An ensemble performance for a crowd of orphans emceed by Mickey includes piano playing, an adagio dance, an operatic number, and numerous attempts by Donald Duck to recite "Little Boy Blue."
- Mickey Mouse
- Donald Duck
- Clarabelle Cow
- Clara Cluck
- Horace Horsecollar
- The Orphans
- Mammy Two Shoes
Home video releases
- Mickey Mouse: The Black and White Years - Volume One
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White
Orphan's Benefit was the first appearance of Donald Duck in a Mickey Mouse series film, marking the characters' first joint appearance. Donald had previously appeared only in the Silly Symphonies series.
Although Orphan's Benefit was Donald's second appearance, the film was the first to significantly develop his character. Many of Donald's personality traits first seen in Orphan's Benefit would become permanently associated with him, such as his love of showmanship, his fierce determination, belligerence, and most famously his easily provoked temper. The film also introduced some of Donald's physical antics, such as his signature temper tantrum of hopping on one foot while holding out one fist and swinging the other. This was the creation of animator Dick Lundy who termed this Donald's "fighting pose."
Orphan's Benefit also represented a new direction for Disney cartoons, as noted by Disney historian Marcia Blitz: "It can be seen that the framework of Orphan's Benefit was traditionally slapstick. Audiences laughed at Donald's physical mishaps much as they laughed at Chaplin's or Keaton's. But in this instance there was the added dimension of Donald's abrasive personality. Surely nothing like it had ever been seen in a cartoon". Animator Ward Kimball who worked on the film called it a "turning point" for the studio, citing its extensive use of character animation which was used to physically convey personality.
The film was also the first appearance of Clara Cluck who would go on to appear in six other theatrical cartoon shorts.