April 13, 1935 – The Mickey Mouse Short, Mickey’s Kangaroo, is Released to Theaters
“The nerve of that grasshopper! Busting up my house!”
On April 13, 1935, the Mickey Mouse short film, Mickey’s Kangaroo, was released. It was the last black-and-white Disney cartoon; the first Mickey Mouse color short had been released in February, but the studio released a few more black-and-white shorts before it realized that they had to be in color to continue Mickey’s popularity. The short was directed by David Hand, with Walt Disney providing the voice of Mickey Mouse. The short is also unusual for the fact that Pluto speaks to the audience, or at least lets the audience listen in on his thoughts.
Mickey is seen painting Pluto’s name on a newly built doghouse, and Pluto barks excitedly, jumping around and leaping on Mickey, showering him with kisses. Suddenly, a whistle breaks up their happy moment as the mailman arrives with a large, unusually shaped package for Mickey. Mickey looks at the tag and sees that it’s from Australia. Curious, he decides to open it.
As Mickey tries to open the package, it hops away, and Mickey lands on his face. Pluto follows the bouncing crate, sniffing it until it jumps on his nose. Unfortunately for Pluto, after he frees his nose, the box jumps on his tail, and he lets out a loud howl of pain. The crate jumps around wildly, chasing Pluto around the yard and into the woodshed, where the crate bursts open, revealing a rather large kangaroo.
Mickey is excited upon seeing his new pal, shaking her hand. He runs to get his boxing gloves to spar with the kangaroo, and the kangaroo decides to make Pluto’s home her own. Pluto turns to the audience, snarling, and begins to vent before turning to see the kangaroo and the damage she’s done to the doghouse. Seeing Pluto’s name on the front, the kangaroo licks the letters off, infuriating Pluto. He runs full speed, only to meet with the kangaroo’s fist, and is thrown into a basket of clothespins.
Pluto tries again to attack, but is sucker-punched again –this time by the joey in the mother’s pouch. Pluto is confused at what had just happened, and when he sniffs at the pouch, he’s met with a harder blow to the head, sending him running to the chicken pen, howling all the way.
Mickey runs out with his boxing gloves, and pulls out the joey, showing Pluto. The joey spars playfully with Mickey as Pluto carefully crawls back to meet the kangaroos and Mickey. Mickey then tells him, “One for you (the joey), and one for me (the mother).” Pluto is not amused at this situation, or that Mickey finds the joey cute. Mickey takes the mother to the gymnasium he has set up in the old barn, leaving Pluto and the joey behind.
Pluto again talks to the audience, telling them of his scheme to get rid of the joey first. He then begins to creep toward the water bowl, but is scared easily when the joey hiccups. Meanwhile, Mickey is sparring with the mother in the gym, and begins punching and teasing her, while she looks confused. Finally understanding, she lays one on him, with Mickey remarking, “Oh boy! What a wallop!” Although the kangaroo is easily winning, Mickey thinks it’s all in good fun and enjoys himself.
Outside, Pluto is trying to go ahead with his plan to get rid of the joey, but with no success, as it outsmarts his every move just by jumping. After a particularly bad attempt, Pluto ends up in a scrap heap, with springs attached to his feet. Although he is able to jump, he isn’t able to do it well, and crash lands into a corset on the laundry line, and then falls through the ceiling of the greenhouse, where the joey finds him out cold. The joey then curls inside the corset, as if it were a pouch, and goes to sleep. Although angry when revived, Pluto is touched by the affections of the joey, and cuddles with him.
The moment is broken when they hear strange noises coming from the gymnasium, and the two rush to see the kangaroo giving Mickey a thorough walloping. With one particular hit, Mickey is sent flying into a hay baler, and when he comes out, trapped in a hay bale, he still wishes to fight. A bit later, the mother is seen reading the sports section in front of a roaring fire, with the joey and Pluto snug in her pouch, becoming one happy family.