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Honest John Worthington Foulfellow, also simply better known as Honest John, is one of the main antagonists of Disney's 2nd full-length animated feature film Pinocchio, which is based on the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by the late Carlo Collodi.
He is a cunning fox who, along with his associate Gideon, are the reason why Pinocchio didn't go to school and why Geppetto went to look for him on Pinocchio's second day on his life, tricking Pinocchio into selling him to Stromboli. He is also a temporary minion of the Coachman, later accepting his offer to take naughty children to Pleasure Island.
He was voiced by the late Walter Catlett in the original film, Alan Dinehart in An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players, and Corey Burton in Disney On Ice. In the upcoming live-action remake, he will be portrayed by Keegan-Michael Key, who also played Pupa in Let's Be Cops, the Alpha Wolf in Storks, Kamari in the live-action The Lion King remake, SkekZok in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Gustafson in Jingle Jangle.
Honest John is a tall, slender red anthropomorphic fox with a very pale yellow face and muzzle, moderate orange eyes, a green shirt, very light yellow opera gloves, deep green stirrup pants, a blue cape with a red interior, a black cravat, and an old gray top hat.
Honest John has typical popular traits of fictional foxes such as sneaky. He is also very intelligent and misleading. He has taken the "easy way" to success and is somewhat undereducated and illiterate, despite his appreciation for school as a "noble institution".
He also has no immunity to the scam himself, as Stromboli bought him Pinocchio for much less than an alive puppet value, although he doesn't seem to mind the amount of money. Being persuasive, he can convince anyone to do what he wants. His plans are reliable and intelligent but are often inadvertently close to being spoiled by his sidekick, Gideon. He's also easily tempted to kill to earn much more money than usual, and is largely without conscience, fearing only extreme penalties from the law.
However, he reacted in horror to the Coachman's plans to force the children into slavery and to go far beyond the limits of the law, revealing that his immorality had a certain limit. Although it didn't stop him to send Pinocchio at the Coachman's island. He also seems to sympathize with Pinocchio after hearing that Stromboli had locked the puppet in a birdcage, but only briefly (more likely to play on the boy's sympathies).
Honest John is a sly fox who first appears strolling down the street with Gideon when they see that Stromboli has come back to town and recalled how they once tried to trick him by making Gideon look like a puppet. They then come across Pinocchio. Realizing that he is a living and breathing puppet, they decide to get rich by tricking Pinocchio into thinking they are friends and leading him to Stromboli.
They later meet the Coachman in the "Red Lobster Inn" and the Coachman discusses his plans to send naughty boys to Pleasure Island. Honest John is shocked by this and is horrified when the Coachman tells them they never return as human boys. Nevertheless, Honest John and Gideon obey the Coachman's orders, this time out of fear and not out of money.
During their desperate search for naughty boys in late evening and with no one around in the streets, luckily the duo encounters Pinocchio again, and they pretend to be doctors, convincing the wooden boy that he has an "allergy" that can only be cured by a visit to Pleasure Island. They give him a "ticket" (a simple Ace of Spaces card, quite likely used to cheat/trick in their scams) and bring him to Pleasure Island.
Honest John and Gideon are not seen again for the rest of the film, but in a deleted scene, they are arrested by the police for their dishonest actions, which can also be easily deduced by the viewers, since Pinocchio came back from Pleasure Island as Honest John feared could happen and he's an inhabitant of the same village. However, considering that in the script and in book and comic book adaptations it is specified that Geppetto went to search for Pinocchio on Pleasure Island and Honest John and Gideon were the only ones who knew about Pinocchio's presence on said island (possibly along with other villagers who could have heard Honest John singing the song about Pleasure Island in late evening while taking Pinocchio to the coach for it out of town, another sign of John's stupidity), it can be implied that they were arrested offscreen or wanted by authorities for that. It can also be implied that he and Gideon may have suffered the same fate as their book counterparts.
Honest John appeared in the first level, where he grabs Pinocchio's book and threw it out.
Honest John will try to use his cane when Pinocchio runs to try and make him trip, taking some life off of him.
House of Mouse
Honest John appears in the cartoon series along with many other Disney characters. He usually sits with Gideon. He is used as an example of temptation by Jiminy in Jiminy Cricket. In Pete's One Man Show, a life-sized cutout of Foulfellow and other characters were used to trick Pete into thinking that it was a full house. He also makes a cameo appearance in Mickey's House of Villains, but he does not take part in the takeover.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
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.
Hi-diddle-dee-dee, an actor's life for me. A high silk hat and a silver cane. A watch of gold with a diamond chain.
The character is credited with singing Disney's first villain song, "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee".
It is likely that Honest John was skeptical about sending Pinocchio to Pleasure Island, implying that he may have a lighter side of him. He and Gideon also have some standards and funny moments and were genuinely scared when the Coachman mentioned Pleasure Island, as well as the cruelty and plans for the boys there.
Honest John is pictured on one of the 10 USA non-denominated commemorative postage stamps celebrating "Disney Villains", issued as a pane of 20 stamps on July 15, 2017. The set was issued in a single sheet of 20 stamps. The price of each stamp on the day of the issue was 49 cents. The other villains depicted in this issue are the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, and Scar from The Lion King.
Honest John and Gideon did not appear in the non-Disney "sequel" Pinocchio and Emperor of the Night, but were replaced by a Raccoon and a Monkey named Scalawag and Igor.
While he showed some willingness to murder for profit, it is debatable on whether or not he would actually go through with it.
It has been announced that Keegan-Michael Key will be playing Honest John in the upcoming live-action remake of Pinocchio. This will be Key's second role in a Disney live-action remake, having previously played Kamari in the 2019 The Lion King remake.