Walt Disney Studio Bulletin No. 5 : The Trend of the Development of Cartoon Stories, Characters and Gags

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From the collection of Patrick Malone.

[…] Minnie, and other characters the opportunity of acrobatic playing and dancing, and accenting the musical beats. Other pictures like ARCTIC ANTICS, STEAMBOAT WILLIE and CANNIBAL CAPERS have the characters make use of their noses, tusks, whiskers, pig tails, skulls, and any kind of object for musical instruments. Even as slight a coherence as that built around locale is often broken in the second part of the picture. In KARNIVAL KID, the second part has nothing to do with the carnival, but features two cats singing "Sweet Adeline" on the fence. In TRAFFIC TROUBLES, Minnie and her music lesson and singing have nothing to do with the traffic troubles with which the picture starts.

Characters do not contribute to the unity of this type of story, because, appearing in such large numbers as in BARN DANCE, OPRY HOUSE, TOUCHDOWN, they are not distinguishable from each other, and merely form part of the background. It is impossible for the spectator to discriminate or establish any personal contact with them. Even such outstanding characters as Clarabelle and Horace, for some reason or other, do not react naturally, according to their own motivation and logic, but merely conform to the mechanical beat of the measure. Villains in GORILLA, KLONDIKE KID, GALLOPING GAUCHO, and MICKEY IN ARABIA, and many others are stereotyped and act in much the same way - like monsters. They all have pimply faces and saliva dripping from their mouths.

Most of the characters lack personality, because their physical or physiological actions (like fighting, chasing, hitting, falling, bumping, spitting, jumping, and dancing) are too general and not individualized. They do not express a distinct personality or interesting mental attitude. The appearance of their characters (for example, that of the fat man in TRAFFIC TROUBLES), is exploited merely from the physical angle of fatness, not of characterization.

2.Stories successfully held together by plot and theme.

In MAIL PILOT, the theme, "The mail must go through, "is stressed by the voices off-stage, by mottoes, and by the attitude of Mickey as the Mail Pilot. The story is […]