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Series Name
Season 1, Episode 2
Mickey Mouse The Gallopin Gaucho
Written by Ub Iwerks

Walt Disney

Directed by Ub Iwerks

Walt Disney

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The Gallopin' Gaucho was again co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, with the latter serving as the sole animator in this case. The short was intended as a parody of Douglas Fairbanks' The Gaucho, a film first released on November 21, 1927. Following the original film, the events of the short take place in the Pampas of Argentina. The gaucho of the title was Mickey himself. He is first seen riding on a Rhea, instead of a horse as would be expected (or an ostrich as often reported). He soon encounters "Cantina Argentina," apparently serving as the local bar and restaurant. Mickey proceeds to enter the establishment and take a seat. He apparently just wants to relax with some drinking and tobacco smoking. Also present at the establishment are Black Pete (later renamed Peg Leg Pete, or just Pete), a wanted outlaw and fellow customer for the time being, and Minnie Mouse, the barmaid and dancer of the establishment, at the time performing a tango. Both customers soon begin to flirt with Minnie and to rival one another. At some point Pete proceeds in kidnapping Minnie and attempts to escape on his horse. Mickey gives chase on his rhea. He soon catches up to his rival and they proceed to fight with swords. Mickey emerges the victor of this joust. The finale of the short has Mickey and Minnie riding the rhea into the distance.

In later interviews, Iwerks would comment that Mickey as featured in The Gallopin' Gaucho was intended to be a swashbuckler, an adventurer modeled after Fairbanks himself. This short marks the first encounter between Mickey and Black Pete, a character already established as an antagonist in both the Alice Comedies and the Oswald series. Based on Mickey and Minnie acting as strangers to each other before the finale, it was presumably intended to feature their original acquaintance to each other as well. Modern audiences have commented that all three characters seem to be coming out of rough, lower class backgrounds that little resemble their later versions. Consequently the short is arguably of some historical significance.

At the time of its original production though, Walt again failed to find a distributor. It would be first released on December 30, 1928, following the release of another Mickey short. Reportedly Mickey was at first thought to be much too similar to Oswald and this resulted in the apparent lack of interest in him. Walt would soon start to contemplate ways to distinguish the Mickey Mouse series from his previous work and that of his rivals. The result of his contemplations would be the third Mickey short to be produced, the second to be released and the first to really draw the attention of the audiences: Steamboat Willie.

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