Fifi the Peke
|GENUS PEDIGREE:||Pekinese (dog)|
|KNOWN RELATIVES:||Minnie Mouse (owner); Pluto Pup (husband); Pluto Jr. (son); and four other unnamed puppies.|
|KNOWN CONFIDANTS:||Pluto the Pup; Frankie the Canary; Figaro the Kitten; Bianca the Goldfish.|
|KNOWN RIVALS:||Dinah the Dachshund; Butch the Bulldog.|
|1st PRINT APPEARANCE:||"Mickey Mouse" Sunday strip (Mar. 6, 1932 - as "Flapper"), and later in "Mickey Mouse" #343 in "The Dog Show" (Four Color Dell - Aug. 1951);"Mickey Mouse" #32 in "Westward Whoa!" (Aug. 1953).|
|1st FILM APPEARANCE:||"Puppy Love" (Sep. 2, 1933).|
|BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS:||Fifi has been Minnie Mouse's pet Pekinese puppy since she was a young girl (at least according to the "Minnie 'n Me" storyline). She was originally introduced to the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip as Flapper. Later Fifi was an award winning show dog who became the object of Pluto's affection. The two of them eventually had a litter of five puppies. Apparently all but one of the puppies were weaned form Fifi and Pluto, and the one remaining became known as Pluto Junior. While Mickey Mouse and Fifi get along fine when they are alone together, for some reason Fifi does not care for Mickey whenever he is with Minnie. Perhaps She is jealous of the attention Minnie gives to Mickey? While Fifi's true feelings are not known, it is likely she doesn't appreciate the affections Pluto expresses toward other canine cuties like Dinah the Dachshund. One rival of Pluto's for Fifi's attention is the neighborhood bully, Butch the Bulldog.|
|HISTORICAL FACTS:||In chronological order, Fifi's film appearances were limited to a total of six. In the first, "Puppy Love" (1933), Mickey & Minnie double date with Pluto & Fifi, and Pluto switches the gifts the boys were giving the girls causing Minnie to receive a bone and Fifi some candy. This causes Minnie to get angry at Mickey, but everything works out in the end. Next, in "The Dognapper" (1934), Fifi appears only in a newspaper article which tells that Minnie's award-winning Pekinese Fifi was kidnapped. Pluto, Mickey and Donald discover the kidnapper is Bad Pete and rescue her from a deserted sawmill.|
In their next feature we discover that Pluto and Fifi are happily married and the proud parents of five mischievous puppies in "Pluto's Quin-Puplets" (1937). Following the scent of some passing sausage, Fifi leaves Pluto in charge of the pups. After a series of mishaps, among which Pluto gets drunk and everyone is covered in Technicolor paint, even Fifi, she is so disgusted with them that she tosses them all out of the kennel to sleep in a barrel.
Still Pluto's gal, she is seen, in a cameo, next to her beau sitting between Pluto and Shirley Temple in "Mickey's Polo Team" (Jan. 4, 1936). In "Society Dog Show" (1939), despite his lack of pedigree, Mickey enters Pluto into a dog show. Fifi is also a contestant, and their persistent flirting causes Mickey and Pluto to be thrown out. However, a fire starts in the building and Pluto heroically saves his leading lady.
Finally, in "Mickey's Surprise Party" (1939), which was actually a commercial for the National Biscuit Co. which was for the New York World's Fair starring Minnie and Fifi, features a mischievous little Fifi interfering with Minnie's attempts to bake, but Mickey saves the day by purchasing some Nabisco cookies and gives Minnie a tour of the company's various products.
Fifi's last film appearance occurs several years after Pluto's eyes have begun to wander, having fallen prey to a pretty Dachshund named Dinah, and in "Pluto's Blue Note" (1947). Fifi has been reduced to being just one of a crowd of girl dogs (including Dinah) who swoon and coo over the crooning Pluto. Fifi's career in comics was just as brief.
I am aware of only a few appearances, though there may be more. Her earliest appearance she was known as "Flapper," and was featured in the Sunday "Mickey Mouse" newspaper strip in a story which inspired her film debut of "Puppy Love" a year later where she, of course, was finally named "Fifi."
Then, in the Sunday "Pluto" comic strips, she appeared at least twice (June 11, 1939 and Apr. 28, 1940), but her owner was not Minnie, but a large woman.
In "The Dog Show" (1951), Minnie is distraught over Fifi's disappearance. Mickey finds the weeping Minnie who explains to him that she has entered Fifi in a dog show, it is too late to back out, and that Fifi is nowhere to be found. Mickey rents a Pekinese costume in order to enter the contest as Fifi. Through a series of mishaps, and Mickey's eventual capture by Bad Pete, the Dog Catcher, the real Fifi is found at the city pound. Rescuing Fifi and fighting off Pete, Mickey and Fifi make it to the Dog show just in time for her to win first prize.
Next, in "Westward Whoa!" (1953), Mickey, Minnie, Clarabelle and Fifi go on a camping trip which is troubled by Bad Pete, his companions Weasel (called "Nosey" in this tale) and another dogface named Snip. After Pete and his lackeys steal the gang's trailer, car, food and clothing, it's up to Mickey and Fifi to save the day. Rudely, Mickey uses Fifi as lion-bait (literally like a carrot on a stick), and rides the lion chasing down the crooks, bringing them to justice.
Fifi is featured in one-page gags in Dell's "Vacation Parade" #3 (1952) and "Pluto" #595 (1954).
She seems to have virtually disappeared from comicbooks since 1955. However she resurfaced again in the early 1990s in about a dozen books written for Golden Books, Western Publishing Company and Disney Press which featured sugary stories about a pre-teen Minnie and her companions, among whom was her faithful Pekinese puppy, Fifi. Minnie's friends Daisy, Penny, Clarabelle and others often played with Fifi and Daisy's own pet kitten, Trixie. Obviously these stories take place when Mickey and the gang were much younger. While Fifi appears in nearly every "Minnie'n Me" book she is actually featured in a few of them.
In one tale called "Puppies are Coming" (1991), Fifi became the mother of four Pekinese puppies while Minnie, Daisy, Penny, Clarabelle and Lilly waited. Whether these puppies were the progeny of Pluto or another in unknown. Of course this could be a precursor tale to "Pluto's Quin-Puplets," though the count and appearance of the puppies is wrong. In "Gold-Star Homework" (1991) Minnie accidentally got jam on her math homework, Fifi tried to eat it, which destroyed Minnie's paper ("My dog ate my homework!"). And in "The Perfect Bow" (1991) Fifi follows Minnie to school and becomes her "show and tell" surprise.
In Fifi's most recent tale, from a book called "The Big Date" (1994), she helps a much older Minnie (a more contemporary version) dress for a date with Mickey, while Pluto helps Mickey. Both boys bring a gift for their gals, for Minnie: a bouquet of flowers, and for Fifi: a bone wrapped in a big bow. After the date, the four snuggle on a park bench under a moonlit sky.
So, even today, Fifi is still very much involved in Mickey's gang. Perhaps Dinah was only a passing fling? A show-down between Fifi and Dinah is long overdue.
|LITTLE KNOWN SECRETS:||Fifi is confused with Dinah the Dachshund in "Pluto's Good Deed" (WDC&S #93) and possibly in "Puppy Love" (WDC&S #163 & 611), but is clearly distinguished from her in "Pluto's Camp" (WDC&S" #178) where both Fifi and Dinah play a role in the story.|