RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2012

March 21

March 21, 1947 – The Pluto Short Film, Rescue Dog, is Released to Theaters

On March 21, 1947, the Pluto short, Rescue Dog, was released to theaters. It was directed by Charles Nichols, with the story by Eric Gurney and Bill de la Torre, and music by Oliver Wallace. It features Pluto interacting with a creature smaller than himself, with comical results.

It’s a blustery winter day, and Pluto is seen peeking his head out from the Rescue Dog Doghouse, when he excitedly puts up the sign, “Dog on Duty.” He looks around for any signs of trouble, before he falls into a thick patch of snow on the side of a cliff. He falls through and skids on the ice-covered pond below, stopping just before an open patch in the ice, where his rescue barrel is floating.

Pluto is shocked to see this strange creature rise out from under the ice

As Pluto reaches in to grab his barrel, it suddenly disappears into the water, before splashing back up and hitting him on the nose. It rises out of the water, being perched on the head of a seal. The seal turns and sees Pluto, who is suspicious of this new character. It barks at Pluto playfully, although Pluto runs away and ducks behind a rock. The seal returns the barrel to Pluto, but Pluto’s reaction is to bark angrily at the seal, causing it to duck into the water with fear. Pluto begins to march away, only to find that the seal is holding on to his tail.

The seal claps his fins, wishing to play with Pluto, but the dog just pushes the seal away, sending him flying back into the water. Pluto laughs, but just before he grabs his barrel to continue on his way, the seal sneaks in and steals it. Pluto chases after it, only to miss and get stuck in a snow bank. The seal returns the barrel to Pluto, but Pluto ends up walking way, wanting nothing to do with it. The seal, however, is not done playing with Pluto, and ends up walking underneath him, before stealing the barrel again.

The seal watches as Pluto falls through the ice

As Pluto chases the seal, the seal drops the barrel onto the ice, and Pluto chases it into a cave, which turns into a game of keep-away with the seal holding on to the barrel. The game takes a bad turn when Pluto falls off the side of a cliff and breaks the ice below, falling into the water. Pluto is seen stuck under the ice, and the seal dives down to rescue the poor pup. Using the barrel to break a patch of ice, the seal dives in and pulls out the frozen dog, and warms him up with the brandy in the barrel. Grateful for the seal’s help, Pluto makes the seal an honorary rescue dog, and they end with the seal giving Pluto a huge hug.


March 20

March 20, 1930 – The Silly Symphony, Cannibal Capers, is Released to Theaters

On March 20, 1930, the Silly Symphony, Cannibal Capers, was released to theaters. Directed by Burt Gillett, it was a good representation of the humor and style of movies back in the ’30s. It was normal for people to see stereotypes not just in cartoons, but also in live action films. This is the only Silly Symphony that, when shown on the Mickey Mouse Club show in the ’50s, had its ending edited out. The plot description below is of the original full short.

The Silly Symphony opens with what appears to be trees swaying in the breeze. As the camera pulls out, we see that it isn’t trees, but four cannibals, dancing and singing. They perform a dance for the audience of other cannibals, and another is seen drumming on a drum, a shield, a set of human skulls, and even his own teeth. As he grabs two of the skulls and uses them as castanets, “Habanera” from the opera Carmen begins to play.

The cannibal and the turtle dancing together

The scene switches to another cannibal, who does a sort of hula, causing his grass skirt to fall to the ground. He pulls it up and begins to dance again, with the same result. Angered, he pushes his stomach to the ground, so that his skirt won’t fall anymore. He continues to dance merrily after that. The camera then moves to a turtle who is dancing to the music, and runs into a cannibal. The cannibal, using his shield like a shell, imitates the dancing of the turtle, which turns into a game of patty-cake.

In the main village, the chef is preparing the pot for a great feast, when he spots the cannibal dancing with the turtle. Although the turtle and cannibal retreat into their shells, the chef picks up the cannibal, intending to feed him to the village. The tribe cheers as the cannibal is thrown into the pot of boiling water, but are shocked when he calmly steps out and begins to cool himself down with the shield.

The lion preparing the cannibal for consumption

A lion roars at the edge of the village, and the cannibals flee into their homes. The cannibal that was in the pot continues to hide inside, thinking he’s safe. The lion, however, grabs a spoon, the salt, and the pepper, and begins to cook the cannibal to his liking. The lion tries to eat the cannibal, but the cannibal outsmarts him.

As the cannibal runs away, the lion pursues him. Once the lion bites down on the cannibal, however, he loses his teeth. Seeing this as an opportunity, the cannibal decides to wear the teeth and teach the defenseless lion a lesson. The cannibal chases the lion out of the village, and the cannibals are seen laughing.

March 19

March 19, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film, Bright Lights, is Released to Theaters

On March 19, 1928, the 16th Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film, Bright Lights, was released to theaters through Universal. The short itself is very different from the style of the Mickey Mouse shorts that were to follow: although Mickey Mouse cartoons contained the elements of stretching limbs and comical japes, the Oswald shorts were more brash in their day (as seen with Mlle. Zulu’s dancing), and the characters seem as if they were made out of clay with the way they can split themselves in two and wrap other characters’ limbs around solid objects.

The short opens with a bright light marquee parody of Vaudeville called “Vodvil,” advertising Mlle. Zulu, the Shimmy Queen, performing at a theater. The theater is packed with spectators, watching as a line of cats performs a variety of dances on stage. After a bit of the performance, most of the girls dance offstage, leaving Mlle. Zulu behind in the spotlight.

Oswald, dreamily staring at the picture of Mlle. Zulu

Outside, we see Oswald staring at a picture of Zulu, clearly smitten, with his heart beating right out of his chest. Oswald gets a shock, however, when he sees that the price of admission to the show is 50 cents, and he is saddened to realize he doesn’t have any money. He spots the stage entrance around the corner, and comes up with a plan to just walk right in. The guard stops Oswald at every turn, although Oswald is able to slip out of his grasp so he can try again. Comically, Oswald manages to tie the guard up to a lamppost with the guard’s own foot, and walks in confidently – only to be chased out a second later by other guards and thugs.

There’s a quick shot to Zulu still performing on stage, and then we go back to Oswald, who comes up with another plan to sneak inside: hiding under the shadow of a man in an oversized fur coat. The coat is taken away to reveal both the thin man inside it and Oswald. As the guard looms over the rabbit, Oswald scampers out on the stage in the middle of a performance, with the guard chasing him.

Oswald realizes that the box was not the best place to hide

Backstage again, Oswald jumps inside a box to hide, missing the clear sign on the side that says “Danger – Keep Away.” When the guard can’t find Oswald, and and continues searching in another direction, Oswald, thinking he’s won, laughs—until he discovers the cheetah in the box with him. Oswald escapes from the box, with the cheetah in pursuit, determined to eat the rabbit. Oswald once again rushes out onto the stage in the middle of a pole-balancing act and scrambles up the pole, with the cheetah jumping up, mouth wide open to catch his snack.

The performer and Oswald climb all the way up to the rafters, holding onto a backdrop for dear life. The performer, who had been holding on to Oswald’s shorts, falls as the cheetah waits for his prey. The performer is able to fly his way back up to where Oswald is dangling and grabs his foot, pulling the limb out several feet. With the use of a nearby mallet, Oswald gets rid of the performer, but realizes a bit too late that he’s lost his hold of the backdrop and falls to the stage, landing on the head of the cheetah.

Everyone stampedes out of the theater, pursued by hungry lions

The audience and orchestra run for their lives as the cheetah goes on the rampage. Backstage, the lions break free from their cage and join the chase, scaring the performers out into the empty theater. The audience is seen breaking down the door and fleeing the theater, with the lions in close pursuit. Oswald finally appears in a nearby building, with the last lion spotting him and chasing him into town.

March 18

March 18, 1967 – The Disneyland Attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Opens

“We’re devils and black sheep, we’re really bad eggs, drink up me hearties, yo ho.”

On March 18, 1967, Disneyland opened its newest attraction in New Orleans Square, The Pirates of the Caribbean. It contains the use of many Audio Animatronic figures, with scenes ranging from jailed pirates trying to get the keys from the guard dog, to a Caribbean town being looted by a pirate gang, all while passengers travel past these scenes by boats. The attractions beginnings were seen in the Disneyland 10th Anniversary episode of the Disneyland show. Although Walt worked at length on this attraction, he sadly passed away before its opening. The song for the attraction is “Yo Ho, Yo Ho; a Pirate’s Life for Me,” and was written by George Bruns and Xavier Atencio.

The updated attraction, with Jack Sparrow from the films hiding in the barrel

In 2003, a film based on the attraction was released, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. After the success of the film series, changes were made to the original attraction to include the characters of Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa. Other revisions have been made to the ride, including a huge refurbishment of the ride, which reopened in November 2011. The attraction has been considered one of the most popular of all of Disney’s parks, with versions opening in Walt Disney World on December 15, 1973, Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1983, and Disneyland Paris on April 12, 1992.

March 17

March 17, 1939 – The First Goofy Short, Goofy and Wilbur, is Released to Theaters

“That’s a little palsy-walsy!”

On March 17, 1939, the first short of the Goofy series, entitled Goofy and Wilbur, was released to theaters. Goofy goes fishing with his grasshopper friend Wilbur, who ends up getting into many scrapes as he tries to attract the fish for Goofy to catch. Goofy was voiced by George Johnson in this short, and it was directed by Dick Huemer. Interestingly, Goofy takes off his glove by accident, to reveal that his hands are flesh colored underneath.

Wilbur acts very pet-like, and is very loyal to his friend Goofy

Goofy is out fishing in a small beaten boat with a sputtering motor, and stops when he comes across a sign that says “No Fishing.” He opens up a box, and out leaps his grasshopper friend Wilbur, landing on his finger. Goofy strokes Wilbur like a pet, and asks if he’s all set, to which Wilbur sticks out his chest proudly. Giving Goofy a wave, Wilbur gently dives into the water, but is able to walk across the surface with his feet and look for fish to catch. Goofy sits in his boat and hollers out to the fish, hitting a horseshoe with a stick to get their attention.

A fish wakes up to see Wilbur, and begins to chase the grasshopper while Goofy stays hidden in the boat, sticking out his net cautiously. Wilbur is able to jump through the holes in the netting while the fish gets caught. Wilbur goes out again to get another victim, this time splashing water in the fish’s face. Angered by this, the fish swims at full force to catch the grasshopper, but Wilbur is too fast. Unfortunately, Wilbur is so busy taunting his victim that he doesn’t see another fish lurking near the boat who thinks Wilbur would make a tasty snack. Caught between two fish, Wilbur jumps straight into the air, with one fish almost devouring the other one. Goofy catches both in his net, and asks Wilbur to bring back a big fat fish next. Wilbur jumps excitedly as a big fat fish follows him back to the boat, although the poor fish is too big to fit into the net. However, Goofy is able to catch him all the same.

Wilbur performs a dance to get the fish's attention, but the fish still stays "asleep"

Wilbur skates around on the surface of the water, noticing a fish in front of him that, unbeknownst to him, is pretending to be asleep. Wilbur tries to get its attention, but the moment he stops watching to think about how to get the fish to wake up, the fish turns around and nearly eats him. Fortunately, Wilbur turns around at the last second, causing the fish to resume its fake sleep. Wilbur then begins to dance for the fish, hoping this will do the trick. Finally, annoyed, Wilbur spits in its eye, causing it to run after Wilbur at full speed. Goofy, meanwhile, is still trying to get the fat fish out of his net. He slams the fish in, but the fish take the netting with it, and when Goofy tries to save Wilbur with the net, the fish dives through the now netting-free net, with Wilbur scrambling to get to safety on the boat. The fish throws itself at the side of the boat, catching Wilbur as it stays suctioned fast.

Alarmed, Goofy pulls off the fish and starts calling out for Wilbur, who is still inside the fish. Goofy can hear Wilbur’s call, but it seems that he is unable to get out. Goofy finally slaps the fish, causing a very blue Wilbur to fall onto his knee, unable to move. Goofy is worried sick, wondering what can he do. Using Wilbur’s legs, Goofy pumps out all the water inside Wilbur, and revives him with smelling salts, although the poor creature is still woozy from his adventure. Goofy warns Wilbur that the fish are getting wise to him, to which Wilbur is suddenly fully revived and ready to attack.

Goofy chases the stork, who has eaten the toad, who has eaten Wilbur

Leaping into the water, Wilbur sends out a massive call to all the fish in the area, and they respond, circling the poor insect. A great chase ensues, but Wilbur is able to keep one step ahead of the fish – until he finds himself to be the snack of a toad. Goofy, having seen everything, cries out Wilbur’s name, horrified, and runs out to save his friend. The toad manages to get away from Goofy – but finds itself to be the snack of a stork. The stork begins to run away as it sees Goofy in pursuit, and lands safely in its nest at the top of a hollow tree. Wasting no time, Goofy climbs up the insides of the tree and tries to battle the stork to get his friend back. The stork flies away angrily, leaving its egg behind, and Goofy begins to cry, mourning the loss of his friend. Fortunately, the egg hatches, revealing a not-dead Wilbur. The two celebrate, with Wilbur giving his friend a huge hug and a kiss.

March 16

March 16, 1934 – The Silly Symphony The Three Little Pigs Wins the Academy Award


“…[The Three Little Pigs] sent a message of optimism to moviegoers who’d been battered by the Great Depression.” – Film Critic Leonard Maltin.

The 6th Academy Awards were held at The Ambassador Hotel on March 16, 1934, and the Disney Studios walked away with the Academy Award for Best Animated Short film for the wildly popular Silly Symphony The Three Little Pigs. It was in competition with the Universal Studios short The Merry Old Soul, as well as the Walt Disney and United Artists Mickey Mouse short Building a Building (see entry for January 7).

This is one of the billboards advertising the short at the Coliseum. The short was able to get top billing after a while due to its success

The short, although well done in its own right, was popular due to being released at the right time. It was considered groundbreaking in its characterization and musical score, but Depression-weary audiences adopted the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” as their fight song. The short’s immense success kept it in theaters for months with top billing, even after feature films had long left the theater. The success of the short, including the Academy Award, led to a major merchandising campaign, as well as three sequels: The Big Bad Wolf, Three Little Wolves, and The Practical Pig.

March 15

March 15, 1940 – The Donald Duck Short, The Riveter, is Released to Theaters

“Oh boy, oh boy! Am I a riveter!”

On March 15, 1940, the Donald Duck short, The Riveter, was released to theaters. Directed by Dick Lundy, and starring the voices of Clarence Nash as Donald and Billy Bletcher as Pete, the short tells the story of Donald eagerly taking a job as a riveter for Pete, even though Donald really has no clue what a riveter is.

It’s a busy day at a construction site, and a fence is seen bulging from some sort of racket. Suddenly, a worker bursts through the fence, with Pete yelling off screen, “Get out! You’re fired!” The worker dashes away, leaving his lunch behind. Pete steps through the hole the worker made through the fence and looks around menacingly before hammering in a sign with his fist: Riveter Wanted. Who should turn the corner at that moment than Donald Duck, who is happily signing “Heigh Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He walks past the sign, but is suddenly drawn back to it.

Donald shows Pete the sign, explaining that he's a riveter

Suddenly excited, Donald grabs the sign and decides to apply for the job. He looks up at the outline of the worker that was thrown through the fence and remarks on what a peculiar doorway it is, not realizing the danger he’s going to be in. When Donald applies for the job, Pete laughs at him, but gives him the job when Donald shows Pete he has some backbone. Elated, Donald asks where he starts, and Pete grabs him by the collar, showing him that he’ll stop on the top floor of the skyscraper, which appears to be a hundred stories high. Donald nearly passes out at seeing the great heights he has to go up.

Pete throws Donald into an elevator, and Donald tentatively asks how he gets up to the top. Pete then throws a lever, which zooms the elevator up to the top floor. Donald walks across steel beams, as if dazed, and nearly walks off the edge before getting his act together and crawling back to the safety of the elevator. Unfortunately, the elevator falls beneath him, and he grabs onto a steel beam for dear life. Suddenly he hears Pete yelling at him from the ground to get to work. Donald grumbles at him to shut up, voice very low, but Pete flies up to the top in the elevator and demands to know what he said. Donald mollifies his boss, embarrassed, and Pete goes back down again.

Donald versus the rivet gun

Although Donald had been excited to be a riveter, he looks at the rivet gun curiously, wondering how it works. He smashes the handle of it on the beam, demanding that it do something, which it does when it begins shooting rivets into Donald’s hat, nearly tearing his head off. As Donald tries to gain control of the strange tool, it begins to rivet with him barely hanging on to the handle. When he is able to let go, he decides to give it a good kick, but ends up catching his foot in the handle and having it start to rivet again.

Donald is carried all around the construction site at the rivet gun continues to run, and ends up accidentally riveting Pete’s blueprints to the steel beams. When Pete pulls them out, he is able to pull out only a set of paper dolls made by the rivet gun. Many strange mishaps continue to occur thanks to the rivet gun, and although Donald is able to stop its rampage, the sound of other rivet guns being used makes him nervous and he shakes uncontrollably.

Donald's antics, however, have caused Pete's anger to grow

When Pete calls Donald over to serve him his lunch, Donald is ready to sprinkle some pepper when the rivet guns begin again, making Donald spill pepper all over the place. Pete lets out a loud, powerful sneeze, and loses his lunch in the process. Donald tries to make amends with coffee, but also loses control of it when the rivet guns start up once more. When the rivet gun sounds cause Donald to accidentally destroy Pete’s cigar, Pete has had enough, and begins to chase Donald around the construction site. The chase causes destruction of many parts of the site, but quick-thinking Donald causes Pete to fall into a vat of cement, turning Pete into a fountain as he poses with a water hose. Donald ends the short with laughter.

March 14

March 14, 1929 – The Mickey Mouse Short, The Barn Dance, is Released to Theaters

On March 14, 1929, the fourth Mickey Mouse short, The Barn Dance, was released to theaters. Directed by and using the vocal talents of Walt Disney (although this short continues to feature more “squawking” than actual dialogue), this short is one of the disastrous dates of Mickey and Minnie. Although not the first short where Minnie rebuffs Mickey’s advances, it is one of the more tragic ones, due to Mickey’s emotional outburst in the end.

Mickey is seen in the opening shot in a horse-drawn buggy, holding flowers for his sweetheart, Minnie Mouse. As he uses the whip to make the horse gallop faster, his buggy also begins to gallop, and Mickey has to hold onto his seat for dear life. They stop in front of Minnie’s house, where she is seen in the window, powdering her nose. Mickey’s heart pounds loudly before he whistles for her attention. Minnie appears in the window and waves before quickly pulling her bloomers on the laundry line inside. Mickey and his horse both look excitedly at the window, but Mickey pulled down a shade attached to the blinders on the horse, and the animal turns away to pout.

Pete arrives as a rival to Mickey for Minnie's affections

Meanwhile, Pete is driving up the road in his car, also on his way to see Minnie. He looks over at Mickey in his buggy and doesn’t think much of the mouse before he honks his horn for Minnie’s attention. Mickey is initially angered by Pete, but when he spies a duck on the road next to him, he picks up the bird and begins honking it like a horn to match Pete’s incessant honking.

Suddenly, Minnie appears, all dolled up for a night on the town. She stops at the gate while both of her admirers bow, and as she steps out to greet them, she spies Pete’s car and runs to it excitedly. As Pete starts up the car, it sputters and shakes, and Pete sends a stream of black smoke from the tailpipe in Mickey’s direction. Unfortunately, the car takes off and leaves Minnie and Pete behind before crashing into a tree and breaking into several car parts. Minnie rejects Pete and decides to go to the dance with Mickey, and the two flirt and kiss on the way there.

Mickey literally feels like a jackass for continually stepping on Minnie's feet and legs

The dance is already in full swing when the couple arrives. Unfortunately Mickey is so overzealous in his dancing that he keeps stepping on Minnie’s feet, with his feet growing in size for comic effect. At the end of the dance, Mickey is standing with both feet on Minnie’s leg, and she struggles to pull it out. Mickey finally notices that he’s on Minnie’s leg and gingerly steps off, with Minnie holding the limp limb sadly. As Minnie is furious and Mickey literally feels like a jackass, Minnie knots up her stretched leg just as a new dance begins. Although Mickey tries to dance with Minnie again, Minnie decides to dance with Pete, who is a much better dancer, instead.

Mickey stands in the corner, but gets the bright idea to be “light on his feet” by tucking a helium balloon into his shorts. He leaps gracefully over Pete, surprising the two, and Minnie begrudgingly agrees to dance with Mickey. Things go well for a while, until Pete realizes Mickey’s scheme and shoots a nail at the balloon in Mickey’s shorts, making Mickey fall on Minnie. Having had enough, Minnie decides to dance with Pete for the rest of the dance, leaving Mickey to cry in a corner.

March 13

March 13, 2007 – The Meet the Robinsons Single, “Little Wonders,” is Released

Image credit: Wikipedia

 “These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate.”

On March 13, 2007, as stated on iTunes, the second single for the Disney animated film Meet the Robinsons, called “Little Wonders,” was released. Written and performed by Rob Thomas, it was featured in the final scene of the film. It peaked at number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100, 57 on the Billboard Digital Songs, 11 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary, and 5 on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs.

Rob Thomas, on his Cradlesong album tour (I attended the Northern Virginia/DC leg of this tour), explained why he wrote the song:

“I wrote this song for my best friend who passed away recently, my dog Tyler, and years ago, I was with him when I was…supposed to write a song in between the last solo record and the last Matchbox record, and it was for this film, and I was finishing up being on the road and I was in a hotel in Phoenix. So my dog makes me take him for a walk and it’s a miserable night and it’s cold, and I’m upset probably about nothing at all in particular, just upset, and so I harness him up and I go outside, and I’m miserable. Again, probably for no reason. Miserable. And I look down, and I want some solidarity…but no man, I look down, and he’s [my dog is as] happy as he’s ever been his entire life, and he’s like ‘Dad, we’re freakin’ walking!’ My first thought was like, ‘Traitor’. Right? Immediately, ‘Traitor.’ I’m gonna trade him in and get a new dog, but then, I realize that this little guy knew more about life that I did cause right then, there was a moment that was happening. There was something going on and I was missing it and he wasn’t. And so this song was written about that. It’s about not letting those moments go by. Sometimes, you have an expectation, sometimes you’re waiting for something else to happen and while you’re waiting for something else to happen, life is passing you by, and these little moments are going by, just like us, right now, right here in Fairfax, man, this moment, don’t let it pass by, man. I love this night, I don’t want to forget it. Thank you very much for it. So this song goes out to Tyler.”

March 12

March 12, 1943 – The Donald Duck Short, The Flying Jalopy, is Released to Theaters

“Ah, yes, a little matter of insurance…”

On March 12, 1943, The Flying Jalopy, a Donald Duck short, was released to theaters. Directed by Dick Lundy, the short is about Donald dealing with a shady used plane dealer, who tries to get Donald to have an accident so he can collect on a $10,000 insurance policy. Although Donald is known for being accident-prone, this short is one of the few that shows Donald avoiding a major accident, for the most part.

The short opens with a billboard sign for Ben Buzzard and his used planes (which used to be called “wrecked planes,” but the word “wrecked” is crossed out in bold back strokes). The camera zooms out and shows the airfield where the “used” planes sit as scrap sculptures, except for one last plane that is very Wright Brothers-esque. Donald is seen examining the plane, which has been marked down to a down payment of $59.98. Donald feverishly checks to see if he has enough money, but unfortunately is a bit short of the asking price.

Ben Buzzard, the proprietor, lurks in the office doorway, observing the cash in Donald’s hands. Thinking quickly, he starts the salesman act, pulling Donald back with his cane and asking Donald if he is interested in an airplane. Donald nods excitedly, and Ben launches into his sales pitch. The first one he calls attention to has its wheel burst while they are observing it, but Ben offers Donald the chance to buy it with an offer of no down payment. He hits the tail of the plane with his cane, making the tail fall off. He quickly puts it back on and rushes to get Donald to take a test flight.

The shady insurance document Ben was able to have Donald sign

As Donald is sitting in the cockpit, ready for his test flight, Ben tells him there is one more thing: an insurance policy he unrolls from his coat pocket. Donald eagerly signs it, as it seems to say that in the event of an accident, he will be paid $10,000. As Ben takes the paper, he unfolds it, revealing that in the event of an accident, $10,000 will be paid to Ben, signed by Donald. To get this money, Ben decides that Donald will have to die.

Ben begins the test flight, breaking the front propeller, and continuing his plan of making Donald have an accident. Unfortunately for him, Donald is able to avoid hitting the side of a cliff, and manages to keep the plane in the air, with Ben watching angrily from the ground as his plans are foiled. Ben swears that he will get Donald, and takes off to the sky.

Donald feels pretty good about his flying skills as he keeps the jalopy in the air

Ben greets Donald in the air, telling the beaming duck that he is rather good at flying, and suggesting a game of Follow the Leader. Donald agrees, and Ben offers to lead. He gracefully dives around the clouds, and Donald tries to follow him, but both of the plane’s wings rip from the body of the plane. Quickly, as Donald begins to plummet to the ground, he grabs the wings floating in the air and reattaches them, and is able once again to keep himself in the air.

Ben sits on a cloud and furiously tries to come up with a plan, only to be blown away by Donald, who is quickly flying by. As Ben dangles in the air from his cane that has caught a part of a cloud, he spies a small opening between two cliffs, which he knows the plane won’t possibly make it through. He then surrounds the cliff tops with cloud cover, and calls Donald over to continue the game. As he slips to the other side, Ben gives an evil grin and brags to the audience with death in his eyes, “He’ll never make it!” Unfortunately for Ben, once again, Donald is able to save himself from danger at the last minute, turning the plane sideways and slipping through quite easily.

As Donald tries to put out the flames with his hat, he looks in alarm as it catches on fire

Having had enough, Ben cries out that Donald is a dirty cheat, and begins to destroy the plane outright, being done with underhanded plans. It becomes an outright war between the two, especially after Ben opens Donald’s gas tank and sets the stream of gasoline on fire. Donald tries to blow the flames out, but to no avail. Ben, meanwhile, perches on a cloud and laughs, thinking the policy will soon be his. He doesn’t count on Donald flying in his direction, and while Ben tries to make a break for it, he continues to be in the plane’s path. The plane finally meets its demise when the flames reach the gas tank, but all is not lost: Donald safely flies his new plane – Ben, who is trapped inside the last piece of the body of the plane – through the air, laughing all the way.