Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bimbo's Initiation


Bimbo's Initiation (1931, Fleischer Studios) is one of my favorite all time cartoons.
It's remarkably wacky:
Bimbo, the cute little dog character, is yanked into a weird underworld. Hooded freaks from the "Mystic Order of the Hoopahoopa Hot Cha*" chant "Wanna be a member?" at him. He refuses, only to be teased and tortured through most of the cartoon.
Rooms flip over, trapdoors rise and sink, and sharp objects threaten. Our hero is jabbed, punched in the face, spanked, slammed through cement and laughed at...
...but things end happily.
It's a strange mix of cute and sinister. The first time you see it you'll never be sure what will happen next (except that it will be at Bimbo's expense!)
I'm guessing the plot was an excuse to string slapstick gags together, but it may accidentally hit a deeper chord. Myths from all over the globe send characters to the underworld...


Bimbo finds himself in a strange place...


In the upside down room. The blade about to cut him loose also stabbed him in the butt, then grew teeth and tried to bite him.


Guess what this rope is holding up?


I like the angle and the staging in this shot.


Bimbo often looks into the audience as if to say "Did you guys see that?!"




Bimbo has caught a glimpse of Betty Boop and wants more.


This part can be scene briefly in the movie version of The Twilight Zone.
The girl with no mouth watches it on television.



Yay! A happy ending.

For more stills from this cartoon, click here.

*not sure what they're really saying. Others have transcribed it as "Boom Boom a Latcha!" "Goom Gooma Hotcha!" and "Koo-Koo-Ma-Hatcha!"

8 comments:

GhostBuild said...

Remember kids! This is what you get for stepping on sewer manholes!

Namowal said...

Good point, GhostBuild!
Thanks for stopping by.
What have you been up to these days?

Sally said...

Best cartoon of all time.

Namowal said...

Hi Sally,
I'm surprised it isn't more famous. Animation fans know it well, but the average guy on the street has never seen or heard of it. "Giligan's Island" became a pop culture icon and this cartoon didn't?

Imagine how it would be referenced if everyone knew of it:

Person X: How was the flight?

Person Y: Between airport security and the freaks who sat next to me, it was Bimbo's Initiation!

GhostBuild said...

Hihi Namowal!

What am I doing? Just nose to the grindstone at my oh-so-terribly-serious office job. No progress on my 2D bitmap projects (sidescroller and virtual novel), but here's to hoping!

The ream recollection thing fizzled. Haven't been giving myself enough time in the morning to jot it down in the blog.

GhostBuild said...

"Bimbo's Initiation!"

You know what? There's nothing stopping us from introducing this into lexicon ourselves. ;-D

Danielle Pluzsik said...

I love this cartoon too! Sally's animation for the TZ movie was based on it.

Danielle Pluzsik said...

I love this cartoon too! Sally's animation for the TZ movie was based on it.