Top 20 Disney shorts
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20. Lonesome Ghosts (1937)
This short is not only considered to be one of the best “Mickey, Donald, and Goofy” shorts, it is also considered to be the main inspiration for Ghostbusters. The main trio are called to a spooky mansion to exterminate four ghosts, only to always be outsmarted by the ghosts. This is a hilarious short and should have had an Oscar nomination
19. Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943)
Out of all the shorts in this list, this is the only one that does not have a bright and happy tone to it. Based on the book of the same name by Gregor Ziemer, the short follows the life of a boy named Hans as he is taught the way of the Nazis. Being that this was shown to audiences, a humorous scene was added to reduce the tension, though the short as a whole is a powerful and grim propaganda short.
18. Victory Vehicles (1943)
At the time it was released, World War II was in it’s antepenultimate year and the rubber and gas shortage was still going on. The short features dogs (all look like Goofy) giving suggestions for vehicles that could replace the automobile. After countless failures, they discover that the true replacement for the car is the pogo stick. The short’s gags reminds me of Tex Avery’s “… Of Tommorow” shorts he did for MGM. This short also has a catchy song that plays in the beginning and end (though it really should have played only in the end)
17. How to Be a Sailor (1944)
A lot of the Goofy shorts of the ’40s mostly had a “How to…” premise to them. The short has Goofy showing the audience the sailor’s way of life and how sailing evolved over time. Being that it was released during World War II, the ending gag referenced the enemy of the time.
16. Little Toot (1948/1954)
Even though it was release as part of a package film, I’m putting it on the list since this particular segment was re-released as an individual short in the mid ’50s. This is adaptation of Hardie Gramatky’s poem with the Andrews Sisters providing vocals. The story is about a small tugboat who wants to be just like his father but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. When he is exiled from the harbor, he redeems himself when he pulls an ocean liner to safety from a raging storm. This and the Pecos Bill segement are among the most memorable segments from the Melody Time movie.
15. Runaway Brain (1995)
When Minnie misinterpts Mickey’s last minute plans for an anniversary date to a mini golf course to a vacation to Hawaii, Mickey needs to find a job that could pay him $999.99. He then finds a job that instantly pays him that amount. The only catch is that he has to take part in an experiment. The experiment causes Mickey’s brain to go into a monster like varient of Peg Leg Pete and vicse versa. This is a great attempt to revitalize the classic characters and it’s a shame Disney didn’t make anymore shorts after this one.
14. Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943)
Out of all the wartime cartoons during the Golden Age of Animation, this, MGM’s Blitz Wolf, and most of Warner Bros. wartime cartoons are the best and possibly one of the greatest cartoons ever. The cartoon has Donald Duck being inside a nightmare where he has to prove himself to be a good Nutzi. This short not only has hilarious gags, it also has a catchy song of the same name. Because the short had those two elements, it won the Best Animated Short Oscar.
13. Pedro (1942/1955)
Like Little Toot, I’m only adding this short because this was eventually re-realesed as a seperate short. Again, this short involves anthropomorphic vehicles, but this is an original story and the main character is an airplane instead of a tug boat. The short has the main character doing his father’s mail route through the Andes Mountains. While doing it, he has to cross the dangerous peaks of Aconcagua. Though a typical anthropomorphic short, this is a forshadowing of what’s to come in the late ’40s and ’50s
12. Plutopia (1951)
The popular Disney character of the ’50s was Pluto. Though this was billed as a Mickey Mouse cartoon, Pluto had more screen time and stole the show. The cartoon has Mickey and Pluto go to a camping resort. Pluto is abused by a cat named Milton. Pluto then dreams that he is in a utopia that Milton is his faithful butler who begs Pluto to bite him. The gags in this short are really funny and Pluto’s realization that Milton won’t tolerate his bites is hilarious.
11. The Olympic Champ (1942)
This is yet another “How To…” Goofy short of the ’40s. Goofy shows audiences how to do the main Olympic events like running, pole vaulting, and the decathlon. The gags, like any Goofy short, are very funny and the end gag particulary stood out.
10. The Brave Little Tailor (1938)
Before he faced Willie the Giant, Mickey faced another giant (the giant in this short is sort of a Willie the Giant-type character) in this Oscar nominated masterpiece. Based on the fairy tale of the same name, everyone mistakes Mickey the Tailor for a giant killer and he is sent to kill the meanacing giant. Though it would have been the only “non Pluto” Mickey Mouse to win an Oscar, it’s nomination is worthy enough.
9. Chicken Little (1943)
At first glance, you’d expect this to be like a typical “Silly Symphonies” short. Though it’s true to the famous fable than that god awful 2005 movie, the real purpose of this short is to show audiences the consequences of listening to rumors (a major concern during World War II). Though Foxy Loxy’s tactics are from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, I seem to picture Foxy Loxy as Dick Cheney instead of Hitler.
8. The Story Of Anyburg,USA (1957)
This was part of Disney’s “cartoon specials” (occasional shorts made after Disney’s shorts division closed in 1955). The automobile is put on trial for the homocides and injuries it caused for people around the country. The automobile’s lawyer eventually shows his evidence and the automobiles eventually win. The backrounds and designs on the cars look like the typical UPA designs of the ’50s This short in a way seems to forshadow all the ridiculous lawsuits we see in this day and age.
7. Crazy With the Heat (1947)
This was not only one of the last Goofy shorts to have the classic version of the character, it was also the last short to pair Donald and Goofy. The duo gets lost in the Sahara Desert and they both have different mirages. Donald keeps seeing icebergs and Goofy sees a soda fountain owned a by a genie. Both get into misadventures with their mirages. This short gag’s are fast paced and well timed (especially Goofy’s gags).
6. No Smoking (1951)
1948’s “Goofy Gymnastics” saw the debut of Goofy as an everyman. The shorts that had this version gave him the name, George Geef. This short begins with a brief and comical history of tobacco. Then the majority of the short shows George trying to not give into his temptation to smoke. Eventually, he gives in and goes on a desperate search for a smoke. This is possibly the best example of humanity easily falling for temptaion. After an edited version aired on a 1961 episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, this short was banned from TV because of it’s content.
5. Peter and the Wolf (1946)
The last “package film short” of the list. This short is a combination of the story of the same name and the music of Sergei Prokofiev. The short has Peter going out to hunt a menacing wolf with his friends Sasha (a bird), Sonia (a duck), and Ivan (a cat). Not only is the music really relaxing and catchy, Sterling Holloway’s narration really shows emotion in the Peter’s animal friends.
4. In the Bag (1955)
This is actually a really significant cartoon. This was the very last cartoon preduced by Disney’s shorts division. The short has Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore making the bears of the national park clean up the mess the tourists made over the summer. When they discover his plan, the bears stop working, only to start again when Audubon bribes them chicken cacciatore. Though the short is funny, I can’t seem to think that the plot looks like something Hanna-Barbera would use for a Yogi Bear cartoon (then again, this short preceded Yogi by three years).
3. Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952)
Disney was well known for bringing inanimate objects to life, but in this short, they do it in a way where they also give it a sympathetic life. The short is the tale of a small blue car named Susie. She is bought by well-to-do man and lives a happy life with her new owner. Eventually, time takes its toll on her, mechanically and cosmetically. Her owner then trades her in for a younger model. Susie’s second owner is a man on skid row and her life becomes even worse. When she gets wrecked, all hope seems to be lost. Then a kid buys her and fixes her up. Though the concept of anthropomorphising objects was done lots of time, they excel at it to a point where even the audience could feel some sympathy to the car.
2. Aquamania (1961)
Here’s another “George Geef” Goofy short. This is the very last Golden Age Goofy short and the last appearence of Goofy in a theatrical short for 46 years. This short is the first Goofy short to use the xerography animation-technique (which could explain why the backrounds it sort of look like the one’s from 101 Dalmations). The short begins with a narrator explaining a case study of “aquamania” (obsession with boats and boating), with Goofy (named “Mr. X” ) as the subject. When he buys a boat, he goes with his son to go boat riding, only to accidently take part in a water skiing race, with his son at the helm of the boat! Though this is a Disney short, the short’s gags look like something Chuck Jones would do (this short was nominated alongside Beep Prepared and Nelly’s Folly, two shorts directed by Jones, at the 1962 Oscars).
Before we get to number one, here are two honorable mentions
1. Steamboat Willie (1928)
2. The Skeleton Dance (1929)
And now the number one Disney short is…
1. Motor Mania (1950)
This could possibly be Disney’s funniest short, let alone the funniest Goofy short. The short has Goofy (in his George Geef persona) as Mr. Walker, a mild mannered and friendly person. But when he is behind the wheel of a car, he changes into Mr. Wheeler, a crazy man full of road rage. When he leaves his car midway through the short, he goes back to Mr. Walker and becomes victim of the other drivers’ road rage. Because of the short’s subtle topicality, it and two 1965 Goofy cartoons about freeway safety, Freewayphobia #1 and Goofy’s Freeway Trouble, have been shown in driving schools across the continent.