Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday morning cartoon

Here’s a historically significant one... from the earliest days of the “golden age” of Hollywood animation.

Every living American is probably familiar with “Looney Tunes,” the long-running series of Warner Bros. cartoons that made Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck famous. But did you know that the first “Looney Tunes” star was black?

By black I mean, of course, a caricature of an American Negro that spoke in a comical dialect like “Amos ’n’ Andy.” (“Well here I is, and I sho’ feels good!”)

The character was named Bosko, and he was created by Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising.

After working for Walt Disney during the 1920s, Harman and Ising wanted to branch out on their own. So they self-financed a 5-minute demo reel in 1929.

That film – “Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid” – got Harman and Ising hired by Warner Bros. Their Bosko was promptly featured in early “Looney Tunes” shorts such as “Congo Jazz,” “Box Car Blues” and “Bosko Shipwrecked!”

Harman and Ising quit Warner Bros. in 1933 and went to work for MGM, where Hugh Harman directed more Bosko cartoons. The closest Rudy Ising came to creating another popular character was with Barney Bear, featured in MGM shorts through the 1940s and early ’50s.

Embedded below is “Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid.” The guy playing the animator is Rudolf Ising himself. (Bosko’s voice was provided by Max Maxwell, another former Disney animator.)


MaDuke said...

BAMBOOZLED!!! Have you seen that Spike Lee joint? This is horrendous.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for commenting, MaDuke.

You must admit, though... that "Just got out of the pen" line was a cute joke.

Eye D. VS Mel O. said...

the voiceover of Bosko was horrible, no offense but he sounded like a hillbilly trying to imitate a black person but fails miserably
this is bad but i think Lazytown was forever have the #1 spot

Edshugeo The GodMoor said...

I vaguely recall some Bosco cartoons airing on a cable channel some years back. They may have been silent, since I don't remember that voice, or realizing (till way after the fact) that he was a negro caricature. Not until I heard somebody point out something similar about Mickey Mouse. Might'a been Charles Fleisher, the comedian and voice of Roger Rabbit.

Susie said...

I remember this cartoon from when I was a wee girl. He showed up in the cartoons they played during the breaks in Our Gang. I never thought that it was supposed to be a man! I thought he was like Mighty Mouse's funkier cousin.