On a dark and stormy night, a cloaked figure kidnaps Pluto from his doghouse. Hearing his pet's cries, Mickey jumps out of bed to rescue him. His search leads him to a creepy castle full of sinister skeletons. Meanwhile, the cloaked figure reveals that he is a mad scientist who wants to see what the result of fusing Pluto and a chicken together would be. Mickey finally finds where his dog is being held, but ends up strapped to a gurney himself with a buzz saw about to cut him in half. In the end, it turns out to have been just a dream and Mickey is happily "reunited" with his beloved pet.
- The Mickey Mouse Club, episode #2.96
- Mickey's Mouse Tracks, episode #25
- The Ink and Paint Club, episode #1.22: "Classic Mickey"
- The Ink and Paint Club, episode #1.55: "Oooh! Scary!"
- Mickey Mouse (public domain VHS)
- Mickey Mouse: The Black and White Years - Volume One (laserdisc)
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White (DVD)
The short uses the same gag that appears in "Haunted House" (1929), which has the door lock itself after Mickey enters the house.
The short's horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in England.
The short's title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short, "Tummy Trouble", in which he was seen on a picture. The Mad Doctor was also the basis for, and title of the second level in the game, Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse (for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega CD and PlayStation (as Mickey's Wild Adventure); a depiction of the Mad Doctor level is used as the cover art for the game.
This cartoon is in the public domain, and can be found on many low budget VHS tapes and DVDs, usually paired with "Minnie's Yoo Hoo" and "The Spirit of '43". It was also released on DVD in 2002 as part of Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse In Black and White.
The Mad Doctor (or Doc as Oswald called him while they are still friends and later Gus for angering him) returns in the Wii game, Epic Mickey as the secondary villain. For a long time, he was an ally of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, upgrading Wasteland and constructing for him animatronic sidekicks based on Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, thought in secret harboring ulterior motives. When the thinner disaster ravaged Wasteland, and the Shadow Blot descended on it, the Mad Doctor betrayed Oswald and became the Blot's right hand man, using the Beetleworx, former construction robots he built for Oswald, as shock troopers for the Blot's army, though he was far from blindly loyal to it, as the Mad Doctor saw the Blot only as a chance to seize power over Wasteland. Some time after the real Shadow Blot was sealed, he convinced the Blot's second-in-command, a Blotling so powerful to be often mistaken for the real Blot, to kidnap Mickey Mouse in order to steal his heart and enable the Blot to escape Wasteland and enter the Cartoon world, but they fail to do so. When Mickey tried to use the Moonliner Rocket of Tomorrow City to leave Wasteland, he and the others where informed that the Mad Doctor had disassembled it and stolen three parts of the vehicle for his own personal use. The first was left in the possession of Petetronic, who was at the time assisting him in creating Beetleworx while not on his full senses. The second was in possession of the Animatronic Captain Hook, who had gone berserk since the Mad Doctor had made sure that him and Pete Pan (a Pete version of Peter Pan) did not fight anymore. Animatronic Hook begins using a machine created by the scientist on Skull Island, turning the few pirates who did not flee in time into Beetleworx Bashers. The Mad Doctor himself, who used the last of the rocket parts to upgrade his flying vehicle (a snowball-like pod) was battled in his secret lair in the Lonesome Manor attic, where Mickey needed to shut down the three Beetleworx generators with thinner or the combined assistance of two Gremlins that disable two generators and a speeding Doom Buggy that crashes into the last generator to defeat him. Either way, the doctor is revealed to have converted himself into an animatronic (probably with the Skull Island machine or at least some similar machine) as the Shadow Blot, once freed, would dry up all paint from Wasteland and make it uninhabitable for Toons. So he planned to rule Wasteland as a mechanical king over a land filled with animatronics and Beetleworx built by himself. Before the Mad Doctor could do more, Gremlin Gus sabotaged his pod by taking the said rocket part, and he was blasted into the stratosphere. His cartoon also appears as a Projector reel (a transition level) and the full cartoon is even available to unlock. It was also mentioned that it was him to create the special cages that are used to imprison various Gremlins throughout the game.
The Mad Doctor returned in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, this time as the primary villain. He claimed to have reformed and begins to help reconstruct Wasteland from the damage of the quake with his Beetleworx. Oswald was overjoyed to have his friend back while Ortensia and Gus harbored some distrust so they summoned Mickey back to Wasteland. They were indeed right, as the Mad Doctor had orchestrated a master plan behind the scenes. When he was defeated, the Mad Doctor crash-landed in Disney Gulch. There, he built a laboratory inside the local volcano and began to create Blotworx, using the Spatters born from the explosion of the Blot, and cars from the supposedly destroyed Autotopia, in an effort to create an army for taking revenge on Wasteland.
However, the unpredictable nature of the Blotworx - his new creations - forced him to cast them out. Around this time, the Mad Doctor discovered at his own expense that the nature of a Toon and the one of an Animatronic clash with each other, and because his Toon parts interfered with the animatronic ones, he began to literally fall apart. In a race against time, he convinced Gremlin Prescott, who held a grudge against those who did not appreciate his 'genius', to turn on to Oswald and the others in exchange for a ride into the Cartoon World. Prescott assisted the Mad Doctor, constructing for him a special TV with the ability to connect to the Cartoon World (similar to the one Gus constructed), in an effort for the Mad Doctor to be remembered by the Cartoon World audience through his show "The Mad Doctor's Wonderful World of Evil", regain a heart, and be able to leave Wasteland.
The Mad Doctor also began to harness the Guardians from their pools with siphoning machines, sure that they possessed the ability to turn him back in a Toon again. What the Doctor didn't know was that the forced extraction en masse of the Guardians would cause the destructive earthquake activity in Wasteland, but he was delighted by it: not only would he not die, but he would also take his revenge by completely destroying Wasteland. Just before the biggest quake struck, he ordered Prescott to sabotage the Projectors' pipes in Rainbow Falls with some of his gags, for hindering travel across Wasteland. To cover all of this actions, the Mad Doctor then presented himself openly, claiming to be reformed. Afterwards, he temporarily returned to his laboratory in the Gulch, in an attempt to shut off the Blotworx before Mickey and Oswald discovered too much, where he was attacked by the biggest of his Blotworx, the Blotworx Dragon (a near-exact copy of the parade float of Elliot the Dragon) and had to be saved by Mickey and Oswald. While pretending to be good, he began to steal more and more popularity from Oswald among the cartoons thanks to his supposed help against the quake.
When Prescott was defeated, the Mad Doctor arrived just in time and with one of his Beetleworx (a Floatyard Hopper), hypnotized him, and made him take all the blame in front of everyone. To celebrate the supposed end of the menace, the Doctor decided to build a new ride, apparently to boost the morale of the people. But Mickey was still suspicious and, as the actions of Prescott still weren't fully clear, he and Oswald continued to investigate. After Oswald and Mickey discovered his machinations through a trip inside his show, disabling the Guardian Siphons that the Mad Doctor had set up in Autotopia (Prescott had broken the projectors to prevent anyone reaching Autotopia) and his diary in the Lonesome Manor attic, they confronted the Mad Doctor on his new ride, which in truth was a doomsday device for Wasteland.
Holding Ortensia, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar hostage, the Doctor tried to obtain through blackmail the magic brush from Mickey but Oswald shielded it at the last moment. After either destroying or befriending his giant mechanical claw the pair of heroes directly confronted him deep inside his machine. After the battle with his spider-like vehicle, the Doctor lost control of its movements, trapping him inside while on the edge of an enormous thinner pool. Oswald rushed to save him but once freed, the Doctor, whose machine had made him completely lose his exterior Toon layer, grabbed Oswald with the intent of dragging him and Mickey with him into the thinner. Mickey tried to shoot some thinner in his face but it had no effect on the inert Animatronic. If the player has defeated the doctor using thinner, then Oswald used his remote on the wires that the spider vehicle had uncovered to free an entire tank of Turp guardians who, while the spider vehicle began to fall, proceeded to drag Mickey and Oswald to safety while keeping the Doctor from fleeing. The spider vehicle exploded, blasting Mickey and Oswald into the sky, while the Doctor perished in the explosion.
If instead the player had previously used paint to fight him, Mickey tried to shoot some paint in his face. This not only made his Toon face partially reappear, but also takes an effect on his internal Toon parts, partially redeeming him. The spider vehicle began to fall, but seconds before the dive the Doctor pulled Oswald and Mickey towards him, and with his mechanical rocket feet, he propelled them all to safety. The Doctor was happy but is still confused. He asked Oswald how he would have the heart to save him after his repeated attempts to kill the Wastelanders. Mickey and Oswald responded that is for the same reason the Doctor saved them: because it is what heroes do. The Mad Doctor finally understands that respect doesn't come from power, but from courage and love, so the Tints revert him back to his Toon form. Overjoyed, The Mad Doctor then swore to reform for real and forever this time. He is later seen during the celebrating parade.
Differences through the generations
In the 1933 cartoon in which he debuted, the Mad Doctor was depicted as a mentally unstable murderous genius, with a laboratory filled with chemistry flasks, tubes and pot stills, located in a creepy castle. He also seems to have a grip on the paranormal, as not only is his mansion filled with demonic skeletons, but he also was able to cut in half Pluto's shadow, something scientifically impossible. In Epic Mickey, he is instead depicted an extremely power hungry scientist with a natural talent toward the construction of machines, in particular his Beetleworx. He was willing to kill his opponents before his (optional) reformation, but he never showed signs of murderous psychopathy. He was foolish enough in his struggle for power to even convert himself into a machine, something he later deeply regret. He was also highly Machiavellian and cunning, being able to create complex plans by deceiving the others and concealing his true intentions behind walls of lies. He seems, however, crazy enough to really think that by singing he will appear more trustworthy than by speaking. He is, however, shown to have remarkable singing abilities. In the happy ending of Epic Mickey 2, he is finally redeemed for real casting away all of his bad characteristics (except the song) in favor of turning into a new leaf.
- An early title for the film was The Mysterious Castle and served as the inspiration for the Mickey Mouse comic storyline Blaggard Castle.
- This film was banned in Great Britain at one time for being too scary for children.
- The Mad Doctor makes a cameo appearance in a picture frame during the hospital scene in the Roger Rabbit short, Tummy Trouble.
- This was one of the shorts that were used as a level in the SNES/Sega Genesis game Mickey Mania.
- The Mad Doctor himself is a major antagonist in Epic Mickey, with the cartoon itself serving as one of the game's transitional levels as well as an unlockable extra. The Mad Doctor returned as the main antagonist in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.