Friday, August 28, 2009

Betty Boop Film Class Part 2

Fleischer Studios was grinding out cartoons at a pretty rapid pace. Dizzy Dishes was August 9, 1930, while this new cartoon, Mysterious Mose was December 26 of the same year.

I chose two cartoons so close together chronologically to illustrate the advances being made in a short time, because this is as much a retrospective on the development of animation on the whole as it is of merely Fleischer and Betty Boop.

First off, it's funny how at this point, Betty Boop is still un-named. Bimbo, who is now much shorter and looking more like his final form, is the star of the show and he would remain that way for a couple of years. Fleischer again relies on spooky happenings to explain his bizarre animation, which gets more and more surreal as time goes on. See Minnie the Moocher and Bimbo's Initiation.

I prefer this to the more rigid animation later introduced and developed by Disney. Yes, the animation was technically amazing, but there was something missing. Animation is at its best when used to exceed what's believable. Snow White was most interesting when the Seven Dwarfs appeared. Again, I fully recognize that what Disney achieved was remarkable. I appreciate, I love it, I've watched it a dozen times. Still, Disney and Fleischer in many ways represented different takes on animation. Disney wanted to legitimize it as a form of genuine drama, whereas Fleischer, pretty obviously, wanted to push the boundaries of what could be thought up without the use of drugs. Disney set down aesthetic rules; Fleischer tried to eliminate as many rules as possible.

So I'm sad that Disney's form of animation gained prominence, while the more fluid form of animation fell into disuse. Warner Brothers danced a sort of happy medium, where their cartoons were more fluid than Disney, but still didn't approach the level of otherworldly imagery that Fleischer used. So in that sense, even though I mock most of the animation on Cartoon Network, Disney, and Saturday morning as pale rip-offs of Dexter's Laboratory.

Granted, the bold, bright look of Dexter's Lab had been brewing for awhile in Hannah Barbera's late-80's, early-90's line-up, and was most firmly formulated by John Kricfalusi for Ren & Stimpy. Still, the hyper-geometry of Fairly Odd Parents, Evil Con Carne, Power Puff Girls, and any number of cartoons had their artistic quickening in Dexter.

So yeah, after that, rewind 70 years back to Betty. The lip-syncing is noticeably better, and the overall consistency of the characters is better than in Dizzy Dishes. I don't want to use the word rigid, instead I mean to describe the smoothness in shape transitions. There's focus to the morphs, and fewer random bulges in the lines. All in all, there's more of the Betty we know and love today in the character on screen.

Sex is very important in Betty Boop cartoons. Remember, back then, most of these films were being shown before a major theatrical release to adults. Cartoons as the purview of children would only develop years later. The cartoons were meant as humorous distractions, and as such they contained seeds of adult concerns. In this cartoon, Betty appears to own her own house, and there appears to be some sort of weird romance going on between her and Bimbo. Notably! Betty's night gown leaps off of her body, showing quite a bit of skin. Twice! It's little erotic details like this that would be completely excised by the time the Hays Commission would emerge.

On the voice front, Betty is voiced by a different woman by this point. I'm not sure who, but Mae Questel provided the voice starting in 1931 in Silly Scandals until the retirement of the character in 1938. I know that a variety of women provided the voice, including a turn as some cowboy contralto in The Bum Bandit. IMDB lists Mae Questel as voicing Betty in Barnacle Bill and Mysterious Mose, which I'm pretty sure is wrong. I've listened to the voices and I think they're different.

The moose head on the wall also appears to be voiced by the same guy as the thug from Dizzy Dishes. I don't know who it is, but Fleischer would frequently source employees to provide voices.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Street Fighter

From Cartoon Vixens

Sort of...

Ok, so this KIND OF involves cartoons and vixens; it's some stuff from Street Fighter IV, which I'm playing a lot, right now. I get all into whatever I'm playing and decide to make wallpapers and whatnot for it. So here's a wallpaper for a 3200x1200 dual-monitor desktop. I'll post others, too. To get the high-res version, make sure to click the Picasa link to the right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hot Cock.

I'm kinda' using this website as a dumping ground for any images I make. While this has nothing to do with Vixens, it does involve a cartoon rooster I made for a friend's birthday card. This file is editable, if you have some desire to change it. Um... enjoy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Feminism and Betty.

In my first post to this blog, I commented on Betty Boop as a feminist symbol. She is sexy, she is fun, but she is also accepted and well-liked. This was a pretty revolutionary concept back in the day. I said that the only thing about her that I think is still sexist is that even though she's overtly sexual, she is not sexually active. It was this idea that even though a girl can be social and outward, being pure, i.e. a virgin, was the desirable state.

Apparently, Candie's, the teenage girl clothing company with Britney Spears as its mascot, has started a new... thing... called the Candie's Foundation. Supposedly, this foundation is all about educating parents and children on the problems of teenage pregnancy.

Isn't it a bit surprising, then, that they mention nothing like condoms, birth control, or family planning? Yep. They mention nothing but abstinence. And isn't it interesting that the only problem they mention is pregnancy? Not STD's, or injury. No, just pregnancy. And isn't it even more interesting that Candie's spokesman is Britney Spears, a woman in the running for worst celebrity mother of the decade. And isn't it even more interesting that the "Teen Ambassador" for the newly-formed foundation is Bristol Palin.

Really? Bristol Palin? As though teens across the country look up to her? This is the same Bristol Palin who's baby-daddy spends his life on the talk show circuit bashing the Palins. The same Bristol Palin who recently called abstinence "unrealistic." Yes, one could say she can now speak from experience, but I don't buy that. The "do as I say not as I do" is a real problem, regardless of what the anti-drug ads say. It's like telling your kids not to smoke pot when you can't remember 1976. It's like telling your kids to not dress like morons when there are photos of you in knee-high rainbow socks and Madonna-cones. It doesn't work. Because your argument must logically entail that you are a worse person now than you would have been had you not made such a fateful decision.

If you argue that you like your life now, and seem alright, you have no ground. This is unlike those who speak out against drunk driving after creaming someone, because it is a highly plausible statement that, yes, life would be better today had they not made that decision. Bristol is unlikely to say that, since that would entail saying she hates her own child. Which she could say, and if she did then I'd believe her, but until she says "I wish I did not have this child," she can shut the fuck up.

I haven't even dug into the actual campaign yet! Seemingly, the whole shebang is predicated on the idea that "I'm sexy enough to keep you waiting."

On my blog A Candle in the Dark, I talk about hidden 'isms. I mentioned this in response to anti-prostitution crusaders who were running on an underlying assumption that female sexuality must be protected, while male sexuality is predatory and can be given out willy-nilly. Read into the underlying assumptions of that sentence. The "you" is a male, who is obviously a lascivious animal, otherwise he wouldn't be trying to get the girl to not wait. This also assumes that the full weight of stopping teenage sex is on the female, because men can't be expected to control themselves. Boys will be boys! Hyuk!

Let's think about the mixed messages involved with this. Candie's sells sex. Walk into a Kohl's. All they sell are hyper-sexed teenaged models, covered in sexy gear, to girls who want to be sexy, and then they say to not do anything with it or about it. Sex is bad! But still look sexy! This cheesecake is terrible for you! But look at how delicious it is! It's not just ridiculous, it's disgusting.

Now for that photo, ignoring that the model is apparently 35, it seems like the sentence is shooting for something closer to "I'm confident enough in myself to keep you waiting." That's fine. But it doesn't say that. In fact, that sort of statement is antithetical to Candie's advertising, which is based on "You're not sexy until you have this clothing," which relies on a lack of confidence. If I'm sexy enough to make someone wait, I'm sexy enough to not need Candie's clothing. They certainly don't want that.

It's also a logically inaccurate statement. Being sexy has nothing to do with someone's capacity to make someone else do something nor does it have anything to do with their own self worth in this capacity. It's like saying "I'm tall enough to keep you waiting," or "I'm Caucasian enough to keep you waiting." If it was talking about a girl's self worth, that's acceptable, but then it treads even-more dangerous ground since that implies that the woman is worth it to wait, but any man who would need "no" fucking printed on a t-shirt isn't worth the time, and if the man is worth the time, he'd either not need the slogan or there's no reason to wait. No reason except dogma, that is.

Now, let's get into the consequences of following what Candie's seemingly espouses. They want girls to be overtly hyper-sexed, flaunt it, and then be a cock-tease. BE SEXY!!! But nooooo touchy-touchy. Get those boys HARD! Then condescend to them for being such horny animals. It's an absurd message. The point of sexy is sex. A person portrays a particular image for a particular reason. I dress in a suit for work to appear professional. It's the equivalent of "I'm professional enough... to not work for you" after being offered a job. It's retarded.

Abstinence, The "Sexy" Way (

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wallpapers announcement.

Ok, after rocking a .png file as a desktop wallpaper for a few days, I've discovered something. Namely, do NOT use .png files as desktop wallpapers. At least not in Windows XP Pro. Even though Windows gives you the ability to set .png's as wallpapers, it seems to wreak havoc with the video memory. I am re-uploading my two Betty Boop wallpapers as .gif's. I would have preferred something that doesn't lose as much color information, but it looks decent enough. And, importantly, it doesn't have Jpeg's awful compression blocking.

Betty Boop Wallpaper 2 16:10 ratio:

Betty Boop Wallpaper 2 4:3 ratio: