by Rachel Newstead
(Update 3/26/10): I’ve discovered, to my humiliation, that the information in this post is actually incorrect, according to animator Bob Jaques. More details in the correction here. )
Famous Studios never quite reached the same level of artistry and innovation as its predecessor Fleischer, but it did achieve a sort of “mini-Golden Age” in the period between 1942 and 1947.
I’ve always had a particular liking for the Famous cartoons of this period, the Popeyes especially, without understanding why. But I understand now.
Those years–from You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap in 1942 to The Royal Four Flusher in 1947–correspond to one Jim Tyer’s tenure at Famous Studios. Though often criticized for his “off-model” animation poses, Popeye and company never looked handsomer than in the years Tyer was animating them. There was a certain solidity, a dimension in Popeye, Bluto and Olive then than in any cartoon made after Tyer’s departure.