September 26, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Ottawa Animation Festival – and “Grampy’s Indoor Outing” (1936)

This one reads more like a journal entry than post this week, but it ends with Betty Boop, and that can’t be all bad!

It’s late on Wednesday as I write this, with the last few days being swamped entirely. So many films being worked on means days of trying to organize and evaluate various shorts in the various stages of work. We’ve still be doing finishing touches on many Puppetoon shorts. Most of that I’m doing personally, so I’m seeing these films in my sleep, happily. Scans should be coming back from a few other rare 60s shorts that I’ll talk about soon, and we just scanned another rare short on the verge of leaving the planet from Vinegar Syndrome.

A fellow animation professor and I are leaving for the Ottawa Animation Festival at 3 in the morning to catch a 5am train in Windsor, Ontario, just across the bridge from Detroit. If you’ve never been, it’s one of the best animation festivals in the world, with the chance of meeting and talking to talented creators from around the world— as well as seeing newly created and rare animated shorts. I’m excited for the festival, and happy that the festival is showing the newly restored version of the Flip the Frog cartoon The New Car. If you’re not going and love animation, consider a visit at some point. Here’s info:

These weeks here are filled with teaching and working on getting various sets done. The Rainbow Parade’s are getting all sorts of TLC; these finishing touches are some of my favorite moments working on a set like this, seeing the films getting ready for the final release. There’s the possibility of improving some of the soundtracks with a recent discovery of 35mm fine grain material on some of the Van Beuren shorts; more on that soon.

I had hoped to talk about Grotesqueries this week as well as the newly replicated Noveltoons Blu-ray, but both will have to wait until next week. The pile of finished things rises, and I can’t wait to have all the done things out the door entirely. My cluttered work area is going to have to wait to be cleaned up until after the festival, sadly. This area includes a stack of new film arrivals that I can’t wait to take a look at. Things just after the festival will be as hectic as ever; I’m grateful for the small Thunderbean crew taking up the lion’s share of the shipping duties as I concentrate on finishing touches and building official and ‘special’ sets. So many things to get done….

Cleanup started this week on some of the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry shorts as well as pulling scans from some of the Betty Boops we have since there’s a new stack of Boops here.

And now, this week’s cartoon!

I had a chance to watch Grampy’s Indoor Outing (1936), one of the shorts scanned for the Popeye and Betty ‘special’ disc a little while back. It’s easy to forget how beautifully produced the Betty cartoons are, even in the later years of the series. I always enjoy Grampy showing up in a cartoon. While not a top Fleischer in any way, it’s still a very enjoyable ‘outing’, featuring a really cute setback at the end. I’m pretty sure the ‘Fleischer Kiddie’ voice is the same ‘kid’ that voices the little cat in Van Beuren’s Scotty Finds a Home (1935). Is there documentation of that actor/ actress?

At any rate, to be continued….. have a great week everyone!


  • How nice it is to find that there are still some Betty Boop cartoons left for me to discover. This is the first time I’ve seen “Grampy’s Indoor Outing”, and what a bushel of fun it is! I always like it when Grampy puts on his thinking cap — or electric mortarboard, as it were. And you’re right, the 3D setback in the final scene is absolutely stunning.

    This cartoon raises a question that has puzzled me for years. That carnival contraption where you hit the board with a hammer to try and ring the bell — everybody knows what it is, but what is it called? Does it even have a name?

    • It’s called a high striker.

    • According to Wikipedia, it is called a “High Striker.” I wondered what it was called myself!

    • Thank you! Wow! I feel like Tennessee Tuxedo after a visit to Mr. Whoopee!

  • That was a fun cartoon, although I wish the set-up was shorter to give Grampy and his inventions more time. The building it takes place in is interesting, a fancy Art Deco complex rather than the ramshackle brownstones usually featured in Fleischer’s cartoons. Now I realize they haven’t built the Miami studio at this time, but I imagine Max spent his vacations over there, so Betty’s apartment house was likely inspired by what Max saw in Florida.

    • They’re still two years away from the move to Miami here, but there were a lot of art deco-style apartments going up in Manhattan and Queens in the mid-1930s that the Fliescher 3-D setback modlers could have used as inspiration (and the exterior of Betty’s home in “Housecleaning Blues” looks like something you would have seen at that time in Forest Hills).

  • I don’t think about post-code Betty Boop cartoons very much – and perhaps I should have written a post listing my top five a long time ago – but GRAMPY’S INDOOR OUTING is one of my favorites (others that make the cut include A LANGUAGE ALL MY OWN, BETTY BOOP AND GRAMPY, SALLY SWING and SWING SCHOOL).

    From the charming upbeat Timberg song that starts the picture, and Junior’s crying fit, to Grampy’s makeshift indoor amusement park, and the topper: his transforming the streamline moderne apartment building into a three dimensional rollercoaster – it all seems to work (for me) in this cartoon.

    The pace of the “storytelling” here is just perfect. We are introduced to the premise – the promise of a day at the park. Nature thwarts their plans. Betty calls Grampy who comes up with several amazing home-made substitutes – then takes it to a bigger level for the climactic shot. Everything is righted for a perfect happy ending. I don’t know about you, but I always feel good after watching this film.

  • I got to see INDOOR OUTING in 35mm at the Film Forum in NYC last April. Thankfully, it was the only post-code Boop they showed that day, and it was so great to see on a large screen.

  • Any Grampy cartoon is great in my opinion!

  • Grampy is awesome in this cartoon. I wonder if any of the neighbors wondered why there was a rollercoaster flying by their windows? I also love what he did in SERVICE WITH A SMILE.

    CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR is definitely Grampy’s best cartoon. That’s how I discovered Grampy.

    P.S. Junior sounds like he’s voiced by Mae Questel.

  • It’s great stuff, but it’s painful to watch an NTA print with no credits.

  • ‘More Pep’ (released June 19th, 1936 according to Wikipedia) is a complete classic & easily Pudgy’s best one.
    I’m guessing the release date counts as post-Code (?)

    It would also seem to be chockfull of drug inference (in the general effects of the ‘pep’).
    Maybe the censors didn’t mind or didn’t notice, although
    I suppose as the ‘pep’ is portrayed as the result of a combination of ordinary foods, it can be seen as being a substance similar to Popeye’s spinach.

    • Whomever cited MORE PEP as the “best” Pudgy cartoon has not viewed all of them. There are two that would rank a top tier rating, RIDING THE RAILS and PUDGY PICKS A FIGHT. Both contain the Fleischer elements of weird nightmarish surrealism.

  • Is there documentation of that actor/ actress? Of course there is. Funny you should ask.

    • OK, so I’ll ask. Junior sounds like Mae Questel to me, and she’s credited for the role in all the online sources I’ve seen, but I know those are sometimes incorrect. Since you literally wrote the book on Max Fleischer, Mr. Pointer, can you shed any light?

  • You could have asked me, Steve. Over on The Fleischer Facebook page this question came up the other day because the voice for Betty was mistakenly credited to Bonnie Poe according to another “Wikipedia” entry. This is clearly Mae Questel. However, Junior sounds like Margie Hines since her Junior voice is very similar to her Betty Boop voice. Mae Questel did both characters in THE FOXY HUNTER, however. The “documentation” is on the soundtrack for anyone with a musical ear to hear.

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