"Bimbo's Initiation" has the U.M.&T.V. bylines inscrolled on the bottom of the screen, while "Minnie The Moocher" has the Paramount Publix bylines.A while back, when I was talking to Jerry Beck on his work with the Defintative Betty Boop Collection and I asked him regarding the film elements of the cartoons.Jerry told me that all of the Betty Boop cartoons on the boxed set were from the original 35mm nitrate prints of those films.
Why most of these cartoons has the U.M.&T.V. openings instead of the Paramount openings, as to this might be my guess.When Paramount sold their short subjects library to televison back in 1955, originally the tv distributor took Max Fleischer's(along with the Paramount logo) name off of the title card.Fleischer himself was outraged by this, as the original asking price was around $4.500,000 and Fleischer followed the sale and waited until the cartoons were sold.With this in mind, when the cartoons began airing on televsion Fleischer filed a $2,750,000 against the distributor(U.M.&T.V.) that his cartoons could not be legally televised with commerical advertising.When Max talked to the media about this story, he told reporters that credits have been instersted into his cartoons which had mislead the public by giving credit to industry people that had nothing to do with the actual making of his cartoons from the 20s to the early 40s.
When viewing a Fleischer cartoon today, you are actually seeing the original title card for the early sound Flesicher cartoons with full credits intact.Only a majority of the films has the Paramount logo replaced by the tv distributor.BTW: When seeing the 1932-1934 Betty Boop entries the bylines clearly has the Paramount Publix and not U.M.&T.V.
The TTTP/Toon Zone star of the month, continues with the classic theatrical animated series, "The Talkartoons" and this week we'll take a look at how a animated legend was created for the silver screen back in 1930 and became an instant star.
After appearing in a good amount of cartoons released in early 1930, the Fleischer studio had high hopes that Bimbo could take his place alongside Mickey Mouse in popularity.The Fleischer Studios knew that they needed to imbrace one very strong character and unfortunately Bimbo was not it.By the spring of 1930, production began on a cartoon titled, "Dizzy Dishes" was of course, Bimbo was the star in this cartoon, until a certain female character burst onto the animated scene in this one reeler.
Max and Dave Fleischer wanted to create a female character that would eventally become Bimbo's girlfriend and one of Max's top animator was given the assignment to animate a sexy looking femme fatale.Enter legendary animator, Grim Natwick who's had a long history of animating sexy women in animated cartoons.Some of Natwick's work is very astonishing, he first started painting and drawing over in Paris and when the New York animated circut was in full swing in the 1910s he bgean to work over at the Bray Studios for many years before joining the Fleischer studios in the mid twenties.So Natwick was given the task to create the female part in "Dizzy Dishes", so Natwick noticed a Paramount musical sheet with a picture of Helen Kane.Kane was a popular entertainer during the roaring twenties and was hired as a contract player for Paramount Pictures who starred in silent and sound films, mostly in early sound muscials.
Natwick modeled this new character after Kane complete with split curls, a sexy figure and big lovable eyes.Natwick created this character into a sexy looking poodle for this picture mainly for the love interests of Bimbo.This classic cartoon opens in a nightclub where Bimbo is a waiter who can't seem to catch a break with anything, from waiters to irate customers.When a customer shouts out "Roast Duck" Bimbo runs into the kicthen takes out a duck and gives the cusomer's dinner a shave.Bimbo then comes out with the duck dinner by saying, "Here ya go mister, one roast duck with the gravy just ooozing out". until Bimbo becomes smitten with the sexy cabaret singer who is wooing Bimbo away from his duties with the customers.One scene has Bimbo trying to catch his heart after falling for the sexy singer only to deal with the ticked off customer by chasing him right into the kitchen, where Bimbo makes his escape by chopping up a meat table into a train.This is the landmark cartoon that marked the debut of Betty Boop and the Fleischer wanted to use the cute female in several more cartoon shorts a tryout.
Betty Boop was an odd looking character from the start with her long dog ears, huge jowls and a little black nose, as she was of the canine species.At first, many cartoon fans have thought the Betty was modeled after the sexy silent screen siren, Clara Bow who was the original,"IT" girl back in the 1920s, but she was created after Helen Kane,as Betty was in fact a flapper holdover from the 1920s.What is interesting of note is that some stories had the Fleischer Studios actually using a soundtrack of Kane's actual singing voice for "Dizzy Dishes" but that wasn't the case.Betty's next apperance would be in the 1930 cartoon short, "Barnacle Bill" which was shortly released the same month that Dizzy Dishes premeired across movie screens.Bimbo plays the title roll of Barnacle Bill, who manges to jump ship to see his girlfriend whom he finds in his address book.Betty's name in this cartoon was "Nancy Lee" and she looks more like silent screen star, Lousie Brooks and not Kane.Our dear Nancy Lee wants to marry Bimbo, but the sailor wants no part of that so he ducks and runs away until he bumps into his captain and then a wild goose chase begins.
"Mysterious Mose" (1930) was Betty's third apperance but she was still unamed for the first several shorts.This cartoon is just brillant and wonderfully animated as Betty is terrified in the night by the scary sounds of "Mysterious Mose, who just happens to be Bimbo who's in love with the damsel in distress.
By 1931, Betty was still a supporting character to Bimbo with the classic one reeler, "The Bum Bandit" in which Betty plays Bimbo's long lost wife and what interesting is we viewing this cartoon, you'll notice that Betty's nose is black then goes to a white nose and changes back again to black.Soon after Dizzy Dishes was released, Fleischer began to hold audtions for to voice the cute little flapper several women did the role, but maybe the two most familar voices would two very talented women, Ann Little who's nickname was "Little Ann Little" as she stood only 4'10 and weighed close to 100 pounds, but Little was a very beautiful and a very talented performer during the early 30s.Then of course was Mae Questel who is most associated with Betty.Questel didn't take over the voice of Betty until 1932, when Little left the Fleischers to go onto other big things in the entertainment fields.It took a while for the Fleischers to realize the their sexy new screen star was quickly catching the attention of the movie going public across the country, at this time when the 1931 Talkartoon release, "Silly Scandals" is were Betty finally made clear that she was the star of the Talkartoons and Max took note and gave Bimbo the supporting role as Betty's boyfriend.There will be more history of Betty during the next few days and discover when Betty became a full fledge human.
Fleischer surrealism and Mickey Mouse's main rival
As more Talkartoon fun continues all month long, right here at Toon Zone.
It's finally here....The "Talkin With The Talkartoons" mega contest is now offically to begin.Very simple, whoever can answer the most (out of 10) questions, will be the grand prize winner.2nd and 3rd place runners up will be eligible for prizes as well.First, please check out the rules on the special Talkartoons contest board and then check out the questions right here.You can enter as much as you like, so that way everyone has a good chance to win.The contest ends Feb.27, 2003 and the winners will be announced on Saturday March 1, 2003. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org c/o Talkartoons contest or send me a PM with same contest title.
The grand prize that contains the rarest Talkartoon shorts, as some of the cartoons has just resurfaced in the last couple of weeks and has not been seen in decades.
Here are the ten questions.....Good Luck To All!!!!!
1.Name the "first" offical Betty Boop Cartoon
2.Before the Fleischer Studios moved to 1600 Broadway, where was the original location of the Fleischer Studios
3.What was Koko The Clown's first sound cartoon?
4.Name the cartoon that marked Lou Fleischer's introduction to the Fleischer studios
5.Name the Talkartoon short that Betty appears as a human for the first time
6.What sound system did the Fleischer's record their cartoons on in 1929 and throughout?
7.Bimbo went through different animated stages in his early career, but what was the "Talkartoon short, when we see the first most famous drawn image of Bimbo?
8.What was the very last Talkartoon short produced?
9.Before joining the Fleischer Studios in 1930, what was the previous NYC based cartoon studio that James "Shamus" Culhane worked for?
10.What year did the Fleischer Studios move down to Miami?
You have just under two weeks so give it your best shot and good luck toon heads....
The star of month for Feburary, Max Fleischer's "Talkartoons" series continues with a look at surrealisim in cartoons.
Out of any animated theatrical series, the Talkartoons would feature the strangest themes in the Fleischer product.I always enjoyed seeing these strange cartoons as a kid growing up and lets examine some of the shorts and characters.
Towards the end of 1930, the Talkartoons were in full swing and the Fleischer used a weird style of humor in many of these 1930s cartoons.Surrealisim was a comon theme in these cartoons, such an example would be "Sky Scrappers" where Bimbo plays a lazy construction worker but still manages to do his job.Strange objects such a birds using their beaks to drive in bolts and the climax when the workers keep building right smack dap into the moon where they have to around it.This cartoon was the Fleischer's spoof of the Empire State Building as this cartoon was made during the construction of the building.
In the 1930 releases, the Fleischers created a villian to go up against Bimbo and his name wasGus Gorilla.Gus appeared in a hand full of shorts during the four years of the series.Dizzy Dishes may feautre the debut of Betty Boop, but the scene stealer if Gus, who play an irate customer who orders "roast duck" but Bimbo somehow fogets to serve the big goriila, who eats everything from the silverware, table and goes on a rampage after Bimbo and corners the waiter by syaing "Where''s my roast duck, you think I want to starve to death?".Gus's second role would be the captain in "Branacle Bill".The one problem that the Fleischer really didn't use this character and they should have in more if the series. Gus was more a player during the Betty Boop radio show, but one of Gus's most famous and memorable cartoons was in the 1931 cult classic, "The Herring Murder Case".
This cartoon features the true Fleischer surrealisim at it's best.The the classic who done it murder thriller has Gus murdering a herring and the whole town goes into a frenzy.Koko pops out of the inkwell as Koko is running down the street and ghostly images of the herring , gun and the killer start to surround Koko. Koko runs To get the help of detective Bimbo and the hunt is one for the gorilla killer.One bizzare moment after another has Bimbo looking at footprints, while Bimbo takes time out to drink a pint of beer, while he's an officer of the law.Bimbo reads in his book that the killer always returns to the scene of the crime and captures the goriila in a nasty fist fight.Bimbo gets his man, er sort of..Bimbo accidently locks himself behind bars and Gus goes striaght into the camera and with a mocked gay voice says, "Whoops My Dears".The cartoon was a brillant piece of animation with a great storyline and excellent special effects animation.
"Up To Mars is another interesting look at surrealisim when Bimbo is shooting off fireworks and he gets into a fight with a Mickey Mouse lookalike and the dog gets blown straight into mars where Bimbo encounters strange behavor ailensOne scene has a aline sawing a saw with wood.A crook giving his jewels, money, safe to a victim at gunpoint, etc, etc.When viewing this cartoon you have to wonder if Bob Clampett was unfluenced by this cartoon.Towards the mid part of 1931 a majority of the Talkatoons shorts were taking their place among filn histoirans and cartoon fans as the Talkartoons continues.
Next Chapter :
Sex in the Talkartoons....Some material in the next chapter may not be suitable for some member as these cartoons will be put into historical context.
Imagine if Shea Fontana and Matt Hoverman collaborated on a project. Her brand of positivity, inclusivity, and fun cheesiness combined with his emotional moments, mature storytelling, and Broadway like songs (helped by how he's worked as a playwright) would be really awesome to see.