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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: August 2, 1940
Stars: Popeye, Swee’Pea
Rating:  ★★★½
Review:

Doing Impossikible Stunts © Max Fleischer‘Doing impossikible Stunts’ is a cheater, a.k.a. a compilation cartoon. Yet within this genre, this short is a nicely told one.

In this cartoon Popeye heads for ‘Mystery Pictures, Inc.’ , to apply as a stunt man. He has brought with him some footage of his stunt work. Little Swee’Pea follows him, and at one time swaps Popeye’s footage for his own, gaining the job.

Popeye’s films are excerpts from ‘I never Changes My Altitude’ (1937), ‘I Wanna be a Lifeguard’ (1936) and ‘Bridge Ahoy’ (1936), and Swee’Pea’s is from ‘Lost and Foundry’ (1937).

The film company’s slogan, ‘If it’s a good picture, it’s a mystery’ echoes a similar gag involving Wonder pictures, in ‘Daffy Duck in Hollywood‘ (1938).

Watch ‘Doing impossikible Stunts’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Doing impossikible Stunts’ is available on the DVD set ‘Popeye the Sailor Volume Two’

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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: January 27, 1939
Stars: Popeye, Bluto, Wimpy
Rating:  ★★★★
Review:

Customers Wanted © Max FleischerIn 1937 the Fleischer Studio suffered a severe strike. In 1938 they moved their studios to Miami, Florida to break up union activity, and because of the state’s more favorable financial climate.

The new studio opened in October 1938, and devoted a lot of its resources to the Fleischer’s first feature film, ‘Gulliver’, which was released at the end of 1939.

The move to Florida had several consequences for the Popeye series: as the studio’s top animators now worked on ‘Gulliver’, the series was laid in hands of some lesser men, and this shows in many 1939 Popeye cartoons. More importantly, there were some voice changes: Mae Questel and Gus Wickie (Bluto’s voice) had stayed behind in New York, so Olive’s voice was taken over by Margie Hines, who would do her voice until the end of 1943. Bluto’s voice was now done by Pinto Colvig, whom the Fleischers had hired away from Disney. Jack Mercer, Popeye’s voice, got along very well with Margie Hines – in fact the two were married on March 8, 1939.

The move may have had a particular impact on ‘Customers Wanted’, for this cartoon is a ‘cheater’: it only partially features new material, some scenes are reused from two earlier Popeye cartoons, albeit in the most natural way.

‘In ‘Customers Wanted’ Popeye and Bluto as competing arcade owners at a Coney Island-like amusement park. They’re both out of customers, and dive on Wimpy, when he seems interested.

The competing entrepreneurs are so eager to show Wimpy their films on their mutoscopes, they don’t even charge him money. The mutoscope films are excerpts from ‘Let’s Get Movin” (1936) and ‘The Twisker Pitcher’ (1937). Soon, however, Bluto’s and Popeye’s competition turns into a fight, and it’s Wimpy who cashes in by advertising their row as ‘the fight of the century”.

‘Customers Wanted’ is an early compilation cartoon, but a very entertaining one. Bluto’s and Popeye’s tricks to lure Wimpy away from the competition are delightful, and so are the voices. The amusement park itself is beautifully designed, and is reminiscent of the futuristic fair of ‘All’s Fair at the Fair‘ (1938).

Watch ‘Customers Wanted’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Customers Wanted’ is available on the DVD Set ‘Popeye the Sailor Volume Two’

Director: Tom Ray
Release date: June 23, 1967
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:  ★
Review:

Shutter Bugged Cat © MGM‘Shutter Bugged Cat’ is the fifth and last of Tom & Jerry’s compilation cartoons.

In this short Tom is playing 8mm films of his own injuries, while Jerry is watching, too. This compilation cartoon, like all others, makes exclusively use of Hanna & Barbera material. It is atypical, however, in its execution: the excerpts are much shorter and from many more films than earlier compilations, and many of them we see in reverse, as well, when Tom plays his 8mm films back.

The designs of Tom and Jerry in the framing story are different from those in other Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons, probably to match them more with the Hanna & Barbera designs. Unfortunately, the result turns out to be particularly bad, making Tom & Jerry look almost as bad as in their Gene Deitch films.

Watch ‘Shutter Bugged Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 160

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Surf-Bored Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Advance and Be Mechanized

Compiler: Marv Newland
Release Date: 1985
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Anijam © Marv NewlandAnijam is a compilation cartoon, organized by Marv Newland, and animated by 22 different animators.

The short features a strange yellow fellow on high heels called Foska. All scenes start and end with this character, and most of the animators feature him in their own scenes. The result is a dazzling string of totally unrelated scenes, some funny, some weird and some totally abstract.

A few animators bring their own typical style strongly into their scenes, like Zdenko Gašparović, Sally Cruikshank and Paul Driessen, others turn to abstract patterns, like Kathy Rose, Kazurai Furuya, and Per Lygum. The latter’s contribution is an early computer animation, featuring geometrical forms only. Highlight, however, is Frank Nissen’s contribution, in which a swimming octopus transforms into a naked woman.

The complete film is an ode to the imagination of the animators and the endless possibilities of the medium.

Watch ‘Anijam’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Anijam’ is available on the DVD inside the book ‘Animation Now!’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 22, 1949
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Jerry's Diary © MGMJerry’s Diary’ is Tom and Jerry’s first compilation cartoon.

However, Hanna & Barbera even make this cheap form of cartoon making upper class: ‘Jerry’s Diary’ contains lots of original footage and has a surprisingly good story of its own. Only after 1’56 the compilation starts, to end one and a half minute before the cartoon ends itself.

In the encompassing story an anthropomorphized radio tells Tom that it’s ‘be kind to animals week’, so Tom is persuaded to give Jerry little gifts. He knocks on Jerry’s door, carrying flowers, a box of sweets and a pie. Jerry’s not in, however, and inside his home Tom discovers Jerry’s diary, which he can’t resist reading.

Enter the compilation, which features scenes from ‘Tee for Two’ (1945), ‘Mouse Trouble’ (1944), ‘Kitty Foiled‘ (1948) and ‘Yankee Doodle Mouse‘ (1943). Tom gets so annoyed reading this stuff that, when Jerry finally does show up, he throws the pie at him, smearing him against the wall and leaving the little mouse in complete bewilderment.

After this cartoon, four other compilations would follow, up to their very last year of theatrical cartoons, 1967. However, none of these would reach the high standard of ‘Jerry’s Diary’.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Jerry’s Diary’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 45
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Love That Pup
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tennis Chumps

Director: Tom Ray
Release Date: July 14, 1966
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★
Review:

Matinee Mouse © MGMIn ‘Matinee Mouse’ Tom and Jerry make peace and go watch their own cartoons together in a cinema. Of course, the truce doesn’t last long.

‘Matinee Mouse’ is a compilation cartoon, and a very cheap and terrible one, too. It uses footage of the classic Hanna/Barbera entries, but these are set to new sound effects and new music by Don Elliott. The gruesome result is easily one of the worst Tom and Jerry cartoons ever. Its director, Tom Ray (1919-2010), directed only one other Tom & Jerry cartoon, ‘Shutter Bugged Cat‘ (1967). That one is also a compilation cartoon, and arguably just as terrible.

Watch ‘Matinee Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 150
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Fillet Meow
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: A-Tom-inable Snowman

Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: May 18, 1934
Stars: Betty Boop, Max Fleischer
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Betty Boop's Rise to Fame © Paramount‘Betty Boop’s Rise to Fame” is a compilation cartoon, but it’s easily one of the best in its kind.

It features Betty Boop and her creator, Max Fleischer in a nice mix of animation and live action. Fleischer asks Betty, who is depicted as a tiny cartoon character, to perform for a reporter. She does three of her finest moments, using footage from ‘Stopping the Show‘ (1932), ‘Betty Boop’s Bamboo Isle‘ (1932) and ‘The Old Man from the Mountain’ (1933).

In between, there’s some lovely interplay between Betty and “uncle Max”. Even these new scenes are sexy, when Betty changes clothes behind an ink pot and some books. This delightful cartoon can be regarded as an ode to Betty’s glorious past. From now on sex and eroticism would be banished from her cartoons due to the censorship of the Hays code.

Watch ‘Betty Boop’s Rise to Fame’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Betty Boop cartoon No. 28
To the previous Betty Boop cartoon: Betty in Blunderland
To the next Betty Boop cartoon: Betty Boop’s Trial

‘Betty Boop’s Rise to Fame’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

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