Monday, January 18, 2016

Short Subject: How to Be a Sailor (1944)

Goofy sails the high seas.

Okay we’re back to our regular how to cartoon style.  We have the history of the subject, the different aspects of sailing like knots and semaphore, and Goofy demonstrating it all with varying degrees of failure.  This short allows for some great animation.  I love the water dripping off the Earth in the opening and the shot of the flat Earth.  I love all the great walk cycles used here and the creative title card.  To me this is a prime example of the how to formula at its best.  The narrator is great, Goofy gets a lot of fun things to do, and the audience gets to potentially learn something.

The only downside, and it’s not even a true downside it just dates the short, is the ending.  Obviously its release came during World War II and so at the end Goofy is shown taking down several Japanese submarines that are racial insensitive in their design having the thick glasses and large teeth.  I don’t think really young kids will get the reference, I know tons of things in the war shorts flew over my head as a kid, but I do like that this has been released in the Disney on the Front Lines box set so we can throw Leonard Maltin in front to give this short proper context.    

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