February 6, 2006

Betty Boop was "a doglike character with floppy ears"...

Myron Waldman was an animator who played a part turning her into a sexy lady. How much of a part?
Credits for early animated films are notoriously difficult to establish, and while the Fleischer Studios usually gave the producing credit to Max and the directing credit to Dave, it was often the animators who were effectively the authors of individual shorts. Subsequent generations of animation scholars have identified Mr. Waldman with the gentle strain of whimsy (so different from the often abrasive, sexually charged surrealism of his colleagues) that began to appear in the Fleischers' "Color Classics" series, initiated in 1934 in direct imitation of Disney's "Silly Symphonies."...

Paramount foreclosed on the Fleischers after the catastrophic failure of their second feature, the 1941 "Mister Bug Goes to Town," and the studio was reorganized in New York as Famous Studios.

Mr. Waldman stayed with the new company, but under Paramount's control, the studio lost its grand ambitions and adult sensibilities, falling into a series of routine shorts intended for children and featuring lesser characters like Baby Huey, Herman and Katnip, Little Lulu and Casper. Though officially the studio's head animator, Mr. Waldman found his true affinity in the Casper series, curiously morbid fantasies centered on an infant ghost. Animation buffs often cite Mr. Waldman's "There's Good Boos Tonight" (1948), which ends with the death (and resurrection as a ghost) of a lovable fox character, as a particularly traumatic childhood experience.
Waldman has now died, at age 97, and if his ghost is to haunt us, we can trust it will be friendly.

9 comments:

SippicanCottage said...

I kid you not, my two year old is watching Baby Huey right this very moment. Surreal.

God rest ye, merry gentleman.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Have you seen Comedy Central's show "Drawn Together"? It's touted as the first animated reality show. One of the characters is an homage to Betty Boop. Her name is Toot Braunstein.
http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/drawn_together/cast/toot_braunstein.jhtml

Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: Yeah. Terrific idea for a show. I watched maybe 4 or 5 episodes last season. I kinda got tired of it, because it's not sharply written enough, but great idea.

Palladian said...

You can watch "There's Good Boos Tonight" for free at the Internet Archive. It's really depressing.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Right at the exit off I-70 to go to Jefferson City there's a place called Nostalgiaville, USA. I've never been in, but their billboards on the highway all prominently feature Betty, and I smile when I drive by. Betty Boop is the true old-school hotness.

Sippican, I'm sorry to be pedantic, but it's "God rest ye merry, gentlemen." It's a wish for God's joy on the hearers - "God keep you all in happiness."

So it would still be entirely appropriate to write, "God rest ye merry, gentleman." And I'll join you in that wish.

I knew you'd want to know.

Emerson said...

I bought a 2-disc set of Fleischer Bros. cartoons called Somewhere In Dreamland and it has some great bits. The musical ones are fantastic, especially "Play Safe" and "Small Fry"

Sigivald said...

Betty Boop, sexy?

She's a lumpy-headed mutant with freakish eyes.

And in a non-sexy way!

SippicanCottage said...

Ahem,

I can't recall Pastor Jeff, if you'
re a Wiccan or a Druid or a Lutheran; whatever it is, please do not hex me. If you're a Mason, I'm double skeered. No evil eye for disputation please.

You see, Sippican places the comma deliberately in a different place,and changes the gentlemen to the singular, so the sentence is changed to mean something else.

It's kinda like:
Throw momma off the train a kiss.
or:
Eats, shoots, and leaves.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Sippican - Oh it's a little too late for that, my friend.

"I put the comma there intentionally. Really, I did. What? You think I didn't know that's how the song goes? Everyone knows that."

How dare you mock my blood-drinking pagan ancestors! I'm offended. And outraged, I am.

You're getting a Evange-Presby-Palian Triple Split Infinitive Hex, with an All-Seeing Masonic Eye to boot.

I'd start writing your will and/or stocking up on Rogaine if'n I were you.