Wednesday, April 4, 2018

"Astro Pooch"


Yes, it's Astro Pooch! A comic drawn (and, presumably, written--you probably don't need a Bill Walsh for something like this) by Gottfredson as background art for a little-remembered 1968 live-action Disney comedy, Never a Dull Moment.

But as far as I know, no one's ever really dug down deep into the Astro Pooch mythos until now, and that is a shame. So let's do it, yeah? Buckle up, mofos!


Question the first: what the heck kind of space pilot is Astro Pooch? He has "astro" in his name, so you'd think he'd have some sort of facility, but he sure does make what seems like a very easily-avoidable crash here--and it sure doesn't look like it was intentional, given his expression in the second panel (and I realize that I've apparently unconsciously decided that Astro Pooch is a "he"--definitely a bit of sexism on my part, though in my semi-defense, male is kind of the default mode in these comics; in my further semi-defense, a speculation I'm going to make later in this entry kind of requires him to be a he).

Anyway, here's a haiku I wrote about Astro Pooch:

Astro Pooch, a beast
Who flees freezing wind and snow
For space: is there cheese?

Note that I included the traditional seasonal reference which is so often forgotten.

Right, back to business. Question the second: is this, in fact, the moon at all? Sure, he says it's the moon, but we've already established that his space-pilot bonafides are gravely in doubt. It is green, which sort of goes with the idea that it's made of green cheese, but...I dunno. That seems very questionable. And while we're on the subject, who decided that it should be green cheese? Does it look green? Did someone look up and think, oh, hey, a green thing floating in the air! It's probably composed of dairy products! Hmph.

Anyway, here's a limerick I wrote about Astro Pooch:

There once was a poochie named Astro
Whose interest in -nomy was gastro-
He went into space
Which was surely the place
Where he would find cheese--it won't last though

Well, enough nonsense. Question the third: why is the alien so pissed off at our noble pooch? I see a number of possibilities. First, we might posit that he's quite simply sick of people coming to his place and demanding to be given cheese. Flippin' tourists! They just won't go away! I mean, think about it: it really could get tedious. You're just chillin' like a villain, and dopey-ass dogs appear and demand cheese from you. Fer crissake, you annoying creatures, enough is enough! Blah!

Well, be that as it may, here's a clerihew I wrote about Astro Pooch:

Astro Pooch the puppy
Went into space like a stellar guppy
When asked what for
He countered that it's cheese he had a craving for

Of course, clerihews are generally about famous people, so for this to qualify, you have to accept that Astro Pooch is famous. But that's not hard, is it? The dog's a legend! In any case. We can think about other possibilities for the space guy's wrath. There's an important question here: is this place--whether it's the moon or not--actually made of cheese? Is that particularly viscous cheese that it's slinging at our hero, or just generic gloop? If it's the latter, we can imagine him thinking "oh for fuck's sake, these stupid Earth dogs--really Ugly Earthlings, as it were--coming here and cluelessly demanding cheese from us! Goddamnit!" Actually, when it comes right down to it, it's not that different even if it's the former (so maybe it wasn't an important question! Forgive me!)--"all they know about us is our cheese! They don't give a shit about our culture! They can go to hell, every last one of them!" Is he right?...well, that's something for you to contemplate.

One thing you DON'T have to contemplate, though, is the question "I wonder if he wrote a Petrarchan sonnet about Astro Pooch?" 'Cause here it is:

This pup is sad, of that there is no doubt
For he was living in a world of fear:
The moon--it's cheese or rather something drear?
That second choice a nightmare, for without
The promise of some cheese, not brussels sprout
What could perk up a gastronome's dog-ear
And fill him up with joy from year to year?
But how to get that cheese--a grand payout?
To space, young pooch--and you will learn the truth!
And so, indeed, he goes, and with a crash,
He finds himself alone upon the moon
But all the gods upon him shine their ruth,
For midst the lunar ruins and the ash,
It's cheese he finds--a bountiful-ish boon.

I have to feel for Astro Pooch in this situation, though. He looks so goshdarned enthusiastic in the third panel, and then in the fourth he's quite taken aback to be drenched in slime. My hope, really, is that the two are able to come to a mutual understanding. We need more of that in the world; we really do. Let's face it: it takes a special kind of dog to go to space like this; surely there's some way they could bond. I hope so; if nothing else, he'll probably need the space guy's help to get the heck offa this durn ol' moon or planet or whatever it may be.

Be that as it may, here's a Shakespearean sonnet I wrote about Astro Pooch:

A dog named Astro Pooch would go to space
But not for reasons you or I would go:
Our moon: it's rocks, but maybe also ques'?
It's this the noble beastie wished to know
Alas his ship was dashed against the rocks
And now he must strike out upon his own
E'en when a moonman our poor poochie mocks
He shall persist and make the truth be known.
The moonman hurls some turf at this brave beast
The fierce attack makes our poor hero quail
But soon he learns that at the very least
It marks a happy ending to this tale
For now he's learned that he was nowise wrong
The moon is made of cheese: so ends this song

So I'm going to pose one final question here: is Astro Pooch actually Pluto? "It seems unlikely," you say. "A. he doesn't look like Pluto; B. Pluto can't talk; and C. Pluto can't drive a rocket, you big idiot!" But I'm not sure if this is as dispositive as you think it is. You may recall those somewhat overly precious comics where the narration box would narrate Pluto's thoughts. I can't say I love 'em, but they do provide evidence, if needed, that he is thinking things. And although he doesn't actually look like that, it's true, he does look kinda like that. And...look, my point here is this: I have the theory that this is a dream Pluto's having. It would explain why we see him talking, and people--and dogs!--can be kind of distorted in their dreams. And, of course, it would handily explain objection C.

Did I just blow your mind? I hope so. Here's a Spencerian sonnet I wrote about Astro Pooch:

He thinks there may be aliens in space,
Does this, the noble pup whom we all know,
And also that the moon has dairy base
And that to there he is quite keen to go.
So in his rocket, in which he did stow
The hero dog did leave these earthly climes
For out in space he'll find a creature, lo,
And also cheese and other treats, betimes
The creature did indeed pick up some slimes
And fling them at our friendly canine--splat!
But luck soon in our hero's favor chimes
For 'twas not slime but cheese--good cheese at that!
And so he fixed his ship and soon went back
To earth to tell to all: that cheese ain't wack!

Look, I hope you understand that I could keep spinning nonsense about Astro Pooch 'til the cows come home and then spin some more for the uncomprehending cows. But there's an age-old question here: we all know that excess can turn from tedious to funny purely because of its excess, and then back. It may be an endless cycle, but I suspect it ends up mired in "tedious." Thus, my discourse on Astro Pooch ENDS HERE.

Okay okay, because you demanded it, here's a villanelle I wrote about Astro Pooch:

It's Astro Pooch, a noble mutt for sure;
He thinks the moon is green and made of cheese,
In spite of the contempt he must endure.

"This is the truth!" he oft is known to roar,
"I'd like some of that lunar queso please!"
He's Astro Pooch, a noble mutt for sure.

And yet he's like the noble mutts of yore,
Is Astro Pooch, who often shouts "oh geez!"
In spite of the contempt he must endure.

He goes to space and leaves the earth's dim shore
To know it's real and not at all a tease.
He's Astro Pooch, a noble mutt for sure.

But what is this that he's ne'r seen before?
A moonman, filled with rage (he's lost his keys?)
This shows us the contempt he must endure.

You've proven it, the moon is cheese, no more!
Do not let anger your frail body seize.
You're Astro Pooch, a noble mutt for sure,
In spite of the contempt you must endure.

Labels:

33 Comments:

Blogger george greg said...

Congratulations, you have now officially broken the record for number of poems written about Astro-Pooch! I mean, probably, right? I certainly don't imagine anyone else wrote this many. Or any, come to think of it. Anyway, here's a trochaic tetrameter verse I wrote about Astro-Pup:

On the quest to space Astro-Pup,
On his spaceship crashed into moon,
Stood a moonling holding some cheese,
Holding some cheese and then throwing

Threw the cheese at Astro-Pup then,
Oozed the green and slimy cheese then,
Down the face of Astro-Pup then;
Then the moonling, sly old moonling

Told our Astro-Pup to scram then,
So did Astro-Pup depart then
Scrammed back to his house on Earth then
But was happy, had discovered

That the moon was made of green cheese.

April 4, 2018 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

I just realized that I called him Astro-Pup instead of Pooch in that last comment. Oh, well.

April 4, 2018 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

And now, a couplet I wrote about Astro-Pooch:

When Astro-Pooch hit the moon,
He never expected to come down so soon,
But the moonling there threw at him cheese,
Because he tried to take it without saying please

April 4, 2018 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

And now (I can't be stopped!) a Terza rima verse I wrote about Astro-Pooch:

O pooch of astro flying to the moon,
Thou who seeks cheese and affirmation of a myth,
Be careful, for you will be splattered soon,
By cheese, which a moonling will hit you with

April 4, 2018 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

NICE.

April 4, 2018 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

Why thank you.

April 4, 2018 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Astro Pooch is like the one forgotten Disney character. No rides at Disney World and crappy remakes with Emma Watson for him... Shame, I think this story deserve an proper continnuation.

By the way, I wrote an Reneissance aera narrative poem about Astro Pooch :

A Dog on exile! Noble martyr!
Ulysses! Ben-Hur! Tempting faith!
Nor is he richer nor he's smarter,
But equaly haunted by lives wraith,

Seeking like night Is seeking dawn,
The Moon! The wonder! Thirst of poets!
Tempting like Whore of Babylon
Beyond description of all sonnets!

What do you lust for afflicted creature?
Wisdom and knowledge not seen by eyes?
You are oppressor? Perhaps a teacher?
What bold enigma in your mind lies?

He stroke the surface of longed Moon
Like Once Alexander stroke The Persians,
Will You reveal Your life’s goal soon?
Don’t mock us with your sick perversions!

Share your desires! I’m on my knees!
Infect us with your arrow cupid!
Turns out he wanted just some cheesse.

....Ok! I’m out! That fucking stupid!

April 5, 2018 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

And for this one I got Dr. Seuss as my ghost writer :

In the blog-blong galaxy,
By the planet of Vooch,
There’s a home of a doggy,
And he’s name Astro Pooch!

In his racket he Swooshes,
Like a fance jumping cow,
He do visits the green Moon
And he crashes with POW!

Then he ARF! like a ARF'er,
And he never say please,
He just stalk little green-man,
And he bugs them for cheese!

Now the moral is this,
(Or the moral is “that”?)
Don’t ask cheese from an Alien,
Or you meet with a SPLAT!

April 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Your hilariousness excuses your lateness.

Do you want a Ronsardian sonnet? In French? In Alexandrin verse? I can do that.

Il vole dans les airs, le canin cosmonaute,
Son but est simple: car cet Astro-Toutou saute
Sur une occasion, au combien irremplaçable:
Prouver que cette Lune est faite de fromage.

Il n'a pas terminé ses cours de pilotage,
Mais dans sa grande quête, Astro est implacable,
Debout sur sa fusée, Astro-Toutou s'envole,
Pour atteindre bien vite un astre cosmopole.

Las! Que cette Sélène est dépourvue de charmes,
Elle est d'un vert pourri assez peu attirant,
Et un homme irascible est son seul habitant.

Le petit alien vert n'aime pas les toutous,
Et il renvoie au loin Astro pourtant si doux,
Avec une louchée de fondue pour arme !
"

Don't thank me. The world needed this to exist.

April 5, 2018 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

That is RAD AS HELL.

April 5, 2018 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Let me try one in Polish Adam Mickiewicz style :


Któż z chwatów potrafił se przypisać czyny,
Te na miarę zacnej, sławnej Astro Psiny?
Wielu się starało, jednak nikt niestety,
Będąc psem nie umiał ujarzmić rakiety!
Tym co jej nie znają prędko zrzędnie mina,
Gdy odkryją zaraz jak to Astro Psina
za rakiety gwiezdnej pochwyciła stery,
i księżyc podbiwszy pytała o sery.
A zdobycie sera nie jest łatwym czynem,
Zwłaszcza, gdy kosmita nie jest marsjaninem,
a z księżyca obcym, którzy jak warchoły,
Ciskają w twarz kwasem w sposób nie wesoły!

April 5, 2018 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

This is just great. All are encouraged to write Astro Pooch poetry in their own languages or others they know well. I KNOW there are Germans, Italians, Mexicans, and Brazilians reading this, so get cracking! This is important!

April 5, 2018 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

For posterity—Astro Pooch was a running joke around Gemstone headquarters in the old days, where my boss John Clark always suggested that were his old boss Bruce Hamilton still with us, we would one day inevitably be forced to publish...

The Floyd Gottfredson Library of Walt Disney's Astro Pooch Adventures in Color Vol. 1

...a 48-page graphic novel containing a title page, a copyright page with a short essay—and then 46 comics pages, each of which would have repeated the one and only Astro Pooch strip four times!

April 5, 2018 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Hey, I'd buy it.

I wonder, would IDW consider reprinting Astro Pooch? And what if you could make a lot of new strips featuring the timeless characters of Astro Pooch and Angry Cheese Alien? Hm? Casty, get on it!

On a more serious note, it is somewhat noteworthy that we still have the Gottfredson pencil art for this strip, apparently:

https://p1.liveauctioneers.com/436/9012/1769768_1_x.jpg?version=0&width=1600&format=pjpg&auto=webp

Also, about the "he looks like Pluto" thing: well, bad Disneyland costume + perspective + Space Mountain = Astro Pooch meet'n'greet character.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/1e/05/85/1e05854911d97cdc3ab4f76b0c658fb5--disney-word-disney-cruiseplan.jpg

April 5, 2018 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 5, 2018 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

This will be an important resource for many years to come.

April 5, 2018 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

My thoughts exactly

April 5, 2018 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

And now, a tanka about Astro Pooch:

Among the dark stars
A noble pooch in a ship
In the Earth’s Orbit
Soaring, hoping to find cheese,
Up on the shining moon

April 6, 2018 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Achille Talon said...

Also, all kidding aside, where did you find that colored high-quality version of the script? The only printing INDUCKS has is in Italy…

April 6, 2018 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I'll shall take a wild guess they included it as a "Bonus feature" in latest Floyd Gottfredson Libary book from Fantagraphics.

April 6, 2018 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

BTW - george greg, in the link where you copy all the opems my first poem is missing the very last (punch)line... (Then again it does include the "F" word)

April 6, 2018 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

I have just one thing to add:
A poem about Astro-Pooch based on Lewis Caroll's "Jabberwocky":
’Twas midnight, and the Astro Pooch
Did soar and fly on through space:
All cheesy were his thoughts inside,
For the moon cheese he did race.

“Beware the moon people, my friend!
The mouths that scowl, the hands that throw!
Beware the moon people, and find
The slimy cheese that falls like snow!”

He took his rocket ship up high;
Long time the delicious cheese he sought—
Till crashed he on the moon, you see
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in cheese-ish thought he stood,
The moon man, with eyes of flame,
Came running at him as he would,
Throwing cheese as he came!

Take this! Take that! And splish and splat!
The moon man’s cheese went splatter splat!
It flew with dread, and hit Pooch’s head
So he went a-flying back.

“And hast thou found the cheese, my friend?
Come here to me, my Astro-Pup!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He threw his arms straight up.

’Twas midnight, and the Astro Pooch
Did soar and fly on through space:
All cheesy were his thoughts inside,
For the moon cheese he did race

Okay, I'm done now. (maybe)

April 6, 2018 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2018 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

DRAT! I had Idea to make a poem about the Astro Pooch lore in the style of Jabberwocky gibberish but george greg beat me to the punch :( YOU WON THIS ROUND GREORGE GREG!!!!

Maybe I shall scrap that idea and return to the idea of making one in the vain of Biblical "Song of Songs" (I asumed it would be to predictable of me)


Man, makes you wonder - when Gottfredson was making his research for this storyline did he ever consider one day people will make THIS many poems base on this story.

April 6, 2018 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

Hoorah! Yeah, the strip appears in the penultimate Gottfredson volume. I half want to see the movie where it makes a cameo, just because it does.

April 6, 2018 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

Yeah, he probably assumed people would only write very Astro Pooch poetry very occasionally.

April 6, 2018 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Yhe, like writing it will be a special occasion - just like Christmas.

April 6, 2018 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I just checked the movie...

SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE : The strip dosen't appear until Hour and 33 minutes in and it's on a wall in the Pop-art section of the museum (as it deserve) where zany climax take palce. Note you bearly get to see the firt planel, the title is cut in half. So the people didn't witness the strip in it's full glory untill the Gottferson collections.

Huh... This caper actually looks fun. Maybe I'll watch entire thing. I mean it has Dick Van Dyke! What more do you wan't from cinema?

P.S.
Huh! Acording to IMDB's Gottfredson sole movie credit is doing animation in a 1930 short "Cannibal Capers"
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7891505/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

April 6, 2018 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Debbie Anne said...

Here is Astro Pooch's story, if told by Gene Roddenberry:

Space, the final frontier.
These are the voyages of Astro Pooch!
His four panel mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out cheese; to boldly go where no pooch has gone before!

April 6, 2018 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Also - in the movie you don't realy see Gottferson signaruture as most of it gets covered by some other object :( The strip is on screen for about 10-15 seconds.

April 6, 2018 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger george greg said...

Okay, I lied, here's another one:

Once upon a moonflight dreary, while I flew forth, weak and weary,
On past many a strange and curious planet of varied dairy goods—
While I flew on, nearly napping, suddenly there came a smashing,
As of some thing loudly cracking, cracking off my spaceship’s door.
“’Tis some planet there” I muttered, “Which I crashed into therefore—
Only this and nothing more.”



And now the silken, green, and viscous bubbling of each cheese-filled crater
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic visions never seen afore;
But then now I saw before me a green man just glaring at me
“’Tis some local amazed at my entrance to this moon I saw—
Some small alien surprised at my entrance to this moon I saw;—
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was flying, and so crashed here, nearly dying,
And there standing you came glaring, glaring at the thing you saw,
So now I must kindly ask you: “Where’s All The Cheese?”—here he picked up something from the floor;—
All was green then, nothing more.

Deep into the green cheese peering, long I stood there wondering, staring,
Why had this moon man threw this cheese into my face, when I asked him so politely;
But the silence was unbroken, and the greenness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Got more?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Got More!??!?”—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back then to my my spaceship turning, my want now for that cheese all burning,
Soon again I heard a splatting somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely this is going too far;
Let me see, then, why that alien is doing, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis angry at me, nothing more!”

Now then, here I gave a shudder, for the moon man was at my ship door
Now he stooped to pick up more cheese, as in the cheesly days of yore;
Not the least move toward me made he; not a minute threw the cheese, he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, stood above my spaceship door—
Stood upon a dorsal-like wing just above my spaceship door—
Stood, then sat, and nothing more.

Then this limely alien beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the angry scowl it wore,
“Though thy cheese be smooth and green,” I said, “thou shalt not hit my face again,
Ghastly grim and ancient alien wandering from the cheese-filled shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the moon’s cheese-filled shore!”
Quoth the alien “Go away!”

So I left then, in my spaceship, un-smashed enough to fly once more,
Then I flew off, flying, flew off, then, over the green, cheesey shore;
Only this, and nothing more;
Only this, and nothing more

April 6, 2018 at 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

One more haiku (albeit sans seasonal reference):

Astro-Pooch collides
with the moon; the cheese he seeks--
SPLAT!--collides with him.

Really, I just wanted to put "SPLAT!" in a haiku.

My sense is that "the moon is made of green cheese" is supposed to connote something only a gullible idiot would believe. Wikipedia, I see, is with me on this. "An example of extreme credulity, a meaning that was clear and commonly understood as early as 1638." A simpleton sees the reflection of the moon in the water and mistakes it for a round cheese wheel. But Wikipedia also explains that "green" here just refers to a young cheese. OK.

Ramapith: I am beyond pleased to hear the story of The Floyd Gottfredson Library of Walt Disney's Astro Pooch Adventures in Color Vol. 1. And now some of those pages could be taken up by the superior multilingual supplemental material gathered hereinabove! (Long have I yearned to use the word "hereinabove" in an actual communicative sentence....) We could call it "The Poetic Phases of Astro-Pooch's Moon" (a title which OF COURSE sounds better in French, and maybe also in Polish, for all I know).

April 7, 2018 at 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

And one more:

A reckless hound
Sets forth in space
To seek green cheese.
Rebounding post-crash
On the moon, the
Pup there sees
One strange small guy,
Outraged,
Cheese-hurling.
Hound, say "please"!

Note: 12 syllables per rhyming line!

April 7, 2018 at 11:41 PM  

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