October 3, 1941 – The Pluto Short Film Lend a Paw is Released to Theaters
“Save him, Pluto! Save the poor little kitty!”
On October 3, 1941, the Pluto short film Lend a Paw was released to theaters, although under the Mickey Mouse banner. It is the remake of the 1933 Mickey Mouse short film, Mickey’s Pal Pluto, and was dedicated to the nonprofit Tailwagger Foundation “in recognition of its work in lending a paw to man’s animal friends.” The short was directed by Clyde Geronimi. It would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 14th Academy Awards.
On a snowy day, Pluto is sniffing around when he hears mewing from inside a bag floating on a patch of ice down the creek. He jumps in to rescue the kitten, and takes it to shore, although he isn’t too happy about the bag’s contents. The kitten follows him, wanting nothing more than to be his friend, and ends up in Pluto’s house. Pluto greets Mickey, and Mickey automatically greets the kitten, incurring Pluto’s jealousy. Mickey takes care of the kitten, and the little Devil inside jumps out of Pluto’s head and tells him that he needs to get rid of the kitten. Pluto’s Angel, however, steps in and tries to guide Pluto back to the proper path. The Devil gets rid of the Angel and convinces Pluto to get rid of the kitten by making it appear that he ate Mickey’s goldfish. Unfortunately, the plan goes wrong, and the bowl crashes onto the floor. Mickey, suspicious, asks the fish who did it, and she immediately points her fin at Pluto. Mickey kicks Pluto out of the house, leaving him in the show. Pluto sits in the snow, crying.
A bit later, the kitten is chasing after a ball when it goes out the doggy door, and bounces into the bucket at the well. The kitten jumps into the bucket, and both he and the bucket land in the well. Pluto watches as the kitten struggles to stay above water, and Pluto’s Angel tells him to rescue the kitten. The Devil steps in again and tells Pluto to let the kitten drown. In the end, Pluto’s Angel beats up the Devil, and demands that Pluto save the kitten, which he does. Mickey is alerted to the danger by Pluto’s cry, and Mickey saves the kitten and Pluto. Mickey warms Pluto back up in the house, and the kitten gives him a grateful lick. Pluto’s Angel then reminds him that “kindness to animals…will be rewarded in the end.”