GOOPY GEERMedium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1932
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Silly Symphonies. The Merrie Melodies tended not to have any continuing stars. But short-lived regulars did crop up in the early Merrie Melodies — regulars such as Foxy, Piggy and Goopy Geer.
Goopy Geer started out as the eponymous star of Goopy Geer, released April 16, 1932. It was directed by Rudolf Ising, half of the Harman-Ising team that had played such an important role in getting the long-term involvement in animation of both Warner Bros. and MGM off the ground. History doesn't seem to have recorded who did his voice — nor that of his girlfriend, who also lacks a name. (She was previously seen in Freddie the Freshman, released a couple of months earlier, and didn't have a name there, either.)
Goopy was distinguished from the average animation character of the 1920s and early '30s, in that he didn't look like the typical Felix/Mickey clone. Some commentators have compared him to Goofy in appearance, but the resemblance isn't really all that strong — besides, Goofy didn't appear until almost a month later. Both could be described as tall, skinny, floppy-eared, dog-shaped funny animals, but they weren't even the same color. (Early promotional material depicted Goopy black like Goofy, but even there they were far from identical.) Even the similarity of names isn't very telling, as Goofy didn't receive his until Goopy was long gone.
Goopy has been criticized for having no real personality. In fact, he didn't even have a setting. In his first outing, he was a nightclub entertainer, and quite urban. In his second (Moonlight for Two, released June 11, 1932), he was a hillbilly attending a rustic social gathering. In The Queen Was in the Parlor (July 9 of the same year) he was a medieval court jester.
And those three cartoons were very nearly it for him — no adaptation into other media, extremely little merchandising, and only two bit parts in anybody else's cartoons (Bosko in Dutch, where he danced on ice skates in Holland; and Ride Him, Bosko!, where he played piano in a western saloon, both 1933). Goopy was then virtually forgotten for more than half a century.
But on Sept. 28, 1992, he made an appearance in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Two-Tone Town", where Buster Bunny was worried about older stars coming back and taking away their time slot. Here, for the first time, Goopy repeated a setting — he was a pianist in a night club, just as he'd started out. In fact, he reverted back even farther than his first appearance. His design was based more on that old promotional material, than on the actual cartoons he appeared in.
And that, so far at least, was his last gasp.