Let’s celebrate Halloween with the creepiest Disney short ever made: Jack Kinney’s Duck Pimples. It’s quite unlike any of Kinney’s Goofy shorts from the same period, not to mention unlike any short ever produced at Disney.
The weirdness might be attributed to the writing team of Dick Shaw and weirdo-genius Virgil Partch, who were parodying radio crime/noir dramas, but veered off into some wildly surreal territory. It’s not exactly a great cartoon, but it’s entertaining, which I can’t say for most other Disney shorts.
The animation is top-drawer work, and the human character designs are big fun. The effect of Donald’s hallucinatory dream is enhanced by the backgrounds that abruptly change each time a new character appears in the film.
The biggest mystery in this whodunnit is who’s responsible for the animation of Pauline, which is one of the finest pieces of cartoony female animation this side of Preston Blair. Milt Kahl is the most likely candidate if we look at the credits, but Marc Davis and Fred Moore have both been credited as working on the cartoon too (see Graham Webb’s Animated Film Encyclopedia).
Disney didn’t use a strict unit system in the 1940s like other studios; usually whichever animators had downtime would work on a short, so it’s conceivable that Kahl, Moore and Davis all contributed to Pauline’s animation. Now that’s a scary amount of talent!