Pete is Disney's longest running character, and he happens to be one of my favorites. For Epcot's Test Track at Walt Disney World in Florida, Pete got a wild new look inspired by the Hot Rod "Kustom Culture" character "Rat Fink" (and notice Mickey Mouse makes an appearance here).
It's not obvious, but Pete actually does have a pretty solid connection to Test Track.
For a long time, the mascot for Test Track has been Test Dummy Goofy.
Pete's name and appearance has been changed quite a bit over the years.
The character was originally called Peg Leg Pete. The peg leg was eventually dropped, but sometimes it returns (as was the case in 2004's "The Three Musketeers").
Pete is typically associated with either Mickey Mouse or Goofy.
This vintage Matterhorn comic (from a time when Goofy was dating Clarabelle Cow) not only features a cameo by Tinkerbell, it also shows the multi-layered personality of Pete. Here, he's a "frenemy" to Mickey and Goofy.
In 1960, Italian Disney Comics introduced Pete's girlfriend, Trudy.
Trudy has appeared in many comic books and merchandise in Europe, but is not familiar to American audiences.
I first discovered Pete's girlfriend many years ago when I flipped through a Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge: Transportation book I saw at a thrift store. Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge is an English version of a series of books that originated in Italy (which explains how Trudy found her way into an American book).
Among the European items featuring Trudy are highly detailed Italian collectible figurines.
|Italian Disney Trudy Figurine|
Pete eventually did get married and have kids, but not with Trudy.
That scoundrel Pete is quite the player.
Though Pete was absent from cartoons for years, he was very popular in comic books and magazines, especially in Europe, where the character had a life of his own.
Pete played the frightening Ghost of Christmas Future. Jiminy Cricket was the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Willie the Giant was the Ghost of Christmas Present.
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" was based on a 1975 record album called "An Adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol."
On the record album, the Ghost of Christmas Past was Merlin from "The Sword in the Stone" and the Ghost of Christmas Future was the Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" quickly became a holiday favorite, and has inspired all sorts of Christmas decorations (including a nice lighted village).
The very first Pete merchandise I remember seeing is from a set of Applause "Mickey's Christmas Carol" PVC figures from the 1980s.
Years before theme parks had their own special character drinks like Harry Potter's Butterbeer or Beauty and the Beast's LeFou's Brew, Pete had his own beverage at the Disney Village Marketplace (now called Downtown Disney) at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Chef Mickey's Village Restaurant (located where the Rainforest Cafe is today) sold a few drinks themed to Disney characters (including one for Pete) back in the early 1990s. I can't remember what it was called or what the flavor was, but it seems like black cherry or blackberry would have been appropriate.
In 1987, Pete appeared in early episodes of Disney's "DuckTales" syndicated animated TV series.
The character appeared much as he did in comics and storybooks at the time.
Pete had a different identity in each DuckTales episode he appeared in, though he looked and sounded the same in each one.
Pete was never really a threatening character on "DuckTales". In this episode, he plays marbles with Webby.
In "DuckTales", Pete was voiced by Will Ryan.
Pete's time on "DuckTales" was brief. The show's cast continued to expand to the point where main characters like Bubba Duck and Doofus ended up filling the role of background characters.
Being a full-time background character isn't always a bad thing. Especially not when it is for Disney.
By 1989, Pete appeared with classic Disney characters and more modern ones like Gurgi (from "The Black Cauldron") and Evinrude the dragonfly (from "The Rescuers") in a poster celebrating the opening of Splash Mountain at Disneyland in California.
The Nautical Captain Pete was common in Disney comic books and storybooks during the 70s and 80s.
In Europe, "Sea Captain Pete" was made into a variety of merchandise, including a cloth finger puppet.
By 1986, Baby Pete was causing trouble in the Disney Babies franchise.
Baby Pete appeared as part of the Disney Babies product line in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
There was not a Disney Babies Saturday Morning TV show, but there was an extensive line of toys and merchandise, including PVC figurines.
In 1990, Captain Pete terrorized two Mickey Mice in "The Prince and the Pauper."
Pete's weasel henchmen sang a special song in the film (to the tune of "The Mickey Mouse Club March). It went something like this: "Captain Pete! Captain Pete! Captain Pete! Captain Pete! We never met a man he didn't cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat! He's the finest villain that you'd ever want to meet! What a cad! Super-bad! I love Captain Pete!"
In 1992, Pete starred with Goofy in the "Goof Troop" TV series on the Disney Afternoon and ABC's Saturday Morning schedule. Actor Jim Cummings was cast as the voice of Pete for Goof Troop and he has been performing the voice since then.
Pete's son and Goofy's son were not actually new characters. Pete Junior first appeared in 1942 and Goofy's son first appeared in 1951. For Goof Troop, the characters were "re-cast" with different appearances and personalities.
Early concept art for Goof Troop shows very different versions of new characters Peg (Pete's wife) and Pistol (Pete's daughter).
A description of Goof Troop was teased in the final issue of the Goofy Adventures comic book in 1991 (though no artwork was shown).
In France, Goof Troop is "La Bande a Dingo" and Pete is called Pat Hibulaire.
The only time I've seen merchandise of Pete's wife, Peg, is from this set of porcelain Goof Troop "Feves" from Europe (these are tiny figures meant to be baked into an Epiphany Cake).
Pete's son P.J. was voiced by Rob Paulsen (of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" fame). Daughter Pistol was voiced by Nancy Cartwright, probably best known as Bart Simpson on "The Simpsons."
P.J. went on to star in "A Goofy Movie" (1995) and "An Extremely Goofy Movie" (2000). Pistol, like Peg, only appeared in Goof Troop.
Pete rebuilt his career with the help of Walt Disney Television Animation, which pushed Pete beyond the role of a villain.
Pete became a TV Dad who hung out with "Home Improvement" star Tim Allen. Pete also went on to star in the "Mickey Mouse Works" and "House of Mouse" TV shows.
In 1993, Disneyland in California opened Mickey's Toontown. This new land was inspired by the 1988 film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
In February 1994, Disney Adventures Magazine had a special Mickey's Toontown comic to celebrate the newest addition to Disneyland.
Pete appeared in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (the back of Pete can be seen at the very end of the film, during the scene with Porky Pig) but Pete's role in the movie was not very memorable.
Pete was snubbed in "Roger Rabbit" but he got to be the main villain in the Mickey's Toontown comic.
Roger Rabbit characters were not mentioned in the Mickey's Toontown comic at all. This probably has something to do with the fact that the Roger Rabbit characters are co-owned by Amblin Entertainment.
Baby Herman and Mrs. Herman in the Roger Rabbit films were voiced by April Winchell, who also played Peg in "Goof Troop."
In 2004, Clarabelle Cow (also voiced by April Winchell) was Pete's sidekick in the movie "The Three Musketeers."
A mystery that is bigger than "Who framed Roger Rabbit?" is "Why can't you meet Pete at Disneyland or Walt Disney World?"
Mickey's Toontown was eventually duplicated for Tokyo Disneyland in Japan in 1996.
Goofy and Horace and Pluto are all voiced by actor Bill Farmer.
The Gag Factory is "Downtown" Toontown where Roger Rabbit lives. Not that you'd know that from this comic.
I don't think Pete has any sort of presence in Toontown or at the Disneyland Resort. Time to change that.
In 1995, Pete reverted back to his slick 1940s character design for his role in A Goofy Movie. This is my favorite version of Pete, because he is really funny in the film, and not played as a traditional villain.
|Publicity Art for A Goofy Movie|
Publicity for the release of A Goofy Movie largely ignored Pete and PJ, seemingly to make it clear that the film was not simply a big episode of Goof Troop. In Goof Troop, a very short-tempered Pete was constantly annoyed with his his neighbor, Goofy. In A Goofy Movie, Pete is an obnoxious "friend" to Goofy.
The Goofy Movie version of Pete has his roots in the 1942 animated short, Symphony Hour. Pete was not really a villain in this cartoon, either.
In the 1990s, Pete started appearing on more and more merchandise, mostly for high-priced items.
Pete often showed up with classic characters for products geared toward serious Disney collectors.
The Danbury Mint Disney Mickey Mouse Christmas train has a banjo-playing Pete riding the rails.
The wizards at Walt Disney Imagineering decided to give Pete his very own place at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Pete was not getting an attraction. Pete got his own restroom facility, Pete's Garage.
In 1996, Pete's Garage opened at Mickey's Toontown Fair in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Pete's Garage was eventually torn down to make way for the Storybook Circus for the New Fantasyland.
In 2012, Pete got his own Walt Disney World attraction, "Pete's Silly Sideshow" (a place to meet Disney characters) in the new Storybook Circus in Fantasyland.
The artwork for the Pete's Garage sign was modified to be used to promote Pete's Silly Sideshow.
Pete's Silly Sideshow is housed in a tent structure that was originally created for the "Mickey's Birthdayland" section of Fantasyland that opened in 1988 to celebrate the 60th birthday of Mickey Mouse. The area became "Mickey's Starland" in 1990, and then "Mickey's Toontown Fair" in 1996.
Pete enjoys hanging out with Dumbo, Belle, Sebastian and Lumiere to promote New Fantasyland.
A 1997 "Bonkers" comic in Disney Adventures Magazine featured a Bad Pete Whirl-I-Gig Ride.
"Bonkers" was a Disney Afternoon animated TV series that debuted in 1993.
Jim Cummings provided the voice of Toon Cop Bonkers D. Bobcat and human detective Lucky Piquel.
Lucky's wife, Dilandra, was voiced by April Winchell (Peg on Goof Troop).
The "Bonkers" character and premise was very similar to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
Many Disney characters (including Dumbo, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and Lady and the Tramp) made cameo appearances in the Bonkers TV show and comic.
In 1999, Pete and the classic Disney characters traveled through time and space with the help of sculptor David Kracov.
Tomart's Disneyana Update Magazine showcased Kracov's Disney chess sets and individual sculptures (of characters like Mushu the dragon from "Mulan").
Thanks to Kracov's sculpting abilities, Pete and Clarabelle took Manhattan and Goofy hitched a ride to the Haunted Mansion.
Each of Kracov's pieces were sculpted by hand---no molds were used!
Pit Maleficent against Mushu for a Kracov Dragon Challenge!
Minnie Mouse spends time with Rex (voiced by Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens) who is now working baggage claim at Star Tours after years of being a failure as a pilot. Sadly, Rex lost Pete's luggage, which carries the Boba Fett costume Pete wears for Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.
Pete would later channel the villain McLeach from 1990's "The Rescuers Down Under." The two worked together when "The Prince and the Pauper" was paired with the Rescuers sequel in movie theaters.
The Kracov Disney characters enjoy visiting Disneyland and going on safari with the cast of The Lion King Broadway Musical.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall. What's the most rare Pete collector's item of all? Probably the "Walt's Cargo" Chess set created by Disney artist Ralph Kent. This features a female counterpart to Pete named Penelope.
I remember seeing an ad for this chess set years ago. The best pictures I've seen of the Walt's Cargo collection can be found at Garden State Chess. Check out the Garden State Chess website for more pictures of the figures in this set at www.eosef.com/gsc/.
I wrote to Garden State Chess for permission to use the picture of Pete and Penelope here, and I got a wonderful treat. I got a guest contributor!
Israel Raphaelli from Garden State Chess sent me some amazing material about Walt's Cargo for me to share.
Garden State Chess presents some great information about Disney artist Ralph Kent.
This Walt's Cargo information is from the Chess Collectors International Thirteenth Biennial Congress (April 29th to May 4th, 2008) in Boca Raton, Florida.
In this article (from August 2000) written by Ray Alexis, we learn more about the character Penelope, who was created for this set.
We now know that Penelope is Pete's sister. I'm pretty sure this character was eventually referenced in an episode of "Mickey Mouse Works" or "House of Mouse" (as a drawing on a wall used to distract Pete).
Special thanks here to Israel Raphaelli at Garden State Chess for some fantastic pictures and information!
An Outlaw version of Pete starred in a special Frontierland collection of merchandise sold at Walt Disney World.
This impressive action figure collection has horses, props and buildings (including a jail for Pete!).
There's no mistake that this Frontierland is in Florida, because Splash Mountain is in the background.
Somebody goofed, and put Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the wrong place. Maybe Goofy was responsible.
There was also a collection of Frontierland Bean Bags, including Outlaw Pete and Donald Duck.
In 1942, Donald Duck starred with Pete and Pete Junior in a cartoon called "Bellboy Donald."
Pete is the star of the Shootin' Gallery in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris in France.
The Shootin' Gallery opened back in 1992, when the park was called Euro Disneyland.
Mickey, don't have a cow, but Pete is tracking you down.
Outlaw Pete decided to rob a highly collectible Mickey Mouse and Bad Pete Animated Boxcar Lionel Train in 1995.
Beyond the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Pete can be found in vending machines.
Yujin's Robo-D Pete can be seen stomping through Tokyo, along with Robo-D Bambi and Robo-D Winnie the Pooh. By the way, Jim Cummings also voices Winnie the Pooh.
The classic Disney characters are very popular in Japan.
Some very creative Japanese items, including a Yujin Pete and Mickey Box Figure, can be found in tiny vending machine capsules.
Pete is an intimidating football player.
Pete terrorized Chip and Dale in the 1954 animated short, "Lone Chipmunks."
They say adaptability is the characteristic of success. Pete started appearing in Disney's Alice Comedies animated shorts back in 1925, then Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons in 1927, and in Mickey Mouse films in 1928.
Pete is successful because the character can be whatever he is needed to be.
You can find Pete at the Team Mickey Athletic Club store at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World.
My pal TokyoMagic! from Meet the World in Progressland took this picture of baseball Pete (with a peg leg!).
By 2004, Pete was appearing regularly on Walt Disney World merchandise.
If you want a Pete souvenir from Walt Disney World, your best bet is a pin (there have been lots of them!).
Pirate Pete can be found on "Pirates of the Caribbean" merchandise sold at the Disney Parks.
The Disney Cruise Line has also extensively used Pirate Pete as a mascot.
The Pinstripe Pete umpire Star Bean from Mattel shows a softer side of the big lug.
UPDATE 9/13/13: I would like to point out here that one of the biggest keyword searches I've seen for Dizmentia lately is "Disney Pete Stuffed Animal." Apparently, many parents are looking for a stuffed Pete for their kids, but (currently) they aren't being made. Pete is becoming a very popular character because he appears on "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." I've read that people have been going to the Disney Store and asking about a plush Pete and are being told that it isn't being made because "people really don't like Pete." Until this marketing decision changes, your best bet for finding a plush Pete is to check ebay.
If you can't find a Pete toy, maybe you can make one of your own.
In Germany, Pete is called Kater Karlo. If you are especially crafty, you can make your own animated Kater Karlo toy using this pattern as a guide.
Thanks to his role on the TV show "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," Pete finally became a PEZ dispenser. It's about time!
On "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" we learn that Pluto's rival, Butch the Bulldog, is Pete's pet.
In this Walt Disney World postcard from 1990, Pete is in good company with Chernabog, Captain Hook, Maleficent, Cruella, Ursula, Monstro and the Witch from Snow White.
There's also some characters rarely seen anymore, including Prince John, Ratigan, McLeach and the Horned King from The Black Cauldron.
In 2014, Pete became the latest Disney character to join the Disney UniBEARsity teddy bear brand in Japan.
Pete's grouchy looking Teddy Bear is named Salt. As part of the promotion for this popular toy line, Pete appeared in an online storybook slide show called "A Touch of Salt".
The story of Disney UniBEARsity involves Professor Ludwig Von Drake teaching various Disney characters to make and sell corresponding Disney teddy bears.
All of the Disney characters shown here have a corresponding teddy bear, except, curiously, Horace and Clarabelle (though I suspect that could change). All the bears have cute names. For example, Mickey's bear is called Mocha. Minnie's bear is Pudding. Donald's is Whip and Daisy's is Puffy. Pluto's bear is named Maple. Goofy's bear is called Scone. The possibilities for this line of toys is clearly endless.
Fans of A Goofy Movie should enjoy Disney UniBEARsity.
Yes, Goofy's son, Max has a Teddy Bear in the line, too (named Rusk).
The artist creating this Disney UniBEARsity slideshow has clearly been watching A Goofy Movie.
Pete's expression here is taken directly from the Photo Session sequence from A Goofy Movie (where Pete mocks Goofy: "You have such a way with children!").
I don't really understand what is happening in this story. Pete and Salt seem to be crashing the Teddy Bear's Picnic.
Salt is an adorable villain teddy bear.
Pete passes out after eating.
I have no idea what is happening here.
Ludwig Von Drake says Pete is a failure.
Everyone laughs at Pete's failure. It's no wonder Pete has a short temper with these characters.
Pete takes Salt downtown.
Again, I have no idea what is happening here.
Pete takes Salt home and gives the teddy bear to PJ.
Is Salt jealous of PJ? Should PJ be very afraid of this cute little teddy bear? Considering PJ hasn't been seen in anything new in over a decade, I'd say "YES!"
Salt even has a "FAIL" tag given by Ludwig Von Drake. Nice.
Bad boys have always been popular and Pete is no exception. However, we know that he's really not that bad. He's got a personality that is real. You probably know someone like Pete (maybe in your own family) and that is kind of scary.
For more fun, check out For Pete's Sake: Disney's 12 Days Of Christmas.