Sunday, August 5, 2012

Educated Guess ID #2 - Nick Tafuri

It's been a while since my last post. Time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to some blogging. I have a lot of material to cover - just not the time to present it. Anyway - back to business...

Remember as you go forth reading that this is a speculative post so those of you like to add uncredited animators to sites like IMDB and Wikipedia please refrain from doing so.

I heard that Nick Tafuri did not like to talk about his career or animation so I have nothing to go on except deduction based on style and drawing earmarks - one in particular that was pretty much exclusive to what I speculate to be Tafuri's animation. This was a hard fought deduction since there are no drawings of Popeye I'm aware of that are attributed to Tafuri.

Instead of me pointing out the major earmark that tipped me off to Tafuri's style I would like you readers to take a shot a it. Look at the clips and let me know what you think.

video

One aspect of Popeye cartoons that's usually overlooked is the filmmaking - and by that I mean the choice of shots and composition. I noticed this one while assembling the clips for this post. Take a look at this scene from 'Pleased To Meetcha' -


This is a great composition. The window blind cord visually splits the scene in two. Popeye and Bluto are on each side of the split. Olive is split down the middle - half on Popeye's side of the screen and half of her on Bluto's side of the screen. The dynamics of the composition create a feeling of tension.

18 comments:

Andymatic said...

I have no idea. But I always did admire that high angle shot. I loved these B/W Popeyes ever since I was a kid back in the 70's Even at that young age I could tell there was something unique and special about these cartoons.

Andy said...

OK I'll speculate-which is all I can do. Standing characters always seem to have there feet pointing in opposite directions-to give weight I guess.
There also seems to be a lot of constant bobbing instead of just standing, but I wouldn't think that unusual.
Beats me !

Bob Jaques said...

That's not it. Thanks for trying.

Andymatic said...

I bet it has something to do with they way the hands gesture. Close?

Thad said...

This likely had nothing to do with it, but I saw this drawing online from MR. BUG signed from Tafuri to John Walworth, and took a look at the scene in the movie. Different style, characters, period and all that, but the phrasing there seems slightly similar to the Popeye clips here.

Michael Sporn said...

As Lillian Gish would have asked, "Who is up there looking down these two men?" What other reason would you have for planting a camera there? It violates the basic tenets of filmmaking and is more apropos in comic strip art.

Bob Jaques said...

Gosh - I hope someone answered Lillian's question... :)

For the sake of composition and art this view is acceptable. This sort of shot was unusual for the Fleischer style of film making so I believe they did it for a reason. Really - who cares who's up there??

One thing I overlooked was the triangle shape staging of Olive, Popeye and Bluto - suggesting a love triangle. A visual that graphic and clear would be hard to pull off with a lower viewpoint staging.

Thad said...

There are countless examples of these 'nonexistent onlooker' shots throughout the history of animation. Tashlin and Jones wouldn't exist without it. I personally like things getting shaken up so the cartoons go beyond vaudeville layout staging.

p spector said...

Popeye, Olive and Bluto: The Holy Trinty.

Great to see you back online more often.

Your line:"...those of you like to add uncredited animators to sites like IMDB and Wikipedia please refrain from doing so." really cracked me up for some reason.

Bob Jaques said...

Hey Paul - great to hear from you!!
Hope you're doing well.

voiceman91 said...

This may be wrong, Bob, but I noticed some of the characters have these two small lines near their eyes in those clips. Could that be it?

Bob Jaques said...

Nope... Here's a clue - look to the top.

Z. Zither said...

I 2nd that+ I could never believe my eyes as the credits listed only 2 animators!? P.S.-Being new to this site, may I say, that any time the topic of 'Segmented Eyes' crops up, I leap at the opportunity to mention "Muddy Mudskipper"!, (and his stalked eyes?).

brian said...

Hey Bob,

I'll say it's the pancake hats with the horizontal line that indicates the flat plane of the top.

brian said...

Hey Bob,

I'll say it's the pancake hats with the little horizontal line that indicates the flat top of the hat when they rotate their heads.

Bob Jaques said...

Brian - you guessed correctly.

Debbie Burke said...

Email me. I have info on Nick Tafuri.

Bob Jaques said...

Debbie - you never left an email address with your comment - please contact me at bob.jaques1@gmail.com. Thanks.