Goofy returns to the stage in 1947’s Foul Hunting, and in a way that we really have not seen since his very early appearance in Goofy and Wilbur. No more do we have the omniscient narrator and irony of the “How To” shorts. Goofy’s not playing basketball or other sports. This is a straight forward short with Goofy as the main character and no narration. As such, it’s a little jarring.
After all, every Goofy short for some time now has featured the Goof in the role of “diagram” almost, instructing us on how to do a sport or activity while the narrator tells the viewer what’s happening. In Foul Hunting, though, Goofy takes the stage again as a real character, not a substitute for an educational diagram. Don’t get me wrong, I love those “How To” shorts, but it’s nice to see Goofy back again as a personality.
Foul Hunting does not give him much room to show off that personality, though, as it’s a fairly standard kind of short. Goofy is out hunting ducks (in a pond far away from every other hunter) and his efforts are what leads to the gags throughout the film. It starts with Goofy confusing his mechanical decoy duck with a real duck, which plays into several gags including the ending.
A big part of this short is accepting the fact that Goofy is dim-witted, which should not be hard. They really push it to the limits, though, with the ducks flying right past without Goofy noticing, for example. That’s okay because the gags, while not the funniest thing ever, are still good. Goofy works in this way because he’s able to play off the inconveniences in a light hearted way.
I love a good callback to an earlier joke, so the ending of this short really made me laugh. The confusion between the decoy and a real duck ends up having Goofy about to devour a cooked machine, with hilarious results. It’s a memorable short because it’s a return to the Goofy of his first appearance in Goofy and Wilbur. While it’s not the best short ever, it is enjoyable for that reason.