266. Motor Mania – Jack Kinney

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: Goofy portrays (among other characters) Mr. Walker, a mild-mannered everyman who undergoes a transformation when he gets behind the wheel of a car, becoming the Hyde-like Mr. Wheeler.

WHY IT’S HERE: An ingenious little cartoon about Road Rage decades before that term was coined, ‘Motor Mania’ is the first cartoon to star a redesigned version of Goofy in his Everyman phase. The Goofy Everyman cartoons were a risky experiment that paid off, turning out to be some of the wittiest of all the Goofy shorts. Apparently based on an idea that Walt Disney himself came up with, these shorts place Goofy in the shoes of an everyday person, tackling some of the issues that cinema-goers themselves would recognise from their own lives. Goofy was usually given the name George Geef in these shorts. In this one he portrays Mr. Walker, who turns into the demonic Mr. Wheeler when he gets in a car, although the Geef version of Goofy cameos as a neighbour who apparently doubles as narrator. With a focus on road safety, ‘Motor Mania’ could have been preachy but instead it opts to put comedy first and its prominent message second, making for a useful but very funny cartoon which attested to Goofy’s continued versatility.

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