June 8, 1951 – The Donald Duck Short Test Pilot Donald Premieres in Theaters
“Get out of there, stupid. It belongs to him!”
On June 8, 1951, the Donald Duck short film Test Pilot Donald premiered in theaters. This was the 10th short in which Donald had to deal with the antics of Chip and Dale. The short was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Bill Berg and Nick George, and music by Paul Smith.
A red airplane is zooming through the clouds, and Donald is seen manning the controls, getting ready for a dive. He successfully completes the dive, then checks off his list that the plane is able to maneuver well. As the camera pans back, the audience sees that Donald is only manning a model airplane while camping out in the middle of a park. He sets the plane in for a landing on a pillow, and showers the model with affection.
From a nearby tree, Chip and Dale are seen admiring the airplane, too, although they scurry for cover when it seems that the plane gets too close to their branch. The plane does eventually get stuck in the tree, with Donald angrily trying to get it free from the branches. As Donald tugs on the string, smoke shoots out of the tail, flying directly into the chipmunks’ hiding place. Dale comes out and, seeing the plane sitting there, decides that this is his chance to fly the plane.
Dale scrambles to the cockpit, only to have Chip pull on his tail. He points out that the plane belongs to Donald, who is still vigorously pulling on the string. Dale doesn’t care, and when Chip isn’t looking, Dale climbs in and starts playing around in the cockpit, when one button causes the plane to shoot off, leaving Chip stunned. Donald just thinks he got it loose, unaware that Dale is flying around happily, pretending he is a real pilot. He steps out of the cockpit and sits out on the wing, with Chip covering his eyes, thinking that Dale could fall at any second.
Dale finally looks down to see the danger he’s in, scrambles back into the cockpit, and tries to stop the plane. Donald is confused as to why his plane is running around strangely, and when he holds the pillow out for the plane, Dale ends up tumbling out onto the pillow, much to the surprise of Donald. Donald is immediately infuriated, but soon becomes saddened to see his plane is damaged.
As he fixes the wheel, Dale takes a look inside the engine, and begins to fix the model from the inside. Donald is surprised by this, and shuts Dale inside the plane, annoyed that the critter had the nerve to mess with his model. He then plays a prank on Dale, sending the chipmunk shooting out the tailpipe into a pitcher, where Donald keeps him trapped. Chip runs down from his perch to free his best friend, but is still mad that Dale did something so foolish.
As Chip tries to free Dale, Dale digs his way out and gets back in the plane, taking off as Donald tries to fix it. He begins to fly around wildly, waving at Chip as he passes by and sends him flying over the grass. Donald can only watch as his plane has been taken hostage, and flees as he realizes that Dale is going to use him for target practice. Chip just gives up and goes back to his tree while Donald decides to seek revenge.
As Chip continues to taunt the duck, Donald uses a fishing rod to catch the plane and pull it to a stop. Dale, caught, continues to fight, and ends up taking Donald “water skiing” across the pond, while Chip just looks on, frustrated at his friend’s antics. Donald finally catches up with the plane in the air, but Dale parachutes out, leaving the plane without a pilot. The fishing rod gets caught around the top of a building, leaving Donald to fly around in circles for hours, all through the night. Dale points this out as the chipmunks try to sleep, but Chip is still aggravated at his friend’s stupidity.