SUMMARY: When Donald Duck hears a radio show suggesting techniques to help self-control, he tries some of them out on life’s little irritations.
WHY IT’S HERE: 1938’s ‘Mickey’s Trailer’ pretty much perfected the formula for Mickey, Donald and Goofy shorts but at the same time Mickey’s co-stars were outgrowing him. Donald and Goofy had proved themselves strong characters in their own right and their parts of the trio shorts were becoming more popular than those of Disney’s iconic figurehead, who was starting to get usurped in shorts such as ‘Moving Day’. ‘Self Control’, an enjoyable enough little short, is here because it demonstrates just how established these new stars were becoming. While Mickey’s happy-go-lucky character was fairly interchangeable with many situations, Donald had forcefully established his personality as a rigidly set, vivid entity that dictated the action rather than adapted to it. Hence ‘Self Control’ is a solo cartoon built entirely around Donald’s well-established temper. While I always feel the writing could have pushed the comedy much further (as it would in many later, funnier Donald cartoons), ‘Self Control’ was truly a sign that Donald had made his mark with audiences.