Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Goofy!

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the release of Mickey's Revue, a cartoon noteworthy for the first appearance of one "Dippy Dawg." Dippy had a bit part in that cartoon, basically an audience member who annoyed everyone around him with his distinctive laugh. That laugh (and a bit of a name change) soon catapulted the character to cartoon stardom as one of Disney's "top three" most iconic characters, alongside Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, as the world came to fall in love with Goofy.

Goofy is a hard character to pin down in a quick description. Although he is clearly dog-like, Goofy has always been treated as an anthropomorphic character (unlike Mickey's pet, Pluto). Goofy is also unique among well-known Disney characters in that he has regularly been depicted in cartoons as multiple characters simultaneously sharing the screen together (especially in the "How To..." series that officially started in 1942). Although the character had a significant redesign as "George Geef" in a successful and memorable series starting in the 1950's (which also continued the "multiple simultaneous Goofy" phenomenon), the character has since reverted to the loveable, if somewhat dim-witted, personality he had in the previous two decades.

Goofy has had particular importance in my family. My brother, whose artistic talents I've shared before, was drawing Goofy since he was about three years old. Not tracing, not scribbling, not filling in the pages of a coloring book. Drawing. It was apparent even at that age that he was pretty darn good. As my brother's grown up, naturally his expressions have moved beyond the line drawings of his childhood to other pursuits, but he still returns to Goofy from time to time, as this clay sculpture of Goofy's head he created during a family trip a few years ago demonstrates (apologies for the blurry image).

So, how do you plan to celebrate Goofy's 80th birthday! You can start by checking out this interview with current official Goofy voice Bill Farmer at the Disney web site.

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