Goofy is a dog. This is not a debate; this is a statement of fact. In 1932, the short “Mickey’s Revue” debuted with an annoying character later dubbed “Dippy Dawg” in the audience. Dippy Dawg would later grow into Goofy. He is actually uncredited here, because he’s just the product of a little silly sight gag. Though of course most of the Disney cartoons of this era weren’t much more than a string of silly sight gags; the most memorable part of this one is that annoying dog eating peanuts in the audience.
Mickey, Minnie, and a few others are putting together a show. First, Mickey conducts music while Minnie and three variations of Clarabelle Cow do a ballet; Dippy Dawg loudly eats peanuts. Pluto interrupts the ballet; Dippy Dawg introduces the Goofy laugh. A couple of dachshunds dance to “Swanee River,” which wakes up a horde of kittens under the stage. Dippy Dawg laughs as Pluto is captured while chasing a bug; two goats behind him knock him out with mallets then laugh the Goofy laugh. Mickey and Minnie perform a musical number together accompanied by kittens. Pluto chases the kittens and destroys everything.
Horace Horsecollar is in this one, doing the tech for the show. (Including the most disgusting fake snow possibly in cinematic history, made up of chewed soda cracker crumbs.) Within ten years, he would pretty much have faded from the cartoons entirely; he’s had four theatrical appearances since 1942, and I don’t think he had any lines in either Mickey’s Christmas Carol or Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It tells you a great deal about the character that his voice was invented for 1990’s The Prince and the Pauper.
It’s interesting, now I think about it, that Disney’s range of Funny Animals tended to be animals that were common in daily life for people. Warners would start with things like rabbits, pigs, and ducks, but they went further astray with skunks and Tasmanian devils and so forth. Whereas the most you’d get with Disney was the perpetual “what is Goofy, anyway?” discussion, at least outside the features. Possibly it’s because Warners never did a feature, so all the creative energy went into the shorts. I don’t know.
Honestly, in general, Mickey tended to be in relatively straightforward situations. This sort of “put on a show in the barn” thing was standard for him. I can name at least two or three other cartoons that are just sort of Mickey running a performance. With a few exceptions, the Disney shorts just tended to go from rural to suburban, and when they did go to more exotic locales, it just seemed as though the characters were on vacation half the time. When they were putting on a show like this, it seemed to be either “because we need a few bucks” or “for the good of the community.” Unlike Daffy Duck, these characters never seemed to think of themselves in show business.
This is the show we put on in a barn because we need a few bucks; consider supporting my Patreon!