Saturday, December 25, 2021

"Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas"

 Well, due to unexpected events, I've sort of had to give up my idea of cramming something else into the Christmas schedule, but we will, at any rate, finish up Twice Upon a Christmas with a story about...Pluto!  Very climactic.  Merry Christmas, by the way.

So...yup.  In this story, Pluto is on the outs due to having caused a mess, although the comic version is substantially toned down: here, he knocks down the tree, and probably-possibly breaks the punch bowl, the art isn't quite clear.  Whereas in the original version he causes a whole big power outage and really fucks up the whole room, and Mickey is much more angry about these goings on, giving a bit more of a justification for him running away.

You will have noted, of course, those narration boxes, which of course--how could they have been?--are not in the animated version, doing that weird thing that old Western Pluto stories did where the boxes are narrating Pluto's ideas and also talking to him and tempting him to do certain things.  Who came up with that concept, anyway?  Well, it's cool to see it done here in that it makes it seem more comic-y, though I can't say I was ever a huge fan of the sort of stories it's mimicking.

Anyway, Christmas is ruined.  I hope you're happy!  There's a whole thing in the cartoon where, after shopping (at "Saint Knickknack's's Megamall," the cartoon specifies) and then has a bunch of stuff strapped to the roof of his car that all gets knocked off when he tries to go through a tunnel.  It's fun!  And it's not here.

Well right okay, the main thing here is where Pluto gets adopted by one of Santa's reindeer.  These guys get more characterization in the original--or at least the one who adopts Pluto and the chief reindeer do--but it's not super-exciting in any event.  I'm not overly fond of that super-cartoony style they're drawn in.

Right.  Murray Christmas.  I will admit that that is dopey enough to be at least a little funny.

I'm struggling to find anything super-interesting to say about this, or anything period, but I will say that out-of-context and without the dialogue box, that last panel there is extremely psychedelic, which is kind of cool.  Hey, you take your small pleasures where you find them.

Anyway, the story wraps up very abruptly, which I suppose is for space reasons more than anything else, but it's kind of hard in any event to see how you'd drag this out much further, unless possibly you wanted to turn it into something completely different.  Which, maybe you should!  But, well, we have what we have.

Within the limits of this story, the final panel is kind of okay-looking.  And that is my highest praise.

Well, I guess we can't forget about the outro page (...or can we?), not that it's overly fascinating either.  I don't like the idea of Donald getting this book on "manners."  I really don't.  His id cannot be contained by social limitations, and you shouldn't try.  It looks like bullying.  Bah.  Also, how come now HDL have bagpipes, which they definitely didn't at the end of "Christmas: Impossible," and why does Scrooge now apparently hate them?  I can't tell whether that's an intentional inversion or not, but either way, I don't really care for it.  But at least unlike the cartoon, the comic doesn't end with an irritating Christmas pop song, so count your blessings.

Hurray!  As I said, I've been busy lately, but maybe I'll find the time to put something else up during the twelve days of Christmas.  Or maybe not.  But it'll be fun to find out!  Maybe.


Anonymous Elaine said...

But...but...does Santa give the poor bereft reindeer a pony?

I do like Goofy getting a new popcorn maker. As for the bagpipes...perhaps between the end of "Christmas: Impossible" and this epilogue, the events of the Hedman/Vicar story "Christmas Magic" took place, and Scrooge brought his bagpipe along to the cabin, and when HDL got their triple wish granted at the end, there were three bagpipes for the kids to play! Though I suppose the idea here is that there were bagpipes as presents for HDL under Mickey's Christmas tree, though I don't know why *that* would be so. OK, apparently Mickey was intending to invite the Ducks to his big party, but why would anyone think the boys would want their own bagpipes? I like my explanation better.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

December 25, 2021 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

As somebody who wrote many (published!) dialog-free stories (heck, one of my most signature character is a freaking mime) I must say... Having those dialog boxes takes away a lot of fun from the idea of having a character that can't talk. It's told in his/her expressions. That's what makes it so appealing and interesting. It can make so much stronger story if the reader have space to interpret what's going on in characters head.

I'm not blaming the mysterious writer of this adaptation (If we only knew who he was) for using it here if it was style of original Pluto stories... but I blame the original Pluto stories that started this trend for not trusting the reader. Even from what I can tell here, they don't seem add that much to what's going on. You can tell from visuals. It's not like we are dealing with very complex emotions - Pluto is happy because he wants to help out, Pluto is sad because Mickey scold him, Pluto is happy because he meet some reindeers, Pluto is sad because he misses Mickey... It's like that bad live action "Dumbo" movie, where they HAD TO add two bland children characters, so every time Dumbo feels something they had to comment about it a.k.a. explain it to the audience.

This review made me realize something I never thought while watching the movie - If those stories meant to happen on the same Christmas... What happened to Mona!? She was out of town, remember, and was going to spend entire Christmas with Max. Felt like Mysterious writer (lets sob his name was forgotten to time...) could easily included her here. It wouldn’t be the biggest changed in the adaptation. It's like in "Fellowship of the Ring", when Merry and Pippin appear during the Council of Elrond scene, despite not being there in the book. I think hardcore fans would swallow this and it would made the story more consistence. It's not like Mickey would say "I don't know you so you are not welcome at my Christmas party" (if Minnie is watching him). I will just assume Goofy and Max forgot about her (a la the way they forgotten Roxanne) and Mona is left in Goofy’s house rethinking her life and poor decisions she made.

As for the bagpipes joke. You know? I think it's a nice joke from The Mysterious Writer (They say on a foggy Christmas eve you can hear his voice in the distance) Maybe it would work tad better for me if it was suggested that HD&L playing is good and Scrooge is the only one who can take it, but maybe I'm over analyzing it. Maybe the art makes it look like they are doing this to annoy Scrooge, and not just have fun, which I assume was the fabled Mysterious Writer intention (Was he real? Or just an idea that comes from the heart?)

And on that note (pun intended) I end this post with "Mickey's [something] upon Christmas" traditional :


December 25, 2021 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stories like these are so dumb. You ARE supposed to be stern with dogs when they do things they shouldn't, that's how they learn. Plots like these just do kids a massive disservice by telling them dogs should be treated like people.

December 25, 2021 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I sort of think that most kids can probably differentiate between Pluto and real dogs. They're more discerning than you might think.

And yeah, dangit, why isn't Mona in the last panel? This cannot stand!

December 25, 2021 at 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Gregory said...

It would be a weird cross-pollination, but Pluto's narration boxes make me think of a more benign version of the ones you see in EC horror comics. "He's coming toward you, Carl! Run! This is your chance! Run!"

December 26, 2021 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Prolific writer Don R. Christensen would have been responsible for the “Pluto-Thought-Boxes”, as they appeared in the Dell Comics. If not, then it would have been his editor Chase Craig.

And, I must disagree with Pan on their use - and their value. They were employed for a very specific and logical reason… Differing with animation, comic books are meant to be READ (“READ”, pronounced as “RED”)!

While perfectly fine for a short gag story, long stretches of “dialogue-less” and “caption-less” panels simply don’t work nearly as well in actuality as some might fancy they do! Consider “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold” as a prime example of this! It’s not so much a comic book story as it is a glorified storyboard! When Donald and the boys had subsequent long adventures, they READ (“READ”, again pronounced as “RED”) like “The Mummy’s Ring” and beyond! Ya know, more of what we think of as “comic book stories”!

Besides, what’s wrong with having some insight into Pluto’s thoughts? It helps the reader “understand *his* perspective” far more than any number of puzzled and befuddled facial expressions could! Western later used the same gimmick for Pebbles Flintstone, to great effect.

Finally, OPPORTUNITY LOST (specifically for the comic book version): Pluto should have been called “MURRY Christmas”! We’d get it, and the flow would not be harmed for those who don’t!

December 26, 2021 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Quoth the Mysterious Writer: "HEY, PAN! DOGGONE IT!"

I don't have too much to add, except:

• I love the Western Pluto stories that used narration this way, so that's absolutely why I carried on the tradition.
• Pluto's alias of Murray, spelled as such in the film script, actually was "Murry" in my adaptation until I was asked not to do it. Boo!
• The idea of the nephews getting bagpipes isn't that Scrooge hates bagpipes now as a rule, but that together HDL can play loud enough to bother him with the sheer noise level, and thus get even.
• The individual stories weren't all supposed to take place on the same Christmas. They took place sometime before the frame story (or so we were told when working on it), which means Max is older and—hopefully—back with Roxanne.
• (Whom I—gulp—specifically mentioned as being on the outs with Max in "Christmas Impossible" simply so it wouldn't look like Max was cheating on her... I didn't like him dating someone else at all...)

January 2, 2022 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Ayrton Mugnaini Jr. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 31, 2022 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Ayrton Mugnaini Jr. said...

"Stories like these are so dumb. You ARE supposed to be stern with dogs when they do things they shouldn't, that's how they learn. Plots like these just do kids a massive disservice by telling them dogs should be treated like people."

I agree. Goofy is an anthropomorphic dog who talks, wears clothes, so he asks to be treated like a person, but Pluto isn't, and must be treated as a dog.

January 31, 2022 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Ayrton Mugnaini Jr. said...

"he knocks down the tree, and probably-possibly breaks the punch bowl, the art isn't quite clear."

I say! This dimly-lit drawing is a ordeal for the eyes. This is Disney?! I think even an indie comics mag would think thrice before releasing it.

January 31, 2022 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Ufa88kh said...

Nice article great post comment ,thank for your sharing.

March 15, 2022 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Mouse Maestro said...

The whole Mickey tale in the movie fell into the same trap that most of the late 1940s and early 1950s Mickey shorts were prey to: making Mickey into this strict, unlikeable master.

August 8, 2022 at 10:17 PM  

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