Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #29: The Hawaiian Operator

hawaiian operator

We arrive at the 29th film in the Disney Canon, “The Rescuers Down Under”. It’s the first animated sequel to a Disney film (“The Rescuers”), as well as the first sequel in the Canon itself. And in my opinion, it’s better than the original, but not vastly better! So let’s take a look into this film!

We are still in the period known as the Disney Renaissance, which as I mentioned in the last post, was a decade during which every animated Disney film released was a huge critical and commercial success except for one. This movie is that one!

Released in 1990, “The Rescuers Down Under” received positive reviews from critics (mainly from its superb animation and use of the CAPS system, I assume), but was not an overwhelming box office success that the other films during this era would be.

The film takes place in Australia where a young boy named Cody, helps free a giant Golden Eagle from a trap.

cody and marahute
Although the boy is supposedly Australian, he’s voiced by a Norwegian with an American accent! And although all the animals in the film are able to talk, the Golden Eagle only screeches! Eh…it’s Disney, I overlook it!

After that, he falls into a trap himself; one that was laid by Percival C. McLeach, the villain of our film voiced by George C. Scott!

Portraying General Patton prepared him well for the role, apparently!
Portraying General Patton prepared him well for the role, apparently!

McLeach is a poacher who’s on the lookout for the Golden Eagle. After hearing that Cody has seen the bird, McLeach kidnaps Cody in an effort to discover the Golden Eagle’s whereabouts.

A mouse witnesses the kidnapping and sends a cry for help to the Rescue Aid Society; a cry that passes through various RAS headquarters along the way until finally reaching New York, the main center of the RAS!

marshall islands

hawaiian islands

los angeles

denver

st louis

chicago

washington dc

...which begs the question, "Why didn't they just send mice from the Marshall Islands to help since they're so much closer?!"
…which begs the question, “Why didn’t they just send mice from the Marshall Islands to help since they’re so much closer?!” Eh…it’s Disney, I overlook it!

Our heroes, Bernard and Miss Bianca end up flying to Australia to save the boy and that’s the gist of the film!

"Bernard, darling, would you rather sit here at this fancy restaurant dining or venture off for danger to a continent halfway across the world that could very well be the cause of our deaths?""Is..Is..that a trick question, Miss...Miss Bianca?"
“Bernard, darling, would you rather sit here at this fancy restaurant dining or venture off for danger to a continent halfway across the world that could very well be the cause of our deaths?”
“Is..Is..that a trick question, Miss…Miss Bianca?”

Along the way we come across lovable characters such as an albatross named Wilbur voiced by John Candy,

"My brother was named Orville and I'm Wilbur! Get it? Why aren't you laughing?"
“My brother was named Orville and I’m Wilbur! Get it? Why aren’t you laughing?”

an Australian kangaroo mouse named Jake,

Many a girl's fictional crush!
Many a girl’s fictional crush!

and my favorite character of this film, a sadistic mouse doctor named “Doctor Mouse” who doesn’t know that he’s sadistic and uses all the latest medical instruments!

"Cyrano de BergeMouse, M.D. requests that the patient be placed in an anesthetic mode and that the operating saw be prepared!"
“Cyrano de BergeMouse, M.D. requests that the patient be placed in an anesthetic mode and that the operating saw be prepared!”
"Anesthesia, check!"
“Anesthesia, check!”
"Operating saw, check!"
“Operating saw, check!”

But the character of focus today is the Hawaiian operator! He runs the…umm…stereotypical, generic, army-related, technological…center for transmissions and communications…in Hawaii!

"You don't know where he works actually, do you?"
“You don’t know where he works actually, do you?”

Ok, I don’t know where he works exactly; but the point is that his workplace is the Hawaiian headquarters of the RAS, although he’s oblivious to that fact! We first seem him going about doing his job of staring at computer monitors, when all of a sudden, the monitors seem to be plagued by an “RAS Virus”!

An epitome of diligence!
An epitome of diligence!
"Say what?!"
“Say what?!”

He desperately tries to fix this problem by repetitively pressing a key on his keyboard.

"Delete, delete, delete, delete, delete...maybe I should try wishing upon a star!"
“Delete, delete, delete, delete, delete…maybe I should try wishing upon a star!”

But, the Hawaiian RAS mice know that this is a secret message meant for them and that they must distract our Hawaiian operator friend somehow. So, they dial the phone number of the…center, which causes the diligent worker that our Hawaiian operator friend is to get up from his position and answer the phone.

While he’s away from the desk, the mice take over the computers, decode the message, and…further pass it onwards to New York!

"Immediate action required?! Oh my goodness, this is urgent! Quickly, relay the message to New York, which is so much more farther away from Australia than we are!"
“Immediate action required?! Oh my goodness, this is urgent! Quickly, relay the message to New York, which is so much more farther away from Australia than we are!”

Now, our human friend here is quite important, although he doesn’t utter a word! Had he not gone up from his spot to answer the phone and instead worked persistently on fixing his computers’ bug, the message would never have been decoded by the mice! This infers that the message would never have reached New York! This infers that the message would never have reached Bernard and Miss Bianca! And this infers that Cody would have died at the hands of McLeach, because everybody knows that when hostage situations arise; the only ones you should call are rodents from countries that are extremely far away from you!

"I'm a baby and even I know that's not true!"
“Calm down, drama king!”

Ok, a bit of a stretch! Anyway, the point of the matter is that our Hawaiian operator friend is minor, but quite important, although he doesn’t know it; hence his being awarded with the forgotten/minor character award for this film!

P.S. This was the extremely important monitor that the Hawaiian operator was originally "watching"!
P.S. This was the extremely important monitor that the Hawaiian operator was originally “watching”!

17 thoughts on “Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #29: The Hawaiian Operator”

      1. I literally haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid, so I’m not sure if I’d still like Jake today! I should I’ve it a re watch! And I’ll keep an eye out for the Hawaiian operator

  1. I a thallus think that this film is worse than the first because the story is not really that tight, and the continuity is not that good. Nothing to say abor the character, but great post.

  2. OK, I have a lot of things to say about RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, but unlike previously, I’ll be jotting these down in separate comments. (So, please don’t think of me as shearing a dead sheep…)

    For my first note, I would just like to say that I think it’s absolutely criminal how the movie has gotten less attention than it really deserves. Maybe if that schmuck Katzenberg had given it a fair shake, it might have fared better…

  3. RESCUERS DOWN UNDER Musing #3:

    To call Marahute a “golden eagle” isn’t entirely accurate (unless, of course, you’re just using that as a descriptor), because golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are not found in Australia.

    On her blog post “Top 10 Fictional Birds Based on Real Birds” (http://willoughbyart.blogspot.com/2014/02/top-10-fictional-birds-based-on-real.html), wildlife illustrator and paleoartist Emily Willoughby has suggested that Marahute is actually a female Haast’s eagle, with color patterns based off of the Australian white-bellied sea eagle.

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