Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Ben Sharpsteen, Jack Hannah, Jack King, Dick Rickard | 53 minutes | animation, family, short film, musical | Original Voice Cast: Donald Novis, Pinto Colvig, Dessie Flynn, Clarence Nash, Don Wilson, Milt Kahl
“Santa’s Workshop” (1932), or “Santa’s Workshop” is a brilliant short cartoon about how Santa is preparing for Christmas. We see him reading letters from children and determine who has been sweet and who has been naughty. We can also take a look in Santa’s workshop, where all the toys are made. The film is from 1932, so of course no game consoles are manufactured, but wonderfully old-fashioned – and therefore so current – toys, such as dolls, rocking horses and checkers. The way in which the dolls get curly hair and the checkerboards are given a lick of paint is incredibly inventive and extremely humorous. When everything is done, all the toys march into Santa’s sack and he and his elves are ready.
The sequel to “Santa’s Workshop” is “The Night Before Christmas” (1933) or “Christmas Eve”. The video is based on a poem by Clement Clarke Moore. We see eight children sleeping in a mega-large bed and Santa is preparing their living room for Christmas. Santa has organized all this very well, because it is a well-oiled machine that we see at work here. Disney’s weakness for poor kids comes to the fore here, as it turns out that the poor little ones don’t even have decent socks to put the presents in. However, Santa Claus knows what to do and knows how to get rid of the presents in a creative way. Because it is Christmas Eve, the toys and Santa can’t contain themselves and they have a small party, which wakes up the children. This is noticed by Santa just in time, so that he can leave in time. A heart-warming video that is ideal for getting into the Christmas mood.
“On Ice” (1935), is the first Mickey Mouse movie on this collected DVD, and can be counted among the classics. Not only Mickey has a leading role, Donald and Goofy are also featured a lot. We see Mickey showing Minnie his skating skills to teach her, but soon he has to take action when it turns out Donald is in trouble. In fact, the duck has its due, because it teases Pluto by wearing skates on it. The lanky dog can’t skate, of course, and his paws go in all directions. Donald is in a dent, but is soon punished when he gets near a waterfall. Mickey tries to save the stupid duck. Meanwhile, Goofy is ice fishing, not with bait but tobacco. A delicious cartoon that is ideal for winter!
“The Cookie Carnival” (1935) is a short film in which Disney has let his endless imaginations run wild. All kinds of delicacies appear on and off the screen and come to life in a colorful procession. Candy canes like stilts and pretzels like bicycle wheels, it’s all just as inventive. A female cookie is sad because she has nothing to wear, but help comes in the form of a male cookie. She gets a makeover in a refined Cinderella-like way. Her hair is made of a caramel-like substance, her skirt is made of a muffin tin, and her rescuer uses a marshmallow for make-up. Then she transforms herself into the queen of the parade. All male refreshments are trying to win her heart. A cheerful imaginative cartoon.
With “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” (1952), we return to the Christmas theme of the DVD and it is a beautiful video in which Pluto gets to grips with Chip and Dale. The two squirrels love to tease poor Pluto when he picks out a Christmas tree with his owner Mickey. The two don’t realize that the hideout the two bully ghosts selected is just the tree Mickey wants to put in the house. Of course the bickering continues inside. Classic is the scene in which one of the two squirrels turns Pluto’s nose, thinking it is a Christmas light. A must see!
“Donald’s Snow Fight” (1942) is a wildly funny cartoon about the eternal battle between Donald and his nephews. Obviously, it’s Donald who initiates the snow fight when he destroys the snowman that Huey, Dewey, and Louie just created before. One slapstick moment after another follows each other. For example, the brilliant scene where Donald turns into a rhino is hilarious. Great video that you can watch again and again without getting bored.
The collection ends with the film “Ferdinand the Bull” (“Ferdinand the Bull”) (1938). This cartoon received an Oscar for Best Short Cartoon. Ferdinand is a calm bull, who enjoys the most when he is under his sweetheart
elingsboom sits to smell the flowers. However, this will change when a number of bullfighters start looking for new “personnel”. At first Ferdinand is not noticed, but when he is stung by a bee, all the more. He is taken to the arena against his will and has to show his skills there. It is a comic cartoon that has been a pleasure for young and old for years. Fun fact is that the matadors who enter the arena are caricatures of Disney artists. The main matador is based on Walt Disney himself.
The collection of cartoons on the “Merry Christmas with Mickey and Friends” DVD is of a high standard. It’s just a shame that the title doesn’t quite cover it, as it contains two non-Christmas or even winter-related videos. Nevertheless, the DVD guarantees several hours of viewing pleasure, because you will want to repeat it over and over again. The winter is long, but with “Merry Christmas with Mickey and Friends” it is really enjoyable!