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Everything old is new again with Disney Television Animation's Mickey Mouse shorts and "Get A Horse!"

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Everything old is new again with Disney Television Animation's Mickey Mouse shorts and "Get A Horse!"

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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) ...

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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).

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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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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."

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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 Mickey" 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!" ...

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... 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.

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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 ...

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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."

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  • 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.

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