Thursday, July 7, 2011

Double Dribble

We end 1946 with one of my favorite subjects.  Goofy sports themed cartoons are one of my great pleasures in life. There were fewer of them than most people think, and the highlight of them all is definitely Hockey Homicide. Today’s subject, Double Dribble, is also a fantastic addition to the series, and features some new tricks for the old dog.

Once again, we’re presented with multiple Goofs, making up both sides of the coin in a basketball game. This one relies on simple gags, such as the Goofs slapping each other during the jump ball tip off. That gag is repeated several times throughout, and though it doesn’t get funnier each time, it’s certainly amusing.

The thing that lends this short a little extra fervor, though, is the addition of a small story that weaves throughout the proceedings. The first shots of the teams show us a smaller Goofy, who struggles for playing time against the behemoths who make up the larger team. He becomes the relatable character in this slapstick festival, and makes the whole thing more entertaining.

As I said, the devices used, such as the omniscient narrator, the overhead shots of the dots skipping along the playing surface and the “illegal” play are all familiar. They were used in other Goofy shorts. They’re amusing here, but that little guy makes all the difference. While you watch the other characters, you root for him to get off the bench and join the fun.

When the little Goof jumps off the bench, the reactions of the other players, coach and spectators are fantastic. The players don’t take him seriously, the coach is ready to kill himself and the spectators are laughing. The viewer, though, is simply rooting for him and ready to embrace the key moment.

That comes pretty quickly, as we see the little guy steal the ball and win the game, all in inventive fashion, no less. It makes this short feel quicker and lighter than some of the Donald shorts we’ve seen recently and gives Double Dribble a heart to what had previously been a series solely focused on gags and slapstick.

All images copyright Disney.  All rights reserved.

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