Friday, 16 January 2009

Sorry to hear it, Mittens

I like having my picture taken with other Disncy characters when I'm in Walt Disney World. Among the new ones I met last trip were the stars of the film "Bolt", including Bolt himself and the black and white cat, Mittens. I haven't seen the film yet but someone explained the cat is the intelligent one (credible characters are always a good start). I thought Mittens was quite nice even if he could have done with a bit more white fur on his face.

I have now heard that Mittens no longer appears at the "character meet" because he is said to have frightened some children. This is sad but it can happen. My humans remember that there used to be a "Chef Mickey's" restaurant (in the Marketplace, where the Rainforest Cafe now is). Mickey appeared in traditional chef's whites including a tall chef's hat. It made him quite big and my humans did see some small children frightened of Mickey Mouse! They think it no conincidence that when you meet "Chef Mickey" now at the Contemporary Resort he is quite short and has a low, soft hat.

And there is the story of Mickey Mouses's tail. It's long before my time, of course, but I was told Mickey originally had a tail in the parks like he does in films. Unfortunately, kids will be kids and sometimes pulled his tail. There were just the odd occasions when the poor mouse's patience was exhausted and he responded. I don't blame him at all but I suppose something had to be done. So now Mickey doesn't have a tail in the parks - although I prefer to think that he just had to curl it up inside his costume. The alternative sounds a little painful!

Contrary to the company's claims, things don't all happen by magic in the Magic Kingdom. There is a lot of planning, hard work and learning from many years of experience. Still, I hope they don't think the lesson of Mittens is that cats are scary. My human researchers remind me that Walt Disney had a cat character in some of his earliest "Alice Comedies" cartoons. I think he was called Julius. That's well before even Mickey made his first appearance. So it seems logical to me that Walt and his animators worked up a really cute little cat by the time of only their second animated feature. He just hasn't appeared in films much recently or (yet) in the parks.

Mittens, I am sorry to hear you are not appearing - but "that's show business" as they say. And there is still a little black and white cat who could dome out with Pinocchio or Minnie Mouse and entertain the guests with his totally adorable cuteness. His name? Modesty forbids me from mentioning it.

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