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Monday, November 17, 2008

Barnacle Max the Fleischer

In this edition of my blog, I'm here to discuss the relationship between the popular sea shanty and the dynamic duo of animation, the Fleischer brothers.

Starting out as a bawdy (to say the least) drinking song about the exploits of a fictional sailor, it eventually became a popular song in 1928 when Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael recorded a more toned-down version.

I believe this video contains the Hoagy Carmichael version


In 1930, the Fleischers animation studio decided to use this song as the basis for one of their new Talkartoons, starring Bimbo and his new girlfriend, Miss Betty Boop. Watch for the wonderful Grim Natwick animation up in Betty's apartment.

1930 Talkartoon


Just five years later, Fleischer once again returned to the old sailor tune so he could face the latest Fleischer, Popeye the Sailor. Put those two two together and you get one of my favorite Popeye cartoons.

1935 Popeye cartoon


It makes me wonder why the Fleischers decided to make all those cartoons about the dirty sailor song. Was it simply a lack of story ideas, or did this gruff and dirty tune appeal to the urban sensibilities of the New York studio? I'll leave that to you.

Until Next Time, Boils and Ghouls

1 comment:

joe bloke said...

cool post, sir, as always.