Tag Archives: Fleischer

Cartoon of the Day: Somewhere In Dreamland

Somewhere In Dreamland

Somewhere In Dreamland

From the Fleischer Color Classics series, today we celebrate Somewhere In Dreamland. While this was not the first cartoon in the Color Classics series, it does have the unique distinction of being the first from the series produced in three-strip Technicolor. The prior shorts were all done in the inferior two-strip process.

A poignant story of two poor children who are out collecting firewood when they pass by a toy store, market and finally a bakery. They drool over the wares in the bakery window but walk away before the owner can come out and present them with two cupcakes. The kids go home and eat a meager supper before going to bed. They both dream they are in dreamland, where everything is free-cookies, candy, cakes, popcorn and toys. When they wake up, it’s all gone, but the three merchants have stopped by to lay out a huge feast for them. Lovely story with timeless music.

What– No, Spinach? (1936) – Popeye the Sailor Cartoon Series

What-- No Spinach?

What-- No Spinach?

#CotD: Wimpy isn’t just after hamburgers in “What– No, Spinach?” which does feature the famous green vegetable in the end.

What– No, Spinach? (1936) – Popeye the Sailor Cartoon Series

Wimpy is front and center, working in Bluto’s Restaurant. He tries all sorts of tricks to get free food at the diner – mostly burgers, of course.

His tactics include pouring hot sauce on Popeye’s roast duck. You actually feel a little sorry for Bluto, who’s working pretty hard back in the kitchen and has his only customer (Popeye) try to walk off without paying. Still, he gets his inevitable spinach-fueled beating at reel’s end, sure enough.

Wimpy sings a little burger song to himself at the beginning and end of this cartoon.

Come see “What– No, Spinach?” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Betty In Blunderland (1934) – Betty Boop Cartoon Series

Betty In Blunderland

Betty In Blunderland

CotD: Babe Ruth makes a cameo appearance as Tweedledum and Tweedledee in “Betty In Blunderland“. Also look for Ed Wynn in this short.

Betty In Blunderland (1934) – Betty Boop Cartoon Series

Betty Boop falls asleep while working on a jigsaw puzzle of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” characters. The White Rabbit in the puzzle comes to life, and Betty follows him through the mirror (a.k.a. looking glass) into Blunderland, which is just like Wonderland, except that it has subway stations.

She finds herself in front of a miniature subway kiosk, through which the rabbit has passed. She wiggles through and falls down a long well, and crawls through a tunnel, finding herself in a room where characters make themselves small by drinking Shrink-ola.

Betty drinks some herself, and shrinks to being small enough to pass through a tiny exit. She meets up with the Carpenter and the Walrus, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts.

After all the inhabitants of Blunderland emerge from the Mad Hatter’s hat, Betty greets them in song (“How Do You Do”) while they engage in various spot gags. Suddenly, the monstrous Jabberwock flows out of the Mad Hatter’s hat and carries Betty off; the Blunderlandians give chase in an attempt to rescue her.

The monster drops Betty over a cliff and she lands, surrounded by the Carroll characters. After the entire company gets pitched over a cliff, Betty wakes up. She catches the White Rabbit and puts him back in the puzzle, where he belongs.

Come see “Betty In Blunderland” on video at Big Cartoon DataBa

Minnie The Moocher (1932) – Talkartoons Theatrical Cartoon Series

Minnie The Moocher (1932)

Minnie The Moocher (1932)

CotD: Cab Calloway’s first appearance in a Betty Boop cartoon was in 1932’s “Minnie The Moocher” which begins with actual film footage of Cab Calloway dancing in front of his orchestra.

Minnie The Moocher (1932) – Talkartoons Theatrical Cartoon Series

The film opens with live-action footage of Cab Calloway’s Orchestra. Cab is strutting his famous dance moves. Fed up with her parents’ nagging, Betty has a fight with her stern German father. Her father nags so much that his head turns into a talking machine. She resolves to run away with Bimbo.

They’re in the woods when the sun goes down. It’s really spooky. Suddenly, a ghostly walrus appears and begins to sing “Minnie the Moocher.” The ghost walrus’ movements were traced from a live-action film of Calloway’s dancing. The walrus has all of Cab’s patented moves.

All of the ghosts and goblins in the cave dig the walrus’ music. There are spooks everywhere! Betty and Bimbo run home. Betty’s glad to be in her nice, safe bed.

Come see “Minnie The Moocher” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Two For The Zoo (1941) – Gabby Theatrical Cartoon Series

Two For The Zoo (1941) - Gabby Theatrical Cartoon Series

Two For The Zoo (1941) - Gabby Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: Today we visit Gabby in “Two For The Zoo“. Gabby was the first animated character to make the jump from a feature film to his own series.

Two For The Zoo (1941) – Gabby Theatrical Cartoon Series

Gabby and the head zookeeper at the Lilliput Zoo bring in a new kangaroo to the zoo. A delivery man pushes a crate down the street containing a Rubber Necked Kango. Gabby bumps into the crate, and in his usual know-it-all fashion, offers to personally deliver the animal, a baby. Gabby doesn’t know that the mother is also in the crate, and she catches up with them, dropping the baby into her pouch, causing Gabby to think that the baby suddenly grew. They end up getting trapped in the kangaroo’s cage and the Kangaroo runs free.

Come see “Two For The Zoo” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Is My Palm Read (1933) – Betty Boop Theatrical Cartoon Series

Is My Palm Read Betty Boop Cartoon

Is My Palm Read Betty Boop Cartoon

CotD: A great example of how racy a pre-Hayes Code short could be, “Is My Palm Read” features Betty Boop in her birthday suit. Don’t believe us- watch it.

Is My Palm Read (1933) – Betty Boop Theatrical Cartoon Series

Bimbo the fortune-teller tries to score with Betty Boop. As she enters the house, the lights are changed so as to see Betty’s silhouette through her dress, upon which Bimbo and Koko remark “Hi-dee-ho!”

In his crystal ball, Bimbo shows Betty “the gone-by days of your naked youth,” bringing up a scene of a very young (and nude!) Betty taking a bath. Then the crystal ball reveals Betty cast adrift on the ocean, and landing on a haunted jungle island, where she removes her wet clothes, loses them, and finds tree leaves to cover herself. Bimbo conjures up a “fortune” in which he rescues the shipwrecked Betty. “My hero!” squeaks Betty… but Bimbo turns out to be a better prophet than he thought, as an unsavory group of ghosts boil out of the crystal ball and chase Betty and Bimbo through a jungle that appears out of nowhere.

The pair finally evade their pursuers through one of the earliest uses of the old “hollow log over the cliff” trick (these apparently being the world’s least buoyant ghosts).

Come see “Is My Palm Read” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Customers Wanted (1939) – Popeye the Sailor Theatrical Cartoon Series

Customers Wanted (1939) - Popeye the Sailor

Customers Wanted (1939) - Popeye the Sailor

CotD: Even back in 1939, studios would release “best of” compilations as new material. “Customers Wanted” not only was made from 2 previous cartoons, but was remade itself in 1955!

Customers Wanted (1939) – Popeye the Sailor Theatrical Cartoon Series

Bluto and Popeye own competing penny arcades that show scenes from their past cartoons, but no customers are stopping in! Wimpy strolls by, and each tries to bribe Wimpy (their only customer) into watching their great cartoon moments. Naturally, Wimpy has the nerve to borrow the necessary penny and promises to gladly “pay Tuesday.” The rivalry between Popeye and Bluto gets out of hand to the point where they start battling each other so fiercely that the enterprising Wimpy goes outside and charges a dime to see “the fight of the century” inside the arcade!

Come see “Customers Wanted” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Always Kickin’ (1939) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

Always Kickin' (1939) - Color Classics

Always Kickin' (1939) - Color Classics

CotD: Fleischer Studios semi-regulars Hunky and Spunky got their start in “Always Kickin’” in the Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series.

Always Kickin’ (1939) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

Mother donkey Hunky tries to teach her son Spunky how to exercise his back kicks to kick like a “man,” but he doesn’t take it seriously. All that Spunky wants to do is sing along with his little birdy friends. He even tries to fly, but the birds discourage this folly. Suddenly, an ugly hawk swoops down and kidnaps one of the baby birds from its nest. Spunky summons all his courage to climb up a mountain to the hawk’s lair, to confront the bully. Hunky tells Spunky to use his kicking, and Spunky manages to knock the bad bird out cold so that good donkeys and good birds can live happily ever after.

Come see “Always Kickin’” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Somewhere In Dreamland (1936) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

Somewhere In Dreamland (1936) - Color Classics

Somewhere In Dreamland (1936) - Color Classics

CotD: “Somewhere In Dreamland ” was Fleischer Studios first cartoon filmed completely in Technicolor.

Somewhere In Dreamland (1936) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

A poignant story of two poor children who are out collecting firewood when they pass by a toy store, market and finally a bakery. They drool over the wares in the bakery window but walk away before the owner can come out and present them with two cupcakes. The kids go home and eat a meager supper before going to bed. They both dream they are in dreamland, where everything is free-cookies, candy, cakes, popcorn and toys. When they wake up, it’s all gone, but the three merchants have stopped by to lay out a huge feast for them. Lovely story with timeless music.

Watch “Somewhere In Dreamland ” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

An Elephant Never Forgets (1934) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

An Elephant Never Forgets (1934) - Color Classics

An Elephant Never Forgets (1934) - Color Classics

CotD: The early Two-Strip Technicolor cartoon “An Elephant Never Forgets” make use of the three-dimensional background effect achieved through use of a revolving turntable set up behind the cel screen.

An Elephant Never Forgets (1934) – Color Classics Theatrical Cartoon Series

Animal children ship off to school in their daily routine, then go through their lessons in a musical review led by their duck teacher. Everyone remembers the routine but the elephant. Mayhem envelops the schoolroom every time that the myopic teacher turns his back.

Watch “An Elephant Never Forgets” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase