ToonStar95
2015-02-24T18:55:42Z
I want to know as to why some animated shorts are so famous. I'm not saying they;re not good, but why are they considered masterpieces?

Why is I Love to Singa so famous, when it is just part of a group of early song-based Merrie Melodies, when the WB cartoon style had not yet flourished, even with Tex Avery at the helm of this one?

Why is One Froggy Evening so famous? Just because it has a singing frog?

How can Mouse Cleaning be a runner-up for the 50 Greatest Cartoons if it's just another average Tom & Jerry cartoon?

What do you guys think?
Toadette
2015-02-24T19:57:40Z
I Love to Singa is not just the average song-based Merrie Melodie, but there's actually a plot, and the song plays an important role in the father-son conflict.

One Froggy Evening doesn't have just any singing frog...it's the fact that the established rules in the cartoon, that this takes place in a regular human world, make the singing frog all the weirder. (A byproduct of the mind of Mike Maltese, of course!) Not to mention that said frog behaves very normally in public. And it's all framed in a pantomimed story about greed.

Mouse Cleaning takes the animosity between Tom and Jerry to a new level. Jerry keeps finding new ways to torture Tom by making the house dirtier and dirtier. There's a wild Avery-esque take. And the blackface scene is one of the few times in an MGM cartoon in which the blackface itself is not the joke. It's far from "another average Tom & Jerry cartoon".
Mac
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2015-02-24T20:13:15Z
Sometimes a cartoon comes along with just the right combination of elements to become enormously memorable to most people who see it.

You may call I Love to Singa "just part of a group", but there's more to it than that. There's just something so right about that simple little story with Owl Jolson breaking out into that catchy song that's really delightful, memorable and that little bit different to the other early song cartoons. No it's not an example of the later WB cartoon style, but it doesn't need to be. It stands out on its own.

One Froggy Evening again has a memorable story. One that can be read as a parable of greed. One thing that makes it memorable is similar to I Love to Singa – a character keeps unexpectedly breaking into a catchy song. However, in this one we also have the man's frustration, as he desperately tries to prove – and make money from – a remarkable occurrence which only he ever witnesses. It's great seeing that frog turn from a sleepy eyed croaker into a singing and dancing sensation and back again at exactly the right and wrong moments.

Why is Mouse Cleaning a runner up for the 50 Greatest cartoons when it's "just another" Tom and Jerry? Well it's a perfect example of everything that people love about the famous series, its characters and their rivarly.

– Toadette, you beat me to it, but I agree with you on all your ponits! 🙂
ToonStar95
2015-02-24T20:50:21Z
I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?
ParamountCartoons
2015-02-25T01:06:54Z
Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?



Disney thinks they're the first in EVERYTHING, when they're not! Disney should NOT GET the credit it deserves, which is one reason I kinda hate Disney. (More of a love/hate relationship really).......
Toadette
2015-02-25T02:13:32Z
Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?


How a particular cartoon can stand out in a field of others depends on a variety of things—not just the ideas in the cartoon itself, but the circumstances, the elements, and the execution.

Take Duck Amuck, for instance. Many cartoons have broken the fourth wall before. Many cartoons afterwards would do so. But Duck Amuck took the concept of an animator messing with the film on-screen to its limits. We see Daffy's frustration build up over time. Chuck Jones and his crew were in their prime, so they could handle the personality animation of Daffy trying to communicate with the animator and the audience quite well. Maurice Noble's abstract designs serve as effective backdrops. And the timing is perfect—the cartoon goes from one scenario from another, yet each one lasts long enough to allow the audience to grasp Daffy's personality.

Hopefully I've answered your question to some extent. UserPostedImage
nickramer
2015-02-25T05:26:14Z
I want to know why "Swing Your Sinners" was not listed at the back of the book? Was it because it was well unknown at the time?
Mac
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2015-02-25T14:47:19Z
As before, I totally agree with Toadette.

Also 'milestone' cartoons will of course get recognised if they made a big impact (even if it can be contended whether or not one title was truly the first). The use of sound in Steamboat Willie was different to how it had been used in previous cartoons. The short combines catchy music with funny musical ideas such as playing animals to produce music we can actually hear. Compare Steamboat Willie to the Paul Terry cartoon Dinner Time. Dinner Time may have came first, but I think Steamboat Willie is the better cartoon by far .

Flowers and Trees gets the milestone credit for being the first cartoon in Technicolor (though other colour cartoons predate it). It is not one of my personal absolute favourites, but I can see how Disney was trying to create something special and different here.

As for Swing you Sinners not being mentioned in the book, I suspect you're right and it just wasn't well known when it was published. I guess it didn't make a ground-breaking impact when it was first released and, after that, it just wasn't widely seen. Since it was uploaded to YouTube, its definitely gained recognition and a cult following amongst animation fans. I'm really grateful to the animation researchers who locate, preserve and share many lost and forgotten films so gems like this can be rediscovered.
Pokey J.Anti-Blockhead
2015-02-25T16:18:22Z
Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?



Disney thinks they're the first in EVERYTHING, when they're not! Disney should NOT GET the credit it deserves, which is one reason I kinda hate Disney. (More of a love/hate relationship really).......



Of the achievements though, Disney's Flowers and Trees (Technicolor in a official short), personality animation (the three pigs), feature animation (Snow White) and sound cartoons (Mickey), sare first.
ParamountCartoons
2015-02-25T17:42:37Z
Originally Posted by: Pokey J.Anti-Blockhead 

Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?



Disney thinks they're the first in EVERYTHING, when they're not! Disney should NOT GET the credit it deserves, which is one reason I kinda hate Disney. (More of a love/hate relationship really).......



Of the achievements though, Disney's Flowers and Trees (Technicolor in a official short), personality animation (the three pigs), feature animation (Snow White) and sound cartoons (Mickey), sare first.



Flowers and Trees is nothing to it's predcessor, Ted Esabugh's "The Wizard Of Oz", which came first.


And don't get me started about Steamboat Willie, I think My Old Kentucky Home had better sound, which that came first. Steamboat Willie sounds more like a worn-out See-N-Say than the sound cartoons done with Western Electric and RCA......sound on film is better than sound on disc............Disney, put Steamboat Willie officially in the public domain and let's party. You can still own the negative Disney, like all of the "other" PD toons. Just look what happened to "The Mad Doctor". It didn't ruin the restored version and Disney made it a popular classic short once again with Epic Mickey and the 16-bit Mickey games.
nickramer
2015-02-26T05:31:17Z
Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: Pokey J.Anti-Blockhead 

Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?



Disney thinks they're the first in EVERYTHING, when they're not! Disney should NOT GET the credit it deserves, which is one reason I kinda hate Disney. (More of a love/hate relationship really).......



Of the achievements though, Disney's Flowers and Trees (Technicolor in a official short), personality animation (the three pigs), feature animation (Snow White) and sound cartoons (Mickey), sare first.



Flowers and Trees is nothing to it's predcessor, Ted Esabugh's "The Wizard Of Oz", which came first.


And don't get me started about Steamboat Willie, I think My Old Kentucky Home had better sound, which that came first. Steamboat Willie sounds more like a worn-out See-N-Say than the sound cartoons done with Western Electric and RCA......sound on film is better than sound on disc............Disney, put Steamboat Willie officially in the public domain and let's party. You can still own the negative Disney, like all of the "other" PD toons. Just look what happened to "The Mad Doctor". It didn't ruin the restored version and Disney made it a popular classic short once again with Epic Mickey and the 16-bit Mickey games.



And "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is a much more better cartoon than "Steamboat Willie"? I think not!
ParamountCartoons
2015-02-26T21:28:55Z
Originally Posted by: nickramer 

Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: Pokey J.Anti-Blockhead 

Originally Posted by: ParamountCartoons 

Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I'm saying how does one cartoon in a bunch of others stand out?

What recognition does cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees get other than that it was the first sound/color/whatever cartoon?



Disney thinks they're the first in EVERYTHING, when they're not! Disney should NOT GET the credit it deserves, which is one reason I kinda hate Disney. (More of a love/hate relationship really).......



Of the achievements though, Disney's Flowers and Trees (Technicolor in a official short), personality animation (the three pigs), feature animation (Snow White) and sound cartoons (Mickey), sare first.



Flowers and Trees is nothing to it's predcessor, Ted Esabugh's "The Wizard Of Oz", which came first.


And don't get me started about Steamboat Willie, I think My Old Kentucky Home had better sound, which that came first. Steamboat Willie sounds more like a worn-out See-N-Say than the sound cartoons done with Western Electric and RCA......sound on film is better than sound on disc............Disney, put Steamboat Willie officially in the public domain and let's party. You can still own the negative Disney, like all of the "other" PD toons. Just look what happened to "The Mad Doctor". It didn't ruin the restored version and Disney made it a popular classic short once again with Epic Mickey and the 16-bit Mickey games.



And "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is a much more better cartoon than "Steamboat Willie"? I think not!





I said "My Old Kentucky Home", the 1926 Ko-Ko's Song-Cartune that introduced sound to cartoons. Even if you are joking, Steamboat Willie is fun but overrated. I'm just giving Disney lawyers and lobbyists a good example on how the public domain isn't as bad as they think of it.

And besides, there's plenty more Mickey cartoons for Disney to milk, even ones that are PC for today's standards.



Disney gets way too much credit. I'm not the only animation buff who thinks so. Just look at other's topics on the old GAC forums.























nickramer
2015-02-27T04:32:39Z
If it weren't for them, we probably wouldn't have an animation chain reaction that caused other animation studios to open or pick up. Heck, I think the Looney Tunes cartoons would've been different if Disney wasn't so successful.
Yowp
2015-02-27T05:06:24Z
Originally Posted by: ToonStar95 

I want to know as to why some animated shorts are so famous. I'm not saying they;re not good, but why are they considered masterpieces?



I grew up in the 60s. Cartoons on TV were pretty much of equal weight; they existed to fill blocks of time so advertisers could reach kids.

Once the concept of "animation history" came along and wrote for mass public consumption did anyone start choosing one cartoon over another.

"I Love To Singa," apparently, got frequent airplay when one of the American cartoon channels was started and that's why it has its fame amongst people of a certain age group.

Yowp
Mac
  • Mac
  • Advanced Member
2015-02-27T20:14:14Z
I understood that colour prints The Wizard of Oz were pulled from distribution because of Disney's deal to use the Technicolor process, but I thought Flower and Trees (1932) predated Oz (1933)? Speaking only about the colour, I do prefer the bright rainbow colours used in Oz over the more muted palette of Trees. Also Oz has some fun colour ideas too such as Dorothy spinning into colour as she tumbles into Oz (I think the changing from black and white to colour would have had more impact if the short hadn't already opened with colour titles though).

I'm afraid haven't seen My Old Kentucky Home so I can't compare it, however, I still think that Steamboat Willie was an influential cartoon with a lot of ideas that would carry through into following sound cartoons. The combination of sound and image is really appealing in this cartoon. Mickey whistling at the wheel still seems to delight people in cinemas when it's played as the Disney Animation logo in front of new movies; there's the nice bit where one of the whistles forgets to blow until he is 'kicked' by the whistle behind this little gag really plays well thanks to synchronised sounds; then of course there's the whole musical sequence. There are silent cartoons where characters are seen pulling animals tails or whatever to indicated the playing of music, but with the synchronisation to actual tunes this kind of business is a lot more entertaining.

Yowp, I still think I Love to Singa has a certain 'X Factor' that makes it stand above other cartoons. When I was a kid I saw it once, but remembered it and wanted to see that one again. It was only much later when I learned who it was directed by and that it was highly regarded by others. Sure cartoons may have been shown on TV and in cinemas without discrimination, but people, even kids, still find their occasional favourite – one that they thought was really good.
Steve Stanchfield
2015-02-28T19:26:12Z
Originally Posted by: Mac 

I understood that colour prints The Wizard of Oz were pulled from distribution because of Disney's deal to use the Technicolor process, but I thought Flower and Trees (1932) predated Oz (1933)? Speaking only about the colour, I do prefer the bright rainbow colours used in Oz over the more muted palette of Trees. Also Oz has some fun colour ideas too such as Dorothy spinning into colour as she tumbles into Oz (I think the changing from black and white to colour would have had more impact if the short hadn't already opened with colour titles though).



Oz went into production in November 1931, a co-production between Technicolor (USA), Technicolor (Canada) and Rank Film Labs (The Technicolor lab in England). Disney signed a contract with Technicolor in early/mid 1932. Technicolor clearly planned for Eshbaugh's film to be the first color cartoon, to be released as such (likely with a distributor). Disney's deal may very well have halted production on Eshbaugh's film. It was originally scheduled to be finished in May 1933. Flowers and Trees gets released at the end of July if memory serves. It's likely that Wizard wasn't shown until well after 1933, though there are ads showing that it would be released in England in that year. There are some other indications that it was held up in production (from an newspaper article) and the related lawsuit between Eshbaugh and Technicolor was filed in 1933 but doesn't appear to have even gone to actual court. Eshbaugh reissued the Snowman in 1933 also as part of the 'Color Fantasies' series, even though it was first released in 1931 (that is why that film also has a 1933 date, even though 'Invincible Pictures' first released the film). From all of this it's hard to say the exact play of events, but my guess is that shots from the film, being produced as a showcase for the new color process (there are notes about that) were shown to prospective animation studios including Disney, and that Disney's deal with Technicolor halted production on Eshbaugh's short. Eshbaugh then sued Technicolor for breach of contract, but that the film was eventually finished and shown in England and Canada. My guess is that the film was finished in some form in 1933 or 34, before Eshbaugh's move to New York. Disney's exclusive license through 35 may be the reason it wasn't shown in the states. So, that said, this would make Eshbaugh's film the first to use the full color process, but not the first released. Oz was a planned series, and the article from 1935 complains of a holdup in production. My guess is that the series was delayed in production but the first short finished, but I could be wrong about this. There appears to be a conflict of rights ownership that was causing the 1935 delay between Baum families.
eutychus
2015-02-28T19:49:36Z
Originally Posted by: Steve Stanchfield 


Oz went into production in November 1931, a co-production between Technicolor (USA), Technicolor (Canada) and Rank Film Labs (The Technicolor lab in England). Disney signed a contract with Technicolor in early/mid 1932. Technicolor clearly planned for Eshbaugh's film to be the first color cartoon, to be released as such (likely with a distributor). Disney's deal may very well have halted production on Eshbaugh's film. It was originally scheduled to be finished in May 1933. Flowers and Trees gets released at the end of July if memory serves. It's likely that Wizard wasn't shown until well after 1933, though there are ads showing that it would be released in England in that year. There are some other indications that it was held up in production (from an newspaper article) and the related lawsuit between Eshbaugh and Technicolor was filed in 1933 but doesn't appear to have even gone to actual court. Eshbaugh reissued the Snowman in 1933 also as part of the 'Color Fantasies' series, even though it was first released in 1931 (that is why that film also has a 1933 date, even though 'Invincible Pictures' first released the film). From all of this it's hard to say the exact play of events, but my guess is that shots from the film, being produced as a showcase for the new color process (there are notes about that) were shown to prospective animation studios including Disney, and that Disney's deal with Technicolor halted production on Eshbaugh's short. Eshbaugh then sued Technicolor for breach of contract, but that the film was eventually finished and shown in England and Canada. My guess is that the film was finished in some form in 1933 or 34, before Eshbaugh's move to New York. Disney's exclusive license through 35 may be the reason it wasn't shown in the states. So, that said, this would make Eshbaugh's film the first to use the full color process, but not the first released. Oz was a planned series, and the article from 1935 complains of a holdup in production. My guess is that the series was delayed in production but the first short finished, but I could be wrong about this. There appears to be a conflict of rights ownership that was causing the 1935 delay between Baum families.



Steve ... mind if I use this as a comment on "The Wizard of Oz" on the website?
Mac
  • Mac
  • Advanced Member
2015-03-01T10:53:36Z
Thank you, Steve. That's really interesting.
FleischerFan
2015-03-01T16:10:16Z
Popular perception has a lot to do with fame, obviously. The more something is widely known, the more famous it is.

While there might have been sound cartoons and feature length animation prior to "Steamboat Willie" and "Snow White," they failed to become well-known - making those Disney cartoons the first in the general public's mind. Steve has pointed out that "Flowers and Trees" was the first Technicolor cartoon released to the general public.

"I Love to Singa" started getting its reputation during the 1970's when many college campuses hosted the first retrospectives of classic cartoons. Many Baby Boomers identified with the chief character's rebellion against his father, substituting rock music for jazz in their minds, and that title quickly became a cult favorite.

Shortly after this time, animation fandom started to come together, chiefly around a little fanzine published by David Muroz called, at first, "Mindrot" and then changing its name to "Anamania." Jerry Beck was an early and frequent contributor. It was here that we all started to examine animation history and share those particular cartoons we loved.

Jerry's "Greatest Cartoons" book was created by Jerry polling those people he knew to be extremely knowledgeable about animation history. Lists of the "Greatest" anything are, by definition, subjective. They depend on personal taste. But I believe that some people's tastes are better than others by virtue of having a wider knowledge upon which to make their selections. I think such was the case with Jerry's book.

In the case of "Swing You Sinners," it is a great cartoon, but it didn't make the list or a mention at the end. There are many other great cartoons that also didn't get mentioned. It doesn't mean the cartoons are not great or that they can't be among your personal favorites.

For me, I think I am almost as knowledgeable as any animation fan about the Fleischer Studios. I love "Swing You Sinners," but it would not make my own "Greatest" list for that studio. There are too many Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman, and Color Classics I like better. But there is no limit to the number of cartoons I can personally like.

blizzard
2015-03-01T19:38:07Z
I totally see the greatness in the likes of I Love to Singa or One Froggy Evening. They both have simple, but memorable storylines that elevates them into one memorable piece. Along with Feed the Kitty and Puss n Booty, these are my favourite cartoons ever made.

I don't see however the exact reason why are the cartoons listed below are famous though:

What's Opera Doc? - nice, and artistically innovative piece, but the story is dull, the pacing is horrid, and the cartoon as a 7 minute MM doesn't work (for me at least). If Jones created a mega full-length anthology film like Fantasia, this would have been a solid Sorcerer's Apprentice type in-film.

Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2-th Century - like the cartoon above, this could have been special if it had been an inner piece of a something bigger film. The cartoon has no proper start and no proper ending. The animation is innovative here too, but it is in the likes of Claws for Alarm as well, but they aren't hailed as something special by the critics. For me DD is just like a regular MM with the flaws mentioned above, and inferior to Drip-Along Daffy and Robin Hood Daffy.

Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs - while the two cartoons above are fine for me despite them being overrated, I actually find Coal Black as something utterly and completely unwatchable. Not funny at the slightest, not that I'm a big PC guy, just not funny. The storywork is a hack too.

Bully for Bugs, Baseball Bugs - regular sport/arena style cartoons... maybe my fault, but never been a fan of this style. Found these pretty average for most parts.

The Scarlet Pumpernickel - another mediocre cartoon with no proper point being in it, except featuring the first all-stars in the WB catalog.

Most of Friz Freleng's work after 1948 - not that they are bad, just not funny or classic. I love Freleng's work with Michael Maltese, but after losing him to Jones, he clearly went into uncreative mode. How on earth the likes of Speedy Gonzales, Show-Biz Bugs or Knighty Knight Bugs can be considered a masterpiece? No, they are not.