June 27, 1952 – The Goofy Short Film Teachers are People is Released to Theaters
“The person upon whose capable shoulders rests the responsibility for their education is that unsung hero, the teacher.”
On June 27, 1952, the Goofy short film Teachers are People was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Dick Kinney and Brice Mack. The short was narrated by Alan Reed, who would go on to fame as the voice of Fred Flintstone. When this short was released, the idea that a school would be bombed or that dangerous weapons would be brought in a school was an outlandish one; needless to say, attitudes have changed a great deal since then.
The short opens with the narrator explaining how school has become a vital part of every child’s life. We then see a mother dragging her reluctant son George to school, dressed in a smart suit and sailor cap, holding an apple for his teacher. When he reaches his clubhouse in the front yard, he quickly changes and emerges in somewhat “cooler” attire. We then see the other children walking to school, “whetting their appetites for knowledge” (splashing through rain puddles) and “forming friendships for the future” (a boy is seen carrying all of a pretty girl’s schoolbooks).
As the audience’s attention turns to the school, the doors open to reveal the educator, played by Goofy. He steps forward as the crossing guard is letting the kids cross the road, but unfortunately Goofy gets stuck in the middle of the road as the cars speed past. The audience then sees his classroom: the children have gone wild, throwing books and ink, making a complete mess of the room. Before Goofy enters, he dons an umpire’s outfit, ready to tackle anything that comes his way. He calms everyone down, and the students begin to sing a good morning song.
As Goofy erases a demeaning doodle from the board, a little mirror pops out of his jacket, allowing him to see George attempting to hit the teacher with his slingshot. Goofy ducks just in time, and demands that George put all of his toys and pranks into the drawer in his desk. George reluctantly puts in his slingshot, and various weapons, including fireworks, a pocketknife, and a grenade. The grenade shocks Goofy, and he carefully places it in a nearby bucket of water. As Goofy calls roll, we see the students continuing to play pranks on each other. When he calls for George, he sees George sneaking out the window to go fishing, and quickly pulls him back inside.
Goofy then calls for homework, and the students begin to place apples on the teacher’s desk. One apple seems to be missing, and when Goofy wonders who is absent, he looks over to see George at his place in the corner, eating his apple. George then begins to run the chalk down the chalkboard, making an annoying squeaking sound. Goofy cuts him off before the geography lesson, and pulls down the map. While he tries to give the geography lesson, the students have their books propped up, but are playing with various toys behind them. George then cuts a hole in the map, making faces at his fellow students.
When the bell sounds for lunch, the student stampede outside, making a mess of the playground. Goofy hears a group of his students whispering, and when he goes over to hear their conversation, he blushes at the obscene nature of the joke. The students return from lunch as if they were forcibly marched, and Goofy has to drag George inside. When the spelling lesson begins, Goofy asks George to spell the word “cat.” George attempts to cheat off his neighbor’s paper, but when the student pulls it away, George pulls a squirt gun on him. The student misspelled the word on purpose, so George ends up squirting the student in the face.
George continues to cause mischief in the classroom, and finally sets the clock ahead an hour to 3 o’clock, when the bell rings and the students take off like a shot. Goofy is left to clean up the students’ mess, and have a parent-teacher conference. In this conference, the parent grabs Goofy by his collar and demands to know “What’s the matter with my kid’s grammar?” before punching Goofy on the head. As the short draws to a close, the school building suddenly explodes, and we see “I will not bomb the school again” written several times on the chalkboard by George, still using the squeaking chalk.