Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Goofy, Volume Three
Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Huey, Dewey and Louie, Volume Four
© Disney
Noell Wolfgram Evans · December 18, 2006 | The Walt Disney Company has just added to its Walt Disney's Funny Factory DVD series. Now out are Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Goofy, Volume Three and Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Huey, Dewey and Louie, Volume Four. For the unfamiliar, these are collections of the disc's stars' short cartoons. (Mickey and Donald held center stage with Volumes Two and Three.) In many ways this series is a "Disney Treasures Lite" as nearly all of the shorts on each disc have previously appeared in that highly regarded series. They are repackaged here with none of the extreme care or extras as the Disney Treasures series. In fact, the Factory name might be both an apt description and a sly reference to the way the cartoons in this series have been handled here. Is that good or bad? Is it good to get classic characters and animation in front of people who may never have experienced them and wouldn't have the opportunity to otherwise? Or does releasing lavish and bare-bones editions of essentially the same (main) content dilute the importance of the content and confuse the public? Things to consider.

Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Goofy, Volume Three
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2006
52 minutes

Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Huey, Dewey and Louie, Volume Four
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2006
57 minutes

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Funny Factory with Goofy has seven shorts on its single disc with the earliest being 1937's Clock Cleaners. Clock Cleaners is technically breathtaking in its detail but at the same time this is a cartoon that is emotionally dull. The action centres on Goofy, Donald and Mickey who, quite literally, clean a clock. It feels though as if the animators (under the direction of Ben Sharpsteen) were more interested in accurately recreating the interior of the clock than in building character, as the three leads are given little to do except react.

Thankfully, Goofy had other opportunities to develop. In 1939's Goofy and Wilbur (directed by Dick Huemer) and 1940's Goofy's Glider (directed by Jack Kinney) you can see "The Goof" taking shape. Each short allows the animators to begin to explore the comic possibilities of his lanky body and clumsy nature.

By the late 1940's, Goofy had taken on a two-pronged persona—the everyman next door and "trainer" (Best exemplified in his "How To" shorts). Most of the other key Disney characters were typecast in many ways, but Goofy had a freedom about him that allowed animators and writers a large area in which they could have Goofy play. The character became in many ways a throwback to the great comedians of the silent era; he may play the same "character" but it's always in a new situation.

As Goofy's character evolved, so did the animation surrounding him. Actually, in a way it devolved, becoming less technical and photorealistic. It wasn't UPA but the animation did loosen up, layouts became less detail oriented and more situated to comic possibilities. In Clock Cleaners so much attention and action focused on the master spring that the other areas of the clock (and the comic possibilities they held) were little explored. This would not be the case in Goofy's later shorts and it's an artistic transition that serves the character well.

Funny Factory with Goofy does provide a nice selection of Goofy's work through the years. While it would be nice to have more from his "How To" series, as a Goofy sampler, this DVD works.
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