Society Dog Show (1939)

Billy Bletcher, John McLeish, Walt Disney, Lee Millar,
Society Dog Show is a short starring Billy Bletcher, John McLeish, and Walt Disney. Rather out of place at a swanky dog show, Pluto flirts with Fifi, a dainty Pekingese. The judge orders Mickey and Pluto to leave, but when a fire...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2021-05-11 Added:
  • Jack Kinney, Writer:
  • Bill Roberts, Director:
  • Producer:
10 / 10

The Sweetest Thing!

Okay, so the basic story here is predictable as heck, but who on Earth cares? 'Society Dog Show' is a beautiful Disney short which takes the familiar underdog formula and structures it into one of the most joyous and heart-warming products this studio has ever put together. It's one of the select Disney shorts which I saw way back, and which has really stayed with me over the years. And, every so often, I'll feel compelled to go hunt out my old videotape with it on just to relive those precious moments. What can I say - I've been a fan of these classic Walt Disney shorts since as long as I can remember watching TV, and I love the Pluto ones in particular to death; he's one seriously endearing cartoon dog, and 'Society Dog Show' contains what may well have been his finest hour (or at least 6 minutes at that).

Mickey Mouse, ever the eternal optimist (in the days when he still had those creepy, all-black eyes), has summoned the confidence to enter Pluto in a high class dog show. Naturally the poor funny-looking orange mutt doesn't stand a chance against all those highly-pampered, heavily-groomed pedigrees ? but he instantly wins the heart of Fifi, a female King Charles spaniel entering in the 'trick dogs' competition, which leads to?well, I would hate to reveal any more than I have to. Like I said, the basic story is formulaic, but it's just plain pleasurable to watch this chain of events unfolding, right up to the very last few moments, which have my impressionable heart fluttering every time.

This cartoon also provides one of the most quirky contrasts between Disney's line of 'regular dogs' and separate line of 'humanoid dogs' which really tends to throw so many of their viewers (a la the "Pluto's a dog, so what the hell is Goofy?" discussion in 'Stand by Me'). Other than Mickey, every character in this short is a canine of sorts - entries, owners and judges alike! It's that kind of offbeat little in-joke that always lures me to the Disney province. There are also some great sight gags, in particular when Pluto is undergoing his examination with the disgruntled judge. Not to mention that the classic animation style is just gorgeous, and that Fifi is a real cutie.

It's a winner, no doubt about it. I've been in love with this one all my life.

Grade: A+

8 / 10

Gorgeous animation...as always.

Mickey brings Pluto to a stuffy society dog show and has the temerity to enter his pooch. Not surprisingly, the judge is less than impressed with Pluto, though the dog ends up proving his worth when there is a fire and Pluto comes to the rescue.

Throughout the entire 1930s, the Disney Studio consistently made the best looking cartoons. Not only was the quality of animation the best in the industry, but they had an exclusive contract for several years for the use of Technicolor...true color...while the other studios generally made black & white films or films with primitive two-color systems (like Cinecolor). So the fact that "Society Dog Show" looks so darn good comes as no surprise whatsoever...folks came to expect excellence like this!

What you have is an excellently animated cartoon with a nice, enjoyable story...the sort of thing that helped to make Pluto a favorite for decades. Well worth seeing.

8 / 10

Pluto the true star.

In this Disney cartoon, Mickey takes Pluto to a dog society show, where he has to compete with dozens of dogs (and their owners) with their noses up in the air. Pluto makes contact with future girlfriend Fifi, and later ends up saving her from a fire carelessly started by a photographer.

There's some funny chemistry between Pluto and Fifi and I like the way how Mickey tries to fit in with all the high-society people. There's not too much slapstick comedy or humor in this cartoon short, but there's a nice superhero scene when Pluto goes on to save Fifi from the fire (it has always bothered me how the photographer who started the fire was the first who cowardly runs away without helping anybody after the fire started to spread).

It's a predictable cartoon, but it's still pretty funny to watch.

Grade B

10 / 10

Pluto takes centre stage in a somewhat predictable but hugely enjoyable cartoon

As I have said, the basic premise of Society Dog Show is very predictable. However putting that minor quibble aside, it is a hugely enjoyable silly symphony that fully reminds me of why I love Disney so much. Mickey is voiced by the master Walt Disney, and you have Pluto as energetic as ever, and voiced by the one and only Pinto Colvig. Another character that I loved was Fifi, who is not only really cute, but is at her most playful. The short is filled with clever and well timed gags, the best being the examination of Pluto by a disgruntled judge. Other elements that stood out were the gorgeous Technicolour animation and the music that is not only lively but quite lyrical as well. Overall, predictable, but nevertheless hugely enjoyable, where Pluto steals the show. I recommend it! 10/10 Bethany Cox

10 / 10

Blue Ribbon Winner

A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.

A proud Mickey takes Pluto to the SOCIETY DOG SHOW, where romance, ridicule & high adventure all await...

This is an excellent little film, made during Disney's Golden Age - the animation, gags, and exciting climax are all first rate. Fifi only appeared in a mere handful of cartoons as Pluto's heartthrob; she gives her most playful performance here. Walt Disney supplied Mickey with his squeaky voice.

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew comic figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a storm of naysayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.