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Western Animation / Clock Cleaners

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A very popular 1937 short in the Classic Disney Shorts lineup, the short is centered on Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as they, well, attempt to clean the giant clock tower, Big Beth. However, chaos ensues as Mickey attempts to get rid of a stork nesting in the tower, Donald wages a frustrating battle with a sentient clock spring, and Goofy gets himself into life-threatening situations via his own klutziness and stupidity.


This short provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: "Clock Cleaners".
  • Angrish: Donald's original line of "snake in the grass" has been replaced with unintelligible gibberish, as a result of Christian conservative fundamentalist activist groups believing that Donald was saying "son-of-a-bitch" instead of "snake in the grass".
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Donald talks to the clock spring, and it seems to be talking back.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Donald ignores a fairly obvious "Keep off the mainspring" sign, and spends the rest of the short regretting it.
  • Circling Birdies: Miniature Goofys in angel garb and wings appear and orbit Goofy's head when he is conked by the clock's Liberty statue.
  • Concussions Get You High: After Goofy is hit on the head, he starts woozily walking around the clock tower and almost getting himself into danger, forcing Mickey to save him.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Goofy wanders onto swinging girders after taking the hit to the head.
  • Enmity with an Object: Donald argues with the mainspring, while Goofy thinks the figures that ring the bell are doing it to mess with him.
    Donald: What's the big idea?!
    Clock Spring: (imitating Donald) "What's the big idea?"
    [Beat]
    Donald: Aw, shut up!
    Clock Spring: You shut up!
    Donald: Oh, yeah?
    Clock Spring: Oh, yeah!
    Donald: Says who?
    Clock Spring: Says I!
    Donald: I'll bust you, you doggone snake-in-the-grass!
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Mickey, Donald and Goofy clean a clock tower. Though it had a double meaning in 1937: to "clean someone's clock" was slang for beating someone up or humiliating them.
  • Here We Go Again!: The short ends with the trio getting caught in the same gear Donald did earlier and dealing with the subsequent body movements.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The clock cleaners have no protective gear or railings of any kind despite working on a running piece of machinery at the top of an enormous tower. Goofy nearly falls to his doom several times, including once from a ladder that's missing a rung!
  • Scenery Porn: Some of the backgrounds of the short are nothing short of jaw dropping. Just look at the opening shot!
  • Shaking the Rump: Getting caught in a moving spring causes Donald's head to shake involuntarily. When he tries to stop it, his rump begins shaking involuntarily. At the end of the short, this bit gets repeated with the whole trio involuntarily shaking their rumps while Belly Dancer music plays.
  • Standard Snippet: After Goofy is hit on the head, "Spring Song" by Felix Mendelssohn is heard on the soundtrack. And when he walks dizzily, the penultimate section of Johann Strauss's "The Blue Danube" plays.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Donald steps on the main spring and mop it despite of the sign saying not to touch it.
    • Goofy, unaware that the statue isn't a real woman.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Goofy is about to hit one of the bell ringing figures when it's revealed to be female (specifically, the Statue of Liberty). He apologizes to her by saying "I didn't know you were a lady. Pardon me." He then gets hit on the head by Lady Liberty.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After a series of mishaps with the main spring, Donald finally gets it back into place, only for Mickey and Goofy to accidentally crash-land onto it and make it more unraveled than it was before, much to Donald's dismay.

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