Friday 23 June 2023

A Musical Rescue

The gag of someone creating musical notes that form a stairway goes back to the days of when the sound of the notes came from someone in the theatre orchestra pit.

Here’s an example from Walt Disney’s Alice the Firefighter (1926). A dog pushes a piano out of a burning building and starts playing. Notes form to a window and mice leap down on top of them to safety.

Offhand, I can’t name any cartoons that have done the same routine; I’m pretty sure it happened in a silent Felix short. Sinkin’ in the Bathtub (1930) has a switch on the gag by having Honey come down from a balcony on bubbles made by Bosko’s saxophone.

It’s a shame copies of the cartoon from the available print are so poor. There are companies like Steve Stanchfield’s Thunderbean coming out with beautiful restorations of cartoons from B-list studios like Iwerks and Van Beuren. You’d think a mega-corporation like Disney would treat its old shorts the same way. (This post was written before the announcement that 27 restored cartoons would air on Disney+).


  1. I always felt that it would also be nice if the mega-corp-with-all-the money Disney would add some appropriate color to the famous Soup Eating scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

  2. One would think so, wouldn't one? Of course you can not possibly be the first one to come up with such an idea, hence Disney doesn't care.