Monday, 11 February 2013

It’s a Bull Cycle

Here’s an animation cycle from “Strong to the Finich,” where youngsters from Olive Oyl’s Health Farm for Children are threatened by two bulls and Popeye uses (what else?) spinach to punch them punchy.

Each punch twirls a bull into a little circle in the air. The circle cycle animation’s on five drawings on ones. Observe the bull to the left.

And you can talk all you want about how Disney used weight and movement, but the Fleischers knew about it, too. You see how part of the bull’s mouth is held back by gravity vs. the force of the blow.

This 1934 cartoon shows you the rut the Popeyes got into by the ‘50s. You knew what was coming. Bluto conned Popeye, bashed him senseless, then came on to Olive. Her screams result in Popeye somehow eating spinach and kicking Bluto’s butt, then singing a plot-appropriate verse of his theme song. There’s no Bluto here, Popeye’s theme doesn’t play during the fight scene or even during the climactic spinach eating (“You’ve Got to Be a Football Hero” is featured on the soundtrack) and it’s not full of endless chatter. Instead we get a stool that toddles over to Olive so she can sit on it, a dead sapling that morphs into an apple tree (then the apples morph into pineapples and bananas), and a kind of indistinctive “Our Gang” group of kids, complete with a little black boy accepted as an equal by the others (but no girls).

Seymour Kneitel and Doc Crandall get the animation credits. Olive here is pre-Mae Questel.

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