Good Scouts

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : July 8, 1938

Running Time : 7:39

Synopsis

Donald acts as scoutmaster for his three nephews for a nature hike through the wilderness.

Characters

Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Al Eugster
Jack Hannah
Ed Love
Paul Allen
Frank Follmer
Story
Carl Barks

Awards

Nominated for an Academy Award (Short Subjects - Cartoons.) The award went to "Ferdinand the Bull."

Video

United States
Kids is Kids starring Donald Duck
Germany
Swinging Micky
Donald Duck Geht Nach Wildwest
France
La Collection en Or des Studios Disney Volume 2
Italy
Video Parade 12

CED

United States
Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 3

Laserdiscs

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoon Collections Volume 2
Kids is Kids Starring Donald Duck
Japan
Donald Duck : A Star is Born
Donald Duck Goes West

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 7 : Extreme Adventure Fun
Germany
Abenteur Spass Superstars
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Canada
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 7 : Extreme Adventure Fun
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 20: Huey, Dewey and Louie
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 61
Walt Disney Presents: A Day in the Life of Donald Duck

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : It’s very fun for me to watch these shorts and films in order, not only because they are entertaining, but because it follows the track of a man’s life. We saw Mickey evolve from the barnyard mouse worried about getting the girl and playing music all night into a domestic, suburban man. Now, we see Donald evolving from the rambunctious duck to the faithful uncle and leader of young men in Good Scouts.

It’s so familiar for me, because my son just joined Cub Scouts this year, so I have been accompanying him on multiple camping trips and meetings. Donald does the same thing here, leading his nephews into the woods for a scouting campout. As you’d imagine, things don’t go as planned.

This is a new role for Donald, serving as the leader rather than someone just trying to go about his business and getting interrupted and irritated by others. It is a role that suits him well. After all, he can play the egomaniac who knows how to do everything, and then play off the frustration that ensues when he doesn’t get it right.

There are several examples of this throughout the short, beginning with the setting up of the camp. Donald makes two huge mistakes. The first is trying to show up one of the boys and chop down a giant tree for firewood. It turns out to be a petrified tree, causing Donald to go through several vibrations similar to Clock Cleaners.

Then, the madness continues as the boys cannot set up the tent to Donald’s liking, so he ropes a giant pine and bends it down to serve as the spine of the tent. You can imagine how that turns out, as Donald jumps on top to celebrate and ends up with the tree breaking free and catapulting him into the woods.

At the end of the short comes something that has been sort of a trend in the most recent Disney shorts. Perhaps longer than that, now that I think about, actually. It’s the building gag that has the final climax. For example, in this short, it’s Donald ending up on Old Reliable the geyser.

That gag, of Donald erupting into the air, is enough, but it builds and builds from there. The boys try to save him, plugging a tree into the geyser, and it shoots up to hit Donald. The bear that had menaced Donald earlier comes back to swat at him from a cliff. Rocks go into the geyser and end up hitting Donald. The final gag has a boulder being shot into the air, and the short ends with the bear chasing Donald over and over on the boulder.

There are so many more gags here, including Donald playing injured by smearing ketchup on himself, the bear attacking after Donald is bandaged up by the boys, and more. Good Scouts is a great example of how Donald is so adaptable, and how the animators can stretch him a little further than they could Mickey. It works beautifully in this instance, and will continue to do so.


From Mac : Donald is far and away Disney's star character now. His own series is well under way with regular cartoons, he still continues to play parts in the Mickey Mouse cartoons and even Goofy hasn't got his own series yet – he has to share one with the Duck. It's good to see the nephews back so soon, it seems they were intended to be regular characters in the Donald series from the start, rather than just one-shot characters that happened to catch on.
From Jerry Edwards : Once again I just don't care much for the Donald and his nephews shorts. While there is some nice animation, the gags and situations just don't work for me.
From Ryan : This short was pretty good. I liked the scene where Donald's nephews tie him up in bandages while practicing first aid. Donald looks like a mummy. At the end, however, I just feel so sorry at the fact that Donald is being chased by a bear on a geyser for hours at a time. What a living Hell!
From Gijs Grob : This cartoon about Donald and his nephews as scouts is only moderately funny until the superb finale, in which the nephews try to save Donald from a bear and a geyser, only to succeed to make things worse for him.
From Baruch Weiss : Great short. Loved it!
From Oliver Besner : This Donald Duck short is actually the second Disney cartoon released to feature Donald Duck's three nephews - Huey, Dewey and Louie, in which Donald is familiarly paired up with on-and-off throughout his remaining 18 year career in theatrical short subjects. (Preceded by Donald's Nephews, 1938)

It's truly a classic cartoon in which Donald's character is wholly epitomized by the context in which director Jack King has placed him - as a stubborn, adamant, overly pretentious, know-it-all scout leader for his nephews.

The introduction of Donald Duck's nephews was a perfect send-off in Donald's early years as the characters play off of each other so well. Donald's egotistic and domineering persona works perfectly in conjunction with his nephews free-wheeling and unruly tendencies; and while Donald is best distinguished as a conceited, uncompromising and narrow-minded character whose high-spirited and dynamic nature is often the cause of many slapstick laughs - his nephews tend to carry many similar traits, but in direct opposition to Donald's perspectives which often makes for aggressive and humorous plot situations.

In my opinion, this cartoon absolutely defines the essence of Donald's character disposition and serves as a masterful lay out for future cartoons with his nephews, which will eventually carry into the 1950's with director Jack Hannah (who worked with King as an animator on this particular short).

The short itself features a wide range of sight gags from Donald's mishaps with pitching a tent, to an unexpected rendezvous with a disgruntled grizzly bear and a conveniently faithful geyser, a painful wood-chopping segment involving a petrified tree, and so on...

While much of these gags are predictable and easily forseen, the comedic impact may not be extreme but the delivery is very much on point and the end result offers quite a charming and fun short film.

I have very fond memories of watching this cartoon as a child as it was one of the very first Donald Duck shorts I was introduced to and seeing it always manages to bring a smile to face, however, like almost all Disney shorts to date - this still holds up nearly 70 years later and I would recommend that everyone make an effort to seek this out and watch it!


Referenced Comments