Tuesday, January 19, 2010

010 Always Kickin'

Title: Always Kickin'
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 1/26/39
Dave Fleischer
Myron Waldman
Arnold Gillespie
Series: Color CLassic
Running time (of viewed version): 7:11
Synopsis: Young donkey Spunky doesn't want to engage in donkeycise, befriends some birds who are mean to him, and in battling a vulture learns the valuable lesson that he should always be donkeycisen'.

Comments: Hunky and Spunky sound like apes. I'm going to have a fair amount of artefacting on the non Popeye Fleischers, as they're coming from PD comps. Spunky's head is massive, bigger than his body. Why would a vulture (that looks a lot like Spunky, really) tie up a smaller bird? To sacrifice the bird to the vulture god? To pander to the nascent bondage crowd? I can't believe this is the sequel to an Oscar nominated cartoon. There was almost nothing to put into the synopsis. Maybe it's the terrible colors in the print, but this just feels worse than it probably objectively is. And why does the music sound like a '50s Famous Popeye piece? Maybe I'll be surprised and find the contemporary Popeyes sound like this...

Note that this cartoon is in the midst of an extremely busy week. In the period of Monday, January 23 to Saturday, January 28, the majors released 10 cartoons, compared to 7 in the preceding three full weeks of the new year.


  1. Ray Pointer at
    was unable to post this directly:

    "I had an answer to your question and was unable to register on your blog.
    So here is the answer for ALWAYS KICKIN':

    Why does the music sound like a 50's POPEYE piece? Well, who did the music then? Winston Sharples. This was a Sharples score, which was superior to most of those credited to Sammy Timberg. While Timberg's music was fine for POPEYE and BETTY BOOP, it was not right for the more lyrical fanstasy nature of the COLOR CLASSICS. Regardless of how this series is perceived or appreciated, it deserved a more sensitive approach to music than what Timberg brought to those cartoons.

    The use of music has a great influence on how a film is perceived in that it creates mood and atmosphere. The poorer 1940s Fleischer cartoons are made to seem poor due to poor scores, muscianship, and orchestrations under the direction of Sammy Timberg. While Mr. Timberg was a great song writer, his cartoon score work in the period 1939 to 1941 was not very good, creating a negative impression of what might have otherwise been a better cartoon.

    On another note, There are much better images of the cartoons you post frames from, this one included."

  2. I'm now five Fleischer cartoons into the year (watched and written on, not posted), and Always Kickin' still stands out as the only Famous sounding entry so far, which jibes with what you seem to be saying (i.e. that Sharples only worked on Color Classics at the time), as it's the only Color Classic I've looked at for the year so far. I still find the Sharples sound to be notable, as I do not usually associate it with the era; on the other hand, it's all I associate musically with Famous.

    As for better images, I'm sure there are better prints than the source for the Always Kickin' images. However, I'm using what I have at hand. Doing the blog at all is dependent on access to prints in some form, and I'm not being picky about them. Fleischer's output was the most readily commercially available of any of the studios except for Disney (who, to their credit, have released every theatrical 1939 short they made, plus two 1939 commercial films, on DVD, all still in print if you count the giant Treasures box set); you can get all but two 1939 Fleischer shorts by buying Mill Creek's 600 cartoon collection and Popeye Volume 2. Mill Creek's 600 collection is the easiest for me to access; I haven't checked the other PD comps I have with Always Kickin' for better copies. The choice of images from the cartoons is subjective; if you mean you would prefer a different choice of stills, feel free to link to your own choices (I can post your link if you still can't post). Even if you just want to post the exact same stills but from a good print, go ahead and post the link. Perhaps I will post new images when I am done with the rest of the cartoons if I get access to a better print (especially for something like Always Kickin', which I am the first to admit I've used a horrible print of, but one that has the virtue of having been available).

  3. If you are taking frame grabs from DVDs, why didn't you use the SOMEWHERE IN DREAMLAND set?
    The color is much better on this cartoon as found in that release.

  4. I didn't own the set at the time. But it's an obvious gap, so I've ordered it.