Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Cartoon History: Real Human Girl Inserted Into Silent Vintage Cartoon 1925 ... " No Way"

You thought Michael Jordan was a slam dunk
inserted into a cartoon with "Space Jam" 1996🏀. But in 1920 Walt Disney ingeniously came up with a cartoon short named "Alice Comedies". This young real girl was inserted into a cartoon animated world with Julius the cat... he looked like a version of Felix the cat to me. This was Walt Disney's first successes. The history of this cartoon series goes a little like this. Four actresses actually played Alice; Virginia Davis was the first, followed by Dawn O'Day, Margie Gay, Lois Hardwick. Alice wonders into a cartoon studio and looks at how cartoons are made, all of a sudden that night she begins to dream about the characters she saw in the studio. She sees herself inside the cartoon with all the animated characters and begins to play with them. This cartoon short and others.... I believe 26 of them, became the stage for what was to become Alice Comedies. Eventually the Alice series became some cartoon and non-cartoon characters with real people, but I'm not sure when it converted over. I'll leave a link here to help better explain the timeline of the short series' rather than my short version of this. And also, Alice eventually became "Alice In Wonderland" But I'm only here to talk about the animation cartoon version of this history./ BJ🙈🙉🙊

I have a couple of animated cartoon versions of "Alice" on the side bar.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Vintage Cartoon History: "Amos n' Andy" Animation


Remember the "Amos n' Andy" Show? but I bet you didn't know about the two cartoons that Van Beuren Studios made about the famous radio and tv series.  January 12, 1926, A two-man comedy radio show “Sam ‘n’ Henry” debuts on Chicago’s WGN radio station. Two years later, it changed its name to “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the show became one of the most famous radio programs in American history.  While the show had a brief life on 1950s television with black actors, the 1928 to 1960 radio show was created, written and voiced by two White actors, "Freeman Gosden" and "Charles Correll", who played Amos Jones (Gosden) and Andrew Hogg Brown (Correll). Black actors "Alvin Childress" and "Spencer Williams" took over the roles of Gosden and Carrell, the show was the first TV series to feature an all-Black cast and the only one of its kind for the next 20 years. This did not stop African American advocacy groups and eventually the (NAACP) from denouncing both the radio and tv series version. These protests led to the tv show’s series cancellation in 1953.  But you say..."What about the animation cartoons"? Well, there is very little history surrounding the animated cartoons but here is what I could only round up. Van Beuren Studios produce two animated cartoons of the famous radio show in 1933 and 1934..."The Lion Tamer" and "The Rasslin Match". Both cartoon shorts were short lived, but in my in my opinion, it was because Van Beuren Studios closed shortly thereafter (1936) and the cartoons did not fare wellGeorge Stallings was the animator assigned to these cartoons. George Vernon Stallings (No Pic) September 9, 1891 – April 9, 1963, was an American animation director and writer. He started working for Bray Productions in 1916 where he directed the "Colonel Heeza Liar" series of shorts, and the "Krazy Kat" shorts. He invented "the animation disk placed in the center of the drawing board" in the 20s. Its primary use by 1930 was as an aid in inking cels. He then worked for Van Beuren Studios from 1931 through 1934.

 If you have any more history on these animated cartoon shorts or a picture of George Stallings, let me know.  I have one of the cartoons on this blog below.

                               Enjoy ! /BJ 🙈🙉🙊

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Dynamic Duo "Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising" Animated Cartoon History

 In 1927, Harman and Ising were still operating for the Walter Disney Studios on a series of live-action animated short subjects called the Alice Comedies. The 2 animators created Bosko in 1928, a not so racist black cartoon which was pretty funny,to take advantage of the new "talkie" craze, that was sweeping the film industry. They began planning and creating a sound cartoon with Bosko in 1928, before their departure from Walt Disney. Hugh Harman created drawings of the new character and registered it with the copyright workplace in 1928. "Bosco" the character was registered as a "Negro male boy" underneath the name of Bosko. 

Hugh Harman and Rudolf Carl "Rudy" Ising, were both born the same month and year, August 1903. Harman died 1982 and Ising died in 1992. The dynamic duo were former film maker employees, getting their begin on series such as the "Newman Laugh O Grams", the "Alice Comedies" and "Assassin the Lucky Rabbit", helping to jump-start the Warner Bros. Cartoon Studio in 1929, which they helped get MGM' animation department off the ground also. They were conjointly the creators of Bosko, the "Talk-Ink kid", and Foxy, and also MGM' Happy Harmonies, the "Barney Bear" shorts, and much of one shot shorts, along side the associate degreeti-war short "Peace on Earth". They definitely had a significant role in shaping the events of The Golden Age of Animation. They moved around a bit from Disney to VanBuren Studio to Warner Bros. and their own studio then back to Disney, that jumping around just probably meant they were good at what they do ! At least that's what I think ! but I wasn't even born yet ! (my 2Cents worth). BJ

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Rich Short History Of "Rainbow Parade Cartoons" 1934-1936


This is rich animated cartoons at it's best short lived, in my opinion.
Many of the Rainbow Parade cartoons were one-shot stories, but several of the films featured, Parrottville Parrots, Molly Moo-Cow, Toonerville Folks, and Felix The Cat. Commonwealth Pictures bought the Cartoons in 1941 and was later played on television. In 2021, Thunderbean Animation in association with Blackhawk films and UCLA released a collection of the first 13 Rainbow Parade cartoons from the existing master materials, updating them from 2009.

Rainbow Parade was a medley of 26 animated cartoons produced by Van Beuren Studio and dispersed to playhouses by RKO between 1934 and 1936. They were all-color medley of cartoons and the final series produced by Van Beuren Studios. 

 Rainbow Parade (1934-1936), which featured new cartoon characters, Molly Moo Cow, and older ones, namely Felix the Cat, and Toonerville Trolley. This was the first of Van Beuren’s series and people fail in love with the animation which achieved both recognition and success. Also, this series is considered by many writers and scholars to bring the most sophisticated and visually creative cartoons out of all Van Beuren shorts.   Despite the success that Van Beuren Studios started to achieve with its series, RKO Radio Pictures studio’s distributor, decided in 1936 not to distribute Rainbow Parade Cartoons anymore, and as a result ended distributing for Van Beuren’s shorts.

Van Beuren was unable to find another distributor and was forced to close the studio in the same year.  The Van Beuren cartoons were sold to Officials Films, and Commonwealth Pictures. They changed the names of some of the characters and shorts and sold them for television release and home-movie distribution.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Meet: Tyrus Wong..First Asian Cartoon Animator/ Disney

Talking about a true artist legend you might not heard about, Tyrus Wong was definitely that hands down. 


  Tyrus Wong (October 25, 1910 –-- December 30, 2016) was a Chinese-born American artist who lived to be 106 years of age. As a kid, Wong immigrated to America with his dad, leaving his mom and sister. Wong’s skill and interest in art emerged at an early age and his dad motivated it by having him practice calligraphy on newspaper.Tyrus participated in the Otis Art Institute on a complete scholarship, Wong worked as a janitor at Otis College. He walked for miles to attend classes. He graduated from Otis in 1930 and began working at Disney as a inbetweener. When pre-production started on “ Bambi", Wong painted several small images of a deer in a forest that captured Walt Disney attention. Those sketches became the basis for the style of the movie.

One Important Note :In the years that followed, he endured poverty, discrimination and chronic lack of recognition, not only for his work at Disney but also for his fine art, before finding acclaim in his 90s.

Soon after finishing Bambi, Wong was fired from Disney studios as an effect of the Disney animator 

strike. After leaving Disney, Wong worked at Warner Bros Studios for 26 years as a production illustrator.                                

Later, he developed popular greeting cards for Hallmark Cards. Wong retired in 1968 however developed and made hand made flying kite's for pleasure.

Some of his popular paintings consist of Self Picture (late 1920s), Fire ( 1939 ), Reclining Nude (1940s), East ( 1984) and West ( 1984 ). Wong was included in Mark Wexler'' s 2009 documentary How To Live Forever, where he discussed his day-to-day lifestyle and his view on immortality, and in Pamela Tom'' s 2015 documentary Tyrus. For even more great history on Mr. Wong, go to the side bar of this blog and click on his picture.

Friday, December 10, 2021

The Real Betty Boop ! Was An African -American Singer ?

 Well, this well known cartoon character has some history drama behind it. Esther Jones is the name of the real Betty Boop. The iconic animation character Betty Boop was motivated by a Black jazz singer in Harlem. Presented by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, the caricature of allure age flapper was the very first and most popular sex object in animation. Betty Boop is best known for her revealing gown, curvaceous figure, and signature vocals “& Boop Oop A Doop”! While there has actually been debate throughout the years, the inspiration has been traced back to Esther Jones who was nick named as "Baby Esther" and performed frequently in the Cotton Club during the 1920s. Nonetheless, after the notorious Hays Code forced morality restrictions on film, the sexual and psychological undertones of Miss Boop were nearly entirely eliminated. The character was essentially relegated to a more demure profession girl in later years, yet Betty Boop remained a household name for years.

Esther was understood for using phrases like  "Boop-oop-a-doop"  (which would later end up being a signature of the cartoons). Yet, while the Betty Boop creators had acknowledged that Baby Esther is the real deal, the majority of people credit Helen Kane. Why? Helen Kane had in her head to take the credit. Movies soon followed Helen'' s stage success, and by 1930, she was among America's most-loved increasing stars. Her wacky flapper sex appeal and special singing design ensured that there was no one quite like Helen Kane. 

BUT Helen had a trick. You see, that act that made her so special, she had stolen it, from a black singer named ... "Baby Esther". In 1928 Helen Kane made arrangements to see Baby Esther perform and carried out her act months later, Helen was performing those signature scats to adoring audiences.

Court Fight: Helen Kane lost her $ 250,000 violation claim versus the creators of Betty Boop in court because she couldn't show that her singing style, quirks and look was special. Most flappers of the 1920s and 1930s, looked comparable to Kane. She also was not able to prove any of this in court.  Edward J. McGoldrick ruled in favor of the Fleischer Studios and Paramount Pictures after evaluating the proof that was given up in court. After losing the claim, Kane appealed her case and continued to pursue the Betty Boop character, and was later told by another Judge, that... being Judge Crew, that back then a voice, specifically a voice that was not her own might not be copyrighted. So what about Baby Esthers ? Did she submit a lawsuit ?... Despite being the factor that Kane's case was dismissed, "Baby Esther Jones" was never called to testify. The teenage star had returned to America after doing a trip in South America and was performing in the states at the time of the suit. Though Paramount admitted that Betty Boop's singing design was based upon Baby Esther Jones, the studio never offered her a cent for using her likeness and image in producing the commonly successful animation. The studio argued in court it did not owe settlement to Jones because she was presumed dead.

Esther Jones was quite alive and still active in show organization at the time. Paramount simply refused to offer money to a Black (Negro) performer they owed in part for their rampant successes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Meet Jackie Ormes....First Black Woman Cartoonist


Ormes was born August 1, 1911 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents William Winfield Jackson and Mary Brown Jackson. Mary was a housewife who became a single parent when her spouse passed away from motor car mishap in 1917. Jackie and her sibling, Delores Jackson, were briefly raised by their auntie and uncle as an outcome. Eventually, Jackie'' s mom remarried and the household moved to the nearby city of Monongahela. Ormes drew and wrote throughout high school. She was arts editor for the 1929–-- 1930 Monongahela High School Yearbook where her earliest efforts as a cartoonist can be seen in the lively caricatures of her school' s students and teachers. After high school, Ormes acquired her first task as a proofreader for the Pittsburgh Carrier in 1930. Ormes likewise finished freelance pieces on police beats, court cases, and human interest topics. Eventually she began to produce comics for the newspaper and established her career as a cartoonist. While she delighted in "" a terrific profession running around town, looking into everything the law would permit, and blogging about it," "what she truly desired to do was draw. Her first cartoon, Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem ran for 12 months in between 1937 and 1938. Ormes moved to Chicago in 1942. She quickly began writing periodic articles and, briefly, a social column for The Chicago Protector, among the nation'' s leading black newspapers, a weekly at that time. For a couple of months at the end of the war, her single panel cartoon, Candy, about an attractive and wisecracking housemaid, appeared in the Defender; the panel ranged from March 24 to July 21, 1945. In 1946, Ormes created the cartoon Patty Jo 'n' Ginger which ran for 11 years. This was among her most prominent comic strips.

The popularity of the cartoon caused the production of  Patty Jo doll in 1947, the first African American doll based upon a comic character. With functions painted on by the cartoonist herself, the doll is now an extremely treasured item for collectors.

Zelda Jackie Ormes died in Salem, Ohio on December 26, 1985 at the age of 74. For more in depth info on Jackie, go to the side bar of this websites and tap on her picture.