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Mickey, Bosko and blackface[edit]

Are there any references regarding the connection the article draws between Mickey Mouse, Bosko and blackface? It is not part of the Mickey Mouse article, by the way. --Liberlogos 23:48, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Go read about blackface. Cartoons are mentioned.

Bosko and racism[edit]

Can the Bosko cartoon series be considered racial? Does it use ethnical stereotypes in favor of humor? I could expect something like this, so I think it is a good idea to mention whether or not this was part of the Bosko cartoons. --Abdull 14:32, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

There are some ethnic stereotypes used, but nothing to the extent of cartoons such as those in the Censored Eleven. Bosko's racialism is already mentioned in the article. --b. Touch 17:13, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Other than his dialect in the first couple cartoons (most prominently in the "pilot" film), I cannot think of one thing in a Bosko cartoon that could be considered a racial stereotype. For all intents and purposes, Bosko was an "inkblot" character only. Jeff schiller 16:45, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
There are some random blackface gags; e.g., an automobile backfires, and the characters are suddenly in blackface and scream "Mammy!" Also, it's been argued that all these "inkblot" characters beginning with Mickey were actually blackface stereotypes themselves. They resemble Vaudeville performers in blackface, and their personalities (dancing, singing, inherently musical) fit right in with early American stereotypes about African Americans. Both blackface and minstrel show point out this relationship. — BrianSmithson 17:51, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid[edit]

Should it really re-direct to this? This is an article on the character, and "Talk-Ink Kid" is a separate short film. It would be like "A Wild Hare" re-directing to Bugs Bunny. Same thing with "Bosko and Honey".

It would be fine for "A Wild Hare" to redirect to Bugs Bunny if that article didn't exist. Same in this situation. If appropriate articles are ever written for the shorts in question, then the redirects can be removed. =) Powers 00:57, 6 July 2006 (UTC)


Someone is asking for a "citation" that the first Bosko is an African-American stereotype of that era, even after I posted the verbatim dialogue. Wikipedia policy is that films are their own source, and anyone who knows anything about the subject of stereotyping can see it in the dialogue, even without listening to his black-stereotype accent on the film. I don't see any reason to "cite" any further, something that's as obvious as the nose on his face. Wahkeenah 13:45, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the dialect used in the prototype film is most certainly a minstrelsy-derived faux African American Vernacular English. That said, a cite should be easy to find in any good animation history book. — BrianSmithson 13:47, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Or within wikipedia's already-existing and lengthy discussions on the same subject. I have to think that the one who raised that issue knows nothing about the subject himself, or he wouldn't raise it. Wahkeenah 13:52, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
In fact, you've given it to me. Thank you. Wahkeenah 13:55, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't see it as a foregone conclusion, although I do see how the impression could be given. However, it's important to note one thing. You said: "anyone who knows anything about the subject of stereotyping can see it in the dialogue, even without listening to his black-stereotype accent on the film." What about the people who don't know anything about the subject of stereotyping? Just because something is obvious to you in no way means that it meets the exceptions laid out at Wikipedia:No original research: "(1) makes only uncontentious descriptive claims the accuracy of which is easily verifiable by any reasonable adult without specialist knowledge, and (2) makes no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, or evaluative claims" Describing the dialect as derived from African-American speech patterns (or the stereotypes thereof) is an analytic or interpretive claim. Powers T 17:50, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
And, I hasten to add, the link to African American Vernacular English is in no way a valid source for the claim that Bosko's speech patterns correspond. That article doesn't even mention Bosko. Powers T 17:52, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Bosko's black dialect is noted in Reading the Rabbit, a collection of scholarly essays on Warner Bros. animation that is partially available at Google Boooks. Unfortunately, the reference is quoting Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, which is not on Google Books. I own both books, but they are currently in America and I am not. But, like I said, any good animation history should mention this fact. Reading the Rabbit even suggests that the voice characterization continued past the prototype film. — BrianSmithson 22:19, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Of Mice and Magic is searchable on Amazon. Do you have a page number? Powers T 12:29, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I already cited the Maltin book, which I have a copy of. The article about language correlates to the way Bosko talks, not to Bosko specifically. And it's as obvious as the sky being blue on a clear day that at least the early version of Bosko is a black stereotype. I'm not wasting any more time on this. Wahkeenah 12:41, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Here we go: "Bosko never caught on the way Mickey Mouse did, but for several years he was the mainstay of the Warners' cartoon studio. One day a porter at the studio said to young animator Jack Zander, 'I want to ask you something about that character you've got. I know Mickey Mouse, and Krazy Kat, and Oswald the Rabbit . . . but Bosko the what?' What indeed?
"If the porter had been able to see a number of films, he would have realized that Bosko was in fact a cartoonized version of a young black boy. In Sinking in the Bathtub he spoke in southern Negro dialect, but in subsequent films this characterization was eschewed—or perhaps forgotten. This could be called sloppiness on the part of Harman and Ising, but it also indicates the uncertain nature of the character itself." (Maltin 225)
Hopefully that'll help. — BrianSmithson 12:44, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Right. I excerpted that quote in the article, yesterday. It's on page 225 of the book. The book has parts of 3 pages devoted to Bosko, who I must admit I never found very funny, although honestly I never found Mickey very funny either. Bugsy, though, that's a different story. Now, Bugsy spoke in a Bronx-Brooklyn accent, but that's only Mel Blanc's opinion, I don't know that there's an independent citation on that, so I would be skeptical of that characterization. Wahkeenah 12:51, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I took out the entire text from Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid, because it's not helping to cite anything. The Leonard Maltin reference is strong enough to stand on its own. --FuriousFreddy 14:04, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
It helps to illustrate why it was considered a black stereotype. If you don't think that's important, fine. Wahkeenah 14:45, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
A line or two of dialogue would be a reasonable compromise, I think. I think that quotes from primary sources often add quite a bit to articles. — BrianSmithson 22:13, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
According to that one user, whoever it was, the way he talks is insufficient evidence of his being a stereotype, but taking Leonard Maltin's word for it is sufficient. Go figure. Wahkeenah 22:57, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
If you're talking about me, I do have a name, you know. This is the third time you've called me "someone", "the one", or "whoever it was". It's difficult not to read that as condecension. Anyway, the difference between "See how Bosko talked? It's obviously black dialect" and "According to Leonard Maltin, Bosko speech patterns were clearly in a black dialect" is the very difference between original research and not. I thought Wikipedia:Original research made that clear. Powers T 23:39, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Would you require a citation that Speedy Gonzales talks with a Mexican accent? Would you require a citation that the sky is blue on a sunny, cloudless day? I find your own attitude condescending. I know a black American stereotyped accent when I hear one. And so do you. Wahkeenah 00:41, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
Technically, yes, that Speedy Gonzales talks with a Mexican accent needs a source. However, there are numerous mitigating circumstances in that particular example, primarily that the setting of his cartoons is unambiguously Mexico (e.g., "the fastest mouse in all Me-hi-co!"). There's also the fact that Gonzales is a Spanish surname. The situation with Bosko is quite different. In this case, Bosko's dialect is the sole support for him being a "young black boy"; as such, it needs to be sourced, because it's just not obvious. Powers T 02:55, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
It's not just obvious from his speech (and it is obvious, to those of us who actually know something about it) but also from his mannerisms and clothing. There are all kinds of articles that discuss this stereotyping in great depth. I advise you to read some of them and learn something about it, before you come back to this page. Wahkeenah 02:59, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Wahkeenah is right that Bosko was obviously (in his time) patterned after blackface characters from vaudeville and ultimately minstrelsy. I can see a request for citation being relevant, though, as these stereotypes are no longer as obvious to modern viewers, at least in non-live form (e.g., Ted Danson's blackface was obvious; it's not so evident that Bosko and Mickey Mouse are blackface charicatures to today's audiences). In short, I think the Maltin quote (which could in fact be paraphrased) should suffice for all concerned, right? — BrianSmithson 08:12, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and it occurs to me I'm arguing over something that's already settled to mutual agreement, so I'm just being a putz. Sorry, boss. Wahkeenah 09:57, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Mickey Mouse Allegation not NPOV[edit]

Please offer evidence for your insistence that Harman and Ising were copying Mickey Mouse. Please offer some citations from a credible evidence and not mere opinions. Your opinion that Bosko looks like Mickey Mouse is not evidence.. it is merely an opinion. I. for one, do not think they have any resemblance. They are both cartoon characters drawn in style of their times. Terrytoons 00:33, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

  • On page 225 of his book, Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin makes this statement about Sinking in the Bathtub: "Bosko was a thinly disguised Mickey Mouse, Honey was an obvious Minnie Mouse, and, in later cartoons, a Plutoish dog named Bruno completed the parlay." and "One year later when Harman and Ising developed another character, named Foxy, again the inspiration was clear: He was Mickey Mouse with pointed ears and bushy tail." Now, I could argue that Foxy looked a lot more like Mickey than Bosko did, but Maltin's statement is there for all to see. Wahkeenah 00:43, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Maltin is expressing his opinion, not a fact. Harman and Ising never set out to copy Mickey Mouse or any Disney characters. Their creations are completely different from what Disney was doing at the time and to denigrate their work by calling them copies of Disney is not the NPOV expected from an encyclopedic work. Leonard Maltin is also notorious for many numerous mistakes in his works and for not checking sources and evidence. This even led to a lawsuit for libel in 1998. If you have evidence that Harman and Ising intentionally set out to make Mickey Mouse carbon copies please offer it. A encyclopedia is based on the facts not opinions. The picture on the page clearly shows what Bosko looked like. There is no need to denigrate the work by claiming it is a copy of someone else's work unless you have evidence of that. Terrytoons 01:17, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
"My" evidence is Maltin's book on the subject, and there are other sources around who say that Harman-Ising was trying to capitalize on Mickey's popularity by creating a similar character. If you read closely, Maltin's not necessarily saying that Bosko was a physical carbon copy (pardon the metaphor) of Mickey (although they share the blackface-minstrel look), but that his personality was similar. Meanwhile, what's your evidence to the contrary, other than your own personal opinion? Wahkeenah 01:27, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Charles Solomon makes the obvious connection as well in his animation history. Unfotunately, I don't have the book here in Japan. Barrier is another one to check; I've got his book in the US as well. Maybe someone reading this will provide the source citations that refute Terrytoons' argument. -- BrianSmithson 05:27, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Also please note that User:Terrytoons is complaining about the alleged lack of credibility of the Maltin citation, while providing no citations of his own. Wahkeenah 05:43, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

There is no way to prove a negative. I have looked at numerous sources from the time period and no one even asserts that Harman and Ising were attempting to copy Disney. As a matter of fact, when Harman and Ising were producing this cartoon in 1930 and 1931, Walt Disney was a one of the lowest points of his career and the quality of his cartoons during these two years can not be compared with the polished and expensive cartoon being produced by Harman and Ising. The proof that Harman and Ising were drawing characters in their own style can be seen easily by looking at their work prior to the creation of Mickey Mouse. Luckily, much of this earlier work survives, If you take a look at some of the Oswald the Rabbit cartoons they produced for Universal in the late 1920's you will notice that their drawing style is exactly the same, and this was before Mickey Mouse had been created. Please try to get a hold of one of these cartoons, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much they look like their early work at Warner Bros. "SICK CYLINDERS" (1929) is a great example as sequences from this cartoon were later re-used in "Sinkin'in the Bathtub" (1930) and "Bosko's Holiday" 1931. If you don't have access to these cartoons, please look at a poster Harman and Ising drew which has been posted at the following website: It is evident that the style shown hear is exactly the same as what Harman and Ising would continue to produce in the early 1930's. As a matter of fact, they had a very distinctive style. If you watch the two Cubby the Bear cartoons they produced for Van Bueren you will notice the drastic change that is characteristic of their style. Terrytoons 16:20, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Here is another good frame: Notice the lion which would later reappear in the early Merrie Melodies. Also look at: It's a shame these aren't more widely available as they conclusively prove that Harman and Ising had a distinctive style. None of Disney's Mickey output has this same style. The early years for Mickey were dominated by Ub Iwerks' style and when he left, animation reached a low point for Disney (in 1930) until he was able to find good talent. When Harman and Ising left Universal, subsequent Oswald cartoon were poorly drawn and never reached the refinement achieved by Harman and Ising.Terrytoons 16:24, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
You are arguing from the standpoint of your own opinion, which is "original research" and is against policy. The various authors cited have studied the whole history, presumably independently, and have reached similar conclusions among themselves. Your argument is based on your own viewpoint, and that's cause for trouble on this website. Wahkeenah 18:51, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Also, if you checked the history of the talk on this page, I had a similar argument with someone about my assertion that Bosko is drawn as an African-American. It was insufficient for me to just say that, even though it was as obvious as the day is long; I had to find a ciration (specifically, the Maltin book) to justify it. You must do likewise. Wahkeenah 18:53, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
You just can't resist another dig at me, can you? This is the fourth time you've obstinately refused to refer to me by name; please desist. Powers T 16:37, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
It's not a deliberate slight. I don't know one user from another, especially if it's from more than a day ago. Wahkeenah 16:51, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry. It's just that it seemed to be a pattern. Powers T 16:59, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
In effect, I was admonishing that user for the same thing you were admonishing me for, and which I did something about, at your insistence, and he needs to do likewise; which is the point I was trying to make in my clumsy way. Wahkeenah 17:30, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
You might want to stop copy-and-pasting the same text between here and Talk:Foxy (cartoon character). There are distinct differences between the two arguments (namely that Foxy looks a LOT more like Mickey than Bosko does) that are getting confused because you are using the same text on both pages. Powers T 16:37, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Leonard Maltin is NOT an authority on film or animation. The only qualification he has is a B.A. degree in journalism which he received from New York University in 1972. That hardly makes him an expert in animation. His books are riddled with errors and he doesn't even write most of them as he hires a number of editors to do the work for him. I have requested Charles Solomon's book through my library and am looking into his background and will get back to you. Terrytoons 10:24, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, Maltin is a well-known and respected film critic, so that does qualify him to do film criticism. He also seems to be respected by both Disney and WB, as his frequent appearances on the DVD editions of their cartoons shows. I'm glad you've got Solomon's book on order; it's a good one. Try to find Michael Barrier's Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age; it's probably the best of the bunch (though not as lavishly illustrated as Solomon's book). I'm really sorry I don't have my books here with me; they're good. — BrianSmithson 12:40, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I received Michael Barrier's book today. In it he notes that Hugh Harman created Bosko in 1927 and registered for copyright on the character on 3 January 1928. Note that this means Bosko was created a a year before before Mickey Mouse. I am updating the article using this information and also adding the reference.Terrytoons 23:21, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
That's quite interesting. If Bosko predated Mickey, and was registered as a black boy, it just reinforces the idea that these early characters were blackface stereotypes. -- BrianSmithson 04:04, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

The Bosko-Mickey connection has indeed been *demonstrated* (not just affirmed) by several authors like Maltin, like Foxy is closely related to Mickey. I think this shall be included in the article. Herve661 (talk) 13:16, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Bosko or Mickey, which one is based on the other, is a controversy that misses the evidence of cartoon history, entirely. Mickey was Disney's effort to recreate Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the rights to which he had lost to his distribution partner. And Oswald, like several other creations by lesser cartoonists of the time, was created as an attempt to cash in on the pattern of Felix the Cat (Sullivan and Messmer), the first, real, named, cartoon star. And Felix was based on Master Tom (also Sullivan and Messmer) who predated Mickey by almost a decade. Harman and Ising had no need to copy Mickey when they had the earlier templates of Oswald, Felix and Tom to draw upon, so it's going to be awfully hard to prove that they did, short of confessions. Halfelven (talk) 01:31, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Notes (Sources)[edit]

Honestly, why do we need 8 notes for 3 pages of 1 book? I personally think 1 would suffice, but even 3 is better than 8. byeee 15:27, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

You're right; they could certainly be compressed using the <ref name="XXX">Reference, p. 3.</ref> format. Do you know how to do these? I'm too busy to take care of this myself at the moment. — Brian (talk) 22:16, 19 March 2007 (UTC)


Bosko, like Mickey, got his personality from the blackface characters

Is there any real connection between blackface stereotypes and mickey? Citation needed for this part.--Martianmister (talk) 14:01, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Impossible Timeline[edit]

In the third paragraph, the article talks about a short made in 1929 and refers to evidence that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck already existed. This is just flat impossible. Someone should do the research to correct this and straighten out the timeline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Halfelven (talkcontribs) 01:17, 17 June 2010 (UTC)Halfelven (talk) 01:18, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Tiny Toons.[edit]

In the 90s, Honey & Bosko were redesigned to look like the Animaniacs Warner Brothers & given a special on Tiny Toon Adventures. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

File:Hold Anything.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Color Bosko[edit]

Color Bosko.jpg

Is there a way we can respectfully expand this page to include a section on the later Bosko cartoons from the MGM library? I think we should acknowledge Mammy Two Shoes's role in the last three cartoons, and include a few pictures, to help differentiate original Bosko from the later one.

I did it! Don't worry! Daffy Duck 555 (talk) 17:06, 30 April 2014 (UTC)