Honest John (also known as J. Worthington Foulfellow) and Gideon (frequently called "Giddy") are the main antagonists in Disney's 1940 animated feature Pinocchio. They are a pair of con men in the village Pinocchio and Gepetto reside in, known for manipulating victims into their schemes, usually for their money, though they're no strangers to darker tasks. Honest John was voiced by Walter Catlett, whilst Gideon is a mute character, though his hiccups were provided by Mel Blanc.
The duo are based off the Fox and Cat characters from the original collection of Pinocchio stories by Carlo Collodi. Their roles in the Disney film were greatly altered. In Carlo Collodi's story, Honest John is an unnamed sly fox that pretends to be lame, but later gets his comeuppance by being lame for real and even losing his tail. Gideon was originally a cat who pretended to be blind until ultimately gaining that disability as a comeuppance. In the film, the fates of Honest John and Gideon were ultimately removed as the two con men would have been arrested when they attempt to swindle Pinocchio for a third time, and the pair were taken into custody. This also ties in to Honest John's deleted theme song of the same name.
Gideon was going to be voiced by Mel Blanc, who voiced Dopey in the 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but the company decided to delete all of his lines preferring a mute sidekick performance though he has 3 hiccups in the film, all voiced by Mel Blanc, for which he did receive payment (quipping afterwards that is it was the most expensive hiccup he ever recorded). He is said to be inspired by Harpo Marx, the silent member of the Marx Brothers.
Honest John is how many animated foxes are portrayed; as sinister and sneaky. He is also very smart and convincing. He has taken the "easy road" to success, and has never attended school. As a result, despite his cunning and persuasiveness, he can barely read or write. He is also not immune to being swindled himself, as Stromboli bought Pinocchio from him for far less than a living puppet would be worth. As well as being unable to read or write, he also cannot spell as when he tried to spell Pinocchio's name, he could only reach up to P-I-N.
Honest John is remarkably persuasive, and can convince almost anybody to do what he wants. His plans are reliable and clever, but are often spoiled by his sidekick, Gideon. He is also not unwilling to kill in order to make money, and is entirely without conscience, fearing only the law and the Coachman.
Unlike his buddy, Gideon is very dimwitted and foolish. Without his boss Honest John, Gideon would most likely be performing petty theft and pick-pocketing. Like Honest John, however, Gideon has followed the 'easy road', having barely attended school and thusly cannot read or write.
Gideon's wardrobe describes that he is dimwitted, compared to Honest John. Although the attire of both crooks are equally ragged and worn-out (patches on their pants and elbow sleeves, and tearings on their hats, gloves, and capes, etc.). Gideon wears long, baggy clothing while Honest John wears more proper and civilized clothing.
The Little Wooden Boy
Honest John and Gideon are out taking a stroll while recalling a scam involving the famous puppeteer Stromboli when they notice a living puppet. At first glance, they don't realize it, but soon enough, Honest John cooks up a new get-rich-quick scheme, namely selling Pinocchio to Stromboli. Honest John and Gideon "befriend" Pinocchio, telling him that the life of an actor is the best life. Honest John's persuasive words of the "easy road" to success convinces the puppet and they head off to Stromboli's caravan.
The Coachman's proposition
Later on, Honest John and Gideon are seen at the Red Lobster Inn speaking with the Coachman for a proposition. The crafty fox at first recalls the success of his latest scam: selling Pinocchio to Stromboli as his star attraction. He further emphasizes this success by flaunting off the proceeds he made out of it before finally asking the Coachman about his plan. The job is to collect "stupid little boys" and gather them up to the Coachman to take to Pleasure Island. Honest John, who seems to have a good idea of what happens there, fears the worst if the law catches him collecting these boys. Once the Coachman reveals his true evil face, Honest John and Gideon are both horrified but still agree to go along with their new boss's plan (as he has promised to pay them handsomely).
Pleasure Island For Me
During their hunt for stupid little boys, Honest John and Gideon run into Pinocchio once more. To trick the boy this time, they act as doctors and dupe the puppet into believing he has an "allergy". Honest John claims the only cure is a vacation to Pleasure Island and offers him a ticket (a playing card, the ace of spades). Despite Pinocchio's desire to return home, he ends up letting Honest John and Gideon take him to the Coachman's coach. The duo are not seen again for the remainder of the film, but are later mentioned by Pinocchio when he befriends Lampwick.
Honest John and Gideon have made many cameos along with many other Disney characters in House of Mouse, usually sitting together. In Jiminy Cricket, Honest John (here referred to as "Foulfellow") and Gideon were used as examples of temptations by Jiminy. In Pete's One Man Show, a life sized cutout of Honest John (along with several other Disney characters) was used to trick Pete into thinking the club had a full house. Honest John and Gideon also made a cameo appearance in a crowd shot on Mickey's House of Villains, but did not take part in the takeover.
- Honest John and Gideon appear in the fifth installment of the popular book series. They are featured as members of the Disney Villains legion known as the Overtakers and battle Finn in chapter six of Shell Game.
In the ABC fantasy/drama, Honest John and Gideon don't appear. However, the costume design for Martin (portrayed by Harry Groener), a swindler and the father of Jiminy before he was transformed into cricket, is reminiscent of Honest John. Characters Emma and Graham also stroll past a store called Worthington’s Haberdashery, a probable reference to Honest John's other name, J. Worthington Foulfellow.
Honest John is mentioned in this game.
Pinocchio: "Mr. Honest John took me to see Mr. Stromboli. But he was real mean."
Honest John and Gideon have made numerous appearances in the Disney Parks around the world as meetable characters. They are available for meet and greets in Epcot and the Tokyo Disney Resort. An audio animatronic version of them appear in Pinocchio's Daring Journey. They are usually seen individually or with each other.
Honest John also takes part in the Disney Villains meet and greet during Halloween.
Alone, Honest John can be seen alongside a legion of Disney Villains in the annual Halloween parade during the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Unlike other parades, he is seen alone without Gideon.
In the parade at the Magic Kingdom park, Honest John and Gideon can be seen alongside half boy half donkey children strolling behind Mickey Mouse's float with Pinocchio/Snow White's following behind them.
Honest John can be found at the Mediterranean Harbor in Tokyo DisneySea available for meet and greets. He is often found without Gideon here.
- Collodi, the author of the original Italian story of "Pinocchio", was said to have based the Fox and the Cat on a notorious local con artist and chicken thief named Gatto ("Cat" in Italian).
- Honest John and Gideon were originally planned to appear in the Mickey and the Beanstalk sequence of Fun and Fancy Free as the con-artists who sell Mickey the magic beans.
- Honest John and Gideon would appear on the original Disney storybook and record of Mickey's Christmas Carol as the two charity collectors who try to solicit a donation from Scrooge (Uncle Scrooge) at the beginning (an inside gag being that Gideon for once gets to speak). When it was redone as a 1983 cartoon featurette, they would be replaced by Water Rat and Mole.
- Honest John and Gideon would appear in a Disney storybook adaptation of The Emperor's New Clothes as the con-men who sell the Emperor (played by Prince John) fine "invisible" robes.
- Honest John and Gideon were originally set to appear in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days due to their popularity, in a Pinocchio-based world. The idea was dropped due to space restrictions.
- Honest John and Gideon are the only villains in the film to appear, disappear, and return in later scenes, making them the central villains.
Characters: Pinocchio | Jiminy Cricket | The Blue Fairy | Geppetto | Figaro | Cleo | Honest John and Gideon | Stromboli | The Coachman | The Coachman's Minions | Lampwick | The Stupid Little Boys | Alexander | Monstro
Objects: Stromboli's Puppets