Martha Sigall – Living Life Inside the Lines

July 31, 2006 · Filed Under Animation Library, Classic Animation · Comments Off on Martha Sigall – Living Life Inside the Lines 

Looking for a great story from an animation legend? Look no further than Martha Sigall’s “Life Inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of Animation”. Martha started as gopher at Leon Schlesinger’s Pacific Art and Title when she was only 12 years old. She started painting animation cels when she was 15. This was a job that women were sometimes allowed to do in the animation studios of the 1930s. Certainly, none were allowed to be actual animators. From an interview at

…in the very early days of animation, almost everything was done by men. Men even did the inking and the painting. It wasn’t until the early ‘30s, at least in Hollywood, that women started doing these jobs. There was very much gender discrimination in the business at that time. Women were not allowed in the Animation Department, Layout, Story, and Camera departments. There were some women in the Background Department, but it really wasn’t until World War II, when the men left for the service, that women were accepted into these other departments.

In “Living Life Inside the Lines“, Martha provides an insider’s view of the glory days of Warner Brothers animation:

She recounts her wild and wonderful experiences with the Warner Bros. cartoon crew, working and laughing all day with the animators, partying all night with the Looney Tunes gang on the bowling and baseball teams, and participating in weekend scavenger hunts. She was president of the in-house “Looney Tunes Club,” co-wrote the company gossip column, and performed in the company’s theatrical troupe.

This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in animation history. The book is widely available. Get your copy now.

[tags]Martha Sigall, Looney Tunes, Life Inside the Lines, 2D animation[/tags]


Eat Your Spinach – Popeye’s comin’ back!

June 8, 2006 · Filed Under Classic Animation · Comments Off on Eat Your Spinach – Popeye’s comin’ back! 

Ah, spinach, it was the Viagra of the 1930s. Fleischer and Famous Studios took Popeye from comic strip to theatrical cartoon. Various legal battles have kept vintage Popeye cartoons in the can, so to speak, but the parties involved have reached an agreement and Popeye will be available on DVD in 2007.

Here’s the old sea salt getting ready to down a can of spinach.

And, here’s Popeye after the spinach has worked its magic.

[tags]Popeye, Popeye the Sailorman, Max Fleischer, Warner Home Video, 2D animation, cartoon, theatrical cartoon[/tags]


Max Fleischer – Animation Legend Out of the Inkwell

June 3, 2006 · Filed Under Animation Stars, Classic Animation · 3 Comments 

From the earliest days of animation, Max Fleischer and his brother Dave were in direct competition with Walt and Roy Disney. His studio made the first sound cartoons in 1924 but over the next two decades they gradually lost ground to Disney. Disney’s Snowwhite pushed Fleischer to produce their own full length feature which failed to make enough money to pay back the bank ending one of the most creative entertainment enterprises of the twentieth century.

The “Out of the Inkwell” DVD set, now widely available, shows some of the earliest animation methods used by the Fleischer Brothers on Koko the Clown. If you look at the animation of the 1920s, it isn’t smooth like the animation from the 1930s. Dave Fleischer was a performing clown and Max made a series of short movies with his brother dancing around in his clown costume. Fleisher used the individual frames of these movies to create the animation for Koko the Clown. The early Koko the Clown cartoons that mixed real people and animated creatures are the true antecedents of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”.

[tags]Animation, Max Fleisher, Betty Boop, Popeye, Koko the Clown, Out of the Inkwell, Cartoon, Disney[/tags]

Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising

May 26, 2006 · Filed Under Animation Stars, Classic Animation · Comments Off on Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising 

The Dimples’ crew aspire to animate like Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising. Harman and Ising left Disney when he moved his studio to California. Sometime later they re-joined Disney in California. In California, they were part of the team that created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

After leaving Disney again to form their own studio, they created Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid which was probably the first cartoon to have the speech fully in synch with the animation.

Looking at these animations today, it is sometimes difficult to get past the stereotypical portrayal of black characters but, sadly, this was not an issue to 99.99 per cent of the people running around in the 1930s.

This was the beginning of Merrie Melodies. Look at the Mickey doppleganger above. Dimples can’t imagine that the trade mark sharks at Disney would allow something like that to appear today. The groundbreaking Bosko cartoons are available on DVD and are well worth the money to anyone interested in the history of animation.


Winkler Studios – Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

May 20, 2006 · Filed Under Classic Animation · Comments Off on Winkler Studios – Oswald the Lucky Rabbit 

One of our favorite cartoons is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit created by Ubi Iwerks. Oswald originated at Disney in 1927 but was transferred to Winkler Studios. The first Oswald cartoons were fairly crude but they soon blossomed into classics.

Oswald made a few more migrations and the series ended in 1943. These cartoons are still shown in animation festivals and DVD collections containing the more memorable cartoons from the series are widely available.


Bimbo – A Favorite Early Cartoon

May 16, 2006 · Filed Under Classic Animation · Comments Off on Bimbo – A Favorite Early Cartoon 

The guys at Darling Dimples love Bimbo from the great Fleischer Studios. The cartoons of the late ’20s and early ’30s have a quality that is close to our hearts.


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