Sunday, August 7, 2011

Educated Guess ID - Willard Bowsky

Willard Bowsky's work is hard for me to ID because the head animator/de facto directors at the Fleischer Studio didn't do much animation footage - if any - for their cartoons. Given that bit of info - I don't see a lot of what I would say with any certainty is Bowsky's animation in any of the Popeye cartoons that he de facto directed - at least enough to solidify an ID. There's a good possibility that Bowsky did not like animating Popeye and he may have put his efforts into animating other characters - like Betty Boop - when time permitted. Fortunately, I have seen a couple of autographed drawings that provide a key to help identify his animation style.

Here's a clip from 'The Spinach Roadster', released in 1936 - one bit of animation I believe was animated by Bowsky. Keep in mind this is just an educated guess....



Compare the drawing in the clip with the one below that was autographed by Bowsky, published in 1939.

4 comments:

Damiano D said...

I'd say that image below would definitely help. Even I can notice the similarities to SOME degree. You're amazing at this stuff Bob, thanks for the info!

Mr. Cro said...

That drawing is familiar. Was it from any cartoon? I know I've seen it somewhere...

Bob Jaques said...

Damiano - thanks for the compliment!!

Mr. Cro - click on the link to see the full drawing from a previous post. The one in this post is a scan from the original source.

J Lee said...

One thing about the Bowsky unit -- they seemed to take the lead in redesigning Popeye away from the gruffer original design borrowed from Segar into the one who was a little better suited for comedy (the "cutening up" of Popeye began even before Jack Mercer arrived with his mumblings to take advantage of the revised look in a way William Costello could not).

I don't know if the younger facial design was Bowsky's doing - the change started just before Tendlar left his unit -- but as head animator, he would would have been lord of the model sheet.

(Also, given what Shamus Culhane had to say about Willard's view of women in general, he seemed to enjoy having Bluto not just go after Popeye, but torment Olive as well when he didn't get his way. I don't know if that means he liked or disliked doing the series, but his Bluto and Tendlar's tended to be more violent towards others than the one Kneitel used, which made watching him get beaten down by Popeye at the end more enjoyable.)