WHAT ABOUT THAD?
January 12, 2015 posted by

Paramount Sales News #33: Max Gets Gabby

There’s something rather unsettling about Gabby advertised as a laugh provoker equal to Popeye. And there’s something downright disturbing about Gabby’s face plastered over the globe (solve Sept. 18’s puzzle).

A few of these Popeye drawings are cribbed from the theatrical poster art, most definitely in the case of Doing Impossikible Stunts. Compare the spot ad to the original sketch for the one-sheet, below.

August-September 1940 (click to enlarge)

08-07-40

08-07-40

08-14-40

08-14-40

Original Poster Design (click to enlarge)

Original Poster Design (click to enlarge)

08-21-40

08-21-40

08-28-40

08-28-40

09-04-40

09-04-40

09-18-40

09-18-40

09-25-40

09-25-40

These two months, when the trade ads above first appeared, were particularly bleak to the theatre owners – as their choice of new Fleischer cartoons were limited to a Popeye cheater (Doing Impossikible Stunts); the last (and worst) of the Stone Age series; The first of the forgettable Animated Antics series and the final Hunky and Spunky Color Classic. Even the Popeye cartoons seemed a bit off. Above, Puttin’ On The Act (August 20th, 1940) and below, The Dandy Lion (September 20th 1940), note the use of the Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh theme on the track.

4 Comments

  • I have to agree with you, as well as the general consensus on Gabby; those cartoons were really dull.

    • And what about Twinkletoes and the spies, who got at least one short each?

      The Fleischers were in a weird situation. For all their past success, their only marketable star was owned by somebody else. While not quite analogous to Disney’s fix with Oswald, you can understand the willingness to try and capitalize on whatever recognition Gabby had from the movie.

      I still wonder why they didn’t pursue Sally Swing. She was obviously meant to succeed Betty Boop, a character attuned to the swing era as Betty was attuned to jazz and Tin Pan Alley.

    • I found a few of the other Gulliver co-stars on YouTube (naturally). They’re not the best of copies but enough to get an idea of what they were like. Check ’em out:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8CZKBAIDd4
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InMjbyFW67g
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-0OUKexGto
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjxig1-9C0Y
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulh6Uk-UO7E
      This is my first time seeing these and made me glad that the Fleischers took on something like Superman. I think they needed that kind of challenge at that point.

  • I kind of like the Popeye cheater. I recall watching it as a kid and knowing it was older footage with a new soundtrack.

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