Monday, 29 July 2013

Backgrounds of Barnacle Bill

Time for some more great Fleischer backgrounds, this time from “Beware of Barnacle Bill” (1935), where Popeye finally tells off Olive Oyl (in song), who seemingly doesn’t care who she hooks up with, so long as he’s in a military uniform.

Some of the best ones are not clear of characters and the flicker of the film makes it impossible to snip together a full pan from various frames. But these will give you a flavour. Before radio and record players, a stand-up piano was the main source of home entertainment. Olive has one in her home, probably like some of the animators when they were kids in the pre-World War One era.

Olive evidently loves sailors, as she has anchors and ships decorating her home. Maybe she loved fishermen, too, as she has a huge herring mounted on the wall.

Here are a couple of exteriors. Note the billboards that really don’t say anything.

I really like the layout here; the curtains frame the disgusted Popeye and the fickle Olive, who fully expects Popeye will still want to marry her even though she dumped him for a guy who she doesn’t want now because the sailor’s knocked him out of the picture (literally).

As usual, no background artists are credited. A shame.


  1. You get a more New York-ish urban setting in the first building shot, which was pretty much how the five-story walk-ups close to the East and Hudson rivers would have looked before the highways were put in during the 1930s, while the second building shot gives you a little more of a rural image, in order to set up the gag of Bluto on the phone wires (because even in 1935, the Fleischer's home base of Manhattan had banned above-ground wires, while they were still around elsewhere).

  2. So much unknown about the Fleischers. They deserve far more recognition, especially the individual layout artists and background painters. Warners and Disney and MGM are great and all, but there were other studios deserving of praise too.