Wednesday, February 15, 2006


A slight comedown in one of the better Famous Studios series, Goofy Goofy Gander, from 1950, has our dreamscaping heroine Little Audrey crashing in the middle of her English class when she is supposed to be memorizing her Mother Goose rhymes. When Audrey finally has her expected dream in this cartoon, she only really gets one thing right: she inserts into Mother Goose's place the hot mama of a teacher that had been previously scolding her in class.

While the rest of the class works hard on their Mother Goose primers, Audrey has a Dick Tracy-style crime comic called "Phony Funnies" hidden in the pages of her book. The comic stars a pair of tough-guy criminals called Pinhead, due to his incredibly thin head, and Birdbrain, who literally has a hold in his head in which lives a small talking bird. Audrey is so caught up in the action, that when her teacher asks her to recite, Audrey lashes out at her with, "I ain't talkin'! I ain't no stool pigeon, see!" Audrey is rightly banished to the corner, forced to wear the duncecap, and asked to concentrate on her memorization. Audrey is so stubborn that she grumbles herself to sleep; when she does, Mother Goose flies off of the cover, in the form of her teacher, and scoops up Audrey to take her to Mother Goose Land.

The teacher is hipper than she seems, and proves this to Audrey by saying:

We sing! We jive!
We're quite alive!
What you will see will open your eyes!

OK, so it's not the hippest dialogue, but -- well, she's hot, so cut her some slack. She then recites a new hepcat version of "Little Boy Blue", and shows Audrey that Blue plays jazz trumpet at the Club Haystack, where the cows and sheep, full of the corn and the meadow they have been feasting on, join the Little Boy in swingin' the night away! She then tells a rewritten version of Mary and her Little Lamb, only this time Mary is even more smokin' hot than even the teacher, and the Lamb is an well-off elderly gentlemen ("His hair was white as snow"), and "everywhere that Mary went", which in this case includes a jewelry store, "She fleeced him for his dough." Audrey giggles a little too knowingly for a girl so tender in age. Little Tommy Tucker is played by, of course, an incredibly skinny Frank Sinatra, singing for his supper; both teacher and Audrey faint dead away on top of the flying goose.

Meanwhile, because it is an Audrey dream, peril awaits; this time, it is in the form of Pinhead and Birdbrain, loosed from Audrey's comic and ready to turn the pleasantness to instant nightmare. They mug a piglet for a single penny, and when they discover a sideshow displaying The Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs, Pinhead imagines an egg slicer turning the eggs into a pile of gold coins in his hand. They stage a stick-up, and Audrey screams at them that they "don't belong in here!" They swipe the goose and make their escape. Audrey chases after them, but the duo crash through a wall, on top of which was perched, as expected, Humpty Dumpty, who crashes to the ground. What is not expected is that Humpty is played as Edward G. Robinson, who says he is "Hard-berled, and hard to crack up!" Assuredly, he has been unharmed by the incident. The Old Woman in the Shoe and other nursery rhyme residents join in the chase, but it is Audrey, atop the goose, who brings down the evildoers. When they fire their pistols at her, she bravely turns their bullets back at them through Little Boy Blue's horn. She arrests them, and tries to drag them off to jail. Of course, this is the point where Audrey wakes up, and she is being laughed at by the class because she is wrestling the stool that she was asleep on. Audrey tells the teacher that she is now hep to Mother Goose's jive, and then the little bird from Birdbrain's skull appears on top of Audrey's hair and announces that he's hep, too!

What Audrey gets wrong when she has these dreams is the material; I have rarely, if ever, had a dream involving the surroundings that I have fallen asleep in, let alone about a subject that I was learning. Not once in Social Studies did I dream about the Emancipation Proclamation; never in Algebra did I crash and dream restfully about the quadratic equation. What Audrey gets right in this dream is the inclusion of her teacher. Not that I ever, like the other dreams, had a dream about a teacher when falling asleep in class, but I never had a teacher that looked like Audrey's teacher. And let me tell you -- If I had gone to her class and then dreamt of her in the middle of English studies, I would have had to stay after class to clean more than just the erasers.

Goofy Goofy Gander (Famous Studios/Paramount, 1950) Dir: Bill Tytla
Cel Bloc Rating: 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite cartoons. I love Pinhead and Bird-Brain!!! "I'm a sharpy! That's why me-name's Pinhead"