Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dizzy Red Riding Hood

This is one of the great Betty Boop cartoons. It was done before they started tracing model sheets of her and stiffened her up. From 1930 to 1933 the cartoons are almost all really good.Does anybody know who this animator is?
I love the way he draws Betty and the way he moves things.

There's not only nothing realistic about this, there is also nothing Disney about it. Some people equate Disney with realism, but Disney is just a set of arbitrary rules or selective animation principles that many have come to believe are the only true attributes good animation must have.
Is this the same animator?

Disney advanced their own set of principles in the mid 30s and reached their peak with Snow White. Their mid to late 30s cartoons squash and stretch like crazy during movement, but the drawings when you can see them, remain pretty conservative and not very funny or cartoony.
When the Fleischers began to adopt the Disney tricks in the late 30s, their cartoons became less entertaining. They lost their own unique attributes along the way and absorbed Disney's negatives along with the positives.

Is it possible to be cartoony and have west coast principles at the same time? Wait for another post.


http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/BettyBoop/Dizzyredwalk01small.mov

I used to think of these Boop cartoons as primitive, because I too was used to judging everything by west coast 40s standards. They didn't squash and stretch much, had no weight and the inbetweening was evenly spaced which makes the characters seem to float.
These cartoons have something else that the more expensive and elaborate Disney cartoons don't. They are fun. They also sometimes have great design, depending on who the animator is.
And they are totally weird and imaginative. Dizzy Red Hiding Hood is a perfect cartoon fairy tale adaptation. It is not at all trying to be believable. We don't need to learn the characters' motivations. There are no multiplane camera fx trying to fool us into thinking we aren't watching a cartoon.
This glorifies that it's a cartoon. I love these animated backgrounds. It invites us into a surreal dream world of weirdness. I want a machine that can transport me into this surreal world. I want to visit Betty and Bimbo. I don't have any innate desire to visit Snow White's cottage. It's too normal.

I find that the closer animation tries to be real, the more fake it looks. Multiplane camera effects that use realistically painted bgs looks fake as Hell. You can see flat paintings of realistic trees panning at different speeds than the still background at the bottom of the mutiplane. Beowulf is the ultimate sinner of trying to be real and being more fake than anything ever made.

The Fleischers weren't ashamed they were making cartoons. They were all about the magic and fun.

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/BettyBoop/DizzzyRedwalk02small.mov

Fleischer cartoons also differ from Disney's in how heterosexual they are.
This is a different animator than the one above and Betty's not as cute, but it's still very funny.

Bimbo and Betty have a happy ending!
I'm going to put more clips up that I think might be the animator in the walk scenes above. Help me out if you know who it is!

BTW, this is an 11x beat. 11x per step. 10 drawings per step with one drawing shot twice to make it 11 per beat.

The animator may have animated it as a 10x beat. (No animator would decide on his own to animate an 11x per step cycle). But the music sounded best at an 11x frame beat, so they chose to expose one drawing twice in each step to make it fit.

This suggests the music was written before the animation was done but who knows?

27 comments:

Bitter Animator said...

Another animator pointed out just how common those white gloves are in early cartoons. Any idea why that is? They're always the exact same type too.

I thought that they were simply to help the hands stand out as hands are so expressive but now that I'm looking at these images, I'm thinking I've only ever seen them on characters with black skin tones. Is it an old blackface minstrel thing or something?

Habichuela Mágica said...

Me encanta, me encanta me encanta. Pero... se mezclaron las historias? Betty Boop haciendo de Caperucita Roja? WTF!?

Salu,
Habichuela

Ben Forbes said...

Wow, these are beautiful. I haven't seen this Betty Boop cartoon. She's drawn so well back then, she wasn't so stuck to the Model Sheet like she is now.

Where can you find the full cartoon of this?

and... you need to do a proper retake on Betty Boop! :P

Ben Forbes said...

And I meant to add, find the cartoon in this quality.
They really need to release her cartoons on DVD like they did with Popeye.

Dume3 said...

"Another animator pointed out just how common those white gloves are in early cartoons. Any idea why that is?"

The white gloves are there to help the gestures of the hands register and stand out from the grays and blacks of the rest of the image. The theory about minstrel shows is reading to much into it. The characters are either true black or white because in the black and white spectrum, extreme shades show up better. If Mickey's hands were gloveless and he put his hands in front of his body, they would disappear. Everything in his design is there for a purpose.

Nico said...

is it possible that i've...... NEVER seen this cartoon??

Man, i thought i had all the Bettys on the horribly-DVNR'd vhs collection, but I don't think they included this one! is this film available anywhere John?

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Yeah...I'd love to go to a world where everything randomly grows faces and tries to tear ladies skirts off.

The Bambi opening multiplane shot is pretty cool. It set the mood appropriately, I think. Other ones do look pretty fake though.

harpo said...

It's alive, it has a beat, it's wonderful!

Bob said...

The negative space between the trees in the background look like a row of penises hanging down. Intentional?

I don't actually go around looking for stuff like that but when John mentioned the background it's the first thing I saw.

DH said...

John,

Nice post. I have a fairly tangential question, at some point could you put side by side comparisons of original cartoon facial expressions vs. cal arts stock expressions?

This would help so much to see just how stock they get, and also to see what the typical line up of stock moves are, so to avoid them!

Thanks.

litlgrey said...

1) My guess is, the original Fleischer titles would have given the correct animator credit(s), and the rotten, redone, UM&M TV credits didn't care to duplicate that.

2) Wolf/Grandmother is very clearly grabbing Betty's copious BREASTS!

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Great post! I really wanna know more about these old cartoons.

"Is it possible to be cartoony and have west coast principles at the same time? Wait for another post."

That would be a interesting post.

/\/\ikeB said...

I'm not sure if its fair to judge the Fleischers with Disney because they're both animated.

I think both Fleischer and Disney worked well within their respective run times. I believe Fleischers' stuff was always viewed one at a time, for about 10 minutes, before a feature. Whereas Disney WAS the feature; and viewed for about 90 minutes.
Having said that, both studios only work well in their respective lengths of time. But short Disney cartoon is generally conservative and boring ( as you pointed out ). But try watching 90 minutes worth of short Fleischer cartoons. I find their effect wears off after about 2 of them, I lose interest. But maybe that's just me.

All that being said, I'm interested in seeing this hybrid of Disney realism and Fleischer wonkiness you speak of.

Bitter Animator said...

>>The white gloves are there to help the gestures of the hands register and stand out from the grays and blacks of the rest of the image. The theory about minstrel shows is reading to much into it.<<

Yeah I figured I was reading too much into it. I wonder why it's always the same gloves though? Or why they just didn't colour the hands white - it's not like realism would have been much of an issue. Even going later, Bugs wears those same gloves and nothing else. The animator that brought it up proposed the theory that maybe it came from mime.

No big thing. Just curious...

Larry Levine said...

FANTASTIC! Funny how Warner's stiffest & least imaginative director Bob McKimson would openly knock the classic Fleischer style as primitive 'East Coast' animation.

1930's New Yawk Fleischer rules!

Weirdo said...

John, what is your favorite "Betty Boop" cartoon?

Great post.

jesus chambrot said...

John-

Where can I find a girl like Betty?

Adam said...

' I love these animated backgrounds. It invites us into a surreal dream world of weirdness. I want a machine that can transport me into this surreal world.'

I agree 100%. I get enough reality everyday. I want my art and entertainment to let me glimpse into worlds that can only exist in our minds so then I can play in them in my own imagination for a while. The 30s Fleischer universe is one I would love to live in too it's like it was created by genius, horny, cigar smoking, kindergartners.

Dume3 said...

"Yeah I figured I was reading too much into it. I wonder why it's always the same gloves though?"

It's because that is the simplest and most effective thing to draw: a white glove with a little donut around it to give the suggestion of a cuff. The three little lines are used because it helps to reinforce the gestures and give some indication that there is a structure within the glove.

"Or why they just didn't colour the hands white - it's not like realism would have been much of an issue."

In a way it was--yes, there are unrealistic things is cartoons but even the most wacky gags usually have some kind of basis in fact that allows it to be understood. Disney has a phrase the 'plausible impossible' and that pretty much sums it up.

"Even going later, Bugs wears those same gloves and nothing else. The animator that brought it up proposed the theory that maybe it came from mime."

It doesn't really come from anything the principal is the same as mime--to help the gestures of the hands register. Remember that hands, even simplified three fingered carton hands, can look quite cluttered and indistinct onscreen.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Cartoon Gloves are there because they're Cartoon Gloves! Does it need more explanation?

Marc Deckter said...

I agree 100%, these early 30's Talkartoons have real cartoon souls. Raw, crude, and unashamed. I'll never get tired of these.

Tom A said...

What about Betty Boop, MD? That cartoon was basically a six minute acid trip. And I loved every minute of it.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wow! An important post on a subject that goes right to the heart of why we're in the business in the first place! Cartooning and animation have been hijacked by people who don't really like cartoons!

Kris said...

Dizzy Red Riding Hood is a fantastically FREAKY cartoon. Fleischer was truly at their best during this period.

I've got to admit that I like looking at multiplane pictures, though. It doesn't look REAL but it still looks good for the most part (as in Bambi).

Eric Graf said...

Nico - it's on tape 4 of the Republic set. However, that set does not contain all the Boop toons. Be sure to ask Steve at the Archive about it.

carlo guillot said...

Hi John
Those backgrouds remind me of your Bjork video, and I remember that the first time I saw it, I went crazy with all the different walk cycles of the characters, and how they were all synchronized. I wonder if you can explain how you made those walk cycles in a future post.
Thanks.

ezBadfish said...
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