mcboing

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet Moo (1956)

In 1956, UPA released the final of four cartoons featuring Dr. Seuss’s adorably strange, noise-making little boy, Gerald McBoing-Boing. This last cartoon in the series deviates from the typical McBoing-Boing short in one important way: the creative, sometimes nonsensical rhyming meter of the previous Gerald entries is gone, replaced by a straightforward narrative. And while I find myself…

superman fleischer brothers

This Looks Like a Job for … Max Fleischer’s Superman

In 1941, Paramount approached Max and Dave Fleischer, heads of their in-house animation production, with a proposal: to adapt the increasingly popular Superman comic book into an animated series for the big screen. But the Fleischers were reluctant. As Dave later admitted (as recounted in Les Daniels’ Superman: The Complete History), the idea of animating Superman was a daunting…

wise little hen

Donald Duck: 80 Years of the “Sweetest Disposition”

On June 9, 1934, the Walt Disney animation studios released The Wise Little Hen, a Silly Symphony adapted from a classic fairy tale. As with most of the Silly Symphonies, the cartoon did not feature any of Disney’s stock recurring characters, such as the already-legendary Mickey Mouse. But one member of Hen’s supporting cast–a petulant, musical, sailor suit-clad duck–would…

“A Most Remarkable Fellow”: Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936)

By 1936, Popeye the Sailor had become even more popular than a certain storied mouse. Produced by Max Fleischer and directed by his brother, Dave, the theatrical cartoon series, adapted from the beloved comic strip by Elzie Segar, became the studio’s main bread-and-butter after the production of the studio’s other famous character, Betty Boop, had…