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It’s the 90th anniversary of everyone’s favorite goof. Whether you know him as Dippy Dawg, George Geef, Mickey’s loyal pal, Max’s dorky dad, one of Donald’s many sources of frustration, or just the character you compare to Pluto when debating pants and anthropomorphism, Goofy is the best kind of everyman. He’s adaptable to any situation and a master of physical comedy. Name a sport, and he’s “mastered” it. Name a job and he’s tackled it; his resume is nearly as long as Homer Simpson’s. Goofy’s cartoons have aged the finest out of the Fab Five’s thanks to a healthy dose of slapstick and wry modern commentary. He even survived the move to mundane 50s suburbia with most of his good humor and personality in tact. And like his costars before him, we honor him and his nine decades of goofing it up here today.
The usual rules apply: no bits from films, only short features (but A Goofy Movie would be Number One if that weren’t the case). And while Goofy works just as well on a team as he does solo, this thankfully won’t be another matter of sorting through Mickey cartoons where he steals the spotlight. But before we begin, here are some well-deserved Honorable Mentions:
- Goofy and Wilbur – Goofy officially gets his moniker in this charming short where he and his grasshopper pal risk life and limb in the name of fishing.
- Victory Vehicles – Goofy and his ilk develop a variety of creative and implausible modes of transportation as a response to the war effort.
- How To Be a Sailor – The reason why I barely saw this cartoon growing up is because the ending is one big screw you to the Japanese due to Pearl Harbor. But everything else up to that point is fantastic.
- Goofy’s Big Kitty – This Mouse Works short has Goofy confuse an escaped circus lion for his new kitty.
- How to Wash Dishes/Be a Waiter – These shorts appear to have misleading titles as they instead show Goofy globetrotting and becoming an actor respectively…but how they circle back to what the titles promise is genius.
- How to Play Golf – Playing a good game is easier said than done when an angry bull gets involved.
- Baggage Buster – Gags run amok when Goofy is tasked with unloading a magician’s trunk.
- Get Rich Quick – Goofy catches the gambling bug; a quick reminder that golden-age animation was created with adults in mind.
- Double Dribble – The rules of basketball barely apply when Goofys of varying size are involved.
- Fathers Are People/Father’s Day Off/Father’s Weekend/Father’s Lion – Goofy’s first forays into fatherhood come with many pitfalls and pratfalls – and the occasional risqué joke.
- The How To Stay At Home shorts – These extra-short shorts were created for Disney Plus in response to the pandemic, but Goofy learning to adapt to these unusual circumstances will make you smile.
- Goofy’s Radio – Goofy spends a day in the countryside, oblivious that his radio is the only thing keeping him from being a mountain lion’s lunch.
- Teachers Are People – Nothing but respect for good teachers in my house, even though Goofy doesn’t get much of it here.
- How To Take Care of Your Yard – Goofy gains a green thumb but destroys his home in the process.
- How To Sleep – An insomniac Goofy tries varying methods of getting forty winks when it’s time to actually go to bed. Shockingly relatable.
- How To Be A Spy – Paranoid that his neighbor is out to get him, Goofy attempts to master the art of espionage.
- How To Be A Rock Star – Goofy pursues stardom in the music world.
- How To Camp – This How To short takes an interesting turn when Goofy is abducted by aliens.
- A Goofy Movie – How could I not mention this? It’s Goofy as we’ve never seen him before, a fully-developed, compelling character that makes you feel things other than humor.