We all recall Mickey’s deeds of giant-clobbering glory as the Brave Little Tailor. Not to mention Donald Duck’s trip to Bahia—and Goofy’s super-goofy horseback riding lessons! But how many of us remember Mickey’s battle with a desert bandit? Or Goofy’s goof-ups as a lumberjack? Or Donald’s fight against an ultra-annoying teenage robot?
These cool cartoon concepts were developed alongside the classics we love; but unlike them, never got completed or released. Today they are footnotes in Disney history—fascinating footnotes we want to know more about! Join D23 as we vacuum the cutting room floor… for an up-close look at these untold tales!
Introducing the never-released Mickey Mouse short, Spring Cleaning…
In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love—and to showing off your pet elephant to your girlfriend! Mickey has been training Bobo to do all sorts of tricks with his trunk. But alas! It’s spring cleaning day, and Minnie hasn’t time for trunk-tricks…
Unless they can help her in her housecleaning! Hey, why not?
Well, there’s a good reason why elephants don’t usually clean houses. Bobo’s trunk can beat the rug… and leave it in rags. Bobo’s trunk can wash windows… and break them. Bobo’s trunk can help Mickey lift a piano—and drop it down a flight of stairs!
In the end, the house looks deceptively clean; but jumbo damage lurks beneath the surface. When Minnie tries playing the piano and it falls apart, Mickey and Bobo end up in Pluto’s doghouse!
“An elephant in a house is funny. He’s so big!” —Walt Disney
Spring Cleaning began development in 1933, as an ordinary “domestic type of picture” with Mickey and the gang. Gags included Pluto’s mishaps with flypaper, Mickey’s crisis moving a dresser—and everyone’s crisis with a super vacuum cleaner, which sucks up half the house!
Alas, this cleaning tale just wouldn’t come clean. Pluto’s flypaper gag was moved to a different short, 1934’s Playful Pluto, while Spring Cleaning lay in wait for some big new plot device. Big like… an elephant!
When Mickey’s Elephant (1936) made a pachydermous hit, Bobo was seen as just what Spring Cleaning needed! In early 1938, Walt Disney and several writers added him to the plot. Then gags were sketched up by staffers and “students”—interns who included future Mickey comics artist Paul Murry.
In the end, though, Bobo was spared the cleaning detail, and Spring Cleaning went on the shelf. “I didn’t get a lift from that house-cleaning thing,” complained story man Frank Tashlin. On the upside, neither did Minnie.
comic strip serial—in which a few house-cleaning gags were seen. Story by Floyd Gottfredson and Ted Osborne, pencils by Floyd Gottfredson, inks by Ted Thwaites.
Images courtesy Walt Disney Animation Research Library.