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July 31

July 31, 1982 – The Television Special Pluto and His Friends Premieres

On July 31, 1982, the 30-minute television special Pluto and His Friends premiered on CBS. It was a shortened version of the Disneyland Anthology Series episode “Pluto’s Day,” and featured four Pluto-centric animated short films: Canine Caddy (released 1941), Bubble Bee (released 1949), Food for Feudin’ (released 1950), and The Simple Things (released 1953). The special was narrated by Gary Owens.

March 14

March 14, 1942 – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse Appear on the Cover of Liberty Magazine

“Last minute double check for your income tax.”

On March 14, 1942, the cover of Liberty magazine featured popular Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse. The characters were used to promote an article about filing income taxes that year, as a main message at the time was that Americans’ taxes would “beat the Axis” – a line from the Donald Duck short film The New Spirit. Disney character use was high at the time to help with the war effort, with their use ranging from military insignia to full-length goodwill films, such as Saludos Amigos.

June 28

June 28, 1940 – The Pluto Short Film Bone Trouble is Released to Theaters

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On June 28, 1940, the Pluto short film Bone Trouble premiered in theaters. It is the second short film in Pluto’s individual series. This short features the first appearance of Pluto’s nemesis and rival for Dinah the Dachshund’s affections, Butch. The short was directed by Jack Kinney, and is notable for being his first short film as a director.

Pluto is snoozing away in his doghouse when he is woken by a rooster’s crowing. He spies his empty dog dish, with the birds having eaten all of his food, and hears a strange sound from the other side of the fence. He sees a bone in Butch the Bulldog’s bowl, and decides to dig under the fence and steal the bone. As Pluto tries not to wake Butch, he runs into difficulties in acquiring the bone. As he gets it and starts walking away, he is unaware that Butch has woken up and is in pursuit. Pluto comes face to face with Butch and tries to pretend nothing has happened, but then decides to try and make a break for it. The chase is on all across town and in a carnival, but Pluto manages to lose him in the hall of mirrors. As Pluto passes by each mirror, his appearance changes, much to his surprise. His reflection in one mirror frightens him, as does another. He plays around with the mirrors, amusing himself with each distortion. When he spies Butch, the chase begins again, but Pluto manages to use the mirrors to his advantage to scare Butch enough to send him flying away.

April 18

April 18, 1953 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Simple Things is Released to Theaters

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“It’s the simple things that give my heart its wings, like fishing on a sunny day.”

On April 18, 1953, the Mickey Mouse short film The Simple Things premiered in theaters. This was the last Mickey Mouse short film released for thirty years, until 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The short was directed by Charles Nichols, with story by Bill Berg.

It’s a beautiful day at the beach, with Mickey and Pluto set out to go fishing. Pluto is more confounded by the creatures he discovers than anything, and ends up fighting with a clam. The clam attaches itself to Pluto’s tail, and ends up accidentally in Pluto’s mouth. When Pluto tries to get Mickey to help him, Mickey mistakes Pluto as wanting some food. The clam then eats the treat Mickey provides, as well as Mickey’s sandwich. As the clam accidentally swallows the pepper in Mickey’s hand, he sneezes himself out of Pluto’s mouth into Mickey’s hand. The sneezing clam flees, sneezing all the way into the water. Pluto loses another treat to a nearby gull, and has to contend with nothing but bait. Mickey almost loses his bait to the gull who stole Pluto’s food, but he manages to steal one finally from Mickey. Mickey chases the gull away, so he thinks, but the gull is able to get inside the bait bucket and eat more of the fish – until he gets chased away by Pluto. The determined gull strikes back, however, and beats the poor pup before settling back for another pass at the bucket. Mickey chases the gull up and down the beach, but are soon chased away by a whole flock of gulls that want fresh fish.

April 5

April 5, 1940 – The Donald Duck Short Film Donald’s Dog Laundry is Released to Theaters

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“Oh boy, oh boy! It’s all finished!”

On April 5, 1940, the Donald Duck short film Donald’s Dog Laundry premiered in theaters. It was directed by Jack King.

Donald has instructions for a modern dog washer, and sets up to make it using a makeshift of spare parts. Poor unaware Pluto is snoozing away nearby, but wakes up when he accidentally breathes in a leaf while snoring. Donald calls Pluto over for a bath, but Pluto has other ideas and tries to sneak away. Donald chases after him, and after a humorous back-and-forth, Pluto is able to hide in his doghouse. Donald, ever determined, grabs a toy bone marked as bait (complete with string attached), and sets a trap for Pluto to follow the bone. Pluto takes the bait, but Donald pulls the bone a bit too hard, getting it lodged in a rock. Pluto manages to get the bone out, but has a hard time chewing it, as the rubber keeps hitting him in the face. The trick turns into a game of tug of war, with Pluto finally getting the bone, and Donald having to resort to another baiting trick: a cat puppet. Pluto hears Donald make cat noises and, thinking the puppet to be a real cat, stalks his prey. Donald puts the puppet in the tub and continues to harass Pluto, covering him in suds. Unfortunately, the suds make Pluto sneeze, and when Donald goes to put Pluto in the tub, Pluto lets out a sneeze so vehemently that it sends Donald flying into the dog washing contraption. Donald ends up cleaner than ever, and surprisingly pleased that the machine works.

March 28

March 28, 1941 – The Pluto Short Film A Gentleman’s Gentleman is Released to Theaters

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“Now, my good man, run to the corner and get me the Sunday paper. Here’s a dime; now, be careful and don’t lose it.”

On March 28, 1941, the Pluto short film A Gentleman’s Gentleman premiered in theaters. It was originally released under the Mickey Mouse short line, but has since been regarded as a Pluto short film. It was directed by Clyde Geronimi.

It’s an early Sunday morning, and Pluto brings in Mickey’s breakfast on a tray, as if he were Mickey’s butler. He pours him coffee, and Mickey gives him a dime to go get the Sunday paper, warning him not to lose it. Pluto gingerly takes the dime and rushes off, but starts flipping it with his tongue as soon as he gets outside. He loses the catch and watches as the dime rolls away before landing on its side. As he goes to pick it up with his teeth, he is unable to grab it, and it ends up eventually landing in a sewer grate. Pluto tries to grab it, but his leg is too short to reach it, as is his tail. He cries as he realizes how hopeless the situation is, but is soon relieved when he spies a gum machine. He manages to steal a gumball from the machine, and attaches the chewed gum to his tail to grab onto the dime. He retrieves the dime and grabs the paper. As he heads home, he hears the praise from nearby customers, but trips when trying to show off. As he collects the paper, he spies a comic, starring him, on the front page, and stops to read. Unfortunately, he doesn’t notice the wind that has swept his paper away, and starts chasing after the individual pages. He manages to find them all in a mud puddle, and comes home with a mud covered paper and a disappointed Mickey, who laughs at Pluto when he starts to cry again.

March 5

March 5, 1932 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Mad Dog is Released to Theaters

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“Look, don’t shoot him, mister. Don’t shoot him. He’s my pal.”

On March 5, 1932, the Mickey Mouse short film The Mad Dog premiered in theaters. The short was directed by Burt Gillett.

Mickey is washing something in a tub, and it revealed that under all the bubbles is Pluto. Pluto struggles to get away from Mickey, and finally does, though he ends up in a game of tug-of-war with Mickey. He plays with a slipped bar of soap and accidentally swallows it, and is bewildered when he starts hiccupping bubbles. Mickey chases him around the house, but Pluto slips outside and down the street. An old woman walking down the street sees Pluto and, mistaking the bubbles for a sign of rabies, screams and calls for the police. The whole town panics seeing the “mad dog” running down the road, and chase after him throwing things and trapping him in an empty lot. Pete the dog catcher walks in and is ready to put Pluto down, when Mickey runs in just in time to save him and plead his case. Mickey fights Pete, and helps Pluto make an escape. Pete continues to chase them down the road, but the pair are able to slow him down considerably. In the end, Pete gets his head stuck in his own dog catching vehicle, and Mickey gets Pluto, and all of his fleas, home safely.

November 14

November 14, 1936 – The Silly Symphony Mother Pluto is Released to Theaters

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On November 14, 1936, the Silly Symphony Mother Pluto was released to theaters. It is the only short film in Pluto’s filmography that is listed under the Silly Symphonies banner. The short was directed by Wilfred Jackson.

A butterfly is flying around the farm, and one chicken abandons her eggs to chase after it. Pluto returns to his doghouse through a hole in the fence, not realizing that the chicken had been roosting in his doghouse, and is shocked when the chicks start to hatch. Thinking Pluto is their mother, they follow him, even when he jumps over the fence. They manage to leave him to chase after a cricket, though they end up following him again after a cricket mishap. One of the chicks starts to cry after being beaten about by the cricket, and Pluto suddenly feels the urge to comfort it. Seeing him be motherly, Pluto gives in to his instinct and adopts the entire group of chicks. Pluto digs out a caterpillar for their food, but when it tries to torment the chicks, Pluto scares it away. The chicken returns to her nest to find broken shells, and is shocked to find her chicks have disappeared. She spots them with Pluto, and demands them back from the dog, but Pluto refuses to let them go. She calls for the rooster to get her chicks back, and Pluto and the rooster start fighting. The chicks flee back into the doghouse during the fight, and when Pluto makes it back to the doghouse, he starts mourning the chicks, thinking he’s lost them. He is then happy to discover the chicks waiting for him and leaping into his open paws.

September 22

September 22, 1950 – The Pluto Short Film Camp Dog Premieres in Theaters

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“Wow!”

On September 22, 1950, the Pluto short film Camp Dog premiered in theaters. This is the fourth and final film that features the coyote Bent-Tail as Pluto’s nemesis, and the third with Bent-Tail’s son Junior. The short was directed by Charles Nichols, with story by Milt Schaffer and Dick Kinney.

Bent-Tail and Junior are howling at the moon, when Junior smells something delicious. The pair run down from their perch to find a camper having set up his tent, as well as hanging his food up a tree. As they try to bring the food down, Pluto manages to chase Bent-Tail away, though he misses Junior. Bent-Tail continues to get the food, while Junior sets his sights on eating Pluto. Bent-Tail, however, puts Pluto back in his tent before successfully grabbing the food, though his holding on to the rope sends him up the tall tree branch. After a series of mishaps, the two gather all of the food to make their way out, with Junior once again grabbing Pluto. After putting Pluto back, the two set off, but stop when Bent-Tail accidentally steps in a fire. Pluto wakes up after he is pulled out for a third time, but they manage to fool him before escaping. Pluto finally realizes the ruse, but finds himself trapped in the tent. After he rushes out, he finds himself falling over a cliff into the river below. As Bent-Tail and Junior sit down to eat, they are interrupted by Pluto, who decides to help himself to the meal. Hearing his owner come back from fishing, and seeing the campsite in a shambles, Pluto runs away to join the coyotes in their howling.

September 20

September 20, 1940 – The Donald Duck Short Film Window Cleaners is Released to Theaters

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“I’m flying high, up in the sky, watching the world go by…”

On September 20, 1940, the Donald Duck short film Window Cleaners was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack King.

Donald and Pluto are hard at work as window cleaners, with Pluto pulling the rope that suspends Donald high in the air on a scaffold. The first bit of danger is from a woman using pruning shears to trim her window box garden. While narrowly missing the rope and Donald’s neck, she snips off his hat and his tail feathers. As Pluto is pulling, he has an itch on his backside, and lets go of the rope to bite it, sending Donald plummeting. Luckily, the rope wraps itself around a sign and comes to a stop, but Donald has comically fallen through the scaffolding. He soon continues his work, sending his bucket down for more water. Pluto has fallen asleep on the job, and Donald tries to use the hook to wake the sleepy dog. Donald does all he can to wake Pluto, but ends up only more frustrated. He angrily throws his brush down the drain pipe, which rouses the dog. In annoyance, Pluto sends the hook to the direction of the water bucket, but it hooks onto a nearby bucket of nails and bolts. When Donald throws the bucket’s contents, it shatters the window. He then moves on to the next window, and a bee flies into the nearby flowers. Donald tries to drown the bee, who in turn tries to sting him. Donald manages to shield himself with his empty bucket, but the bee flies into the bucket, causing Donald to flip out. He ends up getting hit by a flagpole, and falls onto the scaffolding in a daze. As he tries to hit the bee, he ends up tied to the scaffold, and manages to hold off the bee as it continues to try and sting him. Exhausted, the bee holds up his stinger with his last bit of strength. Surprised by the sting, Donald ends up shooting down the drain pipe. He yells for Pluto to get him out, but the dog has gone back to snoozing.