The Milky Way
the milky way 1940.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Rudolf Ising
Produced by Rudolf Ising
Studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed by Loew's Inc.
Release date(s) June 22, 1940
Country United States
Language English

The Milky Way is a one-reel animated cartoon short subject, produced in technicolor and released to theatres with the movie The Captain Is a Lady in 1940 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. The short, produced and directed by Rudolf Ising with musical supervision by Scott Bradley, explores the adventures of the "three little kittens who lost their mittens", as they explore a dreamland where space is made up entirely of dairy products (for example, the Milky Way is made of milk and the moon is made of cheese). Mars is depicted as a planet where shooting stars are made. The short won the 1940 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and was the first non-Disney film to do so. Other shorts nominated in 1940 included A Wild Hare by Warner Bros., introducing Bugs Bunny, and the other MGM cartoon Puss Gets the Boot, with Jasper & Jinx, the prototype for Tom and Jerry. It was added as a bonus feature in the Marx Bros. DVD release of Go West (1940).


Three kittens, denied milk as punishment for misbehaving, sail up into the Milky Way in a hot air balloon. Once in the Milky Way, they find it a land of natural milk springs and gushers. The kittens proceed to happily gorge themselves on milk. However, it turns out to be just a dream.


  • While re-issued in the 1950s, this is the only reissue to have its opening title cards still intact.
  • Some showings of this cartoon are missing the milk geysers, which at the time was deemed too inappropriate for cartoons.

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