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OLIVE OYL'S HOT TOPIC

Here's my opinions on topics relating to Olive Oyl and the Famous Studio's cartoons. 

 


 
  
 

Page last updated on 10-17-2008. 
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Is It Weird To Have A Crush On An Animated Character?

Betty Boop's Descendant?

THE TOP CARTOON FEMME FATALE

 


 
 

Is It Weird To Have A Crush On An Animated Character?


Q:  Isn't having a crush on an animated character while you were growing up just plain weird?  What about people who have crushes on them now?  Are they strange or what?

A:  To me, there's absolutely no difference between having a crush on a cartoon character and having a crush on a character from a live-action movie or TV show, or even having a crush on a rock or country/western star, or a super model.

In all cases, the objects of the crushes are WORKS OF FICTION to one degree or another. They are created by artists (including make-up, hair, wardrobe, and lighting people in the case of live-action stars), actors or actresses, writers, PR men and women, studio execs, directors and producers, musicians (think how background music and theme songs add to our enjoyment of characters), cinematographers, photographers, choreographers, sound technicians, support people, and others.

Having a crush on an animated character is, therefore, no "stranger" than having a crush on Rachel from "Friends", or on Britney Spears, or thinking that the guy who plays Temple on "The District" is cute.  If having a poster of Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, or Natalie Portman as Princess Amadala hanging up in an adolescent boy's, or male college student's, room is just considered a normal part of growing up, why then would posters of Jasmine or Pearl Pureheart be looked down on? If a girl can pour over a teen mag about 'N Synch, why not allow her to get into a piece of fan fiction about Frollo?  For many, it's all harmless fun.

My cartoon crushes never stopped me from having an active dating life interacting with real women, nor from getting married and living happily so, ever after.  I knew (and know) the difference between fiction and real life and between hobbies and day-to-day living.   I suppose the trouble would start if someone actually thought, "Unless I can find a girl who looks and acts like Buffy Summers, I won't go out," or "Because that guy reminds me of Race Bannon, he must be worth getting to know." 

It's too bad that there are double standards.  I can't understand why  it is perfectly acceptable to obsess about a sports team - wear their colors, decorate one's office with their posters, pennants, and ticket stubs, talk endlessly about them, know every little detail and statistic there is to know about them, and even make fantasy leagues with one's favorite players - but anybody even one-tenth that obsessed with animation and animated characters is considered weird. And one can go completely nuts over a rock group, but not over an animated cartoon series!

When will society ever see and admit that it's all just entertainment and all perfectly valid?


 
 
 
 

BETTY BOOP'S DESCENDANT?

The Famous Studios' version of Olive Oyl and the Fleischers' Betty Boop to me have a lot more in common than just Mae Questel providing their voices. (Watch the later, post-censorship, toned down Betty Boop toons - that IS Olive's voice!) In fact, I think the creators went back to La Boopster for inspiration when they wanted to revamp Olive and give their cartoons a certain spark.  Consider that both Betty Boop and Ms. Oyl:

- Drive the men around them wild with desire.

- Have their virtue protected by animals and inanimate objects come to life.  In the early, pre-censorship days, when Betty had a tendency to lose her clothes, or have her already short skirt ride up even more, or be embarrassed as a male was zeroing in on her legs, helpful little animals, household objects, and pieces of scenery would cover her up.  Likewise, when Olive's picture in Silly Hillbilly threatened to reveal too much, it came to life and took care of business. 

And think of all the animals that heard Olive's cry of "Help, Popeye!" and fed the unconscious and/or trapped sailor his spinach.

- Made inanimate objects come to life to ogle them.  Betty did it to museum exhibits, Olive to a car (Farmer And The Belle) and a factory whistle (Mess Production).

- Were chased around by guys wanting either a little kiss or maybe even to take their "Boop-Oop-A-Doop" away.

- Had unlikely boyfriends that wouldn't at first glance seem to be the kind of guys they'd go for, but who had hearts of gold and would come through in hard times. (Betty had Bimbo and Koko, Olive had Popeye, of course.)

- Were dance hall girls/entertainers in some cartoons.

- Had innocent, full-of-the-joy-of-life, enthusiastic personalities which were part of their appeal.

- Could also be not so innocent at times and come on to guys and enjoy flirting and the effect they had on men.  There are many examples that could be mentioned, but one that sticks out in my mind is when Betty blatantly uses teasing and her sex appeal to get a secretary's job.

- Were fickle.  Olive's fickleness is legendary, but consider that after Betty got the secretary job, she yelled for "Help!" when the boss came on to her, then when she was "saved", she decided she'd rather be alone with him after all!  And when she went to court to fight a traffic ticket, she rejects the advances of the handsome traffic cop at the beginning of the cartoon, but goes off with him at the end. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE TOP CARTOON 
FEMME FATALE

Many of you have corresponded with me sharing how the Famous Studios' cartoons were some of the very first things that awakened romantic feelings in you and that, yes, you, too, had crushes on Ms. Oyl and came to see her as desirable.

For me, Olive Oyl got me thinking in ways that no other cartoon character did.  The reasons for this are delved into on this website, particularly in  the From Fab To Drab page.  Briefly comparing some other animated cartoon cuties to Olive shows that, for the most part, they come up short.
 
 

Pearl Pureheart and other anthropormorphic mice saved by Mighty Mouse 

Well, for one thing, they were animals and it was hard to get excited about animals.  And they never had much personality.  They seemed to exist only to be captured and rescued.

Red in the Tex Avery cartoons

Although drawn very nicely, Red never really had any personality, either.  The focus of the cartoons was always primarily on the Wolf, and his reactions were so overboard and his efforts so obviously doomed to failure that the cartoons were totally hilarious with no hint of real romance or drama.

Daphne from Scooby Doo

Okay, she was pretty, but had zero personality.  Plus, all the males in the cartoons treated her just as one of the guys.  All the villains totally ignored her looks, too.  If she had any sex appeal, nobody on the screen with her ever noticed it and certainly didn't convey it to us.

Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper from the various Archie series

The comic books' Betty and Veronica were every bit as appealing as Olive, but the animated versions had atrocious voices, very limited ranges of movements and facial expressions, and had much simpler, less attractive character designs than those on the printed pages.  Their personalities were toned down and simplified as well.

Penny from Plastic Man

Well now, she might be able to give Olive a run for her money if she had been in more cartoons over a longer period of time and had become ingrained in our subconscious minds.  She was beautiful with a fantastic voice and would show her feelings and intelligence.  The creators didn't bother trying to cover up the fact that they had created an alluring female lead (as so many "made-for-TV" Kiddie Show animators did) and had several villains get distracted by, and attracted to, her.

Melody from Josie And The Pussycats 

Pretty, innocent, full of the joy of living, with a cute voice and giggle, she could be competition for Olive except that she could never be as competent as Olive was in Cops Is Tops and could never dream big as Olive frequently did (see Olive Oyl  For President, for example).  And although Olive could be naive and even dumb at times, Melody makes her look like a rocket scientist.  Plus, no males in the cartoons ever looked twice at her (in contrast to the comic book Melody who frequently stopped traffic.)

Betty Boop

This curvy flapper certainly drove males absolutely crazy and had a great voice and personality.  In fact, I and many others believe that she was the inspiration and, in some ways, the model for the Famous Studios' Olive Oyl.  But her cartoons weren't really about romance and wooing, but about the wildly inventive, hilarious imaginations of Max and Dave Fleischer.  And Betty's world was extremely surreal and cartoony.  Plus, most of the males were animals, circus clowns, and mythical figures, not "real" people.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This page was created using Corel Word Perfect Suite 8 and Netscape Navigator Composer. All characters and images are legal properties of their respective companies and are used here without permission for entertainment, review, and informational purposes only. All other material is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 by Steve R. Bierly.