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Director: Walter Lantz
Release Date: May 28, 1951
Stars: Woody Woodpecker
Rating: ★★½

Wicket Wacky © Walter Lantz‘Wicket Wacky’ opens with Woody Woodpecker playing croquet, disturbing a gopher by doing so.

‘Wicket Wacky’ features the first original story since Lantz’s reopening of his studio in 1950, and it’s way less successful than the leftovers from the 1940s: ‘Puny Express‘ and ‘Sleep Happy’.

The comedy doesn’t work, because it remains unclear whose side we should be on: both Woody and the gopher behave rather unsympathetically. Moreover, Woody remains a totally blank character in this cartoon, showing practically no emotions whatsoever.

‘Wicket Wacky’ only seems to show that gophers are poor comedy material, something we knew from other weak cartoons like the Donald Duck short ‘Donald’s Garden‘ (1942) and the Pluto shorts ‘Bone Bandit‘ (1948) and ‘Pluto and the Gopher‘ (1950).

Watch ‘Wicket Wacky’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Woody Woodpecker cartoon No. 34
To the previous Woody Woodpecker cartoon: Sleep Happy
To the next Woody Woodpecker cartoon: Sling Shot

‘The Screwdriver’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection’

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 February 10, 1950
 Pluto, Minnie Mouse

Pluto and the gopher © Walt DisneyPluto encounters a gopher in Minnie’s garden.

Minnie accidentally brings the gopher inside, where the chase continues, until the gopher is literally launched outside. It’s inside the house where the cartoon blossoms. However, the cartoon remains a little slow, and it is uncertain with whom we have to sympathize, for neither Pluto nor the Gopher is particularly endearing. The best scene is the one in which the gopher discovers that he’s trapped inside a foreign environment. His panic is both funny and heartfelt.

Watch ‘Pluto and the Gopher’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 34
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Heart Throb
To the next Pluto cartoon: Wonder Dog

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: April 30, 1948
Stars: Pluto
Rating: ★

Bone Bandit © Walt DisneyWhile looking for some bones he has buried, Pluto encounters a gopher who makes him sneeze, using mimosa ,all through this boring picture.

‘Bone Bandit’ is one of Pluto’s most forgettable entries, even though Pluto does not become friends with a little animal for once.

Pluto would encounter another gopher in ‘Pluto and the Gopher‘ (1950), which is only marginally better. Gophers apparently just aren’t funny, a fact also proven by ‘Donald’s Garden‘ (1942) and the Woody Woodpecker cartoon ‘Wicket Wacky‘ (1951).

Watch ‘Bone Bandit’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 24
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Blue Note
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Purchase

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: 
July 12, 1942
Stars: Donald Duck
Rating: ★★

Donald's Garden © Walt DisneyIn ‘Donald’s Garden’ Donald is a gardener, wearing a straw hat. We watch him having trouble with a water pump and with a gopher, which eats all his vegetables.

‘Donald’s Garden’ is a slow and boring cartoon. It’s hampered by particularly uninspired backgrounds, and it is one of the weaker entries in the Donald Duck series.

It has the same structure as ‘The Village Smithy‘ from earlier that year: it consists of only two situation gags: one with an inanimate object (the pump), and one with an animal (the gopher). Apparently, director Dick Lundy favored these types of gags, for they returned in ‘Donald’s Goldmine’, and in ‘Donald’s Tire Trouble‘, Lundy’s only successful cartoon in terms of situation comedy.

‘Donald’s Garden’ is the first Disney cartoon trying to be funny with gophers. But like the later Pluto shorts ‘Bone Bandit‘ (1948) and ‘Pluto and the Gopher‘ (1950), the studio doesn’t succeed. One may wonder whether gophers are funny, at all.

Watch ‘Donald’s Garden’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 33
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Donald Gets Drafted
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Donald’s Gold Mine

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