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Was Mickey’s Pal Pluto Named After the Planet?

Was MIckey's Pal Pluto named after a planet?

We all know the loveable pup, Mickey’s Pal Pluto! I mean when we see Mickey, Pluto isn’t usually far behind, right?!  Who could miss that yellow awkward running pup.  However, some might not know the backstory on how Mickey’s pal came to be!

Pluto wasn’t always featured with Mickey, in fact, he appeared before he became man’s best friend and not leaving Mickey’s side in many animated shorts or films!  Viewers first caught a glimpse of dog that resembled Pluto in 1930 when Mickey was featured in a short called “The Chain Gang”.  During this film Mickey escaped from prison and was chased by two hound dogs that resembled closely to Pluto.  However, this was not the loveable pup we see today, but perhaps this is where Disney Imagineers acquired their inspiration.

Viewers also had a glimpse of another pup similar to the Pluto we see today, but he was shown as Minnie’s household pet named Rover.  He was not Mickey’s best friend at this point!  It wasn’t until 1931 when Pluto made another appearance.  This time he appeared as Mickey’s pal Pluto the Pup, as he was named.

Coincidentally, Pluto the pup appeared several months after the Pluto was discovered as a dwarf planet and named as the 9th planet in the solar system.  Even though there is no evidence this is why Pluto the Pup was given the name, we like to think Disney was also influenced by this new discovery!

We also know Pluto as one of the few characters that does not speak.  However, did you know at one point Imagineers did play with the idea of having Pluto actually speak along with his leading characters.  The waters were tested in 1935 though the film “Mickey’s Kangaroo” where Pluto’s inner thoughts were voiced throughout the movie.  Imagineers quickly did away with the idea as they felt it took away from Pluto’s facial expressions and character.  Pluto animator Nick Nichols explains, “We’ve generally kept Pluto all dog, with the exception of a breathy ‘Yeah! Yeah!’ or a raspy kind of laugh”.

We aren’t the only ones who think Pluto is so great!  In 1941 Pluto earned an Academy Award for the Mickey Mouse Short titled Lend a Paw, which was released in color.  The short won the award for Best Animated Short.  This award was extra special for all involved as the short was dedicated to the Tailwagger Foundation in recognition of its work of lending a paw to man’s best friends to which Disney was a generous donor to the organization.

I will leave you with this last fun fact about our loveable yellow pup.  Did you know Pluto is a father?!  Yup!  You read that right.  Pluto has fallen head over paws for a few different female dogs throughout his history as man’s best friend.  Pluto was first shown as a father in 1937 in the first animated short, “Pluto’s Quin-Puplets”.  During the film, Fifi and Pluto are shown as the proud parents of five rambunctious puppies.  Pluto was then featured again as a father in 1942 in “Pluto Junior” which features Pluto’s son who just wants to play with his father, who just wants to take a nap.

There you have it folks!  Did you learn anything new about the loveable K-9?!

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Jessica Jones

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