I tuned in to TCM’s “Movie Camp” over the weekend, not to watch these two fellows, but to catch “Hoppity Goes to Town” also known as “Mr. Bug Goes to Town,” by the Fleischer studio.
I like some of the TCM hosts, particularly David Edelstein’s presentations of Francois Truffaut and Orson Welles, and Eddie Muller’s “Summer of Darkness,” although I can do without the commercial tie-ins of fedoras and cocktail shaker sets.
But these guys, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, not so much.
Here’s a quote from their introduction to “Mr. Bug Goes to Town” by Max and Dave Fleischer.
Oldenburg: There was a technique used in this film called rotoscoping, which we call the poor man’s motion capture, which is a technique where you film actual people but then going back and painstakingly hand drawing over every frame. But what’s so beautiful and unique about that is that we hadn’t seen this before in animation up to this point.
Did he just say that? I had to replay it twice just to be sure.
This is totally wrong. Not even Wikipedia gets it this wrong.
In fact, prior to “Mr. Bug” (1941) Max Fleischer had patented the Rotoscope in 1917 and the technique was used in the Fleischers’ “Out of the Inkwell” series. Here’s Cab Calloway rotoscoped as Koko the Clown in Betty Boop’s “Snow White” (1933).
And, of course, Disney’s own “Snow White” (1937) also used the technique.
The Fleischers also used rotoscoping in “Gulliver’s Travels” (1939).
So no, “Mr. Bug” was hardly the first film to use rotoscoping. C’mon guys, do your homework. Even TCM’s own notes on the film would be an improvement.