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Have you been watching these new Mickey Mouse shorts that
the folks at Disney Television Animation recently began producing? The seventh in
this series -- "GASP!" --- debuted on the Disney Channel this
past Friday. And while I know that there are some animation experts &
Disney purists who are still taking issue with these deliberately edgy
cartoons, I have to say that I've really been enjoying these.
I mean, these 3 1/2 minute-long toons are fast paced.
They've got a great look and design. And I love the little nods to Disney
history that executive Paul Rudish & his team have scattered along the way.
Both the sweet ones (In the closing moments of "Tokyo Go," Casey Jr.
from "Dumbo" not only makes a cameo appearance in this short. But
there's also a picture of Walt riding the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad on
display in the barn) ...
Copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All rights reserved
and the subversive ones (Harold, Disneyland's
Abominable Snowman, pops up in "Yodelberg." And take a look at
that empty pile of Matterhorn Bobsleds as well as those human bones scattered
around the entrance to Harold's cave. It's clear that he's been helping himself
to the tourists).
That said, I do have to agree with the animation experts
& the Disney purists that Mickey sounds very different in these Disney
Television Animation productions. But as I understand it, this was a deliberate
choice on Paul's part.
As part of the lead-up to the official launch of these new
Mickey Mouse shorts, Rudish did a few interviews about this project. And during
one of them, Paul admitted that ...
... the 1928 / 1930s black & white Mickey shorts were the
launching point for these. That flavor of Mickey, that personality in the old
days and jump off from where we left off in 1934.
Now what's significant about the year 1934? Well, that's the
year that Mickey, Donald & Goofy were joined on the silver screen by
another comic trio. Larry, Moe and Curly, the Three Stooges.
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Inc. All rights reserved
And when Rudish was looking for just the right actor to
voice Mickey in these new Disney Television Animation productions (in which
Paul hoped to ape the comic energy that those old black & white shorts of
the late 1920s / early 1930s), who did he turn to? Chris Diamantopoulos. Who
you may know from his work on "Arrested Development" and "The
Office," but Stooges fans will recognize from his highly praised performance as
Moe Howard in that 2012 Farrelly Brothers film, "The Three Stooges."
Copyright 20th Century
Fox. All rights reserved
Now before Disneyana fans start reading too much into this
casting decision and then begin fretting about how Diamantopoulos is going to
replace Bret Iwan as the official voice of Mickey Mouse ... That ain't going to
happen. This was a project-specific casting decision. Iwan is still continuing
on as the Mouse's official voice. You can hear Bret's work in Disneyland
Park's new live stage show,
"Mickey and the Magical Map." He can also be heard as the voice of
the Mouse on those two relatively recent Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
releases, May's "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Quest for the Crystal
and June's "Minnie's The Wizard of Dizz."
So don't worry, Iwan still has plenty of job security. And
in the meantime, Diamantopoulos is just so thrilled to be the guy that Rudish
chose to become the voice of the rougher, edgier version
of the Mouse. Want proof? Here's what Chris put on his Twitter feed back
in March when Disney Television Animation officially revealed that this project
was in the works:
Here's the trailer for the new Mickey Mouse shorts. I'm so
proud to be the voice of Mickey in these. Enjoy!
And speaking of everything old is new again ... If you
haven't yet decided to make your way to the Anaheim Convention Center this
Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that you can then take part in this year's D23
EXPO, the Ultimate Disney Fan Event, let me offer you a bit more incentive.
These are images from "Get a Horse!" ...
... that never-before-seen, black-and-white, hand-drawn theatrical short which
is having its North American debut during Friday morning's "Art and
Imagination: Animation at Walt Disney Studios" presentation. And Bret Iwan
doesn't do the Mouse's voice in this cartoon either. It's Walt Disney himself who
be providing Mickey's vocals this time around.
Trust me, folks. You're really going to want to be in the
Anaheim Arena to catch "Get A Horse!" up on the big screen. Once this
never-before-seen short finishes screening, this is what your face is going to
look like ...
I'll have more details about this year's D23 EXPO later this
week straight from the floor of the Anaheim
Convention Center. But for now, I'm
off on a sort of a Disney-related marathon. Which starts later this morning
with a Disney Interactive event inside of the Roy
E. Disney Building
in Burbank and ends later tonight
at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
with the world premiere of Disney "Planes."
I've found the new Mickey shorts a bit off-putting, honestly. I liked "Croissant de Triomphe" a lot, but "No Service" rubbed me the wrong way, big time. And "New York Weenie" was just tiresome.
Look on the bright side, Powers. These new shorts are definetely lightyears better than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Nothing still beats the classic Mickey Mouse series.