Mickey Mouse is hosting an amateur talent show in front of a live audience for radio, in which he may terminate unworthy performances by ringing a gong. In the first scene, Mickey's gong ends Pete's rendition of "Asleep in the Deep".
Next, Mickey introduces Donald Duck, who first presents an apple to Mickey in an attempt to win him over preemptively. But Donald's recitation of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" ends badly as he forgets the words. Mickey rings the gong and Donald is removed from stage. Just as Mickey is announcing the next act, a disgruntled Donald returns to take back the apple.
The next act, as introduced by Mickey, are "the two Claras: Cluck and Belle." Clara Cluck sings a clucking version of "Il Bacio", a waltz by Luigi Arditi, accompanied by Clarabelle Cow on piano. Despite several blunders, the performance is the first to avoid the gong.
Next, Donald returns to stage uninvited wearing a disguise and carrying a violin case. Upon reaching center stage, Donald throws off the disguise and pulls a sub-machine gun from the case. He holds Mickey and the audience at gunpoint, determined to finish his recitation. But he again forgets the words. When the audience laughs at him, he opens fire. Donald is quickly removed from stage.
For the show's final act, Mickey introduces Goofy and his "50-piece band" which turns out to be a multi-instrumental device on wheels. Goofy begins with "In the Good Old Summer Time" and moves on to "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". But the tempo and intensity of the song destroys the machine in an explosion. Goofy emerges from the wreckage and sheepishly admits "It busted!" Donald breaks out of Goofy's bandmaster hat and quickly recites a word-perfect recitation of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and delivers a vengeful "Nya!" at the audience. But just then, the "iris out" effect which ends the cartoon closes on his neck. He struggles to keep it open but it finally closes. This is a rare instance of a Disney cartoon breaking the fourth wall.
Mickey's Amateurs pokes fun at "amateur hour" radio shows which were popular entertainment in the 1930s and '40s. Perhaps the most famous example is the Major Bowes Amateur Hour in which the host, Edward Bowes, was known to strike a gong to stop an amateur performance. Mickey Mouse's repeating of the words "Okay, okay" in the film was recognized by audiences at the time as a parody of Bowes.
The Motion Picture Herald published a review of Mickey's Amateurs on June 19, 1937 saying in part "The subject must be seen to be appreciated and enjoyed. The fun it offers defies description."
The film was also inspired by the 1934 Disney film Orphan's Benefit. This film also featured a stage show with acts interspersed by Donald attempting a poetic recitation.
- Mickey Mouse (voiced by Walt Disney)
- Pete (singing voiced by Pinto Colvig)
- Donald Duck (voiced by Clarence Nash)
- Clarabelle Cow (voiced by Elvia Allman)
- Clara Cluck (voiced by Florence Gill)
- Goofy (voiced by Pinto Colvig)
- This was the final Mickey Mouse cartoon released by United Artists.
- The singing voice of Pete at the beginning is provided by Pinto Colvig instead of Billy Bletcher.
- The Mickey Mouse Club, October 18, 1956.
- Donald's Quack Attack, episode #4.
- Mickey's Mouse Tracks, episode #50.
- Mickey Knows Best
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color
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