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Western Animation / Doctor DeSoto

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Doctor DeSoto is a 1984 animated short film directed by Michael Sporn.

It is an adaptation of a children's book of the same name by William Steig. Doctor DeSoto is a mouse dentist. He tends to animals great and small, from other tiny mice like himself, to great big animals like horses; when he has to fix the teeth of a large animal his wife (also his dental assistant) winches him up with a pulley.

Doctor DeSoto has one firm rule: he doesn't treat dangerous animals. Carnivores, that is. So when a fox comes to the office pleading for help with a terrible toothache, the dentist is reluctant, but he gives in. Naturally, the fox decides to eat him, which forces Doctor DeSoto to figure out how to fix the fox's tooth without letting himself and his wife be lunch.


This film provides examples of:

  • Animated Adaptation: Of the 1982 children's book of the same name by William Steig.
  • Aside Glance: Doctor and Mrs. DeSoto look at the camera in triumph after the fox finds that his jaws have been glued together.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Doctor DeSoto finishes the fox's dental work out of professional pride, knowing that the fox is planning to try to eat them afterwards.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The fox wears a suit, Mrs. DeSoto wears a dress, the dentist wears pants and a dentist's smock, etc.
  • Funny Animal: The animals all act like people—a mouse is a dentist, after all. The only "animal" thing about them is that the carnivores still eat other animals, which makes it risky for Doctor DeSoto to treat the fox.
  • Guile Hero: Doctor DeSoto has to use his wits to escape being eaten by the fox. He tricks the fox into accepting a new treatment to prevent cavities, one that involves a special paste being administered to the fox's teeth... which just happens to glue the fox's jaws shut for 24 hours. The short ends with the mice congratulating themselves for having "outfoxed the fox."
  • Advertisement:
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: The fox wears a suit and top hat, and carries a walking stick. He's quite a cultured villain, deciding to eat the DeSotos with "a dry white wine".
  • Narrator: A narrator reads from the storybook.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Apparently standard procedure, since Doctor DeSoto advertises that he won't treat cats and other dangerous creatures. The fox certainly doesn't take his gratitude to the Doctor into account when he decides to eat them.
  • Wine Is Classy: How to show that the fox is a cultured Man of Wealth and Taste? One way is to have him decide to drink a white wine after eating the DeSotos.

Alternative Title(s): Doctor De Soto