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January 6

January 6, 1950 – Pluto’s Heart Throb Released to Theaters


In this 1950 short film—directed by Charles Nichols, with story by Roy Williams and music by Oliver Wallace—Pluto tries to win the affections of Dinah, a dachshund, but has to compete against a bulldog named Butch. Although Butch tries to convince Dinah that he and Pluto are friends, he will stop at nothing to attack Pluto when Dinah isn’t looking.

Dinah the Dachshund

Dinah first appeared in the 1942 short The Sleep Walker, replacing Pluto’s former romantic interest Fifi the Peke. Butch had been Pluto’s antagonist since the 1940 short Bone Trouble, when Pluto tried to steal his bone. Dinah is often a source of contention between Pluto and Butch as they try to win her fickle affections.

Pluto’s Heart Throb is a prime example of the physical comedy that the Pluto shorts were known for.  In most films Pluto said very little, if anything at all. The physical comedy is exaggerated for comic effect, first seen when Pluto begins to fall for Dinah. The music is synchronized with the actions of the characters, from woodwinds playing in rhythm when Pluto is waving his paw at Dinah, to trumpets when Pluto and Butch are squaring off.

Pluto and Butch square off behind Dinah's back

In the end, the good-natured and steadfast Pluto wins the heart of Dinah (this time), after she sees how Butch has been bullying Pluto, plus Butch is too afraid to save her when she accidentally falls into a pool. This is not one of the standout shorts in Pluto’s library, but it is rather a humorous look at how the good guy can win the girl in the end.

Bonus Fact: Heart throb indeed – there were 183 hearts used in this short.


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