February 25, 1938 – The Mickey Mouse Short Boat Builders is Released to Theaters
“All you do is put it together.”
On February 25, 1938, the new Mickey Mouse short, Boat Builders, was released to theaters. This is another one of those shorts where the comedy is actually found through the actions of Goofy and Donald, rather than through Mickey’s actions. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, Boat Builders featured the vocal talents of Walt Disney as Mickey, Pinto Colvig as Goofy, Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, and Marcellite Garner as Minnie Mouse.
The short begins with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy excited about building a boat from a kit they have ordered, especially after turning the page and seeing a picture of what the finished project should look like. It’s easy, too: The included instruction manual taunts that “Even a child can do it.” Mickey declares that once she’s built, they will call her The Queen Minnie.
The boys set to work opening crate number one, labeled the keel and ribs, merrily whistling (and quacking, in Donald’s case), sea shanties. Grabbing the rope, they pull out the collapsed innards of the boat, only to have the boat chase them down the shore and capture them on the beams. Mickey laughs when he recites the simple instructions once again, and Donald laughs with him when he reminds them of the boast that even a child can do it.
The scene then moves to Mickey picking up the box with the mast enclosed and pulling out the blueprints on how to install the mast. When Mickey stands on top of the mast, trying to pull it out, it shoots out of the box, sending Mickey all the way up to the sky. The mast is then assembled with Mickey, still hung up at the top of the mast by his clothing, saluting the audience.
Assembling the boat is quick work for the three, and Goofy is seen hammering nails into the sideboards, although, as is usually the case with Goofy, the board does not want to stay nailed down, and hits Goofy square in the head. Slightly angry, Goofy grabs another set of nails and hammers it down again, only to have it swing back at him. Goofy ducks, but it hits him on its swing back. He then feverishly hammers the board down and turns to another task, but continues to be taunted by the board. It finally hits him, spinning him until he falls onto his barrel of nails.
Mickey and Donald continue putting the boat together, with Donald painting the rudder, not noticing that Mickey has just placed the helm into its socket and is testing it, causing Donald to completely miss the rudder while trying to paint. Donald holds it still, causing Mickey to think that the wheel is now stuck, and as he tries to free it, Donald gets wrapped around the rudder like a tetherball, and then is hit like a ping-pong ball as Mickey continues to pull on the helm.
Goofy sets about to add the figurehead to the boat, but when he opens to see that it’s in the shape of a beautiful mermaid, he closes the box, flustered, thinking that there’s an actual lady enclosed. He tries to straighten himself up a bit more, and knocks on the lid, apologizing to the figurehead. When it falls out of the box, Goofy catches it, alarmed, and calls out to the others that she’s fainted. He puts her in a beach chair and asks if she’s feeling better, but of course, she doesn’t say a word. “Gee, but you’re purty,” he tells her, twisting his hat in embarrassment. As he admits he could fall for a girl like her, he accidently steps on her tail, pushing the figure up and meeting him in a “kiss,” which causes him to spin around giddily. While Goofy hides his head, giggling, Mickey takes the figurehead and places it in the front of the boat. Poor Goofy is alarmed to find that she has disappeared, and begins to search for her, but ends up falling off the boat and pulling down the anchor.
At last, the boat is built, and a huge crowd appears at its christening and maiden voyage. Mickey, dressed as the captain, tells Minnie to christen the boat, and she gladly grabs the champagne bottle. She’s shocked, however, to find that the bottle will not break, so she gives it a mighty swing. The swing was too great, and the boat begins to fall apart from the impact, with it collapsing in on itself. The boys find themselves in the water, and while Mickey laughs at their predicament, Donald just gives out his trademark, “Aw, phooey!”