Thursday, October 18, 2012


We get all kinds of e-mail. Like this from a couple of days ago:

Hi, Steve. I've been researching strenuously to find any information about the history of the cancelled "Search for Mickey Mouse" movie. Some former Disney directors say they've never heard of it. However, I'm 100 percent certain the project was indeed once at Disney.

Silly me. I didn't know the project named above had been cancelled. I didn't know the project had been started. Or existed. But I get around so little.

I wrote back that I knew nothing about The Search for Mickey Mouse, and that the only current projects regarding the Mickster of which I was cognizant were some beat boards created by Disney veteran Burny Mattinson and a Mickey project that was being developed by a Disney feature director.

(Whether the director's feature idea is even moving forward at this point, I know not.) ...

I messaged my non-information and got this in return:

"The Search for Mickey Mouse" was going to be about Minnie and Basil of Baker Street's quest around the globe to find Mickey, as they meet a plethora of other famous Disney characters. In the early '00s, there were two major rumors circulating about "The Search for Mickey Mouse":

1) It would be Disney Feature Animation's 50th film. Or...

2) It would be a direct-to-video feature celebrating Mickey's 75th birthday.

Supposedly, the screenwriters - whoever they were - couldn't crack the code on the screenplay. Instead of a compelling narrative, the story was deemed too much of a gimmick (i.e. "Minnie and Basil go to The Hundred Acre Wood and meet Pooh; now they're in Agrabah and meeting Aladdin, etc").

So, "The Search for Mickey Mouse" was allegedly replaced with "Mickey, Donald & Goofy: The Three Musketeers" and the TV series "House of Mouse."

I've spoken with "Musketeers" director Donovan Cook, who likewise said he had never heard of "Search." But if the project was fake, it was one of the most elaborate and well-spread rumors in animation history. ...

I also got a link to this project on a fan site.

The thing of it is, studio artists develop various ideas and pitches all the time. Most end up in the trash receptacle. In the early eighties, story artist Pete Young and I spent the better part of seven or eight months developing boards for a feature called Mickey and the Three Musketeers under the supervision of Burny Mattinson. We looked at old films, developed character arcs, and had the usual fights over the direction of the story. Our version ultimately sputtered to a halt and was never made, but decades later Disney Toons Studio developed and produced their own version. (Dumas and his fiction never die.)

I knew about the later "Musketeers," even saw development boards and Toby Bluth's spiffy backgrounds, but swear to God, this "Search for Mickey Mouse" thingie escaped me. Maybe if I time-transport back to the early two thousands, back to the days of Sharon Morrill and David Stainton, I can vacume some relevant information up and shed some light on this.

(On second thought, maybe I'll just run home and watch television. I've got a week's worth of DVRed "Daily Shows" to watch.)


Anonymous said...

So there's another Mickey Mouse feature in development besides Burny Mattinson's pitch? Is it going to be 2D or CG? Is it still active or has it been shelved?

Floyd Norman said...

Everybody wants the "inside scoop" it appears. Projects drop in and out of development all the time. This includes the famous mouse. I had no idea so many people even cared.

Steve Hulett said...

Burny's project, beautifully drawn and filled with nice ideas, sits in his office.

Last time I talked to him, it was ... dormant.

David said...

I'm actually glad it's dormant. Mickey & Co. were great in their time , but it's time to do something fresh with hand-drawn animation. (I feel the same about the failed attempts every few years to resurrect the Warner Bros. characters like Bugs Bunny).

A Mickey Mouse hand-drawn feature at this point in time just further typecasts hand-drawn animation as something "quaint" , like something that the little kids watch when you drop them off at Grandma's house. Hand-drawn animation needs to cover new ground , not keep looking back over it's shoulder at what was done in the past. We should honor that past legacy by doing something new which builds on that legacy , not just doing pale imitations of the past glories.

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