Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gulliver's Travels

In 1937 Walt Disney and RKO released Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The film was the first feature length American animated film. More than that, it was done in brilliant color with a wonderful story and charming characters. The songs were memorable and the film was a smash hit.

It shouldn't be too surprising that other studios noticed and 'jumped on the bandwagon.' The head of Paramount was the first of the bandwagon jumpers.

So, after a delightful ride around El Segundo he tipped the band, paid the wagon drive and hopped in a cab back to Hollywood.

Soon after Paramount made a deal with Fleischer studios for their own feature length animated motion picture, Gulliver's Travels.

Max Fleischer was arguably as big a name in the cartoon business as Walt Disney in 1937. Max had such popular stars as Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman in his stable.

If Gulliver's Travels had been able to duplicate the success of Snow White perhaps today the world would be very different.

Perhaps millions would be vacationing in Max Fleischer World and Max Fleisher Pictures would be releasing mediocre sequels to Gulliver's Travels and other films.

But, it didn't happen. Gulliver just wasn't as successful as Snow White.

This isn't to say that it wasn't a success. Reaching theaters in 1939 (just two years after Snow White and BEFORE Disney's next project) Gulliver's Travels WAS a hit with audiences and garnered two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Music Score and Best Song. They lost both awards to The Wizard of Oz.

The film was made quickly, in less than half the time it took to make Snow White, yet the visuals were very impressive. Still, the story and characters didn't click with audiences the way that Sleepy, Dopey and company did.

Perhaps the most memorable character in Gulliver is Gabby. Gabby is a little guy who looks a bit like Elmer Fudd. His cantankerous and was popular enough to be spin off into his own cartoon series after the show.

This version of Gulliver's Travels is not faithful to the book version.

It tells of a man named Gulliver who washes ashore on an island full of people who are the size of Smurfs. Two kingdoms on the island are feuding over plans for a royal wedding. Gulliver is caught in the middle but uses his wits to help them.

Paramount no longer holds the copyright on this film so various different companies have released it. It is pretty easy to find in any bargain bin.

My copy was picked up at a dollar store and looks pretty good (all things considered.)

You may like it too, so I recommending going to the dollar store ASAP and jump on the bandwagon.

Ask the driver to take you by Redondo at night, it's beautiful. Also, ask the band to play a polka! The look they will give you is priceless!


  1. Interesting note about this film: all the characters have 5 fingers! Most toons have 4! Look at the photo of the King above. It actually is very odd to watch since I am so accustomed to 4 fingered characters.

  2. Anonymous9/29/2005

    This dvd is available at the dollar store. You should mention that.

  3. Anonymous9/29/2005

    I watched this with my husband during a shooting break in Cheaper By The Dozen. He said it was like the "original Punk'd."
    I don't get it.
    He was really tired at the time, though.

  4. Peach soda's better.

  5. Anonymous9/29/2005

    Hot Dogs! Get your hot dogs here!

    I don't have a joke, but I have hot dogs!

  6. Anonymous9/29/2005

    Foul! Foul! I know we are all upset about the war between the kingdoms, but you can't have extra fingers! Foul!

  7. Anonymous9/29/2005

    I got a chance to meet the corpses of some of the animators of this film. I washed their hands, very nice fingers. Good for drawing I bet.

  8. Anonymous9/29/2005

    Oh, this Gulliver thinks he is so big! He wont be big when Don Moracco drops an elbow on him! Fuji-style!

  9. Anonymous9/29/2005

    Sorry, I read that part wrong. Gulliver isn't big, the people are small. Please disregard.

  10. Anonymous9/29/2005

    I wanted to buy this but I don't have a dollar store nearby. I don't want to "travel" for "gulliver"

    Whoo! I Hit that outta the park!

  11. Anonymous9/29/2005

    Funny stuff. Is this some kind of 'old cartoon' week or something.

  12. Uh... it's... something.