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The Goofy Gophers (cartoon)

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The Goofy Gophers
Goofy-Gophers-1-
Directed By: Bob Clampett (uncredited)
Arthur Davis
Produced By: Eddie Selzer (uncredited)
Released: January 25, 1947
Series: Looney Tunes
Story: Warren Foster
Animation: Manny Gould
Don Williams
Cal Dalton
J.C. Melendez
Layouts: Thomas McKimson
Philip DeGuard
Backgrounds: Thomas McKimson
Philip DeGuard
Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Stan Freberg (uncredited)
Music: Carl Stalling
Starring: The Goofy Gophers
Bugs Bunny
Watchdog
Preceded By: One Meat Brawl
Succeeded By: The Gay Anties
The Goofy Gophers (1947)07:12

The Goofy Gophers (1947)

The Goofy Gophers is a Looney Tunes cartoon (later reissued as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodie). This marks the first appearance of the Goofy Gophers, who would appear in eight more shorts in the Golden Age of American Animation. This cartoon also marks the first appearance of an unnamed dog which would appear in only the first three Goofy Gophers cartoons: this one, "Two Gophers from Texas" and "A Ham in a Role".

This cartoon was planned by Bob Clampett and finished by Arthur Davis, because Clampett left the studio after a dispute with Eddie Selzer. The only part of the cartoon which Clampett supervised is the recording of the dialogue; Arthur Davis supervised the rest of the cartoon production.

This was long-believed to be in the public domain, however, United Artists, in fact renewed the copyright on January 2, 1974.

Storyline

The cartoon opens up with a dog guarding a vegetable garden and falling asleep. The dog then spots two gophers (Mac and Tosh) eating carrots. The dog disguises himself as a tomato vine and poses as an actual plant in the garden. The Gophers spot the tomato vine, grab a bunch of vegetables, and throw a pumpkin on the dog before striking him with a shovel. Following this, the dog chases the gophers, only to get stuck in the hole by the shovel on his face.

The gags are plenty as the Gophers continue to outwit their canine nemesis. Among the dog's botched attempts to get rid of the rodents are as follows;

  1. As the gophers wear makeshift bonnets out of vegetables and steal away the vegetables ("Well, touloo, Carmen!" - "See ya tomorrow, homie!"), the dog digs the hole to look for them, only to get splattered by a tomato by one of the gophers. And when the gophers taunt the dog with silly faces, then the dog gets a pair of garden shears to kill the gophers frequently missing them. While the dog is distracted, the gophers light a match on the dog's foot. The dog, discovering his foot on fire, quickly rushes to a bucket of water to put out the fire.
  2. The dog attempts to catch the gophers while they steal vegetables one-by-one (playing to the Latin-flavored tune of "Mysterious Mose"). When the straightforward attempt fails (the dog gets bopped in the nose by one of the gophers) the dog disguises himself as a scarecrow ("Once again, me razor-keen mind comes to the rescue!"). Sure enough, the dog (disguised as a scarecrow) gets taken away, but gets punched out of the hole without the disguise, knocking him out cold. The scarecrow quickly shows up with a telegram reading "WE'RE VEGETARIANS, YOU SCREWBALL!!!"
  3. The dog tries to pull out a celery retrieved by the gophers from underground. As the dog pulls out the celery stick, the gophers tie his tail to it in the other hole, causing him to pull himself aloop into the hole, rendering him stuck in the ground. While the dog is stuck, the gophers run him over with a roller, knocking the dog further into the ground. The gophers then mock the dog "SILLY BOY!"
  4. Next the dog decides to get the gophers out of the hole with his bare hands. The gophers hand him a grenade, The dog, thinking that the grenade is the gophers, tries to retrieve it out of the hole, but only manages to get the pin out of the grenade, activating the grenade in the process. The dog, mistakenly believing the grenade pin is a diamond ring, stares at it vainly ("Stunning, isn't it?"), not realizing that the dog is standing where the grenade is. The grenade explodes directly where the dog is, charring him and knocking him out silly.
  5. The dog uses a hand puppet in the shape of a cute female gopher. The two gophers fell in love at first sight of the puppet and take turns to dance with it. When one of the Gophers dances with the puppet, the Gopher accidentally removed the puppet, exposing the dog's two fingers. Realizing what's going on, the gophers sneak up a mousetrap on the dog's fingers, which sends the dog yelling in pain when it snaps its fingers.
  6. The dog creates a booby trap by fusing a celery stick with a bomb. When the dog lights the fuse, the Gophers cut the fuse wire, and create a fake explosion via blowing a large paper bag and bursting it. The dog, hearing the fake explosion, believes that he had got rid of the Gophers, guards the vegetable garden and falls asleep.

Eventually, the Gophers launch the dog, via rocket, into outer space towards the moon. The Gophers, now triumphant, gloat that they will have all the carrots to themselves. But suddenly a familiar carrot-chomping noise is heard; the camera then pans to the side, revealing Bugs Bunny (whose voice is noticeably sped-up for this cameo) leaning against a tall pile of carrot stumps: "Well, I wouldn't say that!" Bugs laughs as the cartoon irises-out.

Availability

Music Cues

  • "Merrily We Roll Along" - Merrie Melodies theme music; heard when one of the gophers makes like Bugs Bunny
  • "The Wish That I Wish Tonight" - played prominently throughout the cartoon; especially when the Gophers gather vegetables while pulling the dog by his nose. This musical number is previously heard in Hare Remover and would later be used again in Water Water Every Hare.
  • "Mysterious Mose" - A Latin-flavored version of the musical number plays as the vegetables disappear one-by-one. Commonly this musical number plays during horror scenes in cartoons, particularly the 1930 Betty Boop cartoon of the same name from Fleischer Studios.
  • "Minuet in G" - Played when the Gophers dance with the hand puppet
  • "Rock-a-Bye Baby" - Played when the moon blows up into four crescents.

Goofs

  • Every single print of this cartoon, AAP print or 1995 dubbed, has an opening music glitch. It is unknown if the original negative has this glitch.
  • The Goofy Gophers' voices switch back and forth throughout this first cartoon, sometimes even in mid-sentence. This would be quite different from the rest of the series, in which each character maintained his own distinctive voice throughout.
  • When Bugs Bunny appears at the end of this cartoon, his voice is unusually sped up. This is because the tape of Mel Blanc's voice recording in the switch between Davis' and Clampett's direction was not slowed down properly.
  • When the dog says "Stunning, isn't it" his mouth doesn't move.
  • The EU Turner "dubbed version" replaces the 1946-1955 LT ending music cue with the 1941-1955 MM ending music cue.

Notes

  • Unlike most reissued Looney Tunes at the time, the original closing was kept. The closing was also kept in What's Brewin' Bruin?, Crowing Pains, and Hop, Look and Listen
  • This cartoon was sold to a.a.p. in 1956 with all the color Warner Bros., pre-August 1948 cartoons. Note: Crowing Pains and Hop, Look and Listen were present on Volume 2 Side 9 of the LaserDisc The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, with The Goofy Gophers.
  • This is one of the few a.a.p. CN prints to air in the US after 1995, without the a.a.p. opening. However, the "dubbed version" airs from time to time with the wrong 1947-1948 "dubbed" ending card (applies to both USA and EU dubbed prints). CN USA however reverts to the a.a.p. print which uses the original 1946-55 LT ending music cue since 2011, while EU countries continue to air the 1995 dubbed version with altered ending music cue since 2011 (see "Goofs" for more details).
  • In this cartoon, the Goofy Gophers have gray and white fur, much like Bugs Bunny's fur colors. Beginning with their next cartoon Two Gophers From Texas, the Gophers have their fur colors changed to brown and tan.
    • Like the Gophers, their adversary the unnamed dog from this cartoon is redesigned in his next appearances, albeit with with dog's character designs varying from film-to-film.

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