Friday, April 23, 2010

Gym Gent

I never get tired of looking at John Gentilella's (aka Johnny Gent) animation. He is truly one of the unsung greats of the golden age of animation. Johnny animated like a jazz musician plays music - with feeling, style, and flair. He also had an incredible sense of dynamics, power, rhythm, and appeal in his drawing. Johnny could have easily been one of the top animation talents on the west coast but for whatever reason, chose to stay and work in New York.

I've been waiting ages for someone to post a copy of Gym Jam online (I never got it off TV) and it finally happened. Below is a clip from that cartoon with some great Johnny Gent animation. It also includes animation by Frank Endres and William Henning. This is one of the last good Famous Studio Popeye cartoons (with a few exceptions) before they got really bad. (I think all of us Popeye fans will agree that the downward slide to the end of the theatrical cartoons was not a good time for the animated sailor)

Following are frame grabs from some of Johnny's animation - strong poses with strong silhouettes that are essential for great cartoon animation.









I love this 'Don't f**k with me' pose.



10 comments:

Trevor Thompson said...

Beautiful!

Thad said...

I love this one. The unintentional homoerotic weirded me out as a kid though. The feeling of power and timing when Bluto smashes Popeye's foot, and when Popeye delivers the final blow, is just amazing. John Gentilella was truly awesome. I love the disgusting face Bluto has when he's on the dumb-bell rack too - real 'beautiful ugliness' there.

People really need to STFU about the 'refining' of the characters' designs and animation. If you want stuff animated like a great 1935 Popeye, watch one of those - don't expect the same kind of animation from a 1945 cartoon from any studio.

Kevin Langley said...

It's amazing how he's able to convey the power and force in a punch. His animation gives Bluto even more strength than his design conveys. Great scene!

RooniMan said...

When Popeye delivers that final blow, BAM!! The timing really makes you feel the power.

M. Cro. said...

Great one! Thanks.

J Lee said...

While it's a remake of "Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky", late 1935-early '36 wasn't a particularly good time for the Kentiel unit, when it came to animating Bluto. They followed the Bowsky unit's lead in making the character larger in size to make him even more than a threat to Popeye, but look like someone simply designed his midsection using the outline of a Morgan silver dollar -- he's just a big round ball dressed as a woman in that one, while the more muscular design here makes the incongruity of Bluto-in-drag funnier (and allows Gent and the other animators to give the physical gags against Popeye more power).

p spector said...

Hey Bob,
Re your text "Johnny could have easily been one of the top animation talents on the west coast but for whatever reason, chose to stay and work in New York."
I'm going to email you a letter that JG sent my dad that might partially explain it. (This was originally posted on Thad's blog, but he changes ISPs so often I don't dare try to search for it ;) ).

Roberto Severino said...

Johnny Gent sure knew how to time with power. Thanks for the great scene Bob. I like this cartoon too.

Rusty said...

Gent easily corrected any of the problems that were in Vim Vigor and Vitaliky.

Thad said...

I also like how he's still wearing lipstick through all that molesting.