Andrea/Duck Dodgers here. I friendly welcome every fan of animation at my blog. The goal is to support the love and rediscovery of Classic Theatrical Cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation, keeping meanwhile an eye on Golden Age "Funny Animals" Comics as well as on modern animated productions! Every SUPPRESSED ethnic caricature to be sometimes presented here is just for HISTORICAL and EDUCATIONAL purpose and NOT to offend anyone. Stay Tooned and Enjoy the place !

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why we love Famous Cartoons

I was recently asked why I'm so fond of Famous and Paramount cartoons. In my opinion, from the earliest days of the Studio, in 1943, to 1952 or so, Famous produced some of the funniest cartoons ever. Then they started to make more formulaic but still enjoable shorts.
One of the reasons that I always use to justify my love for these Studio's cartoons is the presence of extreme violence and mayhem in them. I was answered that almost all cartoons of the 40s/50s got violent gags.
Yes, that is true, but nothing on pair with what you can see in a Famous cartoon, with the exception of sacharinous Casper (what do you know? some shots in this post actually do come from Casper cartoons), Little Audrey and Screen Songs/Kartunes.
But the rest of Famous/Paramount productions, expecially the ones with Baby Huey or Herman and Katnip and Buzzy, are a festival of violence!
Mmm...donuts and your truly Duck Dodgers shared their forces and selected for your pure enjoyment some of their favorite Famous/Paramount violent moments.
I KNOW you'll be delighted and amazed!

Duck Dodgers and Mmm...donuts


Blogger Thad said...

About time people start standing up for Famous. I enjoy them a lot more than the Terrytoons.

I think it was Seymour Kneitel who killed the life in that place. If you notice in the early 40s, it's a really creative place, but Kneitel said that they shouldn't take chances and just remake the same cartoons. Again, and again, and again...

2:09 pm

Blogger Larry T said...

Yeah, Famous Studios eventually became an icon for the mindset of mass-produced cartoon production. The sad part is that they held some magnificent talent in their ranks, which nowadays is like buying a car with a speedometer that goes up to 300 mph, and only driving it to the store and back.... two blocks away.

Many of those screenshots look like frame grabs from a 'cartoon' horror movie gallery... you know, like the movie snapshots where a teenage girl is looking at her own body being cut in half by a buzzsaw.... or Quint looking at himself being swallowed alive by a giant shark.

It must have been traumatic for those guys to animate that stuff, especially if they had weak hearts :D

7:05 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, where's the suicide gag from "Winner By A Hare"? ;)

Dave Tendlar's unit is the main one to congratulate/blame for the ultra-high level of violence in the Famous shorts, since his unit was the main one behind the Huey, Herman and Buzzy series. But the other units also did their parts at times (as with the above cartoon, done by the normally violence-adverse Myron Waldman).

You can tell in the 1943-48 period that Kneitel held a much tighter rein on his head animator, in pushing for better looking cartoons. The bad part was better looking within Paramount's budget limitations meant lots of stock walks, looks and the like that blanded out the cartoons' timing. The addition of the drawing style of Bill Tytla and the subsequent departure of Jim Tyer seemed to be the real beginning of the end. Tytla drew beautifully but had little in the way of funny comedic timing; Tyer drew miles off model but knew what a funny image looked like, and had the freedom to do those images under Sparber (and earlier, under Dan Gordon). But once Tytla came over, well-drawn but dull animation started winning out over crude-but-funny, so that by 1949 any humor in the cartoons had to come from the story, not from how the characters looked or any unexpected funny gag timing.

7:40 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post, though I think you should put some "Fright from Wrong". I know it's a Casper cartoon, but it's the most violent cartoon from that series. Plus it's the only theatrical apperance from the Ghostly Trio and those are some of my favorite supporting Harvey comic characters.

8:50 pm

Blogger Duck Dodgers said...

What is crazy is that you can actually see that the characters are feeling an intense pain!!

3:31 pm

Blogger J. J. Hunsecker said...

My God, make it stop! In the name of humanity, MAKE IT STOP!!

I've always found a lot of these Famous cartoons to be rather...disturbing, to say the least. Probably for the very reason Duck Dodgers mentions; that one can feel that the characters are in real pain.

5:10 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is crazy is that you can actually see that the characters are feeling an intense pain!!

Gee, I failed to notice that detail before. I should've known that illogic detail since the said ghost are already dead yet they could still feel pain!
Thank for pointing that out, Duck Dodger.

10:08 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh!! Glorious violence!! That THAT, animation snobs!

11:32 pm

Blogger Fred Cline said...

Seeing those stills makes me want to sit down and animate!

3:56 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's astounding that, fifty plus years after the Famous Studios heyday, not one child psychologist anti-cartoon violence careerist has even mentioned the Famous filmic output when putting down animation. Disney, Warners, Terrytoons and MGM seem to get all the blame. It's as if Famous never even existed, when of course they had a huge influence that, thanks to thirty years of steady tv reruns, stretched well beyond their time. This is not to advocate for some jerk to write such a book but to point out the astonishing blind spots of such arbiters of politically correct taste.

4:04 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...And if you think those are evil, there's the one where the dog goes to Dog Hell for abusing a kitten. Now *that* was sadistic!

4:11 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I actually haven't had the pleasure to see a Famous cartoon in my life(with the exception of "Scrappily ever after" with Henry chicken and Herman mouse.
I'd have been freaking out if I had seen any of these as a child.

The only cartoon I recognize is "Chew Chew Baby"

7:01 pm

Blogger Aurorah said...

Thanks I've never seen this one before.

8:26 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never notice that Famous got a really extreme violence compared to the other studios (Lantz's violence is cheezy in comparaison) but when i watched this cartoons on Television, it was butchered with edited voices and music. They blame the fun to watch this cartoon especially from the end-50's.

But since i notice you, Thad and other blogs from classc cartoons, i could discover the real treatment of this Famous cartoons. More from the 1940's i never watch in my life cause the big majors don't care anymore. I think it's a sad part where this cartoons are forgotten to the public but this violence could be hard to the today's fandom, too influenced to Spongebob and horrible Anime dubs. (except Naruto)

I think this kind of post proof that they are great cartoons in beginning but with times, it's just like Thad said; repetitive and lame. I understad why the 50's Popeye is not better than the Fleischer ones and it was just lame remakes from original cartoons.

I could notice some excellent violence situations in the Herman and Baby Huey shorts. Great post Andrea! =)

7:25 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screen Songs being non-violent?

Ha! Haven't you seen the gag sequences in COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN? Oh, it had cartoon violence allright! It was a fight with dogs and cats!!!

3:45 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up until I saw this blog, the worst kind of violence I saw in ANY Famous Studios short was Tubby getting smacked by Little Lulu's teacher...

2:15 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for some old cartoons like that for so long, I just remembered that it was special like ''little lulu'' but when I saw that when i was a kid, it was in french but we could still heard the english speak, it was a little awful but i loved that!(i think my mom never realised how violent it was for a seven years old girl, probably worst than the japanese ones). It was in a old video tape, broken now and because i'm not american, and like very young to know it, I never find the name of the studio or of the cartoons!!
Thanks a lot for your blog!!

Can you give me the name of some of cartoons from Famous Studio?

10:32 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what that second cartoon is of the chicken getting his head squashed? Is it on you tube?

1:27 am

Blogger Wanton Wordsmith said...

This was when cartoons were CARTOONS! The 1940's audience knew that the violence wasn't real and didn't have a heart attack over it. It was all FAKE! It was not REAL; something the politically correct 21st century audience can't grasp. Kids back then laughed out loud at this silly stuff. Today's little bedwetters would shit in their shorts if Spongebob looked at Patrick the evily.
Come on, people. Lighten up! It's just a friggin' cartoon!

1:56 am

Blogger Shade said...

In response to "Anonymous'" comment, anti-cartoon violence child psychologists did use Famous' Popeye cartoons as an example of disturbing cartoon violence. Yet, they didn't name the studio. It's interesting how Famous' characters are more well known than the studio that produced the films in which they starred!

4:39 am

Anonymous VanityofVanities said...

Ironically these cartoons are very famous on kids who must not see too much violence. :)

Thanks for sharing,
Cathy@embroidery digitizing

4:15 am

Blogger Shade said...

You should feature some screenshots from Famous' Popeye series. That studio's version of Bluto is one of their most satanic characters.

2:57 am


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