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The Sensational Six!Characters 

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 called the "Sensational Six" by Disney:

  • 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. 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, owned by Disney though later shuttered, made 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. However, he's also The Berserker / Lightning Bruiser of the gang and has more than surpassed Mickey as far as physical fighting and general badassery goes. (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: Mr. Duck Steps Out, 1940)
  • 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 1930s 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. During The Renaissance Age of Animation, Chip 'n Dale received their own series, as did Uncle Scrooge, Goofy, and Donald. Recently, they've made appearances in series such as Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey Mouse (2013) (which itself is a close Spiritual Successor to the Classic Shorts), Mickey Mouse Roadster Racers & Mixed-Up Adventures, and Mickey Mouse Funhouse, 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", and the third game features several Game & Watch-style minigames themed to these shorts, known collectively as "Classic Kingdom".

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 90s Mickey Mouse short "Runaway Brain", Mouse Mania (a rare late 70s 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 1950s Walt Disney television series. Vol. 3 has 30 shorts, and Vol. 4 has 34 shorts and 10 modern "Mickey Mouse Works" 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, 1920s - 1960s: 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 provide examples of:

  • 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 hideously-fuchsia sweater. At the end, after Pluto manages to get it shrunk, 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.
  • Amusing Injuries: Used most frequently in the Goofy shorts where the titular character has several mishaps played for laughs.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Pete was sometimes a gruff but non evil figure such as a polite suitor in "the barn dance."
  • Adaptational Villainy: Occasionally a normally heroic character played a villainous role for a short. With Goofy playing a villain in several shorts such as "Ye Olden Days." This is explained by both Negative Continuity and Animated Actors, Goofy noting in "Goofy Success Story", he tries not to drive like his character in real life.
  • 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 often mutters intelligibly when angry.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift:
    • The 1929 cartoon When the Cat's Away depicts Mickey and Minnie as actual mice, squeaking and all (well, sort of).
    • Horace and Clarabelle started out as four-legged Talking Animals and became Funny Animals over the space of several cartoons.
  • Apple for Teacher: In Teachers Are People, Goofy is a schoolteacher who has his students hand him apples as a homework assignment, and is miffed when he catches the class delinquent eating his homework. Later, he is seen eating the apples for lunch while his students are at recess.
  • 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:
    • This '55 Nash commercial designed by Tom Oreb, 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.
  • Back from the Dead: In "Donald's Fire Survival Plan" (not a theatrical short but an educational film about fire safety), when Donald fails to show interest in the nephews' fire escape map, he gets a visit in his sleep from his common sense, who demonstrates the risks of not following fire safety rules by placing him in a simulated (depending on the interpretation) house fire. Donald experiences three deaths, through inhaling carbon monoxide-laced smoke, being exposed to superheated air, and jumping out a second-story window. Each time, his common sense revives Donald by catching his soul and physically returning it to his body. Granted, this appears to be All Just a Dream, but given a number of elements present in the cartoon (including Donald apparently meeting his common sense again when awake), the alternate interpretation that the events might have actually happened on another plain of reality should not be discounted.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • This is how Donald certainly feels about Humphrey the bear. The latter is actually just trying to hide from Donald, who has hired the cabin that Humphrey appropriated for his winter sleep.
    • 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.
  • Beast in the Building: In Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip, Mickey tries to bring Pluto with him on a train ride while hiding him from conductor Pete.
  • Bee Afraid: Just ask Donald, who often squared off against a bee.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In Trombone Trouble, the gods zap Donald with this to give him godlike powers so he can retaliate against Pete and his off-key trombone-playing.
  • Boxing Kangaroo:
    • "Mickey's Kangaroo", the very last black-and-white Mickey short, has Mickey training the kangaroo in question, a nonhumanized kangaroo named Hoppy, to be a boxer. It gets hilarious once the kangaroo really gets into the role and starts punching Mickey's face several times per second, while Mickey's still as happy-go-lucky as ever, even after being delivered so many blows from the kangaroo that he is seeing stars. This short later served as the inspiration for a Sunday comic, in which Mickey pits Hoppy against a Killer Gorilla named Growlio, owned by Pete. Along the way, Hoppy wastes no opportunity along the way to pound luckless assistant trainer Horace Horsecollar into the ground.
    • Goofy also gets beaten up by this kind of kangaroo in "Baggage Buster", after it falls out of the magician's cape that he keeps fooling around with.
    • In "Magician Mickey", Mickey's magic hoop briefly turns Donald into a kangaroo wearing boxing gloves.
  • 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: 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.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Minnie whenever she cries over an incident in whatever cartoon she's in.
  • Breakout Character: Quite a lot.
    • The biggest example of course is Donald Duck who just started as a side character in The Wise Little Hen before going on to become a sidekick of Mickey Mouse where he quickly stole the show from Mickey. In the decades since his introduction he became the star of his own shorts, a big star in marketing and co-stars Mickey in most of his shows, movies and merchandise. He also is the centre character of the huge Disney Ducks Comic Universe. In most European countries Donald is far more popular and well-known than Mickey Mouse.
    • Goofy. Like Donald he started as a minor character but became more popular in the following years, even getting his own shorts. He is often depicted now as a trio together with Mickey and Donald. He got his own show, Goof Troop, which also had two follow-up movies. In the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe he is nowadays depicted as Mickey's best friend often forming a duo with him.
    • Pluto. He started as a pet to various characters (mostly Mickey Mouse), but like Donald and Goofy soon starred in his own classic shorts.
    • Huey, Dewey and Louie. After appearing in the short Donald's Nephews they were soon brought back for more shorts as well as recurring characters in the Donald Duck comic strips, with a later short eventually revealing Donald adopted the nephews, which is the status quo of nearly all media appearances since. They are center characters in Quack Pack, ''DuckTales'' and it's reboot.
    • Chip 'n Dale. They occasionally appeared as antagonists to both Pluto and Donald Duck before getting their own shorts and a popular animated series in the '90s.
  • 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.
  • Bumbling Dad:
  • Butt Sticker:
    • "Tiger Trouble" had a scene where an elephant lands on a tiger. In a variation, only the tiger's stripes are stuck to the elephant's butt.
    • "The Shindig" featured a gag where Mickey Mouse was flattened by and stuck to the rear end of a hippo woman.
  • Canines Primary, Felines Secondary:
    • There are eight characters who had cartoons dedicated to them, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy (an anthropomorphic dog), Pluto (a dog), Chip 'n Dale (two chipmunks), Humphrey (a bear), and Figaro (a kitten). Both Goofy and Pluto the dogs starred in many more cartoons billed to them than Figaro the kitten, who only starred in three cartoons billed to him.
    • Two of the Sensational Six members are dogs, whereas Pete, the main antagonist, is a cat.
    • In "Plutopia" and any other Pluto cartoon with Milton the cat in it, Pluto is the main character and Milton is a supporting character. In Pluto's dream in "Plutopia," Milton is basically portrayed as his butler.
  • 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).
  • Catchphrase:
    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..."
  • 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.
  • Characterisation Click Moment:
    • Goofy, originally called Dippy Dawg, didn't have that much of a personality until animator Art Babbitt created an in-depth analysis for the character in 1934, establishing him as a loose-jointed, good-natured simpleton. An early version of the familiar Goofy appeared in 1935's "On Ice", and would be fully-defined the following year in "Moving Day".
    • In his first appearance in the Silly Symphony short "The Wise Little Hen", Donald Duck was supporting player and was depicted as a lazy so-and-so (which was a given, since the story is a morality tale). His next cartoon, "Orphans' Benefit", which would also be his first pairing with Mickey Mouse, established the egotistical, cocky, hot-tempered duck we all know and love.
  • Chastity Couple: Walt himself once said when asked about it that Mickey does not have a sex life. However, Mickey Mouse (2013) later contradicted this claim in the short "Third Wheel", where the ending implied that Mickey and Minnie made love inside Goofy's stomach.
  • 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.
    • Both the gas leak and Pete's lighting his cigars in the 1936 short Moving Day. Put the two together and stuff blows up.
  • 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?
  • Dame with a Case: The Goofy cartoon "How to Be a Detective" begins with Goofy as private eye Johnny Eyeball being visited by a woman wearing a veil asking him to find a man named Al. Who turns out to be her runaway groom.
  • 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:
  • 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, often shown as being not far from 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.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: In No Smoking, Goofy vows to quit smoking and sweeps all the tobacco-related on his work desk into a rubbish bin below.
  • Dingy Trainside Apartment: In "Two Weeks Vacation", Goofy stays in a run-down motel room so close to the tracks the train almost seems to come straight at him.
  • Dogfaces: In some of the later cartoons, Goofy as George Geef came to have traits of this. Having a furless humanlike body, in one case, without visible ears.
  • 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."
    • "Scrooge McDuck and Money", in which Scrooge gives lessons to his nephews on the history of currency and the capitalist economy.
  • Energetic and Soft-Spoken Duo: Demure and quiet Minnie Mouse happens to be best friends with the loud and bombastic Daisy Duck.
  • 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.
  • Evil Living Flames:
    • In "Mickey's Fire Brigade", Mickey, Donald and Goofy are firemen trying to put out a fire. The flames sprout legs and act as if alive, forcing Donald to chase them down, closing a window to keep the water from the hose from coming in and even nabbing Donald's fire axe and chasing him around with it.
    • "Pluto's Judgement Day": In the climax of Pluto's dream, he is suspended over a blazing pit of fire. Soon, tiny anthropomorphic flames hop out of the pit, run along the rope and try to pull it apart to make him fall in.
    • Silly Symphonies:
      • "Flowers and Trees": When the evil tree tries to burn down the forest out of jealousy over the protagonist tree getting the girl, the fire is represented as little impish flames chasing the forest's denizens around and setting things alight. They're put out when a flock of birds starts up a rainstorm, but not before the flames tackle the evil tree, killing him.
      • In "Elmer Elephant", after being bullied for his unusual appearance, Elmer finds a good use for his trunk when Tillie Tiger's house catches fire. The flames chase Tillie and the other animals around, but are thwarted when Elmer arrives and shoots the flames with water, although one flame manages to dodge the blasts of water a few times before getting put out.
      • In "Moth and the Flame", a female moth sees a flame on a candle, which comes to life and tries to grab her. The flame soon sets fire to the costume shop, leading a male moth to try to put out the fire himself, then call in reinforcements when his efforts turn out to be futile.
  • Eyelash Fluttering: In Society Dog Show, Pluto falls for Fifi the Pekingese as Mickey is grooming him for the dog show, and they bat their eyelids at each other as he joins her on her pillow.
  • 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.
  • Firefighting Episode: Several shorts star Donald, Mickey and Goofy as firefighters.
    • The Fire Fighters (1930),
    • Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935)
    • Fire Chief (1940).
  • Foot Bath Treatment:
    • In the Goofy short Cold War, Goofy tries using this method to treat his cold. It makes him too hot, so he turns on a fan, which makes him too cold.
    • At the end of The Grasshopper and the Ants, the ants let the starving and freezing grasshopper into their home. They provide him three buckets of hot water, two for his legs and one for his abdomen.
    • In Lend a Paw, Mickey gives Pluto a foot bath after he saves a kitten from a freezing well.
  • French Jerk: Pierre the waiter at Chez Pierre in The Trial of Donald Duck, who overcharges Donald for his own lunch and a cup of coffee no bigger than a thimble. When Donald is unable to pay for his own food (he is charged $35.99, and all he has is a nickel), Pierre takes him to court, which ultimately rules in the restaurant's favor. It leads to Laser-Guided Karma for Pierre when Donald opts for a sentence of serving ten days in the restaurant, washing dishes, many of which the duck simply destroys. Pierre pleads with Donald to stop "washing" the dishes, agreeing to drop the matter in return, but Donald won't have it: "You heard what the judge said - ten days!"
  • Furry Confusion: 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. This is a consequence of how these characters were created. The ensemble cast we ended up with happened basically on accident, and internal logic wasn't something that mattered in those old shorts. One short needed a dog, thus Pluto was made. Another needed a heckler, so Goofy, then Dippy Dawg, was made. Both characters ended up becoming popular and became a part of Mickey's supporting cast. Oh, and to complicate things further, they even currently share the same voice actor!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Grossout Fakeout: In Father's Day Off, Goofy takes care of the housework while his wife is away. In one scene, while Junior takes a bath and creates a flood, Goofy sees a small puddle of water near the bathroom door, assumes the dog peed there and throws him out.
  • 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.
  • Honking Arriving Car:
    • In the 1928 short The Barn Dance, Pete shows up at Minnie's house in his newfangled automobile and honks his horn to get her attention. Mickey, not wanting to be shown up, grabs a nearby goose and squeezes it to make it go honk. Minnie's pet parrot ends up annoyed by the incessant honking.
    • Played With In the 1937 short Don Donald, Donald Duck arrives at Daisy's casa on his pet burro, and he gets her attention by pulling its tail to make it "honk." A little later, after having a rough ride on the stubborn beast, she hears what sounds like the donkey's braying outside and comes out to give Donald what for, only to find that he actually traded it in for a shiny new runabout and was merely honking the horn.
  • In Painted Tales, George mutters that he'll miss his plane while he waits for his taxi. When the taxi finally arrives, sounding its horn, the driver hustles him out so quickly that he forgets his suitcases, meaning that he has to come back, for the process to be repeated.
  • 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.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Several '40s and '50s Goofy shorts took place in a universe where every character was Goofy.
  • Informed Species: Several characters did not resemble the species they were supposed to be.
    • Pete the cat from the Classic Disney Shorts fell into this trope over time. In Steamboat Willie, the first time Pete was portrayed as a cat, he looked somewhat reasonably like a cat and had a tail. Since the mid 1930s, he lost his tail and fell into this trope, resembling moreso a Cane Corso with cropped features than a cat. It became so hard to identify him as a cat that Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie treat him like a Dogface instead.
    • Junior, Pete's son from the Donald Duck cartoon "Bellboy Donald" is a cat, but he's not readily identifiable as such and looked more like Mickey Mouse with cat ears instead.
    • P.J., Pete's son from Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie, is supposed to be a cat, but in all his appearances, he looked more like and was treated like a Dogface with pointy ears instead.
    • Horace Horsecollar does not resemble a horse nor does Clarabelle resemble a cow.
    • Gyro Gearloose does not resemble a chicken.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Nickname: Donald in Officer Duck gets the order to bring in Tiny Tom, who turns out to be Pete (who towers over Donald).
  • Loveable Rogue: Chip 'n' Dale, when not acting as The Prankster or out of Disproportionate Retribution, played this role, usually after food in Donald's possession.
  • Mama Bear: Witch Hazel becomes this for Huey, Dewey and Louie in "Trick or Treat" when she sees Donald abusing them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Transformed: In Don's Fountain of Youth, Donald pranks his nephews by wading in a spring that was mistaken for the "fountain of youth" and wearing on a baby bonnet, making them think he'd aged down into a baby. He then goes one step further by taking a crocodile's egg and putting the bonnet on it to make it look like he's become unhatched.
  • Moving Buildings: In the short "The New Neighbor", after Donald Duck and Pete's climactic neighborhood battle, Pete is seen sitting on the front porch of his house defeated as it is being towed out of town.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Goofy seems to think so, as he routinely turns and talks to the audience about the goings-on in his early cartoons (before he became the central character in Disney's satires of information/instructional films).
    • 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-Indicative Title: "Donald's Dilemma", because, contrary to the title, it's actually Daisy that has the dilemma (let Donald keep his new singing voice so he can continue to entertain millions, or ruin it so she can get him back).
  • Nonstandard Character Design. Donald, Daisy and the other ducks tend to stand out among the rest of the cast due to not having origins in the Inkblot Cartoon Style. Their status as ducks is also emphasized, unlike everyone else's species.
  • Obstacle Ski Course: "The Art of Skiing" has Goofy doing all kinds of variations of this, most memorably accidentally skiing backwards.
  • 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.
  • Parental Abandonment: Even though Huey, Dewey and Louie are shown visiting Donald in their first appearance, later cartoons make it pretty clear that they are living with him, making it likely that they are either orphans or that their parents have dumped them on Donald.
  • Pest Episode: A common plot in the shorts, with Chip and Dale as the pests that Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and/or all of the above try to catch.
  • 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.
  • Red-plica Baron: The Red Baron was caricatured in the propaganda film, Victory Through Air Power.
  • Scaling the Summit: "Alpine Climbers", in which Mickey, Donald and Pluto scale a mountain looking for edelweiss and eagle eggs and wind up tangling with a mountain goat and the mother eagle.
  • 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.
  • Smart Dumb And In Between:
    • This is the main dynamic of the original Disney trio of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy: Mickey is the smart one, being the leader of the trio and the Only Sane Man. Goofy is the dumb one due to being the clumsiest member of the trio, often misinterpreting the world around him out of naivety and often failing to grasp orders. Donald is in between as while he's not as unintelligent as Goofy, his arrogance, his explosive short-temper, and his voice has proven to lead the trio into trouble.
    • Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle share a similar dynamic that their male counterparts: Minnie is the smart one, sharing the role of Mickey Mouse of being the leader of the female gang. Clarabelle is as clumsy as Goofy, while Daisy is in-between due to her impatience and her ego, but unlike Donald, her voice at least can be understood.
  • The Prankster: 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: 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.
  • Shrunk in the Wash:
    • Donald Gets Drafted: Donald Duck is outfitted with an army uniform several sizes too big, which is doused with water and shrinks until it fits.
    • Don Donald: At the end, Donald falls into a puddle and his huge sombrero shrinks into a tiny beanie.
    • Pluto's Sweater: In trying to take off the sweater, Pluto falls into a pond and the sweater shrinks around his head. Minnie takes it off and puts it on Figaro, who had been laughing at Pluto the whole time.
  • 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 Mouse Works, 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. Goofy being Goofy, this overlaps with Bumbling Dad.
  • Sweet Seal:
    • Salty the Seal is a cute little nonanthropomorphic seal who often annoys Pluto, but eventually becomes friends with him.
    • The short Mickey's Circus features four sea lions, three adults and a pup who can be considered an early version of Salty the Seal. The mischievous sea lions cause much annoyance to their trainer, Donald Duck.
  • 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).
  • Team Rocket Wins: Peg Leg Pete actually defeated Mickey for Minnie's affections in "The Barn Dance", albeit partially because he was the one acting like a gentleman for once, whereas Mickey was basically too lead-footed.
  • 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 and wearing makeup.
  • 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: Daisy's personality is largely malleable, but the one constant is that she's usually sweet, but also has a temper that rivals Donald's. In Donald's Dilemma, however, she acts more like a Yandere.
  • Vile Vulture: In the Donald Duck short "The Flying Jalopy" the Big Bad of the short is Ben Buzzard, the owner of an Honest John's Dealership who sells Donald the titular Alleged Plane in the hopes that Donald will crash and get killed and Ben will cash in the life insurance he swindled Donald into signing among the purchase paperwork, and escalating to actively flying to the plane and trying to sabotage it when Donald performs a Midair Repair.
  • Villain Decay: In his earlier appearances, Pete he was actually a menace, a dangerous villain with a temper hot enough to shake Hell itself. Now he's usually a clumsy, idiotic Smug Snake.
  • Wartime Cartoon: Donald Duck had an entire suite of war shorts, from "Donald Gets Drafted" to "Commando Duck". Perhaps one of the most classic examples would be "Der Fuehrer's Face" (originally titled "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land").
  • White Gloves: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow all wear 'em. Even Donald has worn them a few times (for example, in Officer Duck and Mr. Duck Steps Out).
  • 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.
  • Wingding Eyes: In "Donald Duck and the Gorilla", when Donald looks the gorilla in the eye, the ape's pupils turn into gravestones with the text "Here lies a dead duck", to show its murderous intentions.
  • 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.
  • Worm in an Apple: "Planning for Good Eating" starts with discussing animal eating habits. When addressing the animals that live on fruit and/or vegetables, an enthusiastically chewing worm pops out of an apple.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Titles like "Thru the Mirror" are examples of the use of this.

Contrast with their Warner Bros. parody counterparts.


Video Example(s):


"So You Can't Take!"

When Mickey, Donald, and Goofy get covered in floor and molasses, they find out that the Lonesome Ghosts can dish out scaring people, but are sissies when they're scared back.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorrifyingTheHorror

Media sources: