Monday, September 28, 2009

A Celebration of Animation.

I've been learning a lot about animation in general as I go through all of the research required to write the Film Class posts. I have unearthed a treasure trove of material on Betty's original designer and first animator, Grim Natwick.

There's so much to discuss about Natwick, his legacy, and his connections throughout the animation world that trying to condense it all here would be silly. Instead, I heartily recommend that you click through the following links to read up on him and animation in general.

Of note, in my Film Class about the Bum Bandit, I brought your attention to Betty on the locomotive. Apparently, if a commenter here is to be believed, Walt Disney also noticed how great the whole scene was.

John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy, is an animation fanatic. Any and all posts of his are worth reading.
- Posts on Betty Boop
- Posts on Popeye
- This post is about the solidity of character design like I was mentioning, and how early Fleischer lacked a lot of solidity.

Michael Sporn Animation Inc. is another blog dedicated to a discussion about animation is just as good as Kricfalusi's

- Posts on Fleischer

The definitive collection of animation information and material online.

- ASIFA presents a history of Grim Natwick.

Betty Boop Film Class Part 5

Moving ahead only one Betty cartoon, we come to Bimbo's Initiation. Released about a month after Silly Scandals, Bimbo's Initiation was immediately hailed as a breakthrough in animation. The surreal visuals, smooth lines, and incredibly dynamic backgrounds were eye-popping and are impressive even today.

Unbeknownst to viewers at the time, Bimbo's Initiation was also the beginning of the super-bizarre style that would soon be applied more broadly to Fleischer's later works. In his earlier films, cartoon physics held sway, but they existed in a cartoon representation of reality. In The Bum Bandit, Betty chomps off the tip of the Bum Bandit's gun (How symbolic, *giggle*), but that just represents how tough she is. It's a cartoon representation of a real-world concept.

Bimbo's Initiation, on the other hand, is a cartoon representation of, I dunno', a nightmare, I guess. No physics take hold. Anything can happen and will do so for no apparent reason. Cause & effect have no purchase. He falls down a manhole, some random mouse comes up and padlocks the ground. What?! All of the order members have candles on their heads. Knives come to life. Flames dance to a fiddle. Whole rooms rotate for no reason. The events transpire simply because it's possible and it looks funny. That cartoons would be used as a way to represent things happening simply because they could, with no logic or reason behind any of it was actually quite new at the time.

This was the last of the Betty/Bimbo films to be animated by the the guy behind much of Betty's creation, Grim Natwick, and some of the touches he throws in are just fantastic. at about 3:55, Bimbo blazes into a room riding a bicycle, where a pool full of fish is center-frame. Bimbo's reflection, smoke and all, is animated. It's such a glorious touch that adds a great amount of depth to the scene, where the various elements actual feel like they exist in the same universe.

Sexual elements are perhaps more pervasive in this cartoon than any of the earlier films. From Betty's first appearance at about 4:15, where she beckons Bimbo with the phrase "come inside, big boy," to Bimbo's interpretation of that as something sexual, illustrated by his perverted giggling, sex is strongly implied. I LOVE the hilariously outdated term he uses to describe Betty: a pippin. Apparently, this comes from a coveted type of apple in the late 1800's and is used to describe an "excellent person or thing." Love it! I'm so using that word in general speech.

The theme of sex continues with the underlying theme of asses and ass-slapping. From Bimbo bumping over things as he falls down the manhole cover, the ass-slap bicycle, the hilariously pronounced butts of the order members, the stairs on Bimbo's way into the basement, and finally Betty and Bimbo's completely insane dance at the end, the rump could practically be called the third cast member.

The whole cartoon might seem like chaos, but it was groundbreaking. The animated backgrounds were amazing, the solidity of the characters shows even further advancement, and the combination of bizarre visuals synced with music resulted in what can only be described as a mini-masterpiece. You might not have known about it, but in the world of animation its legacy is alive and well. In 1994, it was recognized as the 37th greatest cartoon of all time.

I would also like to provide my interpretation of this cartoon. It represents a dream of Bimbo's that starts off as day residue, turns into a nightmare that represents Bimbo's struggle with the real-world's sexual mores, and finishes as a wet dream after Bimbo has accepted his sexuality. He leaves the real world by entering (penetrating) a hole, and themes of holes and penetration are found throughout the film. He finally realizes near the end that the beautiful thing that he wants is the same thing as the ugly thing that he was initially afraid of, and what's wrong is his perception, not the thing. That's my two cents. Or maybe one.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A note on my wallpapers.

I thought I should make mention of why my images are usually shifted to the right in my wallpapers. I'm assuming that the bulk of the people coming to my blog are coming in on Windows machines, and windows currently defaults to aligning icons and other desktop clutter to the left. So for the sake of order, the image is on the right, and your various pr0n-related shortcuts (you perv) will be on the left.

More Betty Boop Wallpapers

Here's some more wallpapers of Betty. I posted in both 4:3 (1600x1200) and 16:10 (1920x1200), this time, and made a black and white version with the red lips that I like so much. I dunno' what my deal with that is. I like kissing, I think. I should do it more often. Where is my cat?

The watermark is again just in the corner and easily editable-out. I put it in there primarily so people wandering by in Google search know from whence the image came.

4:3 versions-
From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

16:10 versions-
From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roger Rabbit High-Def

Praise Allah!

Someone has uploaded a high-definition version of the club scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. As far as I know, there has been no release of a high-def Roger Rabbit in any country, so I don't know where he got this. It could simply be a very good rip of the DVD version, because the resolution of the film doesn't appear to be up to full-hd snuff. Not that this means anything. Blu-ray launched with a print of The Fifth Element that was so bad the DVD version looked better. Still, it's a great scene and worth watching in such quality.

Bonus: We get to see TWO vixens in one video.

I had to down-size the display to fit my blog post format, so make sure to click full-screen.

Jessica Rabbit Hopping to Completion

Looking familiar, no? Jessica rabbit is surprisingly easy. I'm tearing through her lines much faster than Red, I just wish her starting lines were of higher quality. I'd kill for a Blu-Ray version. But as it stands, I have to deal with YouTube video, my own DVD, and the few high-res images online.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Red Hot Riding Hood Continues

After uploading the super-zooms on Red's face, I noticed how bad some of the lines were. I'll be uploading updated vectors soon.

UPDATE: Here it is. The lines are much better, now. This is a FULLY EDITABLE .png file. You only really need this if you want the most recent lines for your own backgrounds or images.

From Cartoon Vixens

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A note

A note on the CoolIris interface above. If you use your scroll wheel on your mouse, you can zoom in and out of the lineup of pictures. Very helpful.

Red Hot Riding Hood Wallpaper 1 at 4:3, as promised.

I said I'd upload it, and here it is.

From Cartoon Vixens

And while I was at it, I did some palette swaps and made some clean, simple backgrounds with the image.

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

I tried making the silhouette look of my Betty wallpapers, but Red's outline isn't iconic enough to really make any sense out of it. I really liked the black & white image, so I blew it up into a couple of other zooms of the same image and general layout.

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

And just for fun, a few more.

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Thing

You'll notice the funky little interactive gallery just above this post. It's called CoolIris and it's exactly what it looks like. It's pretty. It's free. And it does a pretty damned good job of allowing quick easy access to my Picasa feed.

If you like an image, click on it once to zoom in, then click the tiny, little button just below the X to the upper right.

More Red Hot Riding Hood Wallpapers

Yes, my first wallpaper was called #2 and this is #1. I jump around in my work. Hell, I still haven't uploaded Betty Boop #1.

This image had a lot of gradients in it, so here it is in .png. If anyone wants it in .jpg or .gif, just post a comment. I tried it in .jpg and, at 100%, it looked fine, but the image was nearly 700kb. This .png is only 350-ish. Much more efficient and it looks better to boot.

This is a 16:10 ratio at 1920x1200 resolution.

From Cartoon Vixens

Monday, September 14, 2009

Red Hot Riding Hood Wallpaper 2

Here's a trio of wallpapers made with my most recent creation. I figured three with differing colors mixes it up effectively. These are all 16:10 ratio at 1920x1200 resolution, but I'll upload 4:3 ratio wallpapers soon.

Again, these are all .gif files. I lose a lot of color information, but it doesn't have any compression artifacts like .jpg, which looks like crap. I'd upload them as .png files, but setting those as wallpapers seems to not go well with some video cards. Since I usually rely on solid colors, I'm not worried. I have some wallpapers with a lot of gradients, I'll likely upload those as .png files, damn the video cards.

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens

From Cartoon Vixens


I can't believe I forgot!

Being an animation nut, a certain film holds a special place in my heart: The Thief and the Cobbler. Known as Arabian Knight in this country, it was released by Disney back in 1995 after some-thirty-years of troubled production. It is right up there with Snow White as a true animation masterpiece. It was never finished according to the vision of the creator, but some animation buffs who eclipse me ten times over cobbled together (pun sort of intended) a re-make that more closely matches the original script.

The vixen in the movie is Princess Yum Yum, and one of my favorite cartoon princesses. She's alternately stupid and intelligent, puzzled and annoyed. I also can't get enough of her design. I don't think there has ever been a character animated before with quite so many eyelashes.

I encourage you to read all about the history of the movie and watch it fully on YouTube. I've posted part 1 and the trailer.

If you are in the know with all these wacky technologies that the young folk are usin', you can search the BitTorrent sites for a full, DVD version you can get and burn.


Now that I have completed images of my two favorite vixens, Betty and Red, I'm going to move on to some new ones. I have lots more images of Betty and Red on which I'm dutifully working, but I want to mix it up a bit before I start just working on the same ones over and over.

First up, Jessica Rabbit. I've got one about half-done already, so it should be pretty easy. Jessica is also a lot easier than Red. I think I might then move on to Velma. I've always had a thing for Velma. It must be the glasses.

Red Hot Riding Hood Final

From Cartoon Vixens

As I promised, here is the first high-res Red Hot Riding Hood final image .png.

Remember, when you click on the image, click on the "This image belongs to Cartoon Vixens" on the right to bring up the proper gallery. You can then re-select the image you want to download the real, high-resolution image.

This file IS EDITABLE. So feel free to use this to make cartoon porn, you beast. Perhaps we could work out a profit-sharing arrangement.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Fine Line Between...

Much like love and hate, there's a fine line between celebration and exploitation. I've been thinking about this a lot more, recently, as I continue work on my various vixens. Obviously, most of the cartoons I mention are from an earlier time and all have a degree of sexism apparent in their creation. But as with anyone classified as a vixen, an element of sexuality is required. But at what point does that sexuality stop being a celebration of sexuality and femininity and instead mutate into sexist exploitation for borderline pornographic purposes?

It's such a difficult slope to navigate. I'm a straight male, for one thing, and I like looking at women. While the various vixens with which I work are all very cartoonish, there are enough characteristics of humanity in them to elicit a sexual response. But I'm also an artist. I love art. I contemplate beauty. I appreciate the human form, both male and female, as an amazing product of evolution and of my own perceptions of it. It's a disquieting thought to think about where the line is drawn in my mind. Where does my enjoyment of, and work with, the female figure stop being artistic and just become lascivious?

As a straight male, I'm beginning to come the conclusion that it's impossible to separate the two. And that right there may be one of the most persistent seeds of sexism. Even if artistic drivers are what nurture a love and appreciation of the female figure, my id will always sexualize the work to a great degree. I think that this has the unavoidable result of coloring my perceptions. Coloring how I view, understand, and appreciate the art on which I work.

The above mentioned fine line is no better explored than in genre films. Hell, some filmmakers have built their entire careers on celebrating the exploitation, *cough*Tarantino!*cough*, be it black, asian, or gangster films. And perhaps that evinces a greater depth to the problem. There is, in fact, no line between celebration and exploitation. Exploitation can become celebration, and what was once artistic can become exploitative. People making chop-socky exploitation flicks didn't ever think that, fifty years in the future, people would look back on these films as a celebration of a time and an ideal, however flawed it may have been.

It's hard for me. I want to be artistic, but I'm also a powerfully sexual entity. I actively try and separate my sex from my art, and I suppose I succeed to a degree, but the very existence of this blog shows that I have failed/succumbed at least in part. Namely, you don't see me making a Cartoon Hunks blog. I also assume that Freud was at least somewhat right, that the id does drive behavior. The impetus, the basic psychological fuel to do things arises from the primal drivers inherent to our most basic functions. Architecture from a need for shelter. Clothing from a need to keep warm. Fine cooking from a need to eat. And portraits from a need to connect with humans and have sex.

Still, does all of that result in an inescapable sexism? Is it literally a part of my work? Am I sexualizing these creations to the detriment of the character and creation? I don't think so, and I hope not. While the fact that females are both humans and sexual prospects, at least from the straight male perspective, I must always look at them through two lenses. It's annoying that I must be ever vigilent with myself. Making sure that possible sexual attraction doesn't affect me. Making sure that while my mind may be in conflict, my actions are measured and egalitarian.

So while there is obviously a degree of sex in these images and in the work I do, that my chosen work is sexual is no surprise. That the images I draw are of attractive women is no surprise. I am celebrating what I enjoy, even though that very celebration seems to necessarily require exploitation. I am exploiting the female figure for visual pleasure. I don't think that's inherently sexist, though. My fantasy world is exactly that, a fantasy. And I recognize the difference between the real world and the one banging around between my ears. I also strongly feel that there is little that is pornographic with my images. Pornography implies an artistic creation where almost no thought is given to the elements other than sex. And even there, the raunchiest of internet porn has artistic merit to it; the person making must have at least given some thought to angle, lighting, sound design, etc.

The images are sexual, celebratory, exploitative, and artistic all in one. Sexism may have had a part to play in their creation so many decades ago, but those who were sexist are long-since dead. Much like Quentin Tarantino, the exploitation is over, now it's time for the celebration.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red Hot Riding Hood Prototype 1

From Cartoon Vixens

It took awhile, but here she is. My first prototype of Red Hot Riding Hood. A lot of the lines are pretty messed up, but that will be fixed with time. As usually, as soon as I feel the lines are decent and final I'll upload the .png file so you, yes you, can tweak the lines for whatever perverted purpose you have.


I thought I'd point out that this image of Red was taken from Little Rural Riding Hood. It was the last of the RHRH cartoons.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Betty Boop Film Class Part 4

And so it begins.

The woman who would provide Betty's voice for most of her existence and create many of the most iconic aspects of her vocal inflections has finally made her appearance by this early cartoon. The inimitable Mae Questel, regardless of what IMDb says, likely made her debut in today's selection, Silly Scandals.

Mae Questel was the culmination of Flesicher's quest for a woman who could do cute and high-pitched, but not sound so squeaky as to be off-putting. Basically, I think he was dancing around many aspects of the character, whereby he wanted someone who embodied the youthful aspects of a flapper, but to be womanly. It's really no wonder he had such a hard time finding the right voice since he basically wanted a voice that was simultaneously a woman and a girl. In the end, I think he erred on the side of youth. This may have had something to do with the previous Boop cartoon, The Bum Bandit, where Betty's voice is very deep and womanly. I suspect that Bandit was an experiment on Fleischer's part. After deciding that the voice and character definitely didn't match in that episode, he moved on to Questel and the Boop we know and love today.

Another thing also began in this cartoon: her name is officially Betty. In previous cartoons, she either goes un-named, or is given random names like Nancy Lee in Barnacle Bill. Even though the name Betty was used in Betty: Co-Ed, and was a similar character, it could only be seen as a proto-Betty and may be the genesis of the name. So nearly a year after the character first appeared, we finally have a name for the face.

Boop is still a supporting character, with Fleischer's current cash cow, Bimbo, as the billed star. We finally see the last step in Betty's transformation before the elimination of the ears, her black, dog-like nose has been replaced with a small, more human-looking button nose. Bimbo is fulfilling his role of catch-all character for Fleischer, whereby he's used in a different capacity in each cartoon. The basic theme is the same, where Bimbo plays a role that must face adversity to reach Betty, and usually does it with song and dance. I think that's the reason why I best like The Bum Bandit of all the early cartoons. It's setup is different and Betty has the meatiest of her supporting roles.

I'm not sure what's up, perhaps production of this cartoon was rushed, but the animation quality is mixed. The animation for Betty and the Magician is pretty poor, but the animation very early in the episode is smooth and expressive. I especially like Bimbo's walk as he goes up towards the stage.

Again, Fleischer's history in silent films comes through with most of the short watchable without the dialogue. The lip-syncing is especially poor, with most of the cartoon not even trying to sync the words. Betty Boop is the only exception.

Finally, the continuing aspects of eroticism in the series manifest themselves with Betty's only partially covered breasts again making a cameo. As she's singing her top keeps falling down... for some unknown reason. I suspect it keeps happening for no other reason than to have some boob-shots in the cartoon.

In regards to Mae Questel's debut, I thought I'd celebrate with some video of her final film appearance, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Her part starts at about 3:10.

And finally, her last turn as Betty Boop in Betty Boop's last theatrical appearance. Mae would die ten years later. Eddie was right. She certainly does.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Betty Boop Wallpaper

I ran with the silhouette idea and created another one from the sitting image I created. I'm not sure why I didn't make it weeks ago, but here it is.

Betty Boop Wallpaper #3 16:10
From Cartoon Vixens

Betty Boop Wallpaper #3 4:3
From Cartoon Vixens

Betty Boop Film Class Part 3

I'm opening up this Betty Boop Film Class post with someone else's video of Betty Boop's voice. As I mentioned in Film Class 2, the voices in Mysterious Mose and the Bum Bandit (the subject of today's class) are something of a mystery.

(I've edited the gal's YouTube info to eliminate typos and errors)

The Photo is Little Ann Rothschild, I Mixed them up by mistake And the videos are that of Kate Wright as Betty Boop.

Kate Wright Only Did a Few Betty Boop Cartoons [and these appear to be them]. These Cartoons Cannot Be Little Ann because it was Stated That little Ann had Done a Betty Boop Theme, Which She did In Betty Boop's Bizzy Bee. But For Kate Wright's [cartoons], They Had Used Mae Questels Theme of Booping, Meaning that, in Betty Boops Birthday, Kate Wright never Said the Words "Boop oop a doop."

She is Seen in a Little News Reel Booping With the Other Boop oop a Doop girls, With Mae Questel taking the Lead Role, And she Actually said the Word Boop oop a doop, But the others went over her with their Booping, meaning the Rest All had Stronger Voices. (I think this is meaningless, -Aaron)

The Only Cartoon Voices Of betty Boop Which Do not Sound Familiar are Mysterious Mose And the Bum Bandit. Although In The Bum bandit it could Have Been one Of the Main Voices Just using their Original Voices and not making it Sound Babyish.

1933 - Betty Boops Birthday Party/Betty Boops May Party/Betty Boops Big Boss

Margie Hines As Voice Of Betty Boop:

Not much is known About her, But she Was in the Helen Kane Trial So that Means She Must Have Done an Earlier Voice in Betty Boop Cartoons And that Could Only have been Dizzy Dishes 1930. Because I've seen Most of the others from 1931-1935 and None Sounded like Margie Hines.

1930 - Dizzy Dishes As Quoted By [Out of the Inkwell documentary)
1937 - Zula Hula
1938- / Sally Swing/On With The New/ Thrills And Chills
1939- My Friend the Monkey/So Does a Automobile/ Musical Mountaineers/ The Scared Crows/ Rythm on the Reservation

Little Ann Little/Ann Rothschild As Betty Boops Voice, Not much is know About Little Ann, But a Few things Are Ann Rothschild broke into show business in the 1925 "Greenwich Village Follies" and was named "Little Ann Little" because she was only 4'10" tall and weighed 76 pounds. After "Dizzy Dishes 1930" premiered, Paramount, who distributed Fleischer productions, held an audition for a girl to do the voice for the new character. Ann was chosen from among many other girls and provided the voice for a few cartoons before going on the road with a Betty Boop vaudeville act. The act consisted, in part, of a drawing demonstration by Pauline Comanor, a "movie cartoonist" who drew Ann as Betty and handed out the drawings to lucky audience members.

1930 - Barnacle Bill - After Dizzy Dishes The Voice Makes a match, Not Mae Questel, i think mae Questel was one of the Mermaids in the End or margie hines either one,
1931- Mask-A-Raid/Jack and the Beanstalk/Bimbos Exspress/Dizzy Red Riding Hood
1932- - Any Rags?/Boop-oop-a-Doop/Swim or Sink(S.O.S)/ The Dancing Fool/A Hunting We Will Go/Betty Boops Bizzy Bee.
And heres a Few Clips of Little Ann as Betty Boop in a Few Cartoons of betty boop

CresantStar cites this article about her obituary, which is highly inaccurate, saying she recorded Betty Boop cartoons between 1933 and 1945, even though Betty Boop disappeared in 1939. Whoever wrote the obit was an idiot.

Bonnie Poe As Voice For Betty Boop,

As I Had Seen In The Documetry, Also she Did a Few Olive Oyl Voices, Even the one in popeye the sailor and After when mae Questel Had Created The Voice,

Here is Where She Provided the Voices For Betty Boop -
1933 - Mother Goose Land/Popeye the Sailor/Morning noon and Night/ Betty Boops Halloween party/Parade of Wooden Soldiers

1934 - She Wronged Him Right/Red Hot Mamma/Betty In Blunderland/Betty Boops Rise To Fame/Betty Boops Life Guard/ Poor Cinderella - The Last one She Did i cant think of anymore she could have done, But now that im thinking of it Mysterious mose sounds simuler to her Voice, But it Cannot Be.

1938 - Out of the inkwell

A Few Clips As Bonnie Poe As The Voice of Betty Boop In Certain Cartoons

Mae Questel is The Main Voice of Ms Betty Boop, She had Appeared in a Few Things as Betty boop/ Musical justice/The Musical Doctor, She Won Helen Kanes Contract in a Contest and Then was hired to do the Voice of Betty Boop, She had Also Created Olive oyls Voice becuse in popeye the sailor olive oyl Did not have the voice mae questel had Created, Mae was also Olive oyls Voice, Becuse when The fleisher Studios moved to florida Mae Questel Stayed Behind and continued to do Olive oyls Voice

1931 - Silly Scandals/ Bimbos Initation/Minding the Baby
1932- Minnie the moocher/Chess-Nuts/Admission Free/Betty Boop Limited/Stopping the Show/Betty Boop,MD/Betty Boops Bamboo Isle/Betty Boops Ups and Downs/Betty Boop For President/Ill Be Glad when Your Dead You Rascal You//Betty Boops Museum
1933 - Betty Boops Ker-Choo/Betty Boops Crazy Inventions/Is My Palm Read?/Betty Boops Penthouse/ Snow white/I Heard.
1934 - Ha!Ha!Ha!/Betty Boops Rise to Fame/Betty Boops Trial/Theres Something About a Soldier/ Betty Boops Little Pal/Betty Boops Prize Show/ Keep In Style/When My Ship Comes In.
1935- Baby Be Good/Taking the Blame/Stop that Noise/Swat That Fly/No!No! A Thousand Times No!/ A Little Soap and Water/A Language All My Own/Betty Boop and Grampy/Judge For a Day/Making Stars/Henry, The Funniest Living American/Little Nobody
1936- Betty Boop and the Little King/Not Now/ Betty Boop and Little Jimmy/We Did it/More Pep/Youre Not Built That Way/Happy you and Merry Me/ Training pigeons/ Grampys indoor Outing/Be Human/Making Friends
1937-House Cleaning Blues/Whoops im a CowBoy/The Hot Air Salesman/Pudgy Takes a Bow Wow/Pudgy picks a fight/Ding Dong Doggie/The Candid Candidate/Service With a Smile/The New Deal Show
1938- Riding the Rails/Be Up to Date/Honest True and love/The Swing School/The Lost kitten/Buzzy Boop/Pudgy the watchman/Buzzy Boop at the Concert
1939 - Ended the Series and Continued The Role of Olive Oyl
1988 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit As betty Boop (Cameo)

A Few Clips As Mae Questel As The Voice of Betty Boop In Certain Cartoons

The Wikipedia entry lists Dizzy Dishes as Margie Hines, then various turns by Kate Wright, Ann Rothschild, Bonnie Poe, and finally Mae Questel. Unfortunately, this website lists Ann Rothschild doing the voice for Dizzy Dishes. I think that this website, which quotes The Fleischer Story, indicates definitively that Mae Questel DID NOT do Dizzy Dishes, regardless of what IMDb says.

Because of this, I think CresantStar's analysis may be incorrect, since Questel stated in interviews that she provided the voice for Boop until the character's retirement. Any participation on Wright's part must have occurred before Silly Scandals. Moreover, this page (p.51), from a book by Max Fleischer's son, seems to indicate that Questel did the voice for the complete 118 cartoons. Further, this book also lists Mae Questel as the exclusive provider of the voice from Silly Scandals onward. I do admit, though, that the voices sound different in many of the videos. I'm not sure whether this is the print, the copy, the original recording, or the person providing the voice.

This book, about the history of Popeye, says that Questel did not originally follow Fleischer down to Florida with the studio move, which happened in late 1938. Margie Hines, ostensibly the first person to voice Betty, would take over as Olive Oyl. Questel came back after Paramount moved their animation studios back to New York. So it would be conceivable that Questel didn't do the last few cartoons, but considering that the last one came out in July of 1939, she could have easily recorded everything before the animation was done.

To further complicate things, this book lists Mae Questel as starting only in 1933, which I think is completely wrong, with Little Ann Rothschild providing the voice for two years. Both Bonnie Poe and Kate Wright are in for a single year, with all 1930 productions done by Margie Hines (Heintz, here).

I have listened to the four earliest cartoons and, unlike CresantStar, I see no reason to believe that they are different women. They sound a bit different, especially Mysterious Mose, but it appears that Fleischer was trying to find someone who could do cute but not too squeeky, and they may simply be different takes by Hines.

Now, with my continuing investigations into Betty's voice fully reported, onto the Bum Bandit.

There's not too much to say about the Bum Bandit. There are two things of animation note, firstly, Betty's facial expression when she says the words "Wicked Eye." I love the use of eye brow deformation to exaggerate the expression. It really adds character and focus to the face. The second is the first-person rush down the track to meet with Bimbo. As far as I know, that was a first in animation. It looks a bit crude, but first person is not something easily done in hand drawn animation.

This is also the only Betty Boop cartoon with an adult-sounding Betty. It's impossible to place who she is, but I'd simply assume that she's one of the usual suspects just not making the squeaky voice. Again, Fleischer was trying to figure out where he wanted Betty's voice to be, so this may have been an experiment.

Finally, this episode has another "impure" reference, with a swearing, fighting, hard-drinking woman, riding off in a train, finishing with a none-to-subtle reference that they're knocking boots inside that locomotive.

Salute Your Shorts: Fleischer Studios (

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Coming along

I haven't actually forgotten about Red Hot Riding Hood, I swear.

The more I work with Tex Avery's lines, the more I love them. They're so fluid yet so firm and complex. I think I've finally nailed what I like so much about later, more advanced cartoons in comparison to early Betty Boop: the solidity of the base character.

Unlike early Betty, the character changed from frame to frame, but had little consistency. Throughout a cartoon, her appearance and proportions would change drastically. There was no firm base off of which distortions and flexing would occur. Unlike later cartoons, where there is a very solid basic character design, and while that design can flex, curve, stretch, and distort to any degree the animator wants, that basic design and proportions is always kept in mind and the character, after the distortion occurs, always falls back to it. It's like the non-energetic resting point of the character's design. When energy, action, and emotion are required, distortion is used. The base design can be anything, too. It can be bizarre and malformed, but it must be solid.

Look at the two different takes on cats in A Tale of Two Kitties, which starred the Abbot and Costello spoofs Babbit and Catstello. It also introduced the character of Tweety, who I've always hated. Regardless, both characters are solid, but flexible. Babbit is all arms and legs, and Catstello shouldn't have enough room for bones in his appendages, but that's the wonder of cartoons.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pixar Uber Alles

I am an enormous fan of Pixar. An unhealthy fan of Pixar. I would totally make love to Pixar if it was, well, not a series of buildings and people. I guess I could make love to every person involved and then hump the buildings, but that would take too much time.

I've always felt that, as the Pixar documentary discussed, that fears of CGI "killing" traditional animation were untrue. Old-school animators were apparently very antagonistic to Pixar's work because they saw it as competition, as opposed to a new tool with which they could simply do what they had always done. And as the interviews have expressed, most of the people involved with Pixar were old-school animators, and they never, EVER wanted to do damage to the animation world.

It's unfortunate that that's exactly what happened. Not because of Pixar, of course, but because of the Hollywood system and morons like Michael Eisner (I don't actually hate Eisner, but my opinions of him are too complex for this post). Pixar's films were very good and also novel. People had never seen CGI before, at least not to the degree and quality of Toy Story. Add to this that the quality of Disney's traditional cartoons started going downhill. It began with Mulan and Tarzan being only mildly memorable. Continued with the near total fuck-up of Emperor's New Groove. And finished with a spectacular dive off a cliff with tripe like Home on the Range and Treasure Planet. Michael Eisner responded by saying that CGI had killed cell-based animation and that Disney would no longer produce it.

CGI has, even in the face of near constant assault by crap movies, remained persistent and successful. You've got to give the Hollywood types credit. Ever since Pixar showed them the golden goose, they've been doing their best to kill it. For every Wall-E, we have a dozen Delgos, Final Fantasies, and Shark Tales.

It's disgusting, really. Jeffrey Katzenburg effectively admitted that they can't compete with Pixar on quality, so they'll do so with quantity. Great! Grind out shit until audiences lose all expectations of quality, then blame the market when your movies start under-performing. You idiot.

So I'm glad that Eisner is out and Pixar is in. Because they are animation guys. They love it. And the release of The Princess and the Frog confirms it.

What a joyous day. The first hand-drawn feature film from Disney since Home on the Range. Granted, the trailer isn't very good, but the movie looks it!

But now, continuing the subject of Pixar, I found this behind-the-scenes of Pixars studios. It's so worth a watch.

This is a discussion hosted by the Computer History Museum (The California one, not the Boston One). It's very dry but more information dense than all of the other videos put together.

And finally, one of my favorite documentaries ever, The Pixar Story. I think I've watched this thing a dozen times. It's dense, well-edited, entertaining, informative, and provides a fantastic glimpse into the emergence of an entertainment revolution. And if we consider that CGI did, at least for an as-yet-determined time, kill hand animation, revolution is the only word for it.

That's all there is for now. The last part was uploaded only a month or so ago, so the person may be in the process of uploading further parts.

About That Poll

I just realized that I misspelled Olive Oyl in the poll. I'd change it if I could. Damn you, Google!