Friday, December 28, 2007

Louis Zukor

The most information I could find about Louis Zukor was in an animation union newsletter obituary on him.

From the April 2004 Peg-Board

'LOU ZUKOR died on March 16, 2004 at the age of ninety. From 1930 until his retirement in 1984 he worked for Romer Grey, Mintz, Screen Gems, Iwerks, Lantz, Fleischer, Famous, Hanna-Barbera, Animation Associates and Filmation.

We have lost an icon of the animation industry. Lou was a close friend of mine. He was a veteran who went from the days of Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Bug Goes To Town, to more recent TV cartoons such as Archie and He-Man. Lou aslo worked on hundreds of TV commercials, and on titles for The Carol Burnett Show, The Sonny and Cher Show and others. Lou was a producer of a cartoon called Q. T. Hush, that showed on the Sheriff John TV show in the late 'sixties. Producing, animating, directing, painting backgrounds ... Lou did it all.'

I assume that Zukor made the trek to New York in 1938 to work on Gulliver's Travel's and continued on working for the Famous Studio until sometime in 1946. His work at the Fleischers was primarily for Orestes Calpini's crew and when the switchover was made to Famous, he animated primarily for Graham Place's crew.

'Females is Fickle' - 1940

'Me Feelins is Hurt' - 1940

'Nurse Mates' - 1940

'Wimmin Hadn't Oughta drive' - 1940

'I'll Never Crow Again' - 1940

'Mess Production' - 1946

'House Tricks?' - 1946

'The Fistic Mystic' - 1946

Lou Zukor animation from 'Me Feelins is Hurt' - 1940

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Roland (Doc) Crandall - Part 2

'The Adventures of Popeye' - 1935 (re-use animation clip)

'The Adventures of Popeye' - 1935 (re-use animation clip)

'The Spinach Overature' - 1935

'Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky' - 1936

'A Clean Shaven Man' - 1936

'Brotherly Love' - 1936

'Bridge Ahoy' - 1936

'What - No Spinach?' - 1936

'Never Kick a Woman' - 1936

'Little Swee'pea' - 1936

Sometime around mid 1936 Crandall was promoted to head animator/de facto director and given his own unit. He vacated that position sometime in 1940 resuming a position as animator - his last work on a Popeye cartoon appeared in 'Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep' in 1940.

'Shakespearian Spinach' - 1940

'Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep' - 1940

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Roland (Doc) Crandall - Part 1

ID for Roland Crandall's animation should be a no-brainer for those of you into the Fleischer Studio Popeye cartoons. (and I admit easy for me to blog) His style is the most identifiable to fans of the early Popeye animators. Crandall drew the first model sheet for Popeye and you can see a copy of it in Leslie Cabarga's book 'The Fleischer Story'. Before exiting the Fleischer Studio, Crandall de facto directed only one Popeye cartoon - 'Shakespearian Spinach', released in 1940. Up until that time he animated exclusively on the Popeye series for Seymour Kneitel's crew.

Costume model for 'Shakespearian Spinach'

Better said by this published biography, here are some facts about Roland Crandall. (click on image to enlarge)

From Fleischer's Animated News Vol.2 #7, June 1936

I will be posting frame grabs from all of the Popeye cartoons with Crandall's animation. Check back soon for part 2.

'Popeye The Sailor' - 1933

'I Yam What I Yam' - 1933

'Blow Me Down' - 1933 (re-use animation from Popeye the Sailor)

'I Eats My Spinach' - 1933

'Seasin's Greetinks!' - 1933

'Sock-A-Bye Baby' - 1934

'Strong to the Finich' - 1934

'Axe Me Another' - 1934

'A Dream Walking' - 1934

'The Hyp-Nut-Tist' - 1935

'For Better or Worser' - 1935

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sexual Tension Via Jim Tyer - The Island Fling

The animation in the clip below has to be one of the most funny sexually tense scenes ever in a golden age cartoon. You can really feel Bluto burning with frustration as Olive ignores his advances, the action stopping just short of a dry hump. I love the subtleties in Bluto's animation, his body language, and his lecherous expression. It's a great piece of business that gives us a taste of Tyer's range and the possibilities of what he could have done had he stayed at Famous. The animation following Tyer's scenes was done by William Henning.

Unfortunately the animation in the clip really suffers due to the compression of Youtube. You'll have to wait for Popeye DVD Vol.3 to see just how great this cartoon really is!!

'The Island Fling' clip - 1946

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Charles (Tex) Hastings

Popeye looks weird as drawn by the hand of Charles Hastings. There's something about the bloated head and facial features that's odd and stands out. (but not detracting from the overall charm of the gritty Fleischer style) Hastings came from the west coast having worked briefly for Walter Lantz (and possibly WB) and had a short stay of a couple of years animating for the Fleischers. All of his work on Popeye was done for the Bowsky unit.

Below are frame grabs from all the Popeye cartoons that Hastings worked on before leaving the Fleischer Studio. Check out his animation in 'Pleased to Meet Cha!' - there's some really bizarre action of Popeye and Bluto walking from one room and continuing into another. It feels as though they have glue on their shoes.

The Dance Contest - 1934

We Aim to Please - 1934

Beware of Barnacle Bill - 1935

Be Kind to 'Aminals' - 1935

Pleased to Meet Cha! - 1935

Dizzy Divers - 1935

Saturday, November 10, 2007

William Henning

William Henning sure drew ugly. He animated some of the most unappealing and crude looking Popeye I've ever seen. But that said, this is an equal opportunity blog, so all Popeye animator styles that can be identified will be represented here.

Probably the second most prolific Popeye animator next to George Germanetti, Henning's work spanned 3 different periods of the character and can be found in Fleischer, Famous Studio and King Feature Popeye cartoons.

Part of the old guard at the Fleischer Studio, Henning was a senior member of the staff for approximately 7 years by the time Popeye started into production - 1 year longer than head animators Seymour Knietel and Willard Bowsky. Before becoming an animator in 1931, he was head of the inbetweening department.

A member of Seymour Knietel's unit for years, Henning animated on Popeye from 1933 until 1939, when at that time, he was briefly given the job of head animator (de facto director) on a couple of Popeye cartoons. His early Famous Studio years had him working for a short time in Jim Tyer's unit and later with Tom Johnson's unit. In between he did brief stints with Nick Tafuri and Bill Tytla. (whom I believe exercised more directorial control over his pictures than did Knietel and Sparber)

Henning was considered good at drawing and animating 4 legged animals and often given scenes of that kind according to animator John Gentilella.

Once Henning established his animation and drawing style it evolved marginally as compared with the advancement of his peers. Coming into the Famous Studio years, his style looks frozen in time - much of his later work looking like it still belonged in the Fleischer cartoons.

A gossip piece in an issue of the Fleischer Studio's news publication stated that Henning was decorated for his service as a captain in the German army prior to working in animation. I wonder if that sort of regimented military attitude affected his animation.

Seasin's Greetinks - 1933
Check out Michael Sporn's analysis of this animation at his splog (Oct.30 post):

Strong to the Finich - 1934

A Dream Waking - 1934

The Spinach Overature - 1935

Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky - 1936

Bridge Ahoy - 1936

Lost and Foundry - 1937

Protek the Weakerist - 1937

Cops is Always Right - 1938

Ghosks is the Bunk - 1939

Wood Peckin' - 1943

We're on Our Way to Rio - 1944

Puppet Love - 1944

Service with a Guile - 1946

Wotta Knight - 1947

Robin Hood-Winked - 1948

Quick on the Vigor - 1950

Big Bad Sindbad - 1952

Cookin' with Gags - 1954

Gopher Spinach - 1954

Out to Punch - 1956

Butler Up - 1961

Here are 2 examples of Henning's Popeye - 10 years apart with basically the same drawing style and expression:

Strong to the Finich - 1934

Puppet Love - 1944

Next Animator ID - Charles Hastings (the 'off model' Popeye animator)