Goofy has taught us many things in life about the art of sports to how to drive properly, so it only makes sense that he teaches us how to survive a lockdown through a trio of “How to Stay at Home” shorts. In each of these shorts, Goofy teaches us the ways of “How to Wear a Mask,” “Learning to Cook,” and “Binge Watching.” And the one to oversee the three is none other than Eric Goldman, a Disney animation in his own right who supervised the animation for the Genie in “Aladdin,” Phil in “Hercules,” and Louis in “The Princess and the Frog.” Not to mention directing Pocahontas and the Rhapsody in Blue and Carnival of the Animals sequences for Fantasia 2000, along with numerous other achievements.
Eric Goldman is also the winner of the 2011 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood for lifetime achievement in animation. His most recent work includes creating all-new hand-drawn animation for the upcoming “Cirque du Soleil show – Drawn to Life, “coming soon to Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort. He also contributes his animation skills to projection shows and special projects for Disney parks and experiences worldwide.
ThatsItLA had a chance to participate in a virtual interview with the legendary Disney animator about his most recent project and how it carries the spirit of the original in these modern times of DIYs, binge watching, and mask wearing.
The one thing that Eric Goldman loves about Goofy is his positivity. “I thought for all of the stuff we’ve all been through for the last year and a half, who better to give us a laugh about it than Goofy,” he said. “Really. He’s a kind of Disney everyman if you will, but he will always filter it through his own crazy logic.”
Eric Goldman credits Art Babbitt, Goofy’s creator, for mentoring him on the iconic Disney character. “In the early days, days, he developed the walk for Goofy and all that stuff, and I got to learn from him. So I feel a personal attachment to the Goofy character as well,” he said.
Though the future of living through this pandemic is uncertain, we can rely on someone like Goofy to guide us through these troubles with a few laughs. When he pitched the trio of hand-drawn “How to” shorts to Walt Disney Animation Studios president Jennifer Lee, she and the rest of the team gravitated towards it. “They just thought, ‘Oh my, it’s so relatable. Everybody has been through all this stuff,’” he said.
Eric Goldman credits his team, all of whom are Disney animation veterans, for taking these shorts and embracing the spirit of the classic “How to” shorts and contemporizing them. For example, Goldman animated “How to Wear a Mask,” while Mark Henn, who he considers the animation princess because he animated Ariel, Mulan, and Jasmine, animated the “Binge Watching” short. Lastly, Goldman mentions Randy Haycock, who animated Prince Naveen in “The Princess and the Frog,” animated Learning to Cook, which you just saw. “We each took one of these shorts and animated them totally start to finish,” Goldman added.
The Disney legend also credited clean-up artists like Rachel Bibb and Lureline Weatherly and effects animator Dan Lund. Additionally, he gave credit to Brian Millman, editor of the shorts, and sound effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.
But one cannot forget to tip their hat to Bill Farmer, who Goldman says, channels Goofy. “He is a Disney legend, and he absolutely channels this character. It was so fun to work with him.,” he said. And then there’s Corey Burton, who did the voice of the narrator. “In these films, which are very inspired by Jack Kenny’s ‘How-To’ cartoons from the 1940s, the narrator is as much of a character as Goofy,” Goldman said. “He’s this pretentious jerk who disdainfully talks about his subject Goofy as well as guiding him to the next place. It was just fun all around. It really was, and we had a blast making this.”
Audiences will notice that despite how the 1940s shorts are classics, these “How to Stay at Home” shorts are modern in their visuals and themes. “We didn’t want it to feel like it just came straight out of the 1940s. So Lureline, who did the backgrounds, we encouraged her to go more graphic. And we gave Goofy a slightly thicker outline to modernize things a little bit, to show that, yes, we actually made it today, and yet, it certainly harkens back to the traditions that were started with those cartoons,” Goldman said.
Disney presents Goofy in How to Stay at Home hits Disney+ on August 11, 2021.