Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inside Joke

This post was prompted by a comment left by blog reader J Lee:

Tendlar also has a unique way of showing the fight at the end of "Fowl Play", where Popeye punches Bluto into the side of the house, but hit outline silhouette remains motionless while the rest of the body bounces back into place.

The action that J Lee described is actually an animation inside joke. Before computer technology, the animation drawings would be traced in ink onto clear celluloid sheets then flipped over and the characters painted in on the back before going to camera. So here's where the in-joke comes into play - when Popeye hits Bluto he is literally punching the paint off him, leaving Bluto's ink outline in place.

Another great use of the cartoon medium courtesy of the Fleischer Studio.





Watch it in action...

11 comments:

Jeff Overturf said...

I think I need to spend the day watching Fleischer cartoons.

10 or 14 hours ought to do.

RooniMan said...

How awesome is that!

J Lee said...

Thanks for posting the clip. In it's own way, it's as self-aware as any of the groundbreaking things Tex Avery was doing over at Warners at the same time in showing the audience that they're watching an animated cartoon -- i.e. -- breaking the 'illusion of reality' and nothing Disney would have ever done at this time (though they would get away with some in-jokes in the shorts in the 40s and 50s).

As effective as this is, I'm actually surprised that, AFAIK, the gag was never used again by Paramount or any other studio in showing the force of a punch (or explosion or any other sudden forced movement).

Jeff Cook said...

That is excellent.
Such an original idea for a gag and an Inside Joke of the purest sense.

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

Outstanding entry!

Mr. Cro said...

I don't think I saw this anywhere else... Too bad those ideas were lost once when Fleischers lost their studio...

Ted said...

There's a similar line-without-paint bit in the '39 Terrytoon "Africa Squawks" with a rhino:
http://cartoonsof1939.blogspot.com/2010/06/088-africa-squawks.html
Not quite the same (and probably not an inside joke, just a different way to indicate speed with smearing), but I thought I'd mention it anyway...

Jose Pou said...

THaks for all these awsome inspiring stuff.

warren said...

Heya Bob,

Just dropping in to say thanks for all these posts! So well researched!

This gag had me laughing my ass off.

Oscar Grillo said...

Magic!!

Rodney Baker said...

Delayed response here but wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading about this technique here. Thanks!