Poster

They're Off

A Goofy Cartoon

Release Date : January 23, 1948

Running Time : 6:37

Synopsis

The science of horse racing. Goofy shows the proper way to pick a winner, with a horse race that comes down to a photo finish as a finale.

Characters

Goofy
Snapshot III
Old Moe

Credits

Director
Jack Hannah
Animation
John Sibley
Volus Jones
Al Bertino
Jack Buckley
Backgrounds
Howard Dunn
Layout
Yale Gracey
Story
Riley Thompson
Campbell Grant
Music
Oliver Wallace

Inside Jokes

On a scratch sheet that Goofy is using, one of the horses is named "Hannah Biscuit," a reference to director Jack Hannah. The racing form that Goofy uses is also loaded with names of Disney imagineers. Here is what I have been able to decipher so far:
Owner Trainer Jockey
1 J. Hannah M. Satterwhite R. Selk
2 C. Grant R. Thompson Toby
3 A. Bertino M. Greenburg T. Witmer
4 Y. Gracey B. Newman Bobby N.
5 J. Hannah M. Satterwhite B. Berg
6 J. Hench J. Sibley B. Jones
7 A. Babbitt K. Anderson H. Hennesy
8 C. Phillipi F. Breeson R. Carlson
9 A. Engman D. Link A. Scott

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : The World According to Goofy
Germany
Hier ist Goofy
Italy
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : Pippo Pasticci e Simpatia

Laserdiscs

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : The World According to Goofy
Japan
Sport Goofy's Vacation

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 52: Rah! Rah! Disney Goes Athletic
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 38

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 : Goofy returns to the “How To” shorts with the first short of 1948, They’re Off. It’s a short that focuses on the age old practice of horse racing, but more specifically on how to pick a winner. We’re back to the same formula of an omniscient narrator talking about the “proper” way to do things while Goofy demonstrates nearly the opposite.

The main difference in this short versus the other How To shorts is that the narrator has changed. John McLeish narrated most of the classic Goofy shorts, but he is not employed here. For someone who has watched those shorts in order, like me, it’s a jarring change, but by itself it’s not a big change. This short manages to be entertaining as a standalone entity and does not rely on the previous parts of the series.

This is another short that involves multiple Goofys portraying different roles, which was so successful in Hockey Homicide and other shorts. What I loved about this is the difference between the Goofs is told through acting, rather than physical differences. That’s a challenge for the animators, but they definitely rose to the occasion, as we see different Goofs acting bold or timid, smart or dull all in the same frame. That’s not easy to get across with the exact same character design.

The other characters that pop up in this short are the horses. Snapshot and Old Moe are the names of the two horses, and again, the animators manage to make them different each time, despite being a similar character design. Getting the horses to have a personality and individuality is really cool. When they start racing, you already know what each horse’s character is.

That’s the spark that was missing in many of the shorts from 1947: character. Disney was a studio that revealed character through animation, and they had gotten away from that in some of the other shorts in the recent past. This Goofy short brings that tradition back in a really good way. The fact that the gags are well told only adds to that. They’re Off is a welcome start to 1948’s series of shorts, and I can only hope that others will continue to share its excellence.


From Ryan : Here is another short that features all Goofy look-alikes. Goofy is a better at the racetrack. He bets on Snapshot III. Snapshot III seemed like a good pick to him. Another Goofy bets on Old Moe after doing "Eeny, meeny, miney, Moe." This short is like watching a horserace on TV, only with a lot of "goofiness" added to it. I find myself laughing at the end when one of the betters is burning money with his cigar (talk about "money to burn.")
From Nikki : This one was quite creative as it showed the reality of the race track. How all these people can either get into it or just guess. Poor Snapshot just couldn't resist the camera.
From Baruch Weiss : I feel that is a great Goofy cartoon. I enjoyed the music and the part where the narrator explained all of the elements of horse racing such as wind, philosophy, time of day and temperature, etc. And for all you sharp eyes out there look fast for those ponies from Fantasia! I also enjoyed the ending where the narrator says "Tough luck old pal ya can't win every time, or can you?"
From Adam : A very low budget goofy cartoon, from an era where they were clearly making cutbacks. the amount of recycled animation (and therefore jokes) from shorts like Hockey Homicide & How to Play Golf take away from what may have been an interesting subject if treated with some originality.