The production of animated shorts began to decline in mid 1950s. You can actually see a direct correlation to the penetration of televisions into households. The days of going to the movies and seeing a newsreel, a couple of shorts, maybe a serial short subject and the feature presentation were over. Movie theaters started experimenting with wide-screen formats and 3D to counter the appeal of TV.
Shorts didn’t disappear completely at Disney but their number diminished substantially. Today, shorts are used as a training ground for new talent and to experiment with new techniques. In 2013, the Walt Disney Animation Studios created an innovative new short called Get A Horse! It is a contemporary homage to the first animated shorts featuring Mickey Mouse, with all-new, black-and-white, hand-drawn animation paired with full-color, 3D, and CG filmmaking—in the same frame. Mickey, his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse, and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow delight in a musical hay-wagon ride—until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road with his car. This groundbreaking short takes a sharp turn when Mickey finds himself separated from Minnie and must use every trick up his sleeve to find his way back to her. Directed by Lauren MacMullan and produced by Dorothy McKim, Get A Horse! had its world premiere at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France on June 11, 2013, and was subsequently featured at the Telluride Film Festival and the D23 Expo before opening in theaters in front of Frozen on Nov. 27, 2013.
Get A Horse! is Mickey Mouse’s first new animated short for theaters since the Oscar-nominated Runaway Brain was released in 1995. Adding to the uniqueness of this latest big screen offering is the fact that Walt Disney himself ― the original voice of Mickey Mouse ― provides all of Mickey’s dialogue. The film’s editorial team meticulously combed through every vintage short in which Walt voiced Mickey to find each and every word of Mickey’s dialogue. Although the film uses a minimum of dialogue, the story was crafted to take full advantage of Walt’s performance. The short marks Walt Disney’s first voice credit in more than 58 years.
Serving as heads of animation for Get A Horse! were acclaimed hand-drawn animator/director Eric Goldberg (Aladdin, Pocahontas) and CG animator Adam Green (Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Paperman). Multiple Emmy®-winning composer Mark Watters (Goof Troop, Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales) provided the film’s jaunty score, which includes the rarely-heard ocarina instrument to lend a period authenticity.
By David A. Bossert
Walt Disney Animation Studios