Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goofy Over Goofy

Gawrsh! I've been on a Disney kick since my trip to Walt Disney World last October and it's still going strong! I guess now is as good a time as any to blog about my favorite Disney character: Goofy!
Why choose him? He makes me laugh. Ahyuck! That's the simple answer. The long answer is because I missed his 75th birthday, so, I'm making it up to him before his 76th comes up this May 25th. Another reason I like Goofy so much is because he's so gawrsh darn talented! Sure, he's a great athlete (I loved seeing all those "How To" shorts), but since this blog is called "Toons 'n' Tunes", you know I'm talking about his musical abilities.

Starting with the 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon "The Band Concert", Goofy is among the band members playing the clarinet which leads to a cute, but cartoony duet with Clarabelle Cow: The end of her flute is in the bell of his clarinet, yet, they still play beautiful music through their instruments flawlessly. Ah, the things you can do in cartoons. There was a Goofy-like character in the cartoon playing the trombone, but his fur was too bushy for me to consider him as Goofy, too. (Screenshot from The Cartoon Review Website.)

The next cartoon worth mentioning is 1937's "Mickey's Amateurs". Here, Mickey hosts an amateur hour and among the acts is Goofy and his fifty-piece one-man-band! Among the instruments he plays are cymbals (the top end he strapped on his butt), an accordion (which he put between his legs), a trumpet, a xylophone, a trombone, a flute, a tuba (my favorite instrument!), a clarinet, a banjo, and a harmonica. He plays some other instruments, but these are the most prominent. His first song, "In The Good Ol' Summertime", goes smoothly, but when he tries to pull the lever to a faster level which ends up getting pulled out of the machine, he's forced to play "A Hot Time In The Ol' Town Tonight" at an uncontrollably fast pace until the machine breaks, literally! "Ahyuck! It busted," he says, shrugging off the disaster that he endured. What a good sport. (Screenshot from the Encyclopedia of Disney Shorts.)

Another cartoon worth mentioning is 1942's "Symphony Hour" where Goofy plays a bassoon (or is that a contrabassoon?) in an orchestra conducted by Mickey Mouse, of course. After rehearsals, the gang gets ready for the concert, but Goofy, carrying all the instruments, misses the elevator and falls down the shaft. (Yah-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!) While he tries to pull his hat off over his face, he, by some miracle, gets out of the way of the incoming elevator, but the instruments don't. So, the gang tries to manage the concert on the flattened instruments with hilarious results! (Screenshot by me from "Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume Two" on DVD. Of course, the "Walt Disney Treasures" titles aren't available on video, a.k.a. VHS, but you get the idea.)

Goofy made a cameo in 1952's "Pluto's Christmas Tree", playing the double bass (or bass fiddle as he might call it) and singing "Deck The Halls" with Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck outside of Mickey's house for Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale. (Screenshot from the Encyclopedia of Disney Shorts.)

By the time the "Mickey Mouse Club" first aired on television screens nationwide in 1955, its intro would show Goofy back in the one-man-band habit, but this time, a bit more simplistic. A bass drum on his back has cymbals on top which clang as he marched. The same can be said for the drumstick tied to his foot by a piece of string so that it can bang the drum. Meanwhile, Goofy himself plays the following instruments in order, but not simultaneously: trombone, flute, tenor saxophone, and trumpet. The MMC intro would become edited in later episodes, removing Goofy's one-man-band performance. A shame, really. I apologize for not having screenshots since no one's taken them yet (including me), but you can see the full, extended intro (and in color, no less!) here. (Credit to kaijueguy for the vid.)

By the time Goofy got his own TV series in 1992, "Goof Troop", he again displays his musical talent, much to the embarrassment of his son, Max, who was a kid at the time. In the episode, "Shake, Rattle and Goof", Goofy wants to join Max and Pete's son, PJ, in their rock band by playing his ukulele. A ukulele in a rock band? No wonder Max is embarrassed! (Screenshot from Ultimate Disney.)

A few more notables come from the 2001 TV series, "Disney's House of Mouse", currently on Toon Disney. I apologize for the lack of screenshots for this, so, you'll just have to use your imagination. In the first cartoon, "How to Be Groovy, Cool and Fly", Goofy is dressed up as one of the Beatles (or in this case, "The Goofies") and is standing behind, of all things, a drum set. He even plays them well. Who knew Goofy got rhythm? Further on in the cartoon, Goofy's dressed as a punk rocker, sporting a wild green hairdo and of course, an electric guitar which he plays. And the right music, no doubt. See for yourself here. (Courtesy of trollheimer.) The second cartoon from "House of Mouse", "How to Be a Rock Star", revolves around rock music as Goofy attempts to become, what else, a rock star! (Personally, I would've preferred him as a country music star due to his accent.) Here, near the beginning of the cartoon, he demonstrates the various musical styles he can play other than rock: Hawaiian (he plays the ukulele), Swiss (he plays the accordion again, but this time, with his hands, not his legs), and classical, which he plays on a toy piano instead of a real one. Look here and see. (Also from trollheimer.) Outside of the cartoons, the wraparound segments show him playing the ukulele quite a bit. The first notable was when he, Mickey, and Donald pose as the Quackstreet Boys (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) when Donald's nephews briefly broke up. Another instance was when Professor Ludwig Von Drake's touch screens replaced Goofy in his waitering duties, so, he decides to help his friends with their jobs, including the Quackstreet Boys, where he jams with them on his ukulele.

The most recent musical venture comes in the current TV series, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" on Playhouse Disney. Sure, it's a preschool series, but hey, I like it even though I'm an adult. Since this episode is fairly new, I won't give too much away, just Goofy's part. In the episode, "Mickey's Big Band Concert", Mickey and his friends form a band to play polka music in Mickey Park's big "Polka Palooza". Goofy is the trombonist of the band ("Come on, Tromboney, it's time to play."), but his trombone slide is stuck. Of course, one thing leads to another, so, although he gets the slide unstuck, he gets his butt stuck in the trombone's horn. All it takes is a bicycle pump to blow air into the trombone to get Goofy out. ("I'm so glad that ended on a happy note!") You'll have to see the rest of the episode to see Mickey's band play at the "Polka Palooza".

However, he's more than just a musician. He's a dancer, too. But since Goofy is goofy, he needed to learn how to dance in his 1953 cartoon titled, appropriately enough, "How to Dance". He learns various dances along the way. I can only remember him doing an Irish jig and maybe a little ballet. But as soon as he gets the chance to actually dance, he quickly gets smothered by couples dancing to a fun dixieland song provided by The Firehouse 5 + 2 in an animated cameo. (Screenshot from the Encyclopedia of Disney Shorts.)

He suddenly lost his two-left-feet by the time he starred in 2000's "An Extremely Goofy Movie" where he does some disco-dancing with Sylvia Marpole, the collage librarian he falls in love with. You can view that momentous scene here. (Credit to Givijoarna for the clip.)

Another moment where his dancing is center stage is the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" episode, "Fancy Dancin' Goofy". In this episode, he gets ready for the "Fancy Dance" at the clubhouse by wearing a purple-polka-dotted tie ("I'm in style.") and learning how to fancy dance from Donald to impress Clarabelle Cow who agrees to go with him to the "Fancy Dance". Goofy even got her a daffodil to go with her yellow dress. Even in a preschool series, Goofy shows his romantic side.

Of course, we can't forget all the times Goofy sings, especially when he sings his trademark song, "The World Owes Me A Livin'", which first came from the 1934 Silly Symphony "The Grasshopper and the Ants" and was co-written by Goofy's first voice actor (and the Grasshopper's, too), Pinto Colvig. Goofy's current voice actor, Bill Farmer, is a pretty good singer, too. (And the main reason why I'm hooked on Goofy.) Proof of this can be found in "A Goofy Movie" - which he sings two songs with his son, Max, who is a teenager by now ("On The Open Road" and "Nobody Else But You") - and "Mickey, Donald, and Goofy: The Three Musketeers" - where he sings a romantic, but funny duet with Clarabelle Cow ("Chains Of Love"), voiced by April Winchell, daughter of the late Paul Winchell - as well as the aforementioned "House of Mouse" (especially the song, "Soup Or Salad, Fries Or Biscuits, Extra Olives, Donuts", a parody of the "Mary Poppins" song, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious") and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" plus countless Disney children's music CDs such as "The Best of Children's Favorites: Mickey's Top 40" and "The Best of Children's Favorites: Pooh's Top 40".

His musical abilities don't end with the cartoons, his appearances in the theme parks allow him to dance along to the various bands the parks house. However, he gets into the act at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom during the SpectroMagic parade. (You know, the nighttime parade most people seem to miss.) On the music float of the parade, Genie, from "Disney's Aladdin", conducts a band of magical instruments like two double basses and a harp. Also in the band are Chip and Dale, both playing the piano, and, yep, you guessed it, Goofy! Here, he's the entire percussion section which includes the timpani and the xylophone. Gawrsh! Is he talented or what?

He also gets a chance to sing in "Kingdom Hearts II" with Sora and Donald during the Atlantica level. (Screenshot from Gamespot.) I don't have the game myself since I don't have a Playstation 2, but you can search for the video clips on YouTube.

Now, you can see why Goofy's my favorite Disney character. And not just because of his goof-ups (he is, after all, "Goofy"), but also because of his vast musical talent which never seems to cease. And I, for one, hope it never does. Keep the music playing, Goofy! Ahyuck!
UPDATE 5/12/08: author Jediempress added chapters to her "Kingdom Hearts" fanfic "Words are Power", two are most notable mostly because I suggested these words: "Goofy" and "Banjo". (I thought of "Banjo" because of seeing Goofy play the banjo in "Mickey's Amateurs".)

1 comment:

JediEmpress said...

Dude. It's JediEmpress here. Heh, I'm starting your next list and was looking up a fact for an idea I had for Bass and look what I stumble upon.

It's a small world.....