another one, the Donald short Duck Pimples, is one to another Avery short, Who Killed Who?, right down to the eerie organ music and the detective in both cartoons being voiced by Billy Bletcher.
- Slipping a Mickey: Happens to Goofy in How To Be a Detective.
- The Smurfette Principle
- Soap Punishment: A lie detector uses this on the Big Bad Wolf in The Practical Pig.
- Speech Impediment: Donald, to the point where his near-unintelligible speech sparked an urban legend.
- Spin-Off: Goof Troop, DuckTales, Mickey MouseWorks, House of Mouse, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers...
- Squirrels in My Pants: In Moose Hunters, Donald and Goofy are disguised as a female moose in order to lure one over to Mickey so he can shoot it. After they meet a male moose and Goofy, in the moose costume's front, pretends to flirt with it, Donald, who is in the bottom of the costume, accidentally sits on a bee, which makes the bee mad and it dives into the bottom of the costume and stings Donald, while he hops around in pain and tries to get rid of the bee. This makes it look like the female moose that Donald and Goofy are disguised as is doing a samba dance.
- Standard '50s Father: Goofy in his '50s cartoons, where he plays a suburban dad named George Geef. See also: Bumbling Dad.
- Stock Footage: A few of the Wartime Cartoons
- Strapped to an Operating Table: The Mad Doctor
- Sudden Downer Ending: Chicken Little
- Tugboat Mickey. The guy sending the distress call dies because of three idiots. That is dark.
- Talking Animal: Chip 'n' Dale, Goofy's mynah bird Ellsworth (a comic book character, most common in the 1950s, who wears clothes and is personified as a wise-guy intellectual - yet lives in a birdhouse and flies).
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (Lampshaded in an episode of House of Mouse in which Mickey and Donald convincingly disguise themselves as Minnie and Daisy by putting bows on their heads.
- They Have the Scent: Mickey is pursued by a pair of bloodhounds after he escapes from prison in "The Chain Gang".
- Through a Face Full of Fur: In "The Army Mascot", Pluto turns green after swallowing a plug of chewing tobacco. He tries to swallow the green away, but it just comes back up. He then turns other colors as well, including, yes, plaid. Even his tongue!
- Likewise, in such cartoons as "Alpine Climbers", "Lend a Paw" and "Mail Dog", which take place in a snowy area, there are times when Pluto turns blue from the cold.
- Tsundere: Arguably, Daisy.
- In Donald's Dilemma, however, she acts more like a Yandere.
- The Twelve Principles of Animation: These cartoons played a big part in refining them.
- Typewriter Eating: Present in Mickey's Trailer, Donald's Cousin Gus and Pueblo Pluto.
- Wartime Cartoon: Perhaps one of the most classic examples would be "Der Fuehrers Face" (originally titled "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land").
- Donald Duck had an entire suite of war shorts, from "Donald Gets Drafted" to "Commando Duck".
- We Do the Impossible: In The Brave Little Tailor.
- We're Still Relevant, Dammit: The ENTIRE ANGLE of the Kingdom Hearts games and especially Epic Mickey.
- White Gloves: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow wear 'em.
- Who Is Driving?: Mickey's Trailer (1938)
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In A Gentleman's Gentleman, Pluto buys a newspaper for Mickey, but stops to read a comic strip featuring himself on the front page. He laughs at his comic counterpart's misfortune, but then a similar situation happens to him.
- Wicked Witch: Witch Hazel
- William Telling: In The Tortoise And The Hare, the Hare shows off his speed by shooting an arrow, running ahead of it, standing under the target with an apple on his head, and letting the arrow split the apple in two.
Contrast with their Warner Bros. parody counterparts.