Something Sorta New In Cartoons
|It's 1929, and Rudy Ising Has a Cartoon Deal For You|
When Bosko Was The Freshest Talk-Ink Kid In Town
How many Disney artists in the late 20's sat at easels scheming to develop their own characters and open their own shops? Hugh Harman was planning Bosko from 1927, and registered drawings for copyright in January 1928. All this while he still drew for, and drew a paycheck from, Walt. I wonder if quieter moments found Harman noodling on Bosko, his shoulders forward and arms wrapped round drawings done on company time. Risk, of course, was Walt coming round to inspect work, both in and out of refuse cans, as was his wont where employee output was concerned. Did he have notion of what Harman was up to? Anyway, he'd get the message when HH and partner from Kansas City roots Rudy Ising signed with Charles Mintz, till-then Disney distributor with a plot of his own to purloin Oswald The Lucky (and Lifeline for Disney) Rabbit.
Harman, Ising, and a pal back from K.C., Friz Freleng, did not last long with the new Oswald set-up (all three out by spring '29), and at loose ends for employment. This was the moment to gamble on Bosko, full enough conceived by Harman-Ising to try out a demo reel for (if any) buyers. Sustaining dream of animators was a series commitment from one of established studios. Necessary from start was for Bosko to talk, mid-to-late 1929 a barren ground for silent cartoons. Formats to present animated characters were pretty limited, all the more so with unaccustomed sound. H&I tendered onscreen Rudy as a Max Fleischer-ish artist busy at task of creating Bosko, a human or animal?, black or white? riff on other folk's cartooning. The game is tipped when Bosko gives with Amos n' Andy idiom and goes into Jolson inspired Sonny Boy (a
They weren't really offering anything new. Sound cartoons had past being a startling novelty, and Bosko was nothing novel to look at. The fact we'd hear him blow a raspberry was no rack to hang a year's contract on. Hugh Harman carried the reel around town like a vacuum cleaner salesman to chorus of doors slamming. "You're too early" with sound was probably polite blow-off from contacts who didn't want Bosko cartoons in any event. Luck so needed came courtesy Leon Schlesinger, who already knew there was interest in animation at Warners, him dug in deep there thanks to family connection, prior dealings, and good will with Jack L. WB were ready to tie in with any half-decent cartoon series Leon could deliver, provided price was right (as in miser-cheap), the reels to augment prolific Vitaphone Varieties the company was putting out. A January 1930 deal with Schlesinger was for one cartoon per month, a goal Harman and Ising could meet, provided they didn't sleep much. Thus emerged Looney Tunes, and eventually Merrie Melodies. As Walt often said, It all started with a mouse, so then did Warner cartoons begin with Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid, not so noted an event, but history withal and four minutes well worth close inspect. It's included as a bonus feature on Thunderbean's Blu-Ray release, Technicolor Dreams and Black-and-White Nightmares, from which Greenbriar hopes to visit other content over coming weeks. Much that is rare and fascinating is here.
More beginner Bosko HERE.