Posts Tagged ‘Fleischer’

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Cartoon Hell #35 – “Private Eye Popeye”

January 25, 2010

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

Sounds like an affliction the elderly would get.

You can only make so many Popeye cartoons where he loses Olive Oyl to Bluto, then beats Bluto into a coma. Sometimes changing the setting isn’t enough. Eventually they had to give him actual occupations beyond being a sailor who did no actual sailing.

 Why, in the mid-fifties, with hard-boiled fiction and movies at a high rate of popularity, did they decide to dress up Popeye as Sherlock Holmes for his detective outing? Did they not think people would realize he was a detective if he simply wore a Sam Spade costume? It speaks to the general cluelessness of the Fleischers as a whole. 

I guess with a squint that prominent a magnifying glass might be useful.

Popeye receives a scream via phone, and traces the call by following the wire using a magnifying glass, because this cartoon is intent on using the laziest visual shorthand for everything. 

He follows telephone line to a fabulous home, one suspiciously similar to the nice home in every Fleischer cartoon, finding the door left ajar. He of course enters. At this point I’m completely unsold on the whole premise. Why is a man trained as a sailor doing any of this? An alternate theory comes to mind, if you’ll indulge me for a moment.

 Maybe Popeye is a infant with progeria acting out his fantasies? All this behavior would make perfect sense if done by a five year old. Of course a little kid would think detectives still dress like Sherlock Holmes. He’d also think a magnifying glass was the most important tool for a private investigator, and that the hat is a requirement. 

Sadly, this theory doesn’t change what Popeye actually is. Once he goes through the door, a crazed Olive Oyl opens fire with a Tommy Gun, creating a Popeye-shaped outline of bullets. This is one of those gags where I stop for a moment and ask, “Was this ever funny?” Maybe it’s like that chicken crossing the road gag, where it’s never evoked laughter, but always comes so easily that hacks can’t resist. 
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Cartoon Hell #33 – “The Little Stranger”

January 15, 2010

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

What? You're telling me no one's ever given you a little stranger?

“Don’t look around, don’t make a sound, there’s a stranger here in town. Where he’s from, nobody knows. Lonely little stranger he looks so alone. He thought he was in danger, the day he was born.”

That’s a bleak opening song for a cartoon. In tandem with a title that sounds like an obscure sex euphemism, it makes for a bad first impression. Even the title card is messed up, giving me low expectations for the fidelity of this transfer. The first shot is damn confusing because it seems darker than originally intended. I’m fairly sure it’s a chicken worrying over a nest of eggs, but it’s doing it in the forest. Do chickens every really come in a wild variety?

The chicken cries over an egg before depositing it in the nest, making the whole scenario clear. This chicken is pulling a cuckoo-bird on some unsuspecting egg-laying species. This whole thing raises a lot of questions this cartoon isn’t prepared to answer. What sin justifies a chicken going to that effort? Is some farmer going to lose his temper from illicit chicken sex? They spoot out eggs and chicks as a lifestyle. Did she breed with another species? Is that a basilisk in there? Oh man, I’m starting to imagine cartoons far more interesting than whatever is about to happen.

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Cartoon Hell #30 – “Betty Boop’s Ker-Choo”

January 2, 2010

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

I guess the old titles were supposed to imitate sitting in a classy theater. Mission accomplished?

Once again we’re following the antics of America’s favorite elephant woman, Betty Boop. As I suggested in a previous entry, there are really two Boops. The original, with her suggestive attire and flapper dancing, and Frau Boop, wearer of long dresses and participant in wholesome activities like running pet shops.

Since Boop’s appeal was mostly sexual, removing that makes about as much sense as taking Bugs Bunny, removing his sense of mischief, and making him play some mundane activity like, oh, I don’t know, basketball perhaps.

What’s more, this is another episode where Betty Boop has been saddled with helpers, namely Bimbo and Koko. It keeps up the tradition of Boop cartoons featuring Fleischer failures, as a Disney knock-off dog and a clown never really caught fire.

I think it might just be a race, people!

This one starts off with a race! How do we know this? Because it starts with people running towards a big sign that says “Race”, whose words also have little racing feet just to hammer the point home. The horn is blown, the car pant at their gates like animals, and lo and behold, a halfway decent joke appears.

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Cartoon Hell #27 – “Time for Love”

December 14, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

That time is now, baby.

“Time for Love” sounds like a forgotten B-side to a Barry White album. I was shocked to discover that this cartoon is in no way a slow jam. It’s not even particularly smooth.

The credits aren’t promising, featuring that odd, Dudley Do-Right throat warbling. Singing like a muppet with a nasal problem was all the rage back then.

Swans are pretty freaky.

We begin with two swans a-swimming (tis the season, damn it!) who show their love by choking each other with their necks. The camera swings over, and I realize I’m watching a film in glorious STEREOPTICAL THREE-DIMENSIONS! Fleischer had a wonky process he used for years where they’d design a real, three dimensional diorama as the background for their animation. It’s a neat idea, but I think any special effect fails if you find yourself distracted by it, wondering why it doesn’t look right.

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Cartoon Hell #25 – “The Crystal Brawl”

June 22, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

It's not nice to punch gypsies.

It's not nice to punch gypsies.

So far I’ve managed to avoid any Popeye cartoon that fit the classical mold, wherein Popeye and Olive decide to do an activity, Bluto woos Olive Oil away, then attempts to rape her, and Popeye commits a grave act of assault and battery usually accompanied by massive damage to public property.

As it stands, I’ve watched one exploring his theme song and one dealing with his wacky nephews, but I think my luck is about to change with “The Crystal Brawl”.

A few moments in we’re already dealing with a fairly typical Popeye setup, wherein he delivers flowers to Olive Oyl. He does a soft shoe and punches the doorbell with his foot to show just how jazzed up with anticipation he is. No more than a few seconds later Bluto is already cock-blocking him, using a tree branch to hook his shirt and fling him away from the building.

“He had a date and he asked me to take you to the fair,” is Bluto’s excuse for showing up in place of Popeye. Olive Oyl being Olive Oyl; she completely believes this. It’s sad that as the only major female figure from the golden  age of cartoons is dumb as a box of rocks that keeps failing it’s G.E.D. exam.

Seeing as this is going to be a clip show compilation of two existing Popeye cartoons, now is as good a time as any to make a few basic Popeye observations so I know not to make them ever again unless the occurrence is unusual in severity:

1.As previously touched on, Olive Oyl is quite possibly the dumbest woman ever written.
2.Olive Oyl is also one of the most sexist caricatures of female behavior.
3.Popeye is clearly codependent for his skinny-armed love interest. Epic poems are fueled by less passion than he has for this stupid, mentally unstable stick figure.
4.Bluto is a rapist.
5.The problem will be solved with extreme violence.

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Cartoon Hell #20 – “Wiffle Piffle the Hot Air Salesman”

March 30, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

It's a growing field you know.

It's a growing field you know.

I discussed the matronly version of Betty Boop I refer to as “Frau Boop” during the saddening review of Henry the Funniest Living American, and it seems as the years went by they emphasized the Frau’s presence less and less. The strategy was to wean people unto other popular cartoon franchises before they could realize that the name Boop no longer involved overt sexual imagery. As weird as it is to find myself saying this, I wish Wiffle Piffle had taken off.

A great man at work.

A great man at work.

I’m immediately thrown off by Wiffle Piffle as he does not resemble any sort of main character I’m used to. He’s dressed like a hobo martian in a Monopoly outfit and his limbs are always in motion and always rubbery.

He goes to the first door and after offering, “something new in household items,” he’s smacked on the head. His response? “What a robust woman!” Awesome.

Watching Wiffle meander around town is oddly hypnotic, his body swaying as he goes down winding walkways, dodges guard dogs, and boards and disembarks from a trolley without it ever moving. I wish I could get a screen saver of him moving. It entrances and delights.

In the thirties a door-to-door salesman apparently received all the warmth and regard of a rabid bulldog dressed like a gypsy, as Wiffle gets treated like a plague rat wherever he goes. This could also have something to do with his resemblance to an extra-terrestrial crossed with a Stretch Armstrong.

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Cartoon Hell #15 – “Me Musical Nephews”

February 22, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

I'm I nuts or does Popeye have the grammar of a leprechaun?

Am I nuts or does Popeye have the grammar of a leprechaun?

Cartoons often take plagiarism to a high art. If one company succeeds with a cartoon mouse, everyone else will make mascots that resemble him as closely as the law allows.

I mention this because in later years Popeye took care of a cluster of Nephews all resembling miniature versions of himself. Named Peepeye, Poopeye, Pipeye, and Pupeye, these are children destined to learn Popeye’s fighting methods simply to deal with the school yard taunts. Pipeye and Pupeye are borderline, but Jesus Christ, Poopeye? That sounds like a mystery ailment diagnosed on, “House,”, not the name of a human being.

Since anyone reading this is probably at least somewhat acclimated with cartoon history, I won’t belabor the fact that this scenario involves a sailor with nephews who physically resemble him. I respect your intelligence too much.

They look more like dwarves than children.

They look more like dwarves than children.

In “Me Musical Nephews” Popeye is attempting to drift off to sleep while his nephews practice what  looks like an impromptu ragtime band performance. Whenever Popeye succeeds in drifting off to sleep, they break out into some improvised jazz, because if there’s one thing Popeye can’t stand it’s a jazz man.

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