Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Disney in Quarantine: Five More Shorts

How to Play Baseball, 1942, rated G, 8 minutes.

Over some (maybe) official narration, Goofy models the highlights and rules of the game: field composition, uniform, pitching, and hitting. Two teams (made entirely of Goofys) battle it out in a world series game while providing an over-the-top physical parody of America's Past-Time. End with an all-out brawl under a stars and stripes banner, which was likely fitting for the time, but strange to consider among other, more violent organizations of American sport today. It's a sort of cute, drippy kind of comedy, the kind you'd expect some totally-not-into-sports character doing in a very exaggerated way. Like, "Hey, kids! Look at these dorks trying to SPORT!"

How to Play Football, 1944, rated G, 8 minutes.

Yeah, see above, although there are more gags on the audience during this one (cheers echoing over the rules being told, camera panning the length of the field following a play but obscured by spectators). Taxidermy Tech takes on Anthropology A & M where, again, each team is made entirely of Goofys. Physical comedy includes pants falling down, a butt being smacked (hard), a cheerleader being kicked and beaten, and at game's end, the coach being put into a padlocked straightjacket. The ongoing commentary is sarcastic and blunt, most memorably, "What a dumb quarterback!"

Double Dribble, 1946, rated G, 8 minutes.

In a similar spirit as both previous shorts, two teams of Goofys and one miniature-sized one battle out a game on the basketball court. Gags are mostly the same, exposing underwear and beat-downs among team members although the audience gets involved in this one, grabbing the ball and passing it or preventing shots when the mood strikes. In a moment that would be echoed some forty years later by Pee-Wee in Porky's Revenge, the little guy gets put in after an injury just before the buzzer and gives the game his best try. Nice. It occurs to me that these shorts are basically suggesting that athletes of all sports are . . . not that smart or have little common sense, but they all seem happy and enthusiastic about everything, so at least that's positive.

All in a Nutshell, 1949, rated G, 7 minutes.

Chip and Dale try to overtake Donald Duck's giant walnut-butter factory; things go poorly for Donald. Not a lot here, but good-spirited physical comedy that usually involves one or all characters getting smacked in the head by nuts. Some sympathy for Donald; he's just trying to make his nut butter. There's something kind of silly and charming about these chipmunks, their high voices and carefree attitudes are inspiring in light of Donald messing with them, a lot like Tweety, Road Runner, and Jerry (of Tom and Jerry). Perhaps this is some sort of metaphor for life: try to carry on your happiness even when things seem negative.

Out of Scale, 1951, rated G, 7 minutes.

Donald Duck has a very elaborate toy train setup crafted around the large tree where Chip and Dale live; after he moves the tree, they take up residence inside one of his toy houses. After nurturing them there for a while, he decides to mess with them (pretty innocently) by confusing them and mixing up the weather. When the figure out what he's doing, they shrug it off, squeaking out, "Look at that bum!"