Wednesday, November 25, 2009


One of the great things about this blog is, I get to act like a fucking fanboy, and talk about the shit I’m really into. Hopefully, in the process I turn people onto some new stuff, broaden their horizons, and help to promote the crap that influenced the person I am today. Not to mention, I help people find things to watch with their kids (that they might also find entertaining), besides Dora and Barney. So, it’s with great pleasure that I now review the DVD; BETTY BOOP: AN ORIGINAL MAX FLEISCHER CARTOON.
This two disc collection not only has some of the greatest Betty Boop cartoons, but what many would consider the greatest cartoons, ever (Betty Boop or otherwise)! These of course are Betty’s, pre-Hays code, cartoons. Filled with jazz, drug references, surreal images and sexual overtones. After the Hays code (a lame-ass code created in the mid-30’s to censor movies and cartoons) Betty went from a free spirited, scantily clad, Jazz Baby, to a frock toting hausfrau-secretary type. The later cartoons are absent of Koko the Clown and Bimbo (Betty’s sometimes doggy boyfriend and confidant), and are instead filled with sorry-ass characters like Grampy the stupid inventor and Pudgy the annoying dog. If I had to pick the highlights from this collection, I would stick with:
  • I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You

  • Snow White

  • Betty Boop’s Bamboo Isle

  • The Old Man Of The Mountain

  • Minnie The Moocher

But for the sake of brevity, I will focus mainly on Snow White for this review. In my opinion this is the best of the Betty Boop cartoons (and it came out 4 years before Disney's version). It’s far reaching influence can be seen in creations as diverse as The Nightmare Before Christmas to Ren & Stimpy. From it’s beautifully rendered ink wash backgrounds (in the mystery cave) to it’s smooth as silk rotoscoping this cartoon has much to offer. It wields rotoscope (a technique invented by Max Fleischer) with Jedi like precision. Via it we can see Koko the Clown moon walking, a la Cab Calloway, numerous years before Mike (may he rest in peace) was even a money hungry twinkle in papa Joe Jackson’s eye.

You wanna talk street cred? As far as I know, this is the only cartoon that features a song (St. James Infirmary Blues) about a girl who died of a cocaine overdose. The film has even been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Not to mention Betty was the first cartoon to be drawn in a truly female fashion (titts, hips, ass and curvy legs); before this female characters were basically carbon copies of their male counter parts with eyelashes and a skirt (e.g. Minnie Mouse). I suppose I could go on and on with how great this cartoon is, and why you should watch it, but I prefer to let it talk for itself. So, here is a link without further adieu, Snow White. And of course it gets 5 beers!

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