The character we know today as Goofy first appeared more than six decades ago in Mickey's Revue (1932). Then a bit player (as an obnoxious "laughter" in a barnyard audience). He sported whiskers and square spectacles and was called Dippy Dawg.
Walt Disney often described the physical humor used in the Studio's cartoons as "goofy," and with Orphan's Benefit (1934), that name officially stuck to this affable character. But Goofy's personality really began to take shape in the 1935 cartoon Moving Day, in which animator Art Babbitt built up Goofy's role and gave his character definition.
Goofy's "rube" voice and distinctive guffawing laugh were the creation of gag-man Pinto Colvig. Colvig later put a similar voice to use when he created Bozo the Clown for Capitol Records in 1946, but occasionally returned to the studio to voice Goofy until his death in 1967. Several "fill-in" actors have voiced Goofy, but Bill Farmer has been the official "a-hyuck" since 1987.
The second half of the 1930's was a golden age for Disney cartoon shorts, and Goofy was teamed with Mickey and Donald in a variety of comedy situations that frequently ended in chaos. Shorts such as Mickey's Service Station (1935), Lonesome Ghosts (1937), Clock Cleaners (1937), Boat Builders (1938), and Mickey's Trailer (1938) looked at how each of the three characters reacted to similar circumstances. Goofy's first solo cartoon was Goofy and Wilbur (1939).
In 1941, Goofy began starring in a series of popular "how to" sporting films including The Art of Skiing (1941) and How to Play Baseball (1942). In these shorts, Goofy responds in pantomime to a droll, professorial narration, the stodgy seriousness of the narrator playing in sharp contrast to Goofy's clumsy demonstrations. The result is a hilarious visual depiction of "how not to" accomplish the task being described. But through it all, Goofy remains undaunted, ready to move on to the next lesson. It is probably for this series of nearly two-dozen cartoons that Goofy's film career is most fondly remembered.
In the 1950's, Goofy was frequently cast in suburban settings as the "common man," occasionally with wife and son, to showcase some of the pitfalls of modern living. In this unusual guise, he was often known as Mr. George Geef, and even shed his distinctive voice for some of these roles. This mature role for Goofy utilized his skills as an "actor" rather than playing upon his traditional persona.
After Disney ceased production of short cartoons in 1956, Goofy and all the classic characters got a new lease on life through the medium of television. Goofy was frequently seen on the Disney television show and has been an integral part of The Disney Channel since its inception in 1983.
In 1992, Goofy became the first of the classic Disney "gang" (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto) to star in his own television series, Goof Troop, which features him in a contemporary setting, as a single father with an eleven-year-old son, Max. The popularity of the series led to the production of a full-length animated feature starring Goofy and Max, A Goofy Movie (1995).
Why is Goofy so enduringly popular? Primarily, it's because he's funny. In any language, with any age group, Goofy's antics always communicate. But beyond that, it is the source of his humor. Audiences see Goofy ever-valiantly attempting things that they might fear themselves, and "goofing" them up in a way they fear they might. And yet, shining through it all are the qualities to which most people would aspire; Goofy is cheerful, eternally loyal, and always willing to help his friends. He has a gentle, childlike innocence and wonder about the world around him. And-perhaps most important of all- Goofy always assumes the best in mankind.