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July 21

July 21, 1939 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Pointer is Released to Theaters

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“Well, I’m, uh, Mickey Mouse. You know, Mickey Mouse? I hope you’ve heard of me. I hope.”

On July 21, 1939, the Mickey Mouse short film The Pointer was released to theaters. This short was the first display of Mickey’s redesign by artist Fred Moore, with his eyes changing from the previous “pie-shape” to a white eye with a black pupil. The short was also nominated for an Academy Award, but lost out to Disney’s final Silly Symphony, The Ugly Duckling. The short was directed by Clyde Geronimi.

Mickey is reading out loud from a book called “How to Train a Pointer,” in an attempt to teach Pluto to become a better hunting dog. Pluto salivates at the thought of better things to eat than beans, and the two set off to hunt. The two hear a cry in the woods, and look to see a family of quail. Pluto runs to chase them, tripping up Mickey and making him drop his shotgun. Mickey chastises Pluto, making Pluto cringe and paw at the dirt in shame. After attempting to slink away into the woods, Pluto crawls back and lays on his back, and Mickey realizes he can’t stay mad at his dog. Mickey then teaches Pluto how to act like a pointer, and Pluto copies him exactly, earning Mickey’s praise.

Pluto, keeping still to make Mickey happy, is surrounded by curious animals

Pluto, keeping still to make Mickey happy, is surrounded by curious animals

The two hear the quail cry again, and as Mickey tries to track it, Pluto gets distracted by a caterpillar and heads the opposite direction. Mickey accidentally wakes up a bear on his way to catch the quail, and, thinking it’s Pluto, slaps the bear to keep it quiet and continues to talk to it. Pluto, following the caterpillar, has gotten himself lost, but finds the family of quail. The quail chicks spot Pluto and start to play with him, but Pluto, remembering what Mickey told him, refuses to move, no matter what they do. Mickey continues to search through the woods with the bear tracking him, and he finally spies the quail – along with a host of other animals – standing around Pluto. Mickey turns to see that a bear has been following him, and nervously tries to weasel out of the situation. After crashing into Pluto, the two hightail it back to their campsite. Later that night, Pluto puts his pointing skills to good use by tracking down their last can of beans.

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