December 9, 1931 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Mickey’s Orphans Premieres in Theaters
“Aw, isn’t it adorable?”
On December 9, 1931, the Mickey Mouse short film Mickey’s Orphans premiered in theaters. It was the first Disney cartoon with a Christmas theme, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but lost out to Disney’s Flowers and Trees. The short was directed by Burt Gillett, and stars Walt Disney as Mickey and Marcellite Garner as Minnie.
A mysterious figure trudges through the snow carrying a large covered basket as the carol “Silent Night” is heard in the background. The figure stops at a window of a nearby house and sees Minnie and Mickey preparing for Christmas. The figure leaves the basket on the doorstep and departs. Pluto brings the basket inside and pulls the blanket off to reveal a multitude of orphan kittens, who proceed to explore their new surroundings. Mickey and Minnie take to the kittens, but Pluto is rather suspicious of these invaders.
The kittens begin to wreak havoc on the house, pulling on Pluto’s ears and tail, and playing with the hanging light fixtures. Dismayed, Minnie suddenly comes up with an idea that Mickey and Pluto set in motion: Mickey plays Santa Clause to the kittens and Pluto plays the reindeer. The kittens are thrilled with their gifts, and parade around the house like a marching band playing a tune. Some kittens, who received saws and other tools, begin tearing the house apart. They continue to play pranks on Mickey and Pluto, until Minnie reveals the large decorated Christmas tree – which the mischievous kittens proceed to take apart.