WHAT ABOUT THAD?
August 4, 2014 posted by Thad Komorowski

Fleischer Promo Art #10: “Betty Boop – Always At Your Service!”

The most historical occasion of the September-October 1935 Fleischer output went by without so much as a whisper in the advertisements. The relationship between Bill Costello (“Red Pepper Sam”) and the Fleischers was going south fast and a replacement for the voice of Popeye was direly needed. As the legend goes, Jack Mercer was getting big laughs in the “opaquing” department doing all kinds of imitations (he came from a vaudeville family), one of which was the one-eyed sailor. Beginning with King of the Mardi Gras, Mercer began doing the voice (AND WHY NOT? The Fleischers didn’t even need to give him a contract in those days) and was ultimately the one who became famous for it—though he never felt the directors appreciated it.

Click art below to enlarge.

09-04-1935

09-04-1935

09-11-1935

09-11-1935

09-18-1935

09-18-1935


09-25-1935

09-25-1935

10-02-1935

10-02-1935

10-09-1935

10-09-1935

10-16-1935

10-16-1935

10-23-1935

10-23-1935


10-30-1935

10-30-1935


Below: a few samples of what the Paramount salesmen were selling to the theaters at the time these promotional pieces above appeared in print.

King of the Mardi Gras (released Sept. 27th 1935)

Making Stars (released Oct. 18th 1935)


6 Comments

  • “though he never felt the directors appreciated it.” I find the plural use of director(s) interesting. I always suspected that Dave didn’t direct every cartoon at the Fleischer studio, even though he’s credited as such.

    • Dave Fleischer was present at most, if not all, the recordings. Ditto for Seymour Kneitel and Izzy Sparber at Famous. That’s how the director (re: producer) credit worked. Most of the gruntwork (x-sheets, layouts) were handled by the head animator (Tendlar, Bowsky, Waldman). As I recall, Jack Mercer (or rather, his wife) said the people in charge only started building him up as “THE Popeye” in the King Features days because they needed him to do that ridiculous 200+ order of cartoons in no time.

    • As I recall, Jack Mercer (or rather, his wife) said the people in charge only started building him up as “THE Popeye” in the King Features days because they needed him to do that ridiculous 200+ order of cartoons in no time.

      well at least by that time he deserved it, though I see how that lack of importance could last that long.

  • “Bluto the Great – He dives 100 feet into a thimbleful of water while shaving at the same time!”

    That got me to thinking about cartoons in which Bluto was seen without his beard. I can think of two: “A Clean Shaven Man” (obviously), and another one where he impersonates a lady gym instructor. There must be more.

  • Was Paramount doing any promotion for the Color Classics? At least in terms of ads like we’re seeing for Popeye and Betty Boop.

    • Paramount sure did promote the Color Classics… Just not in these single panel cartoons!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>