Sunday, January 31, 2010

Credit Misinformation

There's a lot of misinformation out there on the internet - writing presented as fact that has not been checked or verified. Unfortunately a certain portion of the internet population lack critical thinking and accept what they read on face value as the truth, without questioning it.

That said - every so often I check the web for new and existing information on the Popeye cartoons. I was surprised when I typed 'Abner Matthews' into the IMDB search that it took me directly to the credit listing for Abner Kneitel - all of Abner Matthews' credits have now been attributed to Abner Kneitel. I believe it was because of this post. I can't prove they were the same person - it was a conjecture based on some facts and a hunch. Someone took it upon him/herself to make sure that it's now a fact - at least according to the internet.

Another stop for misinformation is Wikipedia. The person who included the uncredited Popeye animators on this page has clearly made huge assumptions. Much of the correct information had been taken from this blog, but the stuff that wasn't is just guesses. I don't mind educated guesses accompanied by qualifiers stating that they are guesses, but the information here has been presented as fact.

Same with the The Popeye Fan's channel on youtube. Many wild assumptions in the listing of uncredited animators here. The owner of this channel had even misidentified Jim Tyer's animation (a no-brainer as far as ID's go) so you can be sure many of the other uncredited animators attributes are garbage. This person also has an Abner Kneitel fetish. Practically all the Popeye cartoons he's posted have animation attributed to him - and that's simply not true.

The persons (or person) associated with the above acts lack the knowledge to know that not every animation crew had the same members over the years. Some animators were shifted around to other crews - especially during the late 30's and early 40's. And even if an animator was part of an established crew he didn't necessarily work on every Popeye cartoon assigned to that crew. Unfortunately there is little to no documentation of who animated what in each of the Popeye cartoons and most of the uncredited animators still remain a giant puzzle. So - if you visit these sites, go with a skeptical mind and don't believe everything you read.


King of [Silent] Cartoons said...

Love the info, Bob.

Thad said...

Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-ooooooohh!

Yowp said...

Thanks for mentioning this, Bob. I've gone to various sites to fill in some blanks for my blog and have discovered some of the anyone-can-submit-information-unquestioned pages are stupifyingly wrong. And their information gets copied elsewhere.

On three different occasions, I've spotted wholly made-up biographical information from idiots who must have thought they were being funny.

Then there are others who are probably good intentioned but have the easy generalisation syndrome, eg. "If it's wacky and funny in the Clampett unit, it must be Scribner". That really screws it up for the more meticulous people out there who have studied this stuff for a while. Those people will qualify their opinions, so you know that they're giving their best guess and are willing to be convinced if there's evidence to the contrary.

I admire anyone who can ID animators because I can't. I simply don't have the eye for it. I'm a better at voices but things become difficult when people like Graham Webb and Keith Scott can't agree on the identity of someone who you can hear in a pile of 1940s cartoons.


Bob Jaques said...

Yowp - thanks for your comment. I started doing damage control at Wikipedia but stopped - too frustrating knowing that the same idiot will most likely put the page back to his preferences.

I've been working on this puzzle for 30 plus years so it's offensive when some nutty fan zips in and thinks he knows better.

Thad said...

Maybe this nutty fan will now stop the misinformation now that you've called him out.

BTW, anyone who considers Wikipedia a legitimate source is out of their mind.

M. Cro. said...

Great post.
While I was watching his channel today, this fool deleted all his Popeye videos. At least you will not have to correct him all the time.

M. Cro. said...

A strange day. While visiting Wikipedia's List of Popeye Fleischer Studios cartoons I noticed that all uncredited animators notes have been deleted. But who knows if that person will put it up again.

Bob Jaques said...

M. Cro

Great news!! - thanks for the update on the youtube and wikipedia changes.

M. Cro. said...

No problem.
Another interesting thing about this guy. He incorrectly identified some animators on the Noveltoons and other Paramount toons he posted. Now that IDs have also been deleted. Weird.

Karen Andrea said...

Hi My name is Karen and Abner Matthews Kneitel was my great uncle. He was married to my grandmother's sister Virginia Kneitel (ne Hodge). My grandmother had always said the Abner went by Abner Matthews since Seymour Kneitel (his relative) was already credited and he didn't want to use the same last name. So Abner Matthews is Abner Kneitel. Another tidbit, Virginia used to help out with the cartoons for fun. She was never credited, but she did work on them as well. As his daughter Betty had indicated, Abner was quite a drinker from what I was told.