The Barnyard Olympics, (1932) is a classic Disney short film. This movie is an all out, wacky, crazy, funny, and slapstick approach to great storytelling. It follows a hero, in Mickey Mouse, a rival, in an early version of Pete and along the way weaves in wonderful gags and animation.
If you have ever seen the film then you know the race itself is a burst of energy. The characters are constantly moving and the gags come fast as Pete does everything he can to keep Mickey from winning the race.
Sometimes old short classic cartoons are easy to ignore because of all the progress technology has made in animation but this is fantastic storytelling and a story of Olympic triumph. (Even if it is a Barnyard Olympics)
When Mickey wins, I guess I should have said “spoiler alert” but you probably knew Mickey was going to win. It happens because Pete accidentally catapults him over the finish line and into the winner’s cup.
The story reminds us that in competition and in life, there are always those out there that we are going to face that will take shortcuts, try to derail us, and do everything they can to not only win at all costs, but to keep us from winning as well. There are a lot of days that we wish it wasn’t that way. But the truth is, wishing doesn’t make folks like that stop. The real choice for each of us is how we will run the race before us.
Even in a cartoon, which at times becomes a bit of a parable, we are reminded of the great life lessons….try hard, give it your best, don’t give up, and trust that in the end…the books will balance….each of those lessons are shown in the cartoon and remind us to keep our focus (and we laugh and smile as we see them on the screen)
And one more observation, if you look closely at the picture with this article which comes from the victory celebration in the film. Isn’t that Oswald the Lucky Rabbit down in the left corner under the cup? You will remember in Disney history that Oswald was the character lost by Walt which led to the creation of Mickey Mouse. The same lessons we just mentioned come into play once again, an animator and film maker lost his lead character in Oswald and he didn’t give up…he created a new one, a new hero, in Mickey Mouse.
So officially, that probably was never really Oswald in the corner, since his rights were no longer owned by Disney. But it sure does look like Oswald doesn’t it?
And why not? Let me add one other side note. Many will remember that years later, the great Olympic sportscaster, Al Michaels (“do you believe in miracles? YES!”) was traded to NBC for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who finally came back home to Walt Disney Studios.
A true Disney Olympic moment…