Talkartoons

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Talkartoons is a series of 42 animated cartoons produced by the Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1932.[1]

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 26, 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 at the studio. A dog named Bimbo gradually became the featured character of the series. 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.[2] 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 26, 1929 No animators credited.
  • First entry in the Talkartoons series.
2 Marriage Wows January 12, 1930 No animators credited
  • UCLA has nitrate elements on this title, therefore is not a lost cartoon.
  • Working title: Wedding Belles[3]
3 Radio Riot February 10, 1930 No animators credited
  • The bedtime story broadcast at the end was written by Yip Harburg.
4 Hot Dog March 22, 1930 No animators credited
  • First appearance of Bimbo (as yet unnamed).
  • First Fleischer cartoon to feature gray tones.
  • First Fleischer cartoon to be scored by Lou Fleischer.
  • Utilizes a recording of "Saint Louis Blues" by Eddie Peabody within the soundtrack.
5 Fire Bugs May 4, 1930 Ted Sears
Grim Natwick
  • A Bimbo cartoon (though he is still unnamed).
  • First Fleischer cartoon to credit animators.
6 Wise Flies July 14, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
7 Dizzy Dishes August 9, 1930 Grim Natwick
Ted Sears
  • A Bimbo cartoon. First appearance of Betty Boop (though she and Bimbo are both unnamed).
  • First appearance of a new title card design that would remain through the series.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2
8 Barnacle Bill August 25, 1930 Rudy Zamora
Seymour Kneitel
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon, featuring them in the (named) roles of Barnacle Bill and Nancy Lee.
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick
9 Swing You Sinners! September 22, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
  • A Bimbo cartoon (though he is still unnamed).
  • Includes caricature of Jewish comedian Monroe Silver
  • Uncredited animators: Grim Natwick, Jimmie Culhane, William Henning
10 Grand Uproar October 12, 1930 Seymour Kneitel
Al Eugster
  • A Bimbo cartoon (though he is still unnamed).
11 Sky Scraping November 1, 1930 Ted Sears
Willard Bowsky
  • A Bimbo cartoon, naming him in the title card; from here onward, he is usually named.
12 Up to Mars November 23, 1930 Rudy Zamora
Jimmie Culhane
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
13 Accordion Joe December 13, 1930 Unknown
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon (though Betty is still unnamed).
  • 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 29, 1930 Willard Bowsky
Ted Sears
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon (though Betty is still unnamed).
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick

1931[edit]

# Film Original release date Credited animators Notes
15 Ace of Spades January 6 Rudy Zamora
Al Eugster
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
  • Television materials exist as with most of the other Talkartoons, but prints are more scarce. The only known surviving copy made from said materials was found in 2010.
16 Tree Saps January 19 Grim Natwick
Ted Sears
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
17 Teacher's Pest February 7 Grim Natwick
Seymour Kneitel
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon (though Betty, who only appears briefly, is still unnamed).
18 The Cow's Husband March 14 Jimmie Culhane
R. Eggeman
19 The Bum Bandit April 6 Willard Bowsky
Al Eugster
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon (though Betty is named "Dangerous Nan McGrew").
  • First time Betty Boop is seen with her slender physique.
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick
20 The Male Man April 26 Ted Sears
Seymour Kneitel
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
  • Uncredited animator: Grim Natwick
21 Twenty Legs Under the Sea May 5 Willard Bowsky
Tom Bonfiglio
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
22 Silly Scandals May 23 Grim Natwick
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon. First time Betty is named, though only as "Betty" (no surname given).
  • The first Talkartoon to put the director and animator credits on a separate title card.
23 The Herring Murder Case June 24 Jimmie Culhane
Al Eugster
  • A Bimbo cartoon. First time Bimbo is animated in his most familiar design.
  • First sound cartoon appearance of Koko the Clown.
24 Bimbo's Initiation July 27 Unknown
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon.
  • Placed at #37 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2
25 Bimbo's Express August 22 Unknown
  • A Bimbo and Betty cartoon (formally billed as such in the titles, still giving Betty no surname).
26 Minding the Baby September 28 Jimmie Culhane
Bernard Wolf
  • A Betty and Bimbo cartoon (first time Betty's full name appears in the titles, stylized as "Betty-Boop").
27 In the Shade of the Old Apple Sauce October 19 Unknown
  • A Bimbo cartoon.
  • Not to be confused with the similarly titled Screen Song from 1929, In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree. Lost cartoon.
28 Mask-A-Raid November 9 Al Eugster
Jimmie Culhane[4]
  • A Betty and Bimbo cartoon.
  • First time Betty is depicted as a human, with her dog ears replaced by hoop earrings.
29 Jack and the Beanstalk November 22 Unknown
  • A Betty and Bimbo cartoon.
  • Final time Betty Boop is depicted as a dog.
30 Dizzy Red Riding Hood December 12 Grim Natwick
  • A Betty and Bimbo cartoon.

1932[edit]

# Film Original release date Credited animators Notes
31 Any Rags? January 5 Willard Bowsky
Thomas Bonfiglio
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
  • The surviving master negative has the original opening title card intact.
32 Boop-Oop-a-Doop January 16 Unknown
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
  • First use 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 8 Unknown
  • A Bimbo cartoon, seemingly held over from earlier production (Bimbo appears in a primitive design; Bimbo's girlfriend is largely a generic one-off, but drawn as Betty in some close-ups that look to have been added later).
34 Minnie the Moocher February 28 Willard Bowsky
Ralph Somerville
  • A Betty, Bimbo and (briefly) Koko cartoon.
  • 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.
  • Sometimes seen with a refilmed TV title card; transfers with original titles were featured on some 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 13 Seymour Knitel
Bernard Wolf
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
  • The original title cards likely animated the short's title; the later, commonly seen TV title card is taken from a single frame of the original, captured at a point where the title reads just "S O S."
36 Crazy Town March 26 James H. Culhane
David Tendlar
  • A Betty and Bimbo cartoon.
  • Contains special live-action title cards.
37 The Dancing Fool April 6 Seymour Kneitel
Bernard Wolf
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
38 Chess-Nuts April 18 James H. Culhane
William Henning
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 1
39 A-Hunting We Will Go May 3 Alfred Eugster
Rudolph Eggeman
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
40 Hide and Seek May 14 Roland Crandall
  • A Bimbo cartoon, seemingly held over from earlier production (Bimbo appears in a primitive design; Bimbo's girlfriend is a generic one-off).
41 Admission Free June 12 Thomas Johnson
Rudolph Eggeman
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
42 The Betty Boop Limited July 18 Willard Bowsky
Thomas Bonfiglio
  • A Betty, Bimbo and Koko cartoon.
  • Final entry in the Talkartoons series.
  • Officially released on Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources
  • 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)
Notes
  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 142. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. ^ Culhane, Shamus (1986). Talking Animals and Other People. New York: Da Capo Press. Pg. 40-41
  3. ^ "Marriage Wows (Wedding Belles) (1930) - Talkartoons Theatrical Cartoon Series". Bcdb.com. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  4. ^ "Animator credits for 'Mask-A-Raid'". Internet Animation Database. Retrieved 2018-11-14.

External links[edit]