ACG Comics images © Roger Broughton 2009
While I was doing research for an upcoming Comics Journal article about cartoonist Dan Gordon, I made a point to see as many of his classic animated cartoons as I could. Dan Gordon directed many cartoons for Fleischer, and then went on to be one of the main guys at Famous Studios after Paramount sent the Fleischer brothers packing.
Watch The Hungry Goat
Anyway, Mike Kazaleh gave me a heads-up that Dan Gordon's Popeye cartoons were really something special. After seeing them, I agree that they stand out as being more manic and frenzied than the other "Famous Studios" Popeye shorts. They tend not to feature Bluto and Olive Oyl and Swee Pea, but rather show Popeye battling his nephews, a suicidal sailor, and in this case, a very Hungry Goat.
Please don't read on until you watch the cartoon above...I don't wanna spoil it for you!
A LOT of Dan Gordon's Famous Popeye cartoons have a character contemplating suicide...in this one The Hungry Goat comes right out and SAYS "suicide" right after failing at offing himself!
The thing that really stands out for me is that Popeye is the BAD GUY in this cartoon...and Popeye doesn't even show up until two and a half minutes in! The cartoon opens with the hungry goat, and goes from sympathetic to completely manic in only a few short moments. By the middle of the cartoon I realized I was rooting for the goat!
This is my favorite line: At 3:19, in the middle of scarfing down a gigantic anchor chain, The Hungry Goat gleefully stops and looks at the audience and asks,"I'm normal...ain't I ?" Reminds me of those moments in Clampett cartoons when somebody stops and says, "I'm only three seconds old!"
Also---no spinach in this one. It could just as easily be Bluto or any other comic foil in the role that Popeye's playing. I'm guessing that Dan Gordon just wanted to make this cartoon and found the Popeye series to be an opportune place to put it.
| Dan Gordon's got a thing for goats. |
The image at the top of the post is a close-up of a cover that Dan Gordon drew for Ha-Ha Comics #54 in 1948 -- just a few years after this cartoon was made.
Also, one of Dan Gordon's early Terrytoons cartoons, "Pink Elephants" starred a hungry goat. You can watch "Pink Elephants" at this page at the Asifa Hollywood Animation Archive.