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Western Animation / The Milky Way

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The Milky Way is a 1940 animated short film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Rudolf Ising.

The three little kittens of "three little kittens have lost their mittens" nursery rhyme fame are sent to bed without dinner and without milk. As they are getting ready for bed and missing their milk, one kitten gets an idea. The three kittens hop in a basket and use three balloons to take them to the Milky Way, where there is, of course, a great abundance of milk.

Notable as being the first non-Disney cartoon to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.


  • Balloonacy: Not only can three balloons lift three kittens, they can lift three kittens all the way to space.
  • Binge Montage: Much of the cartoon is this, as the kittens go to town binging on milk up in the Milky Way.
  • Balloon Belly: One of the kittens has a noticeable one. He, of course, is the one who's really bummed about not getting fed.
  • Cheesy Moon: It's where all good mice go when they die.
  • Cute Kitten: Anyone with an allergy to cuteness will require prompt medical attention.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: In response to the kittens losing their mittens, their mother sends them to bed without supper. At the end of the short, she changes her mind, but after their Imagine Spot, the kittens can't stand the sight of milk.
  • I Drank WHAT?!: As the kittens sample various types of milk, one of them discovers that he was drinking Milk of Magnesia.
  • Imagine Spot: The trip into space and the Milky Way turns out to be the three kittens pretending, playing on their bed.
  • Level Ate: The entire setting, from the Cheesy Moon to Milky Way made entirely of dairy products.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: The kittens end up hanging on for dear life from a ledge, the Earth millions of miles below.
  • Literal Metaphor: Many of the gags when the kittens go into space-the Big Dipper is an actual dipper, "shooting stars" are being fired from cannons (on Mars, Mars being the God of War), and there's the Milky Way itself, full of milk.
  • Rule of Three: It's not like anyone is going to make a nursery rhyme about five kittens.
  • Visual Pun: A line of large milk dispensers is set up like a gas station. Enormous butter churns look just like windmills.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The cute and cuddly adventures of three cute and cuddly kittens? One wonders what Walt Disney thought of this short.