Talkartoons

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Talkartoons is the name of a series of 42 animated cartoons produced by the Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1932.

History[edit]

For the Fleischer brothers, the transition to sound was relatively easy. With the new contract with Paramount Pictures, and without the burden of Red Seal Pictures and Alfred Weiss, Max Fleischer was free to experiment with new, bold ideas. First he changed the name of the Ko-Ko Song Cartunes series to Screen Songs. Although the Screen Songs were successful, Fleischer felt that it wasn't enough; Walt Disney also seemed to gain a great amount of fame through his sound cartoons as well. He decided to work with his brother, Dave on a new series of cartoons where the characters did more than just simply dance to the music of the "bouncing ball". The name for the new series was to be Talkartoons. When the idea was pitched to Paramount, they leaped at the opportunity.

The Talkartoons started out as one-shot cartoons. The first entry in the series was Noah's Lark, released on October 25, 1929. Although a Fleischer cartoon, it appeared to be patterned after the Aesop's Film Fables of Paul Terry. In it, a Farmer Al Falfa-esque Noah allows the animals of his ark to visit Luna Park. When he brings them back into the ship, the weight is so heavy that it sinks. In the end, Noah chases topless mermaids throughout the ocean waters. Lark has very few gray tones, very much like the Screen Songs produced during the same time and the earlier Fleischer silent works. It also included copyright-free songs, mostly utilized from old 78-rpm's.

The series began to take a new direction, however, with the arrival of Max and Dave's brother, Lou Fleischer, whose skills in music and mathematics made a great impact the studio. Fitz evolved into a character named Bimbo, named so for his foolishness. The first cartoon that featured Bimbo was Hot Dog (1930), the first Fleischer cartoon to use a full range of greys. New animators such as Grim Natwick, Shamus Culhane, and Rudy Zamora began entering the Fleischer Studio, with new ideas that pushed the Talkartoons into a league of their own. Natwick especially had an off-beat style of animating that helped give the shorts more of a surreal quality. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the Talkartoons series and the Fleischer Studio was the creation of Betty Boop with Dizzy Dishes in 1930.

By late-1931, Betty Boop dominated the series. Koko the Clown was brought out of retirement from the silent days as a third character to Betty and Bimbo. By 1932, the series was at an inevitable end and instead, Betty Boop would be given her own series, with Bimbo and Koko as secondary characters.

Filmography[edit]

Dave Fleischer was the credited director on every cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios. Fleischer's actual duties were those of a film producer and creative supervisor, with the head animators doing much of the work assigned to animation directors in other studios. The head animator is the first animator listed.[1] Credited animators are therefore listed for each short. Note that many of the shorts from 1931-32 don't have their animator credits listed, as they were cut when the shorts were sold to television and had their titles replaced.

1929-1930[edit]

# Film Original release date Credited animators Notes
1 Noah's Lark October 25, 1929 No animators credited.
  • First entry in the Talkartoons series.
  • First entry of the 1929-30 film season.
2 Marriage Wows January 8, 1930 No animators credited
  • UCLA has nitrate elements on this title, therefore is not a lost cartoon.
  • Working title: Wedding Belles[2]
3 Radio Riot February 13, 1930 No animators credited
  • The bedtime story broadcast at the end was written by E.Y. Harburg.
4 Hot Dog March 29, 1930 No animators credited
  • First appearance of Bimbo.
  • First Fleischer cartoon to feature gray tones.
  • First Fleischer cartoon to be scored by Lou Fleischer.
5 Fire Bugs May 9, 1930 Ted Sears
Grim Natwick
  • First Fleischer cartoon to credit animators.
6 Wise Flies July 18, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
  • Final entry of the 1929-30 film season.
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick
7 Dizzy Dishes August 9, 1930 Grim Natwick
Ted Sears
  • First appearance of who would later evolve into Betty Boop.
  • First appearance of a new title card design that would remain through the series run.
  • First entry of the 1930-31 film season.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2
8 Barnacle Bill August 31, 1930 Rudy Zamora
Seymour Kneitel
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick
9 Swing You Sinners! September 24, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
10 Grand Uproar October 3, 1930 Seymour Kneitel
Al Eugster
11 Sky Scraping November 1, 1930 Ted Sears
Willard Bowsky
  • First time Bimbo is named.
12 Up to Mars November 20, 1930 Rudy Zamora
Jimmie Culhane
13 Accordion Joe December 12, 1930 Unknown
  • UCLA possesses nitrate, safety, and video elements on this title, therefore is not a lost cartoon.
  • Some sources incorrectly label this as a 1929 release.
14 Mysterious Mose December 26, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears

1931[edit]

# Film Original release date Credited animators Notes
15 Ace of Spades January 16 Rudy Zamora
Al Eugster
16 Tree Saps February 3 Unknown
17 Teacher's Pest February 7 Grim Natwick
Seymour Kneitel
18 The Cow's Husband March 13 Jimmie Culhane
R. Eggeman
19 The Bum Bandit April 3 Willard Bowsky
Al Eugster
20 The Male Man April 24 Ted Sears
Seymour Kneitel
21 Twenty Legs Under the Sea May 5 Willard Bowsky
Tom Bonfiglio
22 Silly Scandals May 23 Unknown
  • First time Betty Boop is named, as well as the first time she's seen with her slender physique.
  • Possibly the first Talkartoon to put the director and animator credits on a separate title card.
23 The Herring Murder Case June 26 Unknown
  • First time Bimbo is animated in his most familiar design.
  • First sound cartoon appearance of Koko the Clown.
24 Bimbo's Initiation July 24 Unknown
  • Placed at #37 on the in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
  • Final entry of the 1930-31 film season.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2
25 Bimbo's Express August 22 Unknown
  • First entry of the 1931-32 film season.
26 Minding the Baby September 9 Unknown
27 In the Shade of the Old Apple Sauce October 16 Unknown
  • Currently a lost cartoon.
28 Mask-A-Raid November 7 Unknown
  • First time Betty is depicted as a human, with her dog ears replaced by hoop earrings.
29 Jack and the Beanstalk November 21 Unknown
  • Final time Betty Boop is depicted as a dog.
30 Dizzy Red Riding Hood December 12 Unknown

1932[edit]

# Film Original release date Credited animators Notes
31 Any Rags? January 2 Willard Bowsky
Thomas Bonfiglio
  • Current prints exist with original titles.
32 Boop-Oop-a-Doop January 16 Unknown
  • First appearance of the song "Sweet Betty", which would become the theme song for the Betty Boop series.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2
33 The Robot February 5 Unknown
34 Minnie the Moocher March 11 Willard Bowsky
Ralph Somerville
  • Music performed by Cab Calloway and his orchestra. This short contains the earliest known footage of him and his orchestra performing.
  • The walrus' dancing is rotoscoped from footage of Calloway himself.
  • A version with original titles is known to exist on 1980s video compilations.
  • Named #20 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 3
35 Swim or Sink March 11 Seymour Knitel
Bernard Wolf
  • The original title cards probably animated the short's title. As a result of this, television prints rename it S.O.S..
36 Crazy Town March 25 James H. Culhane
David Tendlar
  • Contains special live-action title cards.
  • Betty's dance is rotoscoped.
37 The Dancing Fool April 8 Seymour Kneitel
Bernard Wolf
38 Chess-Nuts April 13 James H. Culhane
William Henning
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 1
39 A Hunting We Will Go April 29 Alfred Eugster
Rudolph Eggeman
40 Hide and Seek May 26 Roland Crandall
41 Admission Free June 10 Thomas Johnson
Rudolph Eggeman
42 The Betty Boop Limited July 1 Willard Bowsky
Thomas Bonfiglio
  • Final entry for the 1931-32 film season.
  • Final entry in the Talkartoons series.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2

References[edit]

  • Leslie Cabarga, The Fleischer Story (Da Capo Press, 1988)
  • Richard Fleischer, Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution (University Press of Kentucky, 2005)
  • Leonard Maltin, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (Penguin Books, 1987)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Culhane, Shamus (1986). Talking Animals and Other People. New York: Da Capo Press. Pg. 40-41
  2. ^ http://www.bcdb.com/cartoon/1667-Marriage_Wows.html

External links[edit]