With Pluto and Donald Duck getting the bulk of the Disney shorts in 1950 and the late 1940s, it does my heart good to see Goofy getting into the mix again with Hold That Pose. It is somewhat of a return to form for the Goof, mixing in elements of the “How To” shorts that made him famous, but mixes in the same sort of silly adversarial comedy that has been a staple of the recent Donald Duck shorts as well. That combination is not necessarily an easy one to make.
The skill Goofy is trying to learn in this one is how to take photographs. Seems easy enough in this day of point and shoot digital cameras, but back in the late 1940s/early 1950s, cameras required a lot of work. That’s shown in the very beginning when Goofy goes to buy his equipment and is forced to load down with a huge amount of stuff. You also see it when Goofy has to wind the film in the camera.
If you have ever had an old film camera and wound the film, you will roll on the floor laughing at this gag. I swear it took a full minute of a six and a half minute short, but I didn’t mind, because the jokes were so funny. The camera mainly focuses on the window of the camera where you see the indicator as to what number of pictures you have. Again, if you’ve had a film camera, you’ll understand. Goofy winds past numbers, thumbs up signs, lots of writing and much more, stretching more and more and increasing the comedy as it goes along.
Once he finally gets outside, the omniscient narrator that is present in so many of the “How To” shorts seems to disappear, as Goofy picks a large slumbering bear as his target. Once he settles on the subject of his composition, things unfold in a rather predictable way. Goofy tries to take the bear’s picture, he disturbs him, and hilarity ensues. What’s different about this is the way the chase goes. We see the bear chasing Goofy out of the woods, into an amusement park, through the city streets and all the way back to his apartment.
It’s almost like there are two separate shorts at work here. The typical “How To” model applies in the very beginning, with the narrator juxtaposed with Goofy’s exaggerated movements and gags and then a more traditional short with the bear chase. I don’t know if there was some kind of shift or other change in the direction or if it’s simply a case of Disney not straying far away from their formula of the day. Either way, the change in tone and style of comedy actually detracts from the short. Both pieces are funny, but they don’t compliment each other very well.