Every "gawrsh-darn" cartoon starring Mickey's old pal Goofy!
When Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse for 1928's revolutionary cartoon "Steamboat Willie," the little guy was an anarchic delight. Audiences embraced the mouse like no cartoon character before him. Overnight Mickey Mouse Clubs sprung up all over the world. But the success of Mickey came at a price. Because audiences cherished Mickey so much, the Disney animators were forced to tone down his wild behavior. Mickey became less "funny" and needed a band of crazy brothers to pick up the slack. One such sidekick was Goofy, perhaps the wildest and wackiest character in the entire Disney pantheon. Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy a limited edition DVD set hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin, turns the spotlight on Mickey's favorite chum, thanks to Disney Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy, is exactly that—a two-disc set containing every single cartoon short that ever starred The Goof:
• "Goofy and Wilbur" (1939)
Over the years, Goofy has evolved more than any other Disney character. He made his first appearance in the 1932 Mickey cartoon "Mickey's Revue" (available on the concurrent release Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White) as "Dippy Dawg," a mere audience member, but stole the show with his inimitable laugh (performed by the legendary Pinto Colvig). Though Goofy would soon become a familiar role player, co-starring with Mickey and Donald Duck in classics shorts such as "Clock Cleaners" and "Lonesome Ghosts," it wasn't until 1939 that he finally got the spotlight all to himself. His unique brand of good-natured clumsiness was perfected that year in the short "Goofy and Wilbur." Not long after Goofy landed this starring gig, Pinto Colvig left the Walt Disney Studio and Goofy voiceless. Ever the survivor, Goofy began to star in the hilarious "How To" shorts, where The Goof, under the watchful eye of a stiff narrator, would actually show the audience "how not to." Later Goofy became George Geef, buttoned-down suburbanite family man, in shorts like "Fathers Are People" and "Father's Week End." Goofy's chameleon-like ability to change with the times makes this new collection varied and infinitely enjoyable.
Goofy has always been my favorite Disney cartoon character. He may not have Mickey's brains or be as in-your-face as Donald Duck, but he's the Disney character I'd most like to hang out with. Goofy is the eternal optimist, loyal to a fault, always a good sport. You can't ask for a better role model than Goofy. Though all the 'toons are enjoyable, I'm partial to the "How To" shorts of the late '40s. They, in my opinion, remain the funniest Disney shorts ever created, and their ironic humor holds up best today. "Motor Mania" is a personal favorite, with Goofy literally turning into Mr. Hyde when he gets behind the wheel. This short about road rage was truly ahead of its time. A cartoon like "Double Dribble" contains not one Goofy, but literally an entire basketball stadium peopled entirely with raucous Goofies. "Man's Best Friend," in which Goofy brings home a puppy, inadvertently brings up the age-old question: if Goofy owns a dog, then what exactly is Goofy? "Goofy and Wilbur" is a sentimental favorite. Not only is the animation top notch, but the story, about Goofy and his fishing partner grasshopper Wilbur, is hilarious and touching.
Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy is hosted by Leonard Maltin, and, aside from Walt himself, I can't think of a better man for the job. Maltin approaches the Walt Disney Treasures line with such enthusiasm; it's obvious that he's not simply cashing a paycheck. He's a fan, working to preserve this material for generations of other fans. Author of the book "The Disney Films," Maltin provides a wealth of information on the character of Goofy, behind-the-scenes details, and perspective on Goofy's impact on pop culture. Maltin gives individual introductions to several of the shorts, usually to denote their mildly controversial subject matter. "Teachers Are People," for example, portrays Goofy as a put-upon grade school teacher, with a stash of confiscated guns and knives taken from naughty children. The short culminates with an explosion leveling the schoolhouse. Maltin wisely points out that, at the time the cartoon was written, these behaviors were absurd. Disney bills these collections as "uncut and uncensored" and should be applauded for remaining honest to the work. Incidentally, the company has not always done so. El Gaucho Goofy's cigarette was infamously airbrushed out of the DVD of Disney's animated film Make Mine Music. In this collection's "Two-Gun Goofy," cowboy Goofy is seen puffing on a cigarette. Guess it's a hard habit to break.
The shorts on Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy are all presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio in glorious Technicolor. For material that's anywhere from forty to sixty years old, these cartoons are all incredibly well preserved. Some shorts have dirt and scratches, but most look superb. The soundtrack for each short is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in English. The mix is crisp and clear, with no evidence of distortion or hiss. English subtitles are also included.
Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy contains several nifty supplements that should more than satisfy Goofy fans. First up is "The Essential Goof," a six-minute lecture originally given by Disney animator Art Babbitt on the movement and style of the character. Set to clips of the Goofy in action, Babbitt masterfully illustrates what makes Goofy goofy. It's an interesting supplement, given that Walt Disney was rumored to dislike Babbitt so much he had Babbitt's name removed from all of the old shorts. Either way, it truly is everything you'd ever want to know about the skill of bringing Goofy to life.
"Pinto Colvig: The Man Behind The Goof," is a very interesting five-minute retrospective on Colvig's varied career. Goofy's voice preceded his character, and Colvig can be heard perfecting it as Practical Pig in the famous "Three Little Pigs" short. Colvig also did the voices for Grumpy, Sleepy, and also the voice of Bozo the Clown for the Capitol Records series. Colvig also had a falling out with Disney, though he ultimately returned to the studio in later years to reclaim the role.
Moving on to Disc Two, "A Conversation With Goofy's Voice" is a 14-minute interview with Bill Farmer, the voice actor who took over for Colvig. Farmer recounts how he earned the role, his background on the comedy club circuit, and the challenges of being a voice actor. Farmer seems genuinely grateful to have Goofy as an alter ego, and his enthusiasm makes for an enjoyable supplement.
The "Poster Gallery" is a still-feature supplement. The user can scroll through the original poster art from many of the included Goofy shorts. Bill Farmer makes some amusing in-character comments to accompany the posters. Likewise "The Memorabilia Gallery" collects stills of Goofy comic book covers, Goofy albums, and Goofy sheet music. Maltin gives brief commentary on some of these items. The "Goofy Through The Years Gallery" shows original animation drawings of Goofy shorts, again accompanied by Goofy wisecracks
Finally, in addition to the glossy booklet that accompanies the set, there is a collectible reproduction of the poster for Goofy's "The Olympic Champ."
Cheers to Leonard Maltin and the team behind the Disney Treasures series. Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy is a collector's dream—vintage material, restored for a new medium, preserved for generations. There's no doubt this collection will be a hit with Disneyphiles. Casual fans will also enjoy rediscovering the many faces of The Goof: Dippy Dawg, George Geef, and good 'ol Goofy.
It'd be just plain goofy to lock up Goofy. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
• The Essential Goof
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