Goofy has his own homemade glider all set, but first he always consults
the book. And the book tells him that in order to get off the ground, he
needs to get the proper speed and altitude. Okay then, so the easiest way
is for Goofy to just strap on the glider and take a running start. Of course,
anyone who's seen The
Olympic Champ knows, running is not one of Goofy's major talents, but
eventually he is able to run his glider right into a closed gate, ejecting
him from the plane and bouncing him along the countryside.
Attempt two has a little bit more philosophical reality to it as the
Wright Brothers were originally bicycle repairmen And this time it
appears that he does have sufficient speed to get the glider off the ground;
unfortunately, not with him in it. Luckily, after a short chase, he is able
to get back inside the glider and bring it to a safe, controlled landing
... at the bottom of a nearby pond. Good thing the instruction book lands
Now Goofy, like Jiminy Cricket, is no fool and at least with his next
attempt he decides to bring his parachute along. This time it's the catapult
approach, with a slingshot made of everything from an old girdle to what
looks like they might be Mickey's gloves. After cutting the stanchion with
a hatchet ... WHOOSH! ... off he goes. But, once again, he's forgotten
to bring along the glider, most of which has become lodged in the tree he
had braced his catapult with. Not to worry, he still has his parachute,
and the instruction clearly say "Count to ten and pull the string." Goofy
is nothing if not conscious of the instructions and counts all the way to
ten before deploying his chute; even after he lands on the count of seven.
Oh well, as the narrarator says, we'll worry about learning to land later.
Taking a tip from The
Art of Skiing Goofy builds himself a huge ski-ramp and decides to attempt
a take-off on roller skates. And it works! Goofy is airborn; "The sky above,
the earth below." Okay, maybe he does have it a bit backwards with the sky
below and the earth above as the ski ramp has flipped him over upside down.
Not to worry, he only alarms a few cows and chickens as he comes in for
a rather tortured landing.
Okay, when nothing else works, turn to high-explosives. Mixing Goofy
with high-explosives might not be a smart move in anybody's book, but Goofy
presses on, loading his glider into the cannon, trying to get it aimed upwards
and not into the ground, putting his fingers into his ears and "KA-BOOM!"
And at least 10 years before the first Russian sattelite went into orbit
and 20 years before John Glenn, there was Goofy, finally breaking the surly
bonds, of earth orbiting the globe as the audience sings along:
"High, high, up in the sky
There goes my glider and I
For some reason, in 1939, Pinto Colvig, the original voice of Goofy, left the Disney studio. This left Walt and his team with a serious quandary – how could they continue to make Goofy films without Goofy having a voice? The solution created what I think are some of the funniest shorts that the Disney company ever produced.
Rather than have Goofy go through an adventure where he engaged in conversation and talking to other people, the choice was made to create “How To…” style short. A narrator was used to tell the “correct” way to do a certain task – in this case flying a glider. The counterpoint to that was Goofy doing the activity the wrong way, making the same sort of mistakes that he always made, but it’s so much funnier when it’s a counter to the serious narration.
That said, how does the original short fare? I’m happy to report that it does very well. Goofy’s Glider, in providing a template for these shorts going forward, makes the juxtaposition of the narration and action seem very natural. Goofy’s actions are perfectly consistent with what he had done in previous shorts.
I think that’s the key to why Goofy works so well – he is consistent. In fact, Donald is much the same thing, always consistent in his actions and reactions. Goofy, though, always will get confused, and do things that lead him into bad situations. He always handles those situations with a goofy grin and happiness. It’s why we love him.
For example, in Goofy’s Glider, he ends up launching himself into the air, but is upside down. It takes him a good minute or two to figure it out, though, and his increasing realization is visible through the animation. It’s fantastic work. But ultimately, despite some hysterics, Goofy ends up smiling at the end.
Enough praise can not be laid at the feet of the narrator of these shorts, however. The haughty, over the top tone combined with the technical jargon gets more and more hilarious each time. These shorts are a treasure, and I’m so happy to have them ahead of us in this project.
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