Amusement Parks For The Apartment Dweller


I thought I’d take a break from my Betty Boop cartoons, since it’s July and that’s really amusement park season at least where I live. Especially since it’s the Fourth of July weekend. I don’t know about you. I couldn’t even swear whether you’re there right now.

So I went looking for amusement park-themed cartoons and realized there’s not so many as I figured. Some of the ones that are around I’ve already shown off. I’m as surprised as you, since the gag potential for amusement parks seems obvious. But one that came to mind was a Betty Boop and Grampy cartoon after all: Grampy’s Indoor Outing.

The story’s simple. Betty Boop and Junior are looking forward to the carnival. After a merry opening song, though, it rains. And Grampy — or here, Professor Grampy — comes to the rescue. He works up several amusement park-type attractions out of household gadgets. They look strikingly plausible, too, the way the best cartoon contraptions do. The cartoon is less about fake-outs and diverted expectations than the earlier Grampy cartoons, though; it’s more about cleverly turning the ordinary into wonderful gadgetry.

The sets are lovely, as ever. Look especially at Grampy’s kitchen, painted so as to look like it’s got a narrow depth of field. It makes the cartoon so much more solid.

The final stunt, the utterly impractical one, is also where the Fleischers break out their 3-D sets and the combined animation-and-live-action filming techniques. It’s for a good effect, too. The roller coaster rolling around the edge of a building looks wild, and like the sort of cartoonish excess that would never happen in the real world. If you’re willing to count Florida as part of the real world, and I have my doubts, something reminiscent of its building-hugging, twisty paths might be built soon. The PolerCoaster design might also be built in Georgia, which I suppose is a slightly more real place than Florida. The cartoon version, and for that matter the proposed PolerCoaster, are still hair-raising to consider.

Incidentally, the YouTube page from which I got this video, and many sources, identify this cartoon as starring Betty Boop, Grampy, and — as the kid — Little Jimmy. The kid is clearly named Junior by both Betty and Grampy, though. However, I see where people are coming from by calling him Little Jimmy. I figure to discuss that later.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

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