Sunday, July 19, 2009

Max Fleischer (July 19, 1883 – September 11, 1972)

An animation pioneer and technical innovator, creator of Koko the Clown, Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor, Max Fleischer also created the bouncing ball that audiences follow when singing along to the words of a song.

Max Fleischer is best known as the co-founder of the famous Fleischer Studios, which he started together with his brothers Dave and Joe. Max Fleischer emigrated to New York City from Poland at an early age. He worked as a commercial artist and cartoonist, but an interest in mechanics led him to animation. Specifically, he was driven to find a method to produce animation more efficiently and economically, and came up with a "method of producing moving picture cartoons" in 1915, and patented it in 1917.
The Fleisher Studio turned out some of the most inventive films of the period. Fleischer made the first sound cartoons of contemporary comic heroes like Popeye. At the end of the 1920s, the studio's top artist Grim Natwick came up with a new female character: a seductive, nameless side-character who was modeled after Helen Kane, a waning Hollywood star at the time, known for her high-pitched "Boop-Oop-a-doop". This character, who was initially the nameless girlfriend of 'Bimbo the Dog', would develop into the popular and world famous character, Betty Boop.
As the fame of the cartoon character increased, the popularity of the live actress and singer Helen Kane diminished, and she threatened with lawsuits, all of which were unsuccessful.
He died from heart failure on September 11, 1972, at the age of 89, after a period of poor health. Max Fleischer was an artist, a writer, and an inventor of some 20 patents for motion picture production processes. On the day of his death Max Fleischer was cited as a great pioneer who invented an industry, and was named by Time magazine as the "Dean of Animated Cartoons."

Below, 5 Betty Boop cartoons: Betty Boop: A Song a Day (1936), Betty Boop: Is My Pam Read (1932), Betty Boop: More Pep (1936), Betty Boop's Ker-Choo (1932), Betty Boop: The Candid Candidate (1937).

Friday, July 17, 2009

One Word:

Considered THE archetypal sensationalized anti-drug movie, but it's really an exploitation film made to capitalize on the hot taboo subject of marijuana use. Like many exploitation films of the time, "Reefer Madness" tried to make a quick buck off of a forbidden subject while skirting the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930. The Code forbade the portrayal of immoral acts like drug use. (The illegal drug traffic must not be portrayed in such a way as to stimulate curiosity concerning the use of, or traffic in, such drugs; nor shall scenes be approved which show the use of illegal drugs, or their effects, in detail.)

The film toured around the country for many years - often being re-edited and re-titled ("Tell Your Children", "Dope Addict", "Doped Youth", "Love Madness", "The Burning Question"). It was re-discovered in the early 1970s by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and screened again as an example of the government's demonization of marijuana. NORML may have been confused about the film's sponsorship since one of the film's distributors, Dwain Esper, testified to the Arizona Supreme Court that "Reefer Madness" was not a trashy exploitation film but was actually sponsored by the U.S. Government - a convincing lie, but a lie nonetheless.

That being said, the film is still quick enjoyable since it dramatizes the "violent narcotic's ... soul destroying" effects on unwary teens, and their hedonistic exploits enroute to the bottom.

You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.

Friday, July 3, 2009

So Long Sarah!

In her honor, here's a song about a "self-proclaimed, bonafide Red State Girl".

I really liked this version better-but it was un-embeddable. =(

I'm not too familiar with Mr. Claypool's music (I know he was in Primus), but I like this alot.It's very "Tom Waitsy".

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

She Belongs To Me

Here is a video of Donna Jean Godchaux, Steve and John Kimock at my friends Charlie and Jacque Miller's wedding.