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YMMV / Shamus Culhane

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  • Animation Age Ghetto: Culhane discusses this in his book "Animation From Script To Screen". Culhane had an encyclopedic knowledge about animation (as well as other subjects) and pretty eclectic tastes: he praised Ralph Bakshi and Richard Williams (head animator for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which was a big movie hit at the time), ridiculed the commercially-driven dreck on Saturday morning TV, and tried to present animation as a serious art form indebted to (among others) Michelangelo and Sergei Eisenstein. He even warns writers for cartoons never to target children only, because only if you write for adults will you be completely uncondescending. However, his prejudices toward his own profession still show through at times. He assumes that most animators aspire to make people laugh - which would be fine, except that it carries the Unfortunate Implication that cartoons cannot inspire any emotion other than hilarity. He also writes that "very subtle acting may never be possible to meet in this medium."
  • Creator Backlash: Culhane disliked his sole Popeye directorial effort Popeye Meets William Tell, and mentions it in passing in his biography as being akin to "putting a bow on a wild boar". He was also not proud of his animation for Fleischer Studios in the early 1930's, considering it primitive compared to his later work.
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    • He's also stated that if he hadn't signed a contract when he was working on Gulliver's Travels he would've left on the spot, and that he felt awful seeing how his work had been tampered with in the final film with what he calls "half-assed inking and bad in-betweening". He was also disappointed with how Mr. Bug Goes to Town turned out, feeling that the film didn't live up to it's full potential.
    • Culhane also lambasted the Hearst Krazy Kat cartoons he did inking work on. In his biography, he likened the screening of their first sound cartoon ("Ratskin", 1929) with the character as being akin to a tornado in a boiler factory. "It was sheer cacophony." The staff gave no reaction to the film, save Culhane himself, who spited it with a sarcastic laugh (which got him left behind when the studio moved elsewhere). In the book "Enchanted Drawings", Culhane's once again gave his humble thoughts on the shorts;
    "The films were atrocious, the worst crap you can imagine. They never used the characters. Offisa Pup rarely appeared, Ignatz Mouse was not in love with Krazy note ; they never used the desert landscapes. They just didn't care. The staff just batted the stuff out as fast as they could for something like 750$ apiece."
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  • What Could Have Been: Shamus originally wanted to direct a cartoon centered around the Popeye character Wimpy, centered around his obsession with hamburgers, with no interest in making a typical Popeye short. The Fleischers didn't allow it, feeling that the proposed premise would be "too psychological".
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