Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Unleashed Mind in an Untamed World

"Popeye on trinket dish, with lid"
Someone once said: “The basis of good art is drawing. If you don’t know how to draw, you’ll never become an artist.”
The question is do you believe that? And if you don’t, what is the basis for your opinion? 
Throughout the years there have been many artists and creators who have won the test of time and their work still charms audiences today; artists that could not only draw, but were masters of illustration and animation.
"Olive Oyl" hand puppet 
Popeye was launched in 1929 debuting in a minor role in the comic strip “Thimble Theater.” Within two years, Popeye was the star of the strip. In 1933, Popeye became such an instant icon that spinach consumption in the US went up 33 percent during the 1930s. I became hooked on Popeye through my father who loved to read comic books after a long day at work.
In 2004, Popeye celebrated 75 years of being loved and adored and is still going strong. I discovered Popeye collectibles in the early 90s, and by then there were others who had purchased and stashed away their favorite King Features characters. Today my collection sells on Etsy:

Other illustrations, comic books and cartoons I loved as a kid were created by Walter Lantz: Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, and Wally Walrus to name only a few of the characters that danced across the movie screen and cavorted through the pages of my personal stack of comic books.
Here is a Link to one of my favorites: Walter Lantz 1947, Frederic Chopin – “Musical Moments” with Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda.

In those days, kids traded comic books. Those with the largest horde were envied. Horror comics and movies were also adored. On Saturday morning at the movie theater we screamed and shuddered through the horror flicks. Frankenstein, Zombie mania, and Abbott and Lou Costello kept us wide-eyed and glued to our seats.
As an illustrator, Walter Lantz was way ahead of his time. Before Political Correctness came along to modify and tame, Lantz created without inhibitions or guilt which was typical for the age. Today, some of his early cartoons are banned for their racial content and stereotyping. But even this cannot take away from the magnificent characters and stories he created. Taken in its totality, the career of Walter Lantz proves that the man was a genius, way ahead of his time.
Walter Lantz 1947 Overture to William Tell on YouTube

The creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, illustrator Johnny Gruelle, endeared earlier generations to the magic of toys coming to life while their owners slumbered. Even today, many parents have introduced their children to these red-headed rag dolls. 

In 1970 at the height of their popularity, an animated film called “A Musical Adventure” enchanted children everywhere. A short YouTube clip highlights a scene where the toys awaken from their slumber.