49. The Mad Doctor – Dave Hand

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SUMMARY: When his faithful dog Pluto is kidnapped by a mad doctor, Mickey Mouse follows them to a haunted castle where he must battle against an army of skeletons to rescue his beloved pet.

WHY IT’S HERE: Although it alarmed some cinema owners, leading to a short ban when the film was deemed too scary for kids, ‘The Mad Doctor’ actually covers ground already visited in earlier Disney shorts. The skeletons featured here immediatey recall both ‘The Skeleton Dance’ and ‘The Haunted House’ from 1929. The latter of these also saw Mickey at the mercy of skeletons, although in that short he was merely forced to play music for them while they danced and capered, with Mickey reduced to a supporting character in his own short. By the time of ‘The Mad Doctor’, the Mickey shorts were becoming far stronger on plot and character, the singing and dancing elements that once dominated now taken up by the Silly Symphonies series. So ‘The Mad Doctor’ sticks with Mickey throughout as he combs the castle for Pluto, fitting in lots of spooky, sometimes even morbid gags (the disintergration of Pluto’s x-rayed bones and organs as he contemplates his fate).

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