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The Goofy Gophers is a 1947 Looney Tunes short planned by Bob Clampett and finished by Arthur Davis.

Plot

A watchdog is guarding a vegetable garden and falling asleep. He spots two gophers eating carrots. The dog disguises himself as a tomato vine and poses as an actual plant in the garden. The Gophers see 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 Gophers continue to outwit their canine nemesis. Among the dog's botched attempts to get rid of the rodents:

  1. As the gophers wear makeshift bonnets out of vegetables and steal away the vegetables. "Well, toodle loo, Carmen!" "See ya tomorrow, Hedda honey!" 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 tries 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; Bugs Bunny (whose voice is noticeably sped-up for this cameo) is leaning against a tall pile of carrot stumps, who then says "Well, now I wouldn't say that!", and begins laughing.

Caricatures

Availability

Streaming

Music Cues

Among some of the music cues heard throughout the short are:

  • "Merrily We Roll Along" - Merrie Melodies theme music; heard when one of the gophers begins acting 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 "Kitty Kornered" 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
  • "Let's Sing a Song About Suzie" - Played when the dog is shot at the moon. According to Cartoon Research[2], the original title card had this song play over it.
  • "Rock-a-Bye Baby" - Played when the moon blows up into four crescents

Goofs

  • 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.[citation needed] (November 2017)
  • 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 the dog says "Stunning, isn't it," his mouth doesn't move.

Notes

  • This is one of the few cartoons that Clampett had planned before he left the studio in 1946. Like this short, "Bacall to Arms" was finished by Arthur Davis, while "Birth of a Notion" was finished by Robert McKimson, and "Tweetie Pie" was finished by Friz Freleng.
  • This marks the first appearance of the Goofy Gophers, who would appear in eight more shorts in the Golden Age of American Animation.
  • This is the first time Bugs Bunny appears in a short directed by Arthur Davis, although has only a cameo appearance in the short, Davis' wouldn't make a short mainly starring Bugs Bunny until about two years later with "Bowery Bugs", during the time that his unit was beginning to dissolve due to a budget problem with the studio, and it turned out to be the only Bugs Bunny cartoon Arthur Davis ever directed.
  • Five cartoons originally in the Looney Tunes series, including "The Goofy Gophers", were re-released as Blue Ribbon cartoons in the 1954-55 season. Out of those five, four of them, including "The Goofy Gophers", kept their original closing titles. Three other cartoons from the Looney Tunes series that were re-released in that season also kept their original ending titles. They are: "What's Brewin', Bruin?", "Crowing Pains", and "Hop, Look and Listen". The fifth cartoon, "House Hunting Mice" was another Looney Tunes short re-released in the 1954-55 season as well, but it got the reissue ending titles since the cartoon was originally in Cinecolor, while the other four cartoons' original color process was Technicolor. In fact, "House Hunting Mice" was the only Cinecolor cartoon re-released in the 1954-55 season, meaning it was the only cartoon re-released in that season to get the 1954-55 closing titles. All other cartoons re-released in that season were in Technicolor and thus kept their original closing titles, regardless of series.
  • This cartoon was sold to Associated Artists Productions in 1956 with all the color Warner Bros., pre-August 1948 short.
    • In the 1995 American and European Turner prints of this short, for a brief moment after the WB shield zooms into view, the pitch goes down before quickly going back up. This is because the film wobbled a bit during the scan, and affected the sound as well.
  • This and "Two Gophers from Texas" are the only two short featuring the Goofy Gophers and the dog to be in the AAP/Turner package. All the other cartoons featuring those characters remained in the post-1948 package, in other words, under WB's ownership.
  • This is one of the few cartoons that has aired with its Associated Artists Productions print after 1995, without the a.a.p. opening, although both the USA and EU Turner prints of this cartoon are said to exist.
    • Both the USA and EU Turner prints had the wrong ending music, as they both had the altered 1941-1955 Merrie Melodies ending music cue instead of the original 1946-1955 Looney Tunes ending music cue. [3][4]. The USA Turner print of this cartoon is currently available on Boomerang Streaming Service as of 2019.
    • Between 1995 to 2010, this cartoon's USA Turner print was rarely ever shown on American Turner networks for unknown reasons. Since 2011, the American Turner networks have recently only aired the a.a.p. print which uses the original ending titles and the original 1946-55 ending rendition of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", while Turner networks outside America continue to air the 1995 European Turner print with 1941-55 ending rendition of "Merrily We Roll Along" and Merrie Melodies ending card.
    • The restored copy on HBO Max uses the soundtrack from the Turner print, with the incorrect 1941-1955 Merrie Melodies ending music cue, although the original Looney Tunes end card is intact.
  • 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 each short.
  • In this cartoon, the Goofy Gophers have gray and white fur, much like Bugs' fur colors; but beginning with their next cartoon "Two Gophers from Texas", the Gophers have their fur colors changed to brown and tan.

Gallery

References

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