It is quite a challenge to pick a single image to capture this entire short; it is a visually rich and complicated one that has several distinct phases, each of which is worth viewing. It packs a lot into a short runtime. It is also, from 1938, already the hundredth Mickey Mouse cartoon. Now, this may—my source is not clear—include three Donald cartoons without Mickey initially released as “Mickey Mouse cartoons,” but even if it’s only the ninety-seventh, it’s quite clear that, by 1938, this was one busy mouse.
All is, apparently, serene as Mickey and Goofy awake in what appears to be a cottage in the country. Which turns out to be a trailer next to a dump, so yeah. Anyway, they get on the road. Goofy’s driving, and Mickey’s making breakfast. He wakes up Donald, who gets a bath and then settles in for breakfast. So does Goofy, who has difficulty actually getting anything to eat. Then they realize he hasn’t, you know, pulled over first. As he scrambles out to the driver’s seat, he unhooks the trailer.
Again, it’s a complicated short. There’s a lot going on. It’s hard to imagine seeing it for the first time, on the big screen, and thinking about how the next moment would go, then still being surprised. It’s pretty wild to consider. We tend to take for granted that everyone knows the details of these things, and we should be remembering that, once upon a time, they were new. It’s an interesting space to put yourself in every now and again for older media—the idea that it was once new.
Obviously, the idea of a trailer wasn’t new in 1938; they go back to considerably older horse-drawn vehicles. But the idea of this kind of trailer was fairly new, the kind where it included everything. Mickey pulls assorted levers and flips assorted switches, and the bedroom turns into a bathroom then a dining room. Sure, it obviously includes several pocket dimensions in order to fit everything that we see come out of it, but that’s half the fun. And, of course, a reference to how magical some trailers at the time must have seemed in their use of space.
Possibly the greatest benefit of the cartoons with all three characters is that there’s not enough of any of them for you to get tired of them. Oh, sure, this also features the set piece wherein we see Mickey and Donald deal with their runaway trailer, and it’s a great sequence. Arguably one of the best in the early cartoons, managing to convey a sense of real peril despite the fact that, come on, they’re not going to kill Mickey. But still, no matter which of the three you like, there’s room for them, and if you don’t, there isn’t room for them to get annoying. And Donald doesn’t get angry at all, so that’s nice, too.