- The soundtrack and voice clips for this animated short were taken straight from the original 1934 animated short of the same name. One minor difference at the end is where Donald says "Aw, phooey!" instead of "Aw, nuts!"
- In this color remake, the character models were updated to match the characters' designs as of 1941.
- In this version, Donald's beak doesn't morph into Jimmy Durante's nose when he says "Am I mortified! Am I mortified!"
In the summer of 1939, in anticipation of Mickey Mouse's 12th anniversary the following year, Walt Disney commissioned a two-reel short film tentatively called Mickey's Revival Party. The plan was for this film to open with the characters arriving at a cinema where they would watch scenes from several old, mostly black and white Mickey Mouse films (among them Orphan's Benefit). The story artists envisioned the characters humorously interacting with themselves on the movie screen. This therefore required that the old footage could not be simply added as-is to the new film, it had to be redrawn completely.
It was during this process that Walt Disney decided to completely reproduce several of these old shorts in color. It was also an opportunity to update the character models, since many characters had changed in appearance since the early 1930s. Perhaps most noticeable were Mickey's eyes which had changed from solid black eyes to white eyes with pupils, as well as his face, which changed from white to flesh-toned, first seen in The Pointer (1939). Donald also changed in his body shape and size relative to Mickey.
And so Orphan's Benefit was the first of these films to be redone. The result was an almost exact frame for frame version of the original, except for the added color and updated characters. The film was directed by Riley Thomson and used almost the entire original soundtrack, the only change being the final line, from "Aw nuts!" to "Aw phooey!" which had become a common catchphrase for Donald by that time. The title of the film also saw a small change making it more grammatically correct, although this was not reflected in some promotional material such as the film poster (seen right). Orphans' Benefit was released to theaters on August 12, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures.
The next film scheduled for reproduction was Mickey's Man Friday (1935), but it was never completed. The original concept for Mickey's Revival Party was shelved and Orphan's Benefit became the only Disney film to be recreated scene for scene. It is unknown what led to the cancellation, although animation historian David Gerstein speculated that World War II or the Disney animators' strike of 1941 may have played a role, or that Walt Disney simply preferred to work on all-new films rather than "extensively revisit the past."
An abridged audio-only version of Orphan's Benefit was included in the album Mickey Mouse and his Friends as the track "Mickey's Big Show." The album was released by Disneyland Records in 1968, and was re-released in 2010 as a digital download on Amazon MP3 and iTunes.
In October 1973, the story was adapted into a 13 page comic book story in the Italian publication "Cartonatoni Disney" #14. The story was called Recita di Beneficenza, or Benefit Recital. The same year an English version was published in the American comic book "Walt Disney Magic Moments" #1, called The Orphans' Benefit.
- Walt Disney Cartoon Classics: Here's Mickey!
- Walt Disney Cartoon Classics: Here's Mickey! / Here's Pluto!
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2
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