Bimbo's Initiation: Max Fleischer's darkest cartoon


#1

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#2

You need to understand the historical context of hazing prospective members of fraternal organizations at the time this cartoon was made… There were catalog houses that specialized in producing devices for “hilariously” abusing the neophytes; I think BoingBoing has previously posted references to some of them. Some of what Bimbo is subjected to is exaggerated from the sort of trials those were used in.

Typically, of course, this was inflicted on people who DID want to be members, rather than strangers off the street who weren’t interested. That’s part of the gag. Such as it is.

Of course as with any kind of hazing or serial bullying, those who survived it tended to feel that “if I could take it, they can take it” and pass it along to the next set of neos. It took a lot of courage for someone to stand up and say “I stood it, so you can’t call me a coward – but it was still wrong and needs to be abolished.”

This is mostly gone from modern fraternal organizations – but for some reason, people keep trying to reintroduce it, so keeping it out requires active policing. I’m associated with one such; I’ve heard a few stories about rogue chapters that have had to be shut down completely because that was the only way to reliably break the cycle.


#3

Not that I mind, as it’s a pretty good clip, but it was posted here before.


#4

As soon as I saw “Max Fleischer’s darkest cartoon”, my mind went straight to “Wanna be a member? Wanna be a member?” I got the entire Betty Boop collection as soon as it was available years ago. I gotta transfer all of those VHS tapes to my hard drive before they wear out.


#5

weird Betty is best Betty:
feat. Cab Calloway

nitrous oxide

moar Cab

feat Louis Armstrong


#6

What the hell is up with Betty’s earlobes?


#7

Is it just me or is it Mickey Mouse who locks the manhole cover after Bimbo falls through? Never noticed that before.


#8

Several times, in fact.

Coming up next: news about Disneyland’s awesome new ride, the Haunted Mansion!


#9

I don’t mind if this gets posted here every two or three years or so.


#10

Watching this is mandatory before watching Forbidden Zone.

Bimbo is being initated into the Mystic Order of the Boom Boom a Hatcha (or Koo-Koo-Ma-Hatcha depending on your source) rather than the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.


#11

What’s up with Betty’s earlobes – the early Betty was a French poodle; she turned human (and the ears became earrings) later.

Micky locking the manhole cover – yep, that’s what I’ve always seen it as. Quiet nod/dig at the competition? However, that isn’t the first Fleisher cartoon the mouse appears in; he dates back at lest to Dizzy Dishes, which was Betty’s first appearance.


#12

What a pippin!

You can’t post this too many times. Max Fleischer was a genius.


#13

I don’t care how many Betties are there, I don’t wanna be a member of such a butt-abusing club.

Yeowch.


#14

There is an earlier Bimbo cartoon from 1930 called “Swing You Sinners” (look at my blog here (http://bryininberlin.blogspot.de/2013/10/short-film-swing-you-sinners-1930.html) that, while lacking Betty, is even more disturbing – Bimbo literally dies at the end of it. One can only wonder where they got their drugs back then…


#15

Missing from mention is my favorite, Cab singing “St James Infirmary” as a ghost in “Snow White”. It was rotoscoped over his filmed dancing. I saw it in college and it haunted me for decades, I even hooked my daughter on Betty as a kindergartner. Betty is the Best!


#16

The Betty Boop cartoons did a lot of rotoscoping of their musical guests. Nice effect, though it sometimes suffered from the stereotypes of the age (as did a lot of the writing – oh well, it’s of its time.)


closed #17

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