Gawrsh! Goofy is back in How To shorts are coming to Disney Plus August 11! These 3 new, hand-drawn animated shorts feature everyone's favorite goof teaching us all about staying at home. To celebrate, I had the chance to interview the legendary Disney animator and director of this series, Eric Goldberg.
Interview With Eric Goldberg
You have created so many iconic characters and animations throughout your career. What about Goofy inspired these shorts?
Eric: Goofy is a great character. I've always loved Goofy. One thing I love about him is that he's always positive. He always comes up smiling. I thought for all of the stuff we've all been through for the last year and a half, who better to give us a laugh about it than Goofy. [laughs] Really. He's a kind of Disney everyman, if you will, but he will always filter it through his own crazy logic. One of my animation mentors was Art Babbitt, who was really Goofy's creator. In the early days, he developed the walk for Goofy and all that stuff and I got to learn from him. I feel a personal attachment to the Goofy character.
The 90s Disney kid in me immediately fell in love with the hand-drawn animation.
Eric: There is a small dedicated group of us in hand-drawn animation. I animated How to Wear a Mask, Mark Henn animated Binge Watching, he's the princess guy, and Randy Haycock animated Learning to Cook. We each took one of these shorts and animated them totally from start to finish.
They do look and feel just like the original Goofy how-to cartoons but still with a modern look. What was the process like combining those two aesthetics?
Eric: We didn't want it to feel like it just came straight out of the 1940s. We gave Goofy a slightly thicker outline just to modernize things a little bit, to show that, yes, we actually made it today, and yet, it certainly harkens back to the traditions that were started with those cartoons.
I always love looking for Easter eggs in any Disney project. The can of beans in the kitchen reminds me of Walt Disney's favorite meal. Are there any others fans should keep an eye out for?
Eric: Yes, there are some Easter eggs. Actually, in Learning to Cook, Goofy is wearing the same outfit that he wears when he is employed to bake Mickey's cake, and the music that accompanies his montage of cooking is music from Mickey's birthday party. We have all sorts of little in-jokes like that.
Thinking about the original and these new shorts, what makes them special to you?
Eric: One thing that I love about Goofy's character is just how physical he is. He is a great physical character, and that really resonates with me. I think it's one reason I took the How to Wear a Mask film to animate myself because it's all physical gags. Part of what makes these characters last for so long is that we recognize them, we recognize ourselves in them, but we also recognize their behaviors, and no matter what situation you put them in, especially somebody like Goofy, he's still goofy. He still attacks it in this exact same way he would attack any other challenge or issue or subject. It's a uniquely Goofy take on how he views the world.
Disney Presents Goofy in How to Stay at Home
The three new shorts are titled: How To Wear A Mask, Learning To Cook, and Binge Watching. I was able to watch Learning to Cook and it was great! It reminded me of the classic How To Goofy shorts from back in the day. The Home Theater one still makes me laugh just thinking about it. I cannot wait to see the rest and hopefully more How To's will be headed our way in the future.
Learn how to draw Goofy with Eric Goldberg
How to Stay at Home with Goofy debuts on Disney+ August 11.