CLOSE
YouTube
YouTube

Mickey Mouse, Foul-Tempered Giant Rodent

YouTube
YouTube

Steamboat Willie was the official debut of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and frankly I never paid much attention to it until now. So what actually happens in this classic short film? Mickey Mouse tortures a series of animals, synchronized with wacky music. Yeah, there's some stuff about Mickey's conflict with Captain Pete and his relationship with Minnie, but what jumps out here is that Mickey is serially trapping and torturing a bunch of animals. Wikipedia's plot synopsis discusses this (emphasis added):

...Landing on deck, Minnie accidentally drops a guitar and some sheet music for the song "Turkey in the Straw" which are eaten by a goat. The two mice use the goat's body as a phonograph which they play by turning the animal's tail like a crank. Mickey uses various objects on the boat as percussion accompaniment and "plays" the animals like musical instruments.

Finally Captain Pete appears and puts Mickey to work peeling potatoes. In the potato bin, the same parrot from before appears in the port hole and mocks Mickey again. The mouse throws a partially peeled potato at him, knocking him into the river below. The film ends with Mickey laughing at the sound of the bird struggling in the water.

Um. Wow. In this recut of the cartoon, Steamboat Willie is mixed with Philip Glass's opening score from my favorite art film, Koyaanisqatsi. In this new cut, we learn that Mickey Mouse is a foul-tempered mouse-giant who takes out his anger on barnyard animals. Watch and be totally freaked out.

So what's the deal here? In this alternate universe, can we presume that Mickey and Minnie have been freakishly enlarged by some means, and are now using that advantage to take revenge on his formerly larger animal compatriots? Seems like it to me.

See also: Echoes of Koyaanisqatsi; Why Isn't Mickey Mouse in the Public Domain?; and 10 Things You Didn't Know About Mickey Mouse.

(Via MetaFilter.)

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
arrow
travel
You Can Still Visit This Forgotten Flintstones Theme Park in Arizona
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Like many pop culture institutions of the 20th century, Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones hasn’t been relegated to just one medium. The animated cast of America's favorite modern Stone Age family sold cigarettes, starred in a live-action 1994 film, and inspired all sorts of merchandise, including video games and lunchboxes. In 1972, it also got the theme park treatment.

Bedrock City, located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona, was the brainchild of Linda and Francis Speckels, a married couple who bought the property and turned it into a 6-acre tourist attraction. Concrete houses were built to resemble the Flintstone and Rubble residences and are furnished with props; a large metal slide resembles a brontosaurus, so kids can mimic the show’s famous title credits sequence; and statues of the characters are spread all over the premises. The site also doubles as an RV campground and parking site.

A Flintstones theme park house
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Bam-Bam at the Flintstones park in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Wilma Flintstone at Bedrock City in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When it first opened, Bedrock City employed actors to stay in character, but the remote location proved challenging to retain both employees and visitors. Over the past four decades, it's had a steady stream of tourists, but not enough to turn a huge profit. Atlas Obscura reports the attractions are in various stages of disrepair.

Linda Speckels put the property up for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $2 million, but it has yet to sell. One possible hold-up: The new owner would have to negotiate a fresh licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. for the right to continue using the show’s trademarks. (A separate Flintstones park in South Dakota, owned by another member of the Speckels family, was sold and closed in 2015.) With its proximity to the Canyon, the 30 total acres could be converted into almost anything, from a mall to a golf course. For Flintstones enthusiasts, the hope is that the park’s unique attractions won’t be reduced to rubble.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
arrow
holidays
Watch Terry Gilliam's 1968 Animated Christmas Card
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

In 1968, future Monty Python member Terry Gilliam was kicking around London, working as an animator. He was asked to put together an animated segment for a Christmas show, so he hopped over to the Tate and photocopied a bunch of Victorian Christmas cards for inspiration. The resulting film, The Christmas Card, is brilliant, bizarre, and delightful. Enjoy some pre-Python madness from the master:

If you liked that, check out Terry Gilliam explaining his animation technique in 1974.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios