MM laser discs
David A Gerstein
David.A.Gerstein at williams.edu
Wed Nov 24 02:01:52 CET 1993
Mark Mayerson asked,
"Can someone please tell me if the version of Steamboat Willie
on the new laser disc set is uncut? I refer to a scene that follows
Mickey Mouse pulling on the piglets' tails. What comes next, and is
missing from many prints, is Mickey lifting up the mother pig and
playing "Turkey in the Straw" on her teats."
This scene was deleted when the film was re-released in 1953
(for MM's 25th birthday), and modern negatives to the film seem to
lack it. (There is a slight "shimmer" right about where it was cut,
indicating that a negative somewhere along the line was spliced.)
Thus, the laser disc sadly lacks the scene. Of course, the
clutzes could have very easily inserted the scene from an old pre-1953
*print*, even if they don't have the *negative* to that version. They
do have such a print -- the old Disney Channel show "Good Morning
Mickey" used a battered old print on orange film stock that included
However, the producers of "Good Morning Mickey" left out other
things. You see, they took the print, made a video copy, then cut up
the video copy with computerized cutting-and-pasting. (They felt that
they couldn't get four cartoons onto the show unless they condensed
them!) So the middle of the cartoon (Pete's tobacco gag, and the
animals first being seen on the Podunk landing) was chopped out there.
Between the laser print and the old "Good Morning Mickey"
version, I can claim to have seen -- I believe -- the entire cartoon.
But according to the "Willie" *storyboards* (also included on
the disk) there is *another* pig scene -- after the cow is hoisted on
board, the sow is, too, with piglets hanging on to her teats by their
teeth! Since GMM cut the middle from the cartoon, I have no idea if
this scene actually made it to animation. Is it in the MOMA print you
saw? If not, we can assume that this one was never even animated.
I have written to the folks in charge of "restoring" the MM
films for the laserdisc, explaining about the existence of the "lost"
teat-playing scene that you mentioned, and instructing them to insert
it for future pressings of the discs. I should have a receptive
audience; I didn't just send the letter into the wild blue yonder,
but found the right guy to send it to from Jerry Beck, a good friend
of mine (who is in charge of MGM/UA's "Golden Age of Looney Tunes"
disc sets, as well as being an advisor to the MM disc series).
NOTE: I may be wrong that the current negative to "Steamboat
Willie" lacks the teat-playing scene -- Disney Video may have ordered
it deleted. But this doesn't seem likely because other, grosser gags
have been left IN every other cartoon on the discs. Aside from
"Steamboat Willie" everything is uncut. I believe that the omission
of this scene was a mistake, and that it will hopefully be rectified.
Maybe you want to wait on buying the discs 'til I find out the
lowdown? (Although that's a tough assignment... they're GREAT!)
* * * * *
I'm sorry that this letter has nothing to do with comics! But
it was important for me to answer it.
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