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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: October 14, 1932
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo
The short starts with Betty Boop moving and putting her old house for sale. As soon as she leaves, the house falls apart, which drops the price immediately, even though the chimney desperately tries to keep the building together. This is a rather weird scene itself, but soon we zoom out to reveal the whole area being on sale, the whole of the United States, and even the complete earth. Suddenly we watch the moon auctioning the earth to the neighboring planets. The earth is sold to a Jewish looking Saturn, who draws gravity from the earth. Suddenly everything starts floating upwards. Imagine, this cartoon started with Betty moving to a new home!
Unfortunately, the studio has difficulties inventing good gags about the world without gravity, and the premise never gets proper treatment. For example, their best gag seems to be Betty Boop’s skirt flying upwards, revealing her panties, which is shown twice. It seems as when their imagination could roam completely freely, the studio got stuck, as the same happened in ‘Crazy Town‘ from earlier that year. When the earth pulls its own magnet back into place, everything falls down again to a jazzy score, and it’s Betty who has the last word in a reprise of her opening song.
Even though it’s not really successful, ‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ is one of the strangest cartoons ever made, and worth while watching.
Watch ‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’
Director: Albert Barillé
Airing date: January 29?, 1983
Because they have saved earth from an impending doom in ‘L’imparable menace‘, Pierrot, Psi and Petit Gros are allowed to go on holiday on earth, where they’re received as heroes.
On earth, Maestro’s ancestor (from ‘Le long voyage‘) is their guide, and he takes our heroes to the countryside. Here he tells our heroes the history of earth from the 21st century onward. Barillé’s vision of the earth’s future contains some rather somber views on genetics, war, informatics and the climate.
In the second half of this episode, the old Maestro takes Pierrot and Petit Gros into space, showing a solar ring, a cemetery of spaceships, and even an amusement park called ‘Barillé’s Land’.
Because of its holiday theme, this short moves at a leisurely speed, and it is rather boring compared to the two episodes preceding it. However, even in this relaxed episode, there’s some conflict, when our heroes encounter a saboteur from Cassiopeia.
Inconsistent design have always tortured the Il était une fois… series. And in this episode, in certain scenes the drawings of our heroes are no less than terrible.
Watch ‘Terre!’ yourself and tell me what you think:
Director: Albert Barillé
Airing date: January 22?, 1983
In ‘À Cassiopée‘ the hostile constellation of Cassiopeia had made plans to invade the earth. In ‘L’imparable menace’ it has become clear their plans have changed…
This episode starts with Cassiopeia firing a deadly rocket to Earth in order to make Omega surrender to Cassiopeia unconditionally. So now Omega itself is at stake, with Earth as a hapless pawn in interstellar politics.
Luckily for Omega, our heroes Pierrot, Petit Gros and Psi are still in the neighborhood of Jupiter, and they are the only ones who can stop the doomsday rocket in time. In fact, it’s the androids Psi encountered in ‘Les anneaux de Saturne‘ who had fired the rocket in the first place.
The whole episode is one race against time, which makes it one of the most exciting episodes of the entire series.
Watch ‘L’imparable menace’ yourself and tell me what you think:
Director: Albert Barillé
Airing date: December 4?, 1982
It’s also one of the more political episodes. Indeed, its first half is about politics only. It starts with general Teigneux (Pest) reflecting on the past, how he failed to colonize planets because of Omega, referring to the events in episodes 2-6. Then consul Le Nabot (Dwarf) shows him the tapes from earth he had stolen in the previous episode.
The images of earth shows Barillé’s cynical view on the earth’s future: 30 billion people, many of which overfed, a lot of pollution, age-long traffic jams (reminiscent of those from Halas & Batchelor’s cartoon ‘Automania 2000’ from 1963), and a pride in producing weapons. After watching these images, Cassiopeia plans to invade earth.
After this long introduction, our heroes are sent to Cassiopeia to find out what their plans are, but they’re immediately captured and sent into prison. The second half of this episode consists therefore of a classic prison break, with a starring role for the rather matter-of-factly Metro. Our heroes eventually escape using the same meteor trick the Millennium Falcon did in ‘The Emperor Strikes Back’ (1980), one of the numerous influences of George Lucas’ films on Barillé’s series.
Watch ‘À Cassiopée’ yourself and tell me what you think:
This is the 9th episode of ‘Il était une fois… l’espace’ (Once Upon a Time… Space)
To the 8th episode: Le long voyage (The Long Voyage)
To the 10th episode: La planète déchiquetée (A Planet Blown to Pieces)