Sunday, December 18, 2011

Popeye Reasons To Be Animated

Obviously, Popeye cartoons use many ingredients to make them so special. Throbbing is one of them.
Personality is another, but those are secondary qualities of cartoons. Well, actually maybe throbbing is pretty important since it is hard to imagine live action being able to throb to the beat.
But the one creative quality that is unique to animated cartoons is demonstrated artfully in this here clip.

POPEYE SHOWS US WHAT CARTOONS ARE ABOUT

There are 2 types of impossible gags here.

1) Visual Metaphor - the hand with the vice grip. It's a good gag, and appropriate to the character and story, but kind of obvious since it is half literary.

2) The Eye gag - this one is more creative because it just comes out of nowhere. When I show the clip at festivals, the hand gag gets smiles, but the eye gag gets huge laughs. it's less expected.

I wonder if this is one of Dave Fleischer's gags. I talked to Shamus Culhane and Myron Waldman and they both sort of complained about how Dave would come around and make them add gags that were really out there. Good for Dave, I say!

19 comments:

Noor Red Eye Mula said...

There's just so many wonderful, imaginative things you could do in Animation which you would otherwise never be able to get away with in Live-Action.

IMO more Animators should really make the most of these great advantages than they do but than that's just me. :)

kurtwil said...

Popeye via Fleischer remains one of the most unique animated characters around: One of my favorite "old-timer" cartoon series.

Btw, JK, what ever happened to the Hungarian animator who worked on Mighty Mouse The New Adventures? His stuff in that show really stood out with energy and imagination.

Another CGI Popeye's apparently in the works. I wonder if those animators will be up to trying some of the more outlandish Fleischer visual gags, or (better) come up with something really unique on their own.

JohnK said...

That was Istvan.

I think he works on the Simpsons now.

Herman G said...

Ha ha yeah, very unexpected.

Zartok-35 said...

Istvan Majoros is the most prolific aniamtor on The Simpsons. He's the guy who draws Homer with a perfectly sculpted cranium.
He did some pretty far-out stuff around 1993.
http://babysimpson.co.uk/gallery/frames/4/9f09/182.jpg

Joshua Marchant (Scrawnycartoons) said...

Popeye is amazing! Here's hoping you do more of these posts, Popeye is one of the best animated characters ever.

Shotgun_Mario said...

I was just looking at your old post about 'throbbing' yesterday. Great stuff!

jeffreyJack said...

Saw a Fleischer (I believe) version of a xmas cartoon with Rudolph etc. on TV yesterday. It was very sly and seemed full of odd undercurrents, a satanic looking Rudolph, a somewhat lecherous Santa... If that was Dave Fleischer at work, it flowed a lot like the Superman cartoons in style and tone. Not much of a story tho.

Jeremy said...

Hi again John K,

since Popeye is the topic of conversation on this post, I thought I'd share this bit of info:

Did you know that there's going to be a new Popeye comic book series published by IDW? You can learn more here through this link:

http://www.idwpublishing.com/news/article/1888/

Also, James Silvani [comic artist for the Muppets/Darkwing Duck/Richie Rich] did his take of what he would do if he drew for Popeye, considering he too is a huge Popeye fan. ;)

You can check it out here:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqr9w33Nud1qlq12ko1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6IHWSU3BX3X7X3Q&Expires=1324335776&Signature=Hv2GqrnUeWJXFjlvfSEsERowE9A%3D

iamcurt said...

It's so messed up and awesome.

HemlockMan said...

If I ever saw the cartoon that clip was from I don't recall it. However, my reaction to the eye gag wasn't a grand laff, but a drawn out mental "F----------------k!" (I know you don't like profanity here.)

And I love that kind of stuff. Always have, even when I was a really little kid when I was first watching all of those Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons.

Sandra Rivas said...

I think the hand gag was sort of a built up for the eye gag, but that's just my theory. The cartoon scene still had me laughing either way.

Zoran Taylor said...

@kurtwil, johnK - I dunno if he's still on the Simpsons, but he was definitely a layout guy on "The Springfield Files". The DVD commentary credits him with the hysterical scene detailing Mr. Burns' "Friday night tune-up". Now there's a sequence of basically nothing BUT only-in-a-cartoon ideas - even where the script is concerned. You wouldn't even SUGGEST such ideas in a conventional modern writers' room. Well, maybe if it was "30 Rock", but they'll do anything...

Zoran Taylor said...

Speaking of slavic animators, WHY is it that NO ONE can tell me anything specific about Basil Davidovic?! I think his background is Croatian, like Berke Breathed, Hammerson and myself, so naturally I'm REALLY curious about the guy. I mean, for cripes sake, he worked on "A GRUESOME TWOSOME"!!! Any help here? Anyone....?

Severin said...

Eye gag works because Popeye's drawn with dot eyes. The dots are ambiguous enough to serve as hole or eye, and the cartoonist was clever enough to notice that.

Reg said...

I absolutely love Poopdeck Pappy, for many reasons, but mainly because it's very, very funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZpSUh8wSJk

TheDan said...

Hey John, do you feel that the Popeye comic strip was pretty conservative compared to the Fleischer cartoons? Nothing that extreme happened in the comics, really.

And I'd like to see you do a post on Colonel Bleep sometime...I read that it was an influence on Ren and Stimpy's style.

Zoran Taylor said...

@Zartok-35 - That's a pretty conservative drawing, isn't it? It's fun, but it's not really wacky. Is that from "Homer's Triple Bypass"? The last part of that scene has a completely insane layout, I think by David Silverman, who also directed the episode. It's a perfect example of how he would put completely nuts, totally impossible camera moves into a scene. Kind of like the Fleischers, actually...

Anyway, do you know if Istvan did any layouts on the Fourth and fifth halloween installments? Those, as it happens, are also episodes where Silverman -and Jim Reardon- figure heavily....

Erik B said...

Very funny, clever and spontanious aanimation! :)I think i am beginning to like Popeye.

BTW, Happy holidays John!

http://erikbutter.blogspot.com/2011/12/happy-holidays.html