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Football (Now and Then)

A Special Cartoon

Release Date : October 2, 1953

Running Time : 7:30

Synopsis

The merits of how football as played in the past and how it is currently played are argued about by a grandfather and his grandson.

Credits

Director
Jack Kinney
Animation
John Sibley
George Nicholas
Fred Moore
Backgrounds
Dick Anthony
Effects Animation
Dan MacManus
Layout
Bruce Bushman
Story
Lance Nolley
Music
Edward Plumb

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 52: Rah! Rah! Disney Goes Athletic
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 3
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 31

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

Comments

From Tom Wilkins : What a perfect analyzation for Super Bowl Sunday! This is a dream cartoon come true in the days before you could put any team from any era on any Madden game (of any year) for your Super Nintendo system. Walt was clearly looking into the future in a most unpredictable way, not knowing one day we could pit the 1925 Giants against the 1979 Rams on our video games.

Here we have a cartoon is that is much more normal than the 1944 predecessor, How To Play Football. This matchup is a battle between Present State (the modern team) and the Bygones (oldtimers). A young kid and his grandpa argue about which team is the greatest. The kid claims Present State, but the grandpa clearly differs. With those differences in mind, Walt puts this imagination into an interesting matchup.

As the antenna zaps out a woman being shown through static, we finally see Present State and its numerous teams and formations, including Lipton "T" (don't ask me why the animators put that in) and the broken wing (just to make a joke out of the wing formation). All the modern (1953) gadgets...crowd, coaches, equipment, and atmosphere are used here. When the oldtimers are shown, their "modern" niches are used, including a camera that busts after one flash. The coach for the oldtimers talks to his players in a very calm voice as his crowd (of 15) cheers, while the modern team with its "rah rah" approach has 40,000 people screaming.

After showing the respective captain (or captains, whichever team you may follow) for each team, a member of the Bygones press uses his antique telephone to let the people know his team won the toss and will get the ball first. The modern press box alerts the fans that "Joe the Toe" would kick off. Notice that Joe's toe is on a pillow covered in glass, just to keep it warm. (Oh brother.)

The game starts as Joe kicks off effortlessly to Captain Smith of the Bygones, and with a "flying wedge" formation, trample the kicking team for a 90 yard touchdown return and a 7-0 lead. The modern coach has the advantage of skyward nuances to get plays from his assistant coaches, so with thanks to a lovely female operator, he gets the call and sends in team 7. In the meantime, the Bygones dig a little mud to kick off to Present State.

The narrator claims the kickoff was returned to the 5 yard line, but from our perspective, it looked more like the 22. WDP-TV (yes, for Walt Disney Productions) gets an inside look at the huddle and the modern team decides to call a hot play (well, it's a card with a beautiful female on it). As they break out of the huddle (in squirrel-like fashion), a commercial suddenly pops up. A Whirling Derbish Dishwasher is being sold by a sponsor, and then the play finally appears as the quarterback forgot to take the ball from the center (which would be a 5-yard penalty today for an illegal snap). Despite the offensive line sending the defense into orbit, the really-delayed quarterback draw only gains two yards. Lots of plays are skipped for time restraints, but the modern coach calls in team 12 as team 11 is plowed off the field. A new quarterback enters the game and throws a touchdown to end the half as the crowd yells "WOW" (and spells it out, too). With that, it's halftime with scores level at 7 each.

During the half, the modern team receives the modern treatment by receiving vitamins and a steam bath, while the oldtimers use hammers to repair cleats and drink scoops of milk while the head coach milks the cow. (Now I know why new stadiums were built in the last decade.)

As we switch to the second half in progress, Present State punts to the Bygones while the Bygones coach holds a sign saying, "Fight Fiercely." The Bygones pass their own running back on a direct snap for a short gain (which would be a 15-yard penalty today), then gain 76 yards on a play that featured everyone on offense sewing a ball to their chest--all to confuse the defense. The end of that play saw one of the Bygones getting tackled by the moustache. Then, hunching the ball under his back, the running back sneaks in 2 yards to give the oldtimers the lead. What they don't show is the extra point conversion...apparently it was no good.

As the coach of the modern team calls in team 65, they receive the ball with only 7 minutes to play. From the sky, scout number 8 calls in a trick play to the coach but gets disconnected before the number could be announced. As the operator tells the coach to deposit 25 cents for 10 minutes, he scrambles to his players, the peanut vendor, and the cheerleaders...asking if anyone had a quarter. The cheerleaders asks that to the crowd and they scream (and spell out) "NO!" to the disgust of the coach. So, to counter what the Bygones did at the beginning, Present State comes out with their version of the flying wedge, and plows the defense over for a touchdown (and literally out of the stadium). However, Joe the Toe misses the extra point by deflating the football as he tried to kick, so scores remained level at 13 points each.

I was very surprised to see that immediately after the extra point attempt, another Whirling Derbish Dishwasher commercial appears. At that point, we return home to see grandpa turn the TV off. The kid wonders why...and to his surprise, the grandpa exclaims that every home should have one of those dishwashers, so he decides to go out and buy one. What a partypooper.

I guess we'll never know which team was the greatest...that was probably the purpose of the game staying tied.


From Calvin Daprice : Watching this short reminded me of my high school days of football. Look at the two differnces between the turn of the century football players and the modern day football players. Who dresses safer? I think we all know the answer to that.
From Ryan : One of my favorites of the one-shot cartoons. Here we've got the grandfather talking to his grandson about what real football is. The background art, although not as nicely done in cartoons such as "Brave Little Tailor," is pretty good. At the end of the cartoon, the grandpa decides to go out and buy a new washer. The advertiser on the TV looked like a gay stereotype that I saw in a Flip the Frog cartoon.
From Baruch Weiss : The music in this cartoon was taken from an earlier goofy cartoon How To Play Football. Anyway I'm not a fan of football (or a sports fan in general) but this short was pretty good.
From Billy Joe : I'm not a huge fan of football, but this is a fun Disney cartoon. Who do you think will win, the modern football team or the old-fashioned football team? For some reason, this short reminds me of the Cartoon Network World Premiere Toon "Gramps".