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Western Animation / How to Be a Detective

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How to Be a Detective is a 1952 Walt Disney cartoon starring Goofy.

Goofy is a Private Detective named Johnny Eyeball who takes on the case of the missing "Al", despite being told by a cop, played by Pete not to get involved and to "leave the Al case to the police".

How to Be a Detective provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: At the end of the chase, Goofy captures the weasel thug and tells the lady "Here's Al." Only it turns out the real Al was Pete, who was set to be married to her, while the thug is the priest officiating the ceremony.
  • Car Chase: The climax of this cartoon, set to "The William Tell Overture".
  • Cement Shoes: Having been drugged by the weasel, Goofy awakens at the bottom of the bay with his feet in a tub of cement. Fortunately, Pete rescues him with a fishing pole. Or maybe he pulled him out accidentally while fishing.
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  • Darker and Edgier: Certainly one of the most violent Disney cartoons ever made, even for a Goofy cartoon (which is certainly no stranger to violence). Even before Goofy makes his appearance, there are scenes of murder or attempted murder (i.e., someone being pushed from a bridge, someone being held a gunpoint, a brutal beating, someone hanging in a noose). Goofy himself both delivers and is subjected to violence in this cartoon as well. It is this Family-Unfriendly Violence that has prevented the cartoon from ever being shown on TV for years.
  • The Faceless: The face of the woman who asks Goofy to find Al is never shown; she either hides it behind a veil or is shown from behind.
  • Follow That Car: When Goofy is nearly run over by a car presumably driven by a crime suspect, he hails a cab and gives this command to give chase. Pete and the dame hail two more cars with this same phrase, resulting in an epic Car Chase. This cartoon is the Image Source for that trope, in fact.
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  • Jurisdiction Friction: Pete's cop insists that Goofy leave the Al case to the police, although the fact that he himself is Al may have something to do with it.
  • Literal-Minded: When the weasel thug orders Goofy to give him his "heater" (meaning his gun), Goofy of course gives him a space heater instead. The weasel is not amused and has to be more specific: "No, stupid, your rod! Your gat! Your gun!"
  • Mythology Gag: When Goofy is first seen, he is reading a Mickey Mouse comic book.
  • Officer O'Hara: Although he doesn't have the requisite brogue, the last name of Pete's character Al is revealed to be Muldoon.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Heard throughout the cartoon — at least until the climactic car chase.
  • Only a Lighter: The gun Goofy gives the weasel thug turns out to be a novelty lighter.
  • Pop the Tires: During the car chase, the weasel attempts to do this to Goofy's car by pouring tacks all over the road in Goofy's path, but Goofy, lying on the hood of the car, manages to sweep the tacks out of the way in the nick of time with a convenient broom.
  • Private Detective: Goofy.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: At one point during the car chase, the cars are caught between two trains from opposite directions on a bridge. They somehow escape by holding on to the edge of the bridge (the cars, I mean).
  • Roofhopping: Parodied, as it is being done by cars.
  • Runaway Groom: What Al (AKA Pete) is implied to be.
  • Slipping a Mickey: At one point, as Goofy searches for Al, he goes into a bar, where the weasel thug, tending bar, tries to get rid of him by serving him a martini spiked with a goofball.
  • Wicked Weasel: A weasel thug tries his own way to prevent Goofy from solving the Al case. In the end, however, the same weasel serves as parson for Pete's wedding (after it is revealed he is in fact Al).

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