BoxOffice, August 21, 1943
Extensive piece on Famous below
(click to enlarge)
The sequence of events that creates an animated cartoon at the Famous Studios is shown in these panels. At the top left, the trio is getting the story started. On the board are hundreds of pencil drawings by ivhich the yarn is laid out. Examining them are Sam Buchwald (back to camera), general manager, and Tom Golden and Dave Tendlar. Before Popeye can appear on the screen in Technicolor, it is necessary to do some experimenting. At top right. Bob Little is painting a still of Popeye and Olive Oyl which will serve as a color chart for all the subsequent paintings needed in a picture. The paint department at jvork is the middle scene. Nicholas Irwin, paint chemist, with a magnifying glass around his neck and a color chart in front of him, goes through the complicated process of taking the right kind of water colors to reproduce on the tricky color negatives. These are so temperamental they have to be kept chilled all the way from the coast to the studio and kept in a refrigerator there until they are used. They then go to the coast laboratory by plane. One frame at a time is the speed of this camera, shown at lower right. After each shot, a sheet of celluloid ivill be taken otit and another photographed. This will happen 7,000 times before the job is finished."
7 Months' Work Back of FLash on Screen
Seven months' work for of screen entertainment seems like a lot of work. It is. Early in August Famous Studios, now making Paramount's cartoon subjects, began to put blue shirts on Popeye and the bloom of youth on Olive Oyl's cheeks to go with the new Technicolor background and it will be some months before the public gets a look at the change with even the spinach green. Popeye doesn't walk around in front of a camera after he has learned his lines the way live actors do. He has his picture drawn and painted as many as 20,000 times on 40 to 45 backgrounds in order to get him through seven minutes of antics. Exhibitors who have found the old sailor spinach for the boxoffice for so many years may be able to make lobby displays and build up a bit of a campaign on the new Technicolor process. "Little Lulu," the Saturday Evening Post cartoon character dear to kids and grownups, is also to be done in color by Paramount. "Popeye" and his makers have moved back to New York from Miami. Max Fleischer is out of the concern and it is now to called Famous New York was no Studios. Getting gack simple process in these days of priorities and gasoline shortages. It began early in the year and was completed about two weeks ago, with practically all the moving being done by truck. Sam Buchwald, who was with Agfa and Paramount for a number of years, before joining Fleischer 10 or 11 years ago, is general manager, and the plant is located in two buildings connected by a bridge at 25
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"7 Months' Work Back Of Flash on Screen
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and 35 West 45th St. Some of the staff came north from Miami, but many of them preferred to remain there and it was necessary to train many new artists.
There are two story men in the place.
They don't use typewriters, however. They dream up new gags for Popeye and Little Lulu and the other characters and start making pencil drawings. After they have about 150 of these they pin them up on the wall and discuss the gags. Then they make some more drawings and have them photo
graphed one by one. These are run through a Movieola and discussed again. Usually some of the ideas are tossed away because they don't work out rapidly. After a while the pencil-drawn continuity emerges.
Then the months of work begin.
About 40 or 45 backgrounds are made and painted on celluloid. The characters are drawn into position on other sheets of celluloid and every fraction of an inch of movement requires a new drawing. Hundreds of girls do this animation.
After the drawings are made, more long girls at rows of desks begin painting them on the reverse side.
The painting department is a show in itself. There are long rows of shelves with numbered cans which a beholder might think contained Popeye's spinach, but they don't. A man and three girls with magnifying glasses assemble colors and grind them and number them. Each celluloid sketch has a sheet indicating the numbers to be used, and it is from these that the do the long and tedious painting. When a subject is ready to be photographed there are stacks and stacks of this celluloid on a table near the camera about 7,000 sheets, each numbered. The backgrounds are inserted in the camera with the drawings superimposed over them. Each drawing is photographed separately."
She calls herself Marge. She is a mother with two children, and lives on a farm west of Philadelphia. She shies away from publicity like a frightened rabbit. It ivas an event when Paramount induced her to come to New York to look over the first drawings
for the filming at Famous Studios of Oscar Morgan, Para"Little Lulu." mount short subjects sales manager, and Sam Buchwald, Famous Studios manager look on."
"Land of the Open Range— Tim Holt, Ray Whitley. Double bill with "Bambi," Disney feature-length cartoon, which is good and just what the kids wanted on a day like July 4. The western pleased adult trade best out of the two. Had two walk-outs when "Bambi" started to appear on the screen but no complaints. Should have drawn better but weather rather v/arm. Played Sat., Sun."