Gopher Broke is a "Looney Tunes" cartoon animated short starring the Goofy Gophers and the Barnyard Dawg (in one of four appearances without Foghorn Leghorn). Released November 15, 1958, the cartoon is directed by Robert McKimson. The voices were performed by Mel Blanc and Stan Freberg. The title is a pun on the phrase "Go for Broke".
The Goofy Gophers are about to harvest the vegetables on the farm when the farmhands beat them to the punch. Worried that their food source is being "vandalized," they follow the truck to the barn so they can recover what they consider to be their food. However, they spot the guard dog and realize that if he were to awaken and spot them stealing the vegetables, he would cause them trouble.
The Gophers spend most of the rest of the cartoon using psychological weardown tactics to drive Barnyard Dawg insane and remove him as a threat to their well-being. A deadpan pig watches as the dog is repeatedly the victim of the Gophers' pranks, and can only shake his head as the dog's psyche is broken down. Meanwhile, the pooch tries to convince himself that all that is going on is nothing but a bad dream (consulting Sigmund Fraud and using sleeping pills to laugh off each attempt).
In the end, the Gophers get rid of their foe for good by tying a harness around the sleeping Barnyard Dawg's belly, then attaching it to a hot air balloon before launching it. Eventually, the balloon's hull begins to leak, and the dog awakens atop a light pole. After he wakes up and realizing his surroundings, Barnyard Dawg mentally snaps and begins to fly! The pig - confused about everything he has seen - goes to psychiatrist Dr. Cy Kosis for counseling. Kosis realizes he needs counseling (and joins his client on the couch) when he sees the Barnyard Dawg flying by the window.
In two publications covering the Warner Bros. library of cartoons, critics Will Friedwald and Jerry Beck gave Gopher Broke negative reviews. In their 1981 publication The Warner Brothers Cartoons, the cartoon was panned as an inferior remake of the 1949 short Mouse Wreckers; that plot had twin mice Hubie and Bertie physically and mentally torturing a potential antagonist, Claude Cat, into submission, all to gain access to the house and therefore an ample food supply. Gopher Broke also marked "the decline of McKimson's work," the review continued.
In Beck and Friewald's 1989 followup, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons, the two disparaged Seely's stock score (which would later be used in early Hanna-Barbera shorts and The Ren and Stimpy Show), noting it served "as part and parcel of the lame antics.".
- This was the last of six cartoons scored by John Seely of Capitol Records using stock music from the Hi-Q library because of a musicians' strike in 1958. The others are Weasel While You Work, Hip Hip-Hurry!, Hook, Line and Stinker, Pre-Hysterical Hare, and A Bird in a Bonnet.
- Gopher Broke was the last Warner Bros. cartoon in the Golden Age to feature the voice of Stan Freberg, who had only been credited once on a Warner Bros. cartoon (in Three Little Bops). Over 40 years later, however, Freberg would voice a Looney Tunes character in the 2000 short Little Go Beep.
- When this cartoon aired on ABC's The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, the part where an anxious Barnyard Dawg swallows an entire box of sleeping pills to help calm his nerves was cut to remove the dog actually ingesting the pills .
|Goofy Gophers cartoons
Tease for Two
- Friedwald, Will and Jerry Beck. "The Warner Brothers Cartoons." Scarecrow Press Inc., Metuchen, N.J., 1981. ISBN 0-8108-1396-3, pg. 215
- Friedwald, Will and Jerry Beck. "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons," Henry Holt, 1989. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2, pg. 311-312.