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Western Animation / The Brave Engineer

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"Come, all you rounders, if you want to hear
The story all about a brave engineer..."

"Ah, 'tis morning, and all the trains in the railroad yard are fast asleep—all except Casey's; his engine is slow asleep!"
-Jerry Colonna in the opening narration

The Brave Engineer is a 1950 Disney short based on the ballad of Casey Jones, where Casey has to deliver the mail on time. No matter how many obstacles block the path, he'll ensure the Western Mail reaches the station in time. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.

The Brave Engineer provides examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Casey deals with rain, a woman Chained to a Railway, bandits, and a brown cow standing on the tracks.
  • Chained to a Railway: Casey saves a Damsel in Distress from the clutches of a Dastardly Whiplash villain (without stopping the train).
  • Clothing Damage: After Casey's train leaves the station, a young lady's dress gets ripped away, revealing her modest full-bodied pink undergarment.
    Narrator: They're off!
  • Dastardly Whiplash: This cartoon features a notorious outlaw with a sinister handlebar mustache tying a Damsel in Distress to the railroad tracks, only for Casey to snatch her out of harm's way, with the villain exclaiming "Curses! Foiled again!"
    • Later on, just as Casey's train is about to cross the railroad trestle, a sinister bearded vandal with a dark suit and pointy hat plants dynamite, blowing the trestle away. Nevertheless, Casey's train manages to proceed after climbing a steep hill.
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  • Determinator: Casey. Nothing — whether floods, bandits, or any Damsel in Distress — will stop him from delivering the mail. A head-on collision with another train merely slows him down.
  • Explosive Overclocking: When the engine is going at full steam, it begins to fall apart. (Casey, of course, repairs it on the run.)
  • Failed a Spot Check: Casey doesn't notice the bandits on the train until he nearly shovels one into his train's boiler.
  • Just in Time: As the station master erases Casey's name from the board, Casey shows up with the mail sack and the remains of his engine a minute later, with Casey's watch reading "On Time... Almost".
  • Just Train Wrong: Somewhat zig-zagged. Casey's train seems to rely predominantly on cartoon physics, being able to function under water, recover from falling into a canyon (and climbing back up the side!) popping rivets and supporting brackets straight off its boiler, its pilot truck and funnel coming loose, and moving so fast it melts the rails. Conversely, the train he collides with in the climax is a more accurately depicted double-header slowly steaming its way up the mountain; when the collision is imminent, not just the drivers of the locomotives but also the firemen are seen jumping free before impact.
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  • Narrator: Comedian Jerry Colonna (who also narrated the Disney version of Casey at the Bat for Make Mine Music! and later voiced the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland) mostly provides running commentary and puts dialogue in the characters' mouths. Most of the actual narrative is conveyed by folk singers The King's Men.
  • Oh, Crap!: On several occasions, one of the characters will shout "Egad!" Most notably, Casey shouts this before he crashes.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Casey manages to bring the mail to the station on time, at the expense of the train and its cars, with only the engine cab and a few axles surviving.
  • Rare Vehicles: The locomotives on the freight train appear to be based upon "Mastodon" and it's twenty-five copies. The 4-8-0 wheel arrangement in general was not very popular, with Southern Pacific and Norfolk & Western being the only American railways to have them in any significant numbers; fewer than one-thousand were built for American service, compared to tens-of-thousands of 2-8-0s or 2-8-2s.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The conductor tires to warn Casey about an oncoming train, but Casey is too busy to listen to him, so he jumps off for his life. As Casey's train is about to hit the double-team engines, the other crew members jump off their train before the collision.
  • Shout-Out: When the bandits appear, Colonna yells, "Hi-yoooooooooo, Silverwaaaaaaaaare!" in reference to The Lone Ranger.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The real Casey Jones was killed in a rear-end collision with a freight train when he stayed aboard his locomotive to slow it down before impact rather than jump with his fireman; his death is reflected in the ballad, but in the short he survives to get the mail to its destination, though a bit banged-up from the crash.
  • Track Trouble: Someone "not on the level" blows up the bridge right under Casey's train. Casey, being, well, Casey, just drives his train up the other side and back onto the rails.
  • Unstoppable Mailman: One that drives a train, yes, but the trope is still present.


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