Disney Does (Classic) Hollywood

I was doing a bit of research on Greta Garbo and came across a list of classic Disney shorts which caricatured her. In looking them up, I found that they caricatured a whole bunch of classic stars, and were simply too wonderful not to share.

The first is “Mickey’s Polo Team” from 1936, in which Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and the Big Bad Wolf compete against Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Harpo Marx, and Charlie Chaplin in a polo match, to an enthused crowd of both animal and celebrity onlookers. I love Shirley Temple with the Three Little Pigs!

Next up is “Mickey’s Gala Premier” from 1933, in which Mickey dreams of premiering one of his films at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. There are way too many fantastic cameos to list here – watch out for a particularly harsh caricature of Marie Dressler – but my absolute favorite part is when Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis get up on stage and sing together!

Lastly and, in my opinion, best of all (and not only because Donald Duck has always been my favorite), we have “The Autograph Hound” from 1939, in which Donald sneaks onto a studio lot in Garbo’s car, gets into a fight with Mickey Rooney, and ends up giving his autograph to Shirley Temple! The caricatures here are brilliant and the ending is adorable.


  1. Jody Arthur

     /  April 4, 2011

    My sister and I used to watch late night Disney tv (Zorro!) and I swear I’ve seen a similar skit that isn’t posted here. It had caricatures of movie stars as nursery rhyme characters. I remember Katherine Heburn as Little Bo-Peep (although I may be mis-remebering). It’s been a long time, but it really stuck in my memory.

  2. I LOVED this! I think my favorite was the last one :) I remember watching alot of these, like Jody said above on late night Vault Disney in the early 1990s. Disney used to be great showing old Mickey Mouse Club shows and cartoons.

    The caricature in the last cartoon of Mickey Rooney is soooo funny. I love that they made him seem like a bit of a jerk like he was in Andy Hardy.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I love the last one too, ESPECIALLY Mickey Rooney! I’m not a huge fan of the guy in real life but he makes an excellent cartoon villain. ;)

  3. Wonderful post, Caroline! I LOVE these cartoons and have made a point of seeing all that I can over the years. The caricatures of stars are just fantastic. It was a lot of fun to play the clips. Thanks so much!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Becky! It’s so neat to see how the Disney animators depicted Hollywood stars. :)

  4. Page

     /  April 8, 2011

    I have to admit that I was an unusual child in the fact that I hated cartoons and I would not touch cereal! A few years ago while working in the ER one of my colleagues was telling a story about going to the dentist and while under nitrous oxide everyone sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher! Well, I had no idea what she meant so I went home and caught an episode of Charlie Brown and I LOVED it!

    I certainly have grown to appreciate them as an adult and I have a couple of favorites like the old Mickey Mouse classics and obviously Charlie Brown. And I never miss the new animated films today which are really mind blowing in how they’re made.
    Very cute post Caroline!

    This clip was adorable and very entertaining.

    • To me the best cartoons are the ones that are appealing to kids but also have a higher level of humor that you can’t really understand until you’re an adult. I’m not talking about sexual innuendo, obviously — I hate cartoons that are too wink-wink nudge-nudge to the grown-ups in the audience, it’s so unimaginative — but like how Charlie Brown is sometimes so dry and ironic. It gives people an excuse to re-visit old favorites and get something new out of them every time! With these Disney cartoons, I like how they have so much humor and action that’s entertaining even if you don’t know who the people they’re caricaturing are. It makes the cartoons accessible to everyone, and it really helps them stand the test of time!

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