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Western Animation / Three Orphan Kittens

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Three Orphan Kittens is a 1935 animated short film produced by Walt Disney as one of the Silly Symphonies. The story, as much as there is a story, concerns the said three kittens, who are chucked out of a car into a cold and snowy night. Fortunately for the kittens they are chucked into the back yard of a house, and they manage to find a way in. Chaos ensues as the three rambunctious kittens do stuff like knocking over china and getting stuck in bottles.

Three Orphan Kittens was directed by David Hand.



  • Animation Bump: Several scenes (like the one in the page image) have backgrounds animated in perspective and reflections on the floor. Even for 1930s Disney, this was exceptionally lush.
  • Bowdlerization: The racist gag with the doll (see Uncle Tomfoolery below) is often cut out of latter-day TV airings.
  • Cute Kitten: They sure are cute.
  • The Faceless: The faces of the housekeeper and the child aren't seen.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Well, they're orphans, and they're heartwarming, being flung heartlessly into the snow only to cutely gambol about a house.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: One of the kittens gets its head stuck in a milk bottle.
  • Knee-High Perspective: The action is staged at a low angle to convey the kittens' point of view.
  • Mammy: The servant, who is black and dressed in a standard maid's outfit, with apron. And just to make sure the audience gets it, a lily-white child shows up at the end just as the servant is about to toss the kittens back into the snow.
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  • Piano Key Wave: The kittens climb on a player piano and turn it on. The keys bounce up and down, carrying the kittens along. When the speed is turned up, the kittens are being juggled about and one is even spanked by the hammers inside.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: As with many Silly Symphonies of the day, which were more concerned with mastering the Art of animation, this one doesn't really have a plot. It's basically just eight minutes of cute kittens messing stuff up.
  • Rule of Three: Well there couldn't be two kittens or four kittens, could there?
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: A very racist gag in which one of the kittens encounters a little doll that goes "Mama." When the kitten knocks the doll over, it flips up down to reveal a black doll done Uncle Sambo style that rasps "Mammy!".

Example of: