Saturday, February 13, 2010

Commercial: Mickey's Surprise Party

Title: Mickey's Surprise Party
Studio: Disney
Date: Supposedly delivered 2/18/39
Credits: None on viewed print
Series: Mickey Mouse (but not)
Running time (of viewed version): 5:50 (excluding Leonard Maltin's opening)

Synopsis: In this commercial short for Nabisco, Minnie burns some cookies that Fifi dumped popcorn into and breaks down over it; Mickey buys some dry store bought cookies and this inexplicably makes Minnie feel better.

Comments: The story department really didn't knock themselves out for this one. The background department did a great job on the Nabisco products tho. And if the release date is correct, character designers, animators and ink and paint would have used this as a test run for the new look Mickey. I almost missed including this; it's not a theatrical short in the traditional sense, and isn't in Of Mice and Magic's filmography. And it's a hidden easter egg. On the DVD set preceding the rest of the 1939 Mickey shorts (a set that also has a hidden easter egg 1939 cartoon). In short, please let me know of any extras on regular releases like this short that I might have overlooked.

Leonard Maltin's introduction (on Mickey Mouse in Living Color, volume 1, disc 2, hidden above the "Play All" option; it is the lone 1939 cartoon on the disc) may be misleading, and at least appears to incomplete; it implies the short was made for the New York World's Fair of 1939. Technically LM says it was shown at the 1939 NYWF, and that is certainly likely. However, I note that
claims the short was delivered on February 18, 1939. This is the opening day of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (aka the San Francisco World's Fair). If the date the site is using is accurate (and not simply assumed by the site based on the opening of the GGIE, and barring knowledge of the source of the date, that's a pretty big if), it almost certainly premiered at the GGIE.
Walt Santner at posted the following from The N.B.C. National Biscuit Company Magazine issue of January-February 1939 (Volume 26, Number 1):
"N.B.C. Theaters at New York and San Francisco World's Fairs.".
"In New York, we have a circular space in Food Building North, and ...are erecting an air-condtioned motion picture seating approximately 266 persons.
On Treasure Island, in San Francisco Bay our Company has erected a modern motion picture theatre in the Food and Beverages building The theatre is rectangular in shape with rounded corners, and seats about 130 persons. There will be no charge to either theatre.
At both Fairs, the N. B. C. screen program will be the same (except that in San Francisco a few of the products featured are different from those in the New York Version. ..."


  1. A photo of Walt at the Golden Gate Expo, in the collection of the San Francisco Public library, notes that "Mickey's Surprise Party" was the studio's first commercial cartoon. Any truth to that? Thanks!

  2. Ooh, found the answer at Thanks!

  3. Re the use of “Mickey Mouse in Living Color” at the 1939 NY Worlds Fair, I’m fairly certain it was shown there because I remember seeing a Mickey Mouse cartoon when my parents took me there (probably in the 1940 season) as a child. When I mentioned this to my father many years later, he confirmed it and told me the reason I remembered it was because I dragged my parents back through the exhibit two or three times.