|Directed by||Dave Fleischer|
|Produced by||Max Fleischer|
|Voices by||Mae Questel
|Music by||Sammy Timberg|
|Animation by||Grim Natwick (uncredited)|
|Distributed by||Paramount Publix Corporation|
|Release date(s)||July 24, 1931|
|Running time||6 mins|
|Preceded by||The Herring Murder Case|
|Followed by||Bimbo's Express|
Bimbo's Initiation is a 1931 Fleischer Studios Talkartoon animated short film starring Bimbo and featuring Betty Boop. It was the final Betty Boop cartoon to be animated by the character's co-creator, Grim Natwick.
Bimbo is walking down the street when he suddenly disappears down an open manhole. He lands in an underground clubhouse of a secret society. The leader asks Bimbo "Wanna be a member?", but he replies "No!" Bimbo is then sent through a series of dangerous events. He is repeatedly asked by the leader "Wanna be a member?" but keeps refusing. Bimbo is brought through a series of mysterious doors that lead him into yet another sub-basement. Out of the basement door pops Betty Boop (in her original incarnation, which was a "dog" character, whom Bimbo describes as "a pippin!"). Bimbo flees through various death traps (his heart literally in his mouth) before landing in front of the mysterious order's leader again. Bimbo still refuses to become a member until the leader removes "his" costume—to reveal herself as Betty Boop. Enamoured by her looks, Bimbo changes his tune and finally agrees to becomes a member. The rest of the society members remove their costumes, showing that they are all Betty Boop clones, and Bimbo joins the Boops in a happy dance. "Tiger Rag" and "The Vamp" are featured throughout the soundtrack.
Analysis and recognitions
The surreal, nightmarish atmosphere of Bimbo's Initiation has made it one of the most renowned Fleischer Studios shorts. Leonard Maltin described it as "the 'darkest' of all" the Fleischers' cartoons. In 1994 it was voted #37 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation industry.
- Maltin, Leonard. Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (New York: Plume Books, 1980), 98.
- Groth, Gary. "Jim Woodring Interview". The Comics Journal #164 (December 1993), p. 83.
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