Thursday, March 17, 2016

Original Production Animation Drawing of Stan Laurel On His Polo Horse from "Mickey's Polo Team," 1936

Original production drawing of Stan Laurel on his Polo Horse from "Mickey's Polo Team," 1936; Graphite pencil on peg hole paper; Size - Stan Laurel & Polo Horse: 6 1/2 x 5", Sheet 9 1/2 x 12"; Unframed.

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"Mickey's Polo Team," 1936 is an animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. The film centers on a game of polo played between four Disney characters, led by Mickey Mouse; and four cartoon versions of real-life movie stars of the era. The cartoon also features cameos of many Disney characters from the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony film series, as well as several real-world 1930s entertainment figures. The film was inspired by Walt Disney's personal love of the game of polo, was directed by David Hand, and was first released on January 4, 1936. Walt Disney provided the voice of Mickey Mouse and Clarence Nash the voice of Donald Duck. Animation was accomplished by Art Babbitt, Johnny Cannon, Paul Hopkins, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick, and Bill Roberts.

The story revolves around Mickey Mouse participating in a polo game, with a team that includes Goofy, the Big Bad Wolf, and Donald Duck. They are playing against Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Harpo Marx, and Charlie Chaplin. All of the character's horses have the same features as their riders, except for Donal Duck who is riding a very uncooperative donkey and Harpo Marx who rides an ostrich. Jack Holt, the American actor most known for westerns, is the game's referee and throws out the ball which signals the beginning of the polo match. Oliver Hardy is quickly knocked off of his horse when the two teams battle to see who can get possession of the ball. The Big Bad Wolf takes the ball, but Charlie Chaplin soon steals it and hits it into one of the poles. Chaplin then uses his cane to turn himself around in order to go in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Ollie is still struggling to get back on his horse. As Mickey hits the ball toward his home goal, Harpo Marx and his ostrich are forced to duck into the sand to avoid being hit.

Ollie is finally able to get onto his horse but due to his size, the horse's body sags in the middle. In an attempt to make the horse stay up, Stan Laurel pulls Ollie's horse's tail out and ties it in a knot. However, the horse refuses to move and get back into the game; no matter how hard Ollie tries to entice it. Stan tries to poke it with a needle to make him move, but the horse takes off before he can do so; throwing Ollie off and having him get poked with the needle instead. In the game, the Big Bad Wolf takes the lead with the ball, but loses his mallet and ends up using his breath to make the ball move forward. On the sidelines, Shirley Temple and The Three Little Pigs make fun of him, and the Wolf gets angry and ends up blowing the fence in front of them away and showering them with dust. Donald Duck takes the lead and hits the ball, but Harpo Marx hits the ball back at him and the two end up colliding.

Close up of the Stan Laurel original production animation drawing.

Donald yells insults at Harpo for knocking him off, but Harpo responds by punching him with fake boxers' mitts that were hidden in his clothes. The ball ends up landing next to Donald and he tries to hit it, but the team takes it away. Frustrated, Donald tries to get his donkey to move but it sits on him and begins laughing. The donkey then kicks him into the ground, the ball lands on his tail, and he is trampled by the other players (including Ollie, who finally manages to get back in the game). Donald throws a tantrum and accidentally swallows the ball, causing the teams to chase after him in order to retrieve it. Harpo hits him first using the head of his ostrich, and the Big Bad Wolf manages to briefly get the ball out by hitting him but it ends up bouncing back inside of Donald. All of the players from both teams try to hit Donald which eventually causes him to dig into the sand to escape. He tries to hide inside of a pole, but the teams continue to try to hit the ball out of him. Finally, Donald rips the pole off its base and leads both teams to collide. The end of the short has the horses riding their respective owners.

This is a wonderful original production drawing of Stan Laurel carrying his polo mallet while riding on his horse. Both Stan Laurel and his horse are full figure and this is a rare and beautiful drawing from a early, fun, and comical Disney short.