OK, ladies and germs, it’s time for me to talk about the history (well, a quick summary of the history, I have a life outside of this) of one of the most classic of classic cartoon characters from Disney, outside of the mouse himself; Goofy.
First off, lets ask ourselves what animal is Goofy, exactly? Is he a dog, or… no, actually he’s just a dog. Lots of people try to make what his actual species more complex than it is, but no, he’s actually just a dog (a beagle, I believe). Doesn’t make any sense for him to be hanging around Mickey’s dog Pluto without wondering about possible lobotomization in Pluto’s past, but I’m not Walt Disney, so whatever, you just got to accept it.
Outside of being a walking and talking dog, Goofy is the lovable, optimistic, goofy (hence the name), slightly dumb and clumsy friend of both Mickey and Donald. You should know the basics of who he is already, so lets move on with the history lesson...
Anyway, Goofy G. Goof (his actual full name) was primarily created by Art Babbit with concept art developed by Frank Webb and he first appeared way back in 1932 in an animated short called Mickey’s Revue.
This was kinda more of a prototype Goofy though as he was a lot older looking and was initially called “Dippy Dog”, but there’s no mistaking that it’s the first appearance of the concept of Goofy, albeit a more scruffy-looking, nearsighted version with no pants, but he still had bits of what would become his signature appearance to his day, including his trademark Goofy goofy laugh. After his first appearance, the character was aged down and made into a younger-looking dog. Two years later in 1934, “Dippy Dog” would be renamed “Goofy” in the short films, and in 1935 become a part of the classic trio of him, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse in short Mickey’s Service Station. The 3 characters would be inseparable ever since. Goofy also later spun off and got his own film shorts starting in 1939.
Goofy went through a bit of a redesign in the 1940s and 1950s in terms of appearance and personality in his later solo film shorts. His cartoons took him his previous and more even current interpretations, and instead bumped up his intelligence, changed his eyes, his nose, his voice, his teeth, his demeanor, temporarily gave him the name “George Geef” and turned him into more of an “everyman” character tackling every day problems (think of it like a less risqué and more watered down Rocky’s Modern life). Walt Disney himself apparently wasn’t the biggest fan of the earlier Goofy cartoons (or Goofy in general), so this change was at his request in order to give him more of a relatable personality for the audience, making him more human in both actions and appearance.
In the 1980s, though his own film shorts pretty much ended and original voice actor Pinto Colvig had passed away, Goofy would reappear with his original look and personality in other movies, media, and shorts such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. In the 90s, Goofy got his own TV series, the cult classic cartoon Goof Troop, which introduced his son Max. The Goofy in this show had his…well… “goofy” personality back again, yet his appearance went back and borrowed some of the features from the 1940s/1950s looks, most notably around the eyes.
This changed when the spin-off film, A Goofy Movie, came out however and Goofy’s classic look and antics stayed on in nearly every other appearance since.
Goofy’s most recent appearance will be in Square-Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3, which comes out for Xbox One and Playstation 4 January 25th 2019 (we also just recently got an action figure in stock based on his appearance in KH2). Goofy, in the KH games, is captain of the Royal Guard and serves King Mickey Mouse.
His representation is classic clumsy self, but there is a bit more wisdom to his character here than some past interpretations and he actually sometimes uncovers things that the other characters miss, adding a surprisingly nuanced layer to the character. Very cool to see a character from the 1930s still evolving after all this time, while still staying true to the essence of the character, save for the weird 1940s -1950s version of the Goof.
What’s your favorite Goofy cartoon? Do you have any other classic Disney characters that you used to love watching? Let me know in the comments.