Monday, February 06, 2006

My dear friend Steve Bissette asked what Myron Waldman cartoons I'd recommend people watch if they want to get a sense of his career.

Well, the unfortunate thing is that it's difficult to assess any of the folks who worked at Fleischers unless you have access to a decent VHS library. Precious little is on DVD.

That is of course a major problem as younger fans don't have access to VHS libraries because rental outlets are liquidating their VHS stock.

If you're a geezer like me who bought as much animation on VHS back in the day, then the task is relatively easy. The Betty Boop boxed VHS set has got all of Myron's Betty Boops. A LANGUAGE ALL MY OWN was a favorite of Myron's. That cartoon has not fallen to the public domain as yet so you're not apt to find it on one of the dollar DVDs that float through Wal-Mart and other retailers.

Myron did a little work on GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, which is readily available on public domain DVD, but he was much busier as a director on MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN. That film, one of the my favorites, is not available on DVD and is not a public domain title.

Jerry Beck did a fine job several years ago with VCI in collecting the Fleischer Color Classics, Max's answer to Disney's Silly Symphonies. That DVD set is pretty essential viewing and has EDUCATED FISH and HUNKY AND SPUNKY, two of Myron's best and Academy Award nominees.

The Fleischer Superman cartoons are all over the place on DVD. Myron's two shorts are easy to see. But you're rolling the dice about pictorial quality. BILLION DOLLAR LIMITED and MAGNETIC TELESCOPE are two good ones. (Myron always said that the Supermans were pain-staking to animate because of the weight the characters had to portray on screen.)

Some of Myron's work can be found in the Cartoon Crazies line of DVDs, although you might have to suffer listening to an added, and unnecessary, soundtrack. Some of Myron's Casper work can be found there.

Myron's television work on MILTON THE MONSTER and BATFINK are not available at this time. If they made to VHS, I'm not aware of it.

While there has been some very interesting films released on DVD, there is very little classic animation available aside from Disney and Warner Brothers.


SRBissette said...

Thanks, Mike -- great info, much appreciated.

Marky Mark said...

Well I never knew he worked on MILTON! I learn something new every day - usually from that BRILLIANT sensitive arteest Mikey!

Mikey, I thought your letter to the prez was great. Very constructive. I wish you had left off the remark at the beginning about preferring to be entertained. I thought you asked some good questions, and I think that comment may have set a tone that might cause WHOEVER might actually possibly answer your letter with serious answers to - well, not do so.


SRBissette said...

PS: Showed a batch of PUDGY cartoons to the CCS students last night, and they were a hit.

Question from one student that I could not answer: Why did Myron rank "A Language of My Own" among his favorite Betty Boops (per your suggestion)?

Mike Dobbs said...

I think Myron liked working on that one because he actually had Japanese exchange students make sure that nothing he animated during her dance sequence would offend Japanese audiences.

Dave said...

There was a UK (Region 2) release of "Batfink" on DVD with all 100 cartoons, as well as a number of VHS/PAL collections. But nothing in the states.