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Western Animation / Bimbo's Initiation

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We are the members of Do-It-Or-Die!
Dee-I, Dee-I, Dee-I!
Watch us make Bimbo, as easy as pie!
Dee-I, Dee-I, Dee-I!
We are, tough you bet!
Filled with college pep!
Bring him on, we cry!
Dee-I, Dee-I, Dee-I!
B! I! M! B! O! BIMBO!
—The opening song.

"Bimbo's Initiation" is a 1931 Fleischer Studios short in the Talkartoons series, centered on the cartoon dog Bimbo (with a few appearances of Betty Boop), who happens to be a victim of an underground cult called Do-It-or-Dienote , who for whatever reason want him to "be a member", forcing him to go through a series of life-threatening situations. Hilarity naturally ensues.

This short is in the public domain and can be viewed here.

This short provides examples of:

  • Animation Bump: Several scenes in this short have moving backgrounds.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A big contributor to the insane atmosphere of the cartoon. An open exit door is actually just a painting on the wall. A trapdoor below Bimbo reveals a mechanical lift that sends him up. A pool of water solidifies just as Bimbo tries to jump in. And so on.
  • Big "NO!": Bimbo's response when the Do-It-or-Dies try recruit him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bimbo, who goes through a hilarious variety of life-threating traps and situations.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Bimbo falls into a dark room, his eyes are for a brief time the only part of him that's visible.
  • The Cameo: Bimbo is locked in the sewer by none other than Mickey Mouse, or at least an expy of him.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Do-It-Or-Die cult — their name is a red flag about the lengths they'll go to initiate a member.
  • Casts No Shadow: Sort of. A sharp blade passes harmlessly over Bimbo's head, but cuts his shadow's head off.
  • Catchphrase: The Do-It-or-Die's repeatedly try to recruit Bimbo by saying: "Wanna be a member? Wanna be a member?"
  • Dem Bones: The skeleton that pops up in one of the doors pictured above—who happens to be talking to a friend.
    "Hello May! I've got a bone to pick with you!"
  • Didn't Think This Through: Bimbo's stuck underneath a heavy, spiked weight, and the rope holding up that weight catches on fire. He tries with no success to blow the fire out. He gets so fixated on stopping the fire's spread, he pulls out two pairs of scissors and cuts the rope on each side of the burning part.
  • Door Roulette: Bimbo is stuck in a lift with four doors out. The first door he chooses reveals a mirror, and the second reveals a skeleton talking on a phone. Bimbo skips to the fourth door... and a boxing glove pops out, punches him in the face, and opens door number three, which has the actual way out.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Betty Boop's Art Evolution wasn't quite completed yet.
  • Evil Living Flames: At one point, Bimbo gets trapped beneath a heavy, spiked weight, hanging from a single rope, with a lit candle threatening to burn it. Bimbo tries to blow out the candle, but the flame sprouts legs, jumps onto the rope, and does a little dance there before burning through it.
  • Gainax Ending: The organization turns out to be a bunch of Betty Boop lookalikes. It makes even less sense in context.
  • I Have Many Names: The short is somewhat unclear on what the cult's name is. The opening song calls it "Do-It-or-Die", and the cult leader mentions "The Mystic Order of the Koo-Koo-Ma-Hatcha"
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Bimbo and Betty — or perhaps not, as Betty still has puppy dog ears at this point, and may be intended to be a dog.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The mouse that puts a lock over the manhole that Bimbo falls into looks suspiciously like a more famous mouse who was just becoming popular at the time...
  • Literal Metaphor: While running through a hallway, Bimbo's heart leaps out his throat, literally.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: One of the doors pictured above contains a mirror. Bimbo's reflection tells him to pick another door.
  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: A huge blade sticks out of one wall, and the whole floor turns into a conveyor belt to carry Bimbo towards the blade. Bimbo runs against the belt and makes no effort to step to the side. When a hole appears, he leaps over it rather than stepping around.
  • Random Events Plot: The cult asks Bimbo if he wants to be a member, and he says no. Weird stuff happens. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: Which look especially strange on Betty Boop.
  • Sex Sells: Bimbo's asked to join Do-It-Or-Die several times, but refuses. Then he sees Betty Boop is a member of the cult, and he immediately changes his mind.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Bimbo runs through a gauntlet of falling axes and closing blades at one point.
  • Uniformity Exception: The apparent leader of the Do-It-or-Die's is the only one who carries a lamp.
  • World Gone Mad: The strange underground realm that Bimbo falls into. Nothing that happens there makes any sense or follows any pattern — blades cut off pieces of Bimbo's shadow without harming him, flames and reflections seem to have a life of their own, liquid water solidifies the moment he jumps into it and there is some new surreal phenomenon around every turn. The only constant in the lunacy is that everything happens to ensure that poor Bimbo remains as miserable, terrified and confused as possible.