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  • This is the VHS for "An Extremely Goofy Movie".

  • It's the follow-up to the cult classic "A Goofy Movie" and it's one of my favorite animated films.

  • Now, there's a moment in this movie where Bobby Zimmeruski, Max's stoner friend

  • You know, the one that chugs Cheese Whiz.

  • He says, "Do you ever wonder why we're always like... wearing gloves?”

  • That's a damn good question, Bobby! Let's figure this out.

  • Does the question, "Why do Animated characters wear gloves?", come up a lot for you?

  • John: The question rarely comes up, but when it does, there are a number of answers to it.

  • That's John Canemaker, he's an animation historian and professor at NYU.

  • The most basic theory is that gloves saved time.

  • John: Animation of any kind, even with computers, is a very work-intensive or labor intensive process.

  • "Pardon me. I've always wondered how they were made."

  • At the dawn of animation, everything was hand-drawn over and over and over again.

  • And certain techniques to make the process more efficient shaped the style of the cartoons.

  • John: Felix the Cat, for example, was a very boxy-looking character.

  • As Felix was becoming more popular, the animator Bill Nolan decided to remove his snout and make him more circular overall.

  • John: And that designwhat they call "the rubber hose and circle design",

  • very spaghetti-like arms of the characters, proceed to the design of Mickey Mouse as well.

  • This rubber hose and circle aesthetic allowed animators to quickly draw arms, legs, and hands without spending too much time developing realistic details of the character's bodylike elbows and knees.

  • A round edge was much faster to draw than an angle, and that certainly applied to hands, with all those fingers and knuckles.

  • But hands posed another problem for animators in the age of fuzzy black and white film.

  • John: Characters were in black and white films, difficult to see against their black bodies.

  • Take a look at Mickey Mouse. In 1927's "Plane Crazy" he had black hands and feet, just like Felix.

  • He gained shoes by 1928's Steamboat Willie, and in 1929 he's wearing gloves in "The Opry House".

  • The rubber hose style of animation is in full effect here. Every character is exaggerated, round, and simple.

  • And like many of the glove-wearing cartoon characters of his time,

  • Mickey Mouse is a non-human doing very human things.

  • In his 1968 biography, "The Disney Version", Walt Disney addresses this very issue.

  • He says, "We didn't want him to have mouse hands,

  • because he was supposed to be more human. So we gave him gloves.”

  • So in addition to saving time and providing color contrast, gloves bring non-human things to life, making their grand gestures stand out.

  • These 1935 tea kettles from Van Beuren Studio have them. This movie camera does too.

  • When Pinocchio is a puppet, he wears gloves. But when he becomes a boy, they disappear. They're no longer needed.

  • But there's another, less practical influence behind cartoon characters' white gloves.

  • The Opry House is a film about Mickey putting on a big vaudeville show.

  • That film and many of the animations that predated it were inextricably linked to vaudeville performance and the blackface minstrel shows of the time.

  • In fact, early animators often performed on vaudeville stages.

  • Nicholas Sammond writes in Birth of An Industry that early animated characters like Felix the Cat, Bimbo, Bosko, and Mickey Mouse "weren't just like Minstrels, they were Minstrels."

  • Both the cartoons and the stage characters were portrayed as mischievous and rebellious yet good natured.

  • They wore loose clothes, had painted faces, and they wore white gloves.

  • In the 1930s vaudeville and blackface minstrelsy declined. White gloves were no longer associated with vaudeville to a new generation of viewers.

  • Instead, they were just part of the cartoon style people came to expect.

  • John: There's also The Band Concert, do you know that film?

  • It's from 1935.

  • John: One of the characters is Clarabelle Cow and she plays the flute and her glove gets stuck in the flute [chuckles] so, really strange without the glove on it.

  • Sixty years later Goofy takes off his gloves before getting in a pool and it's frankly, really disturbing.

  • Now what's really bothering me is why Daffy Duck and many other animated birds don't wear gloves.

  • We might never know.

  • Daffy: Look, let's not split hairs. Why do you even wear gloves?

  • Bugs Bunny: Because, I've always worn them. It's who I am. Why do you wear that thing around your neck?

  • Touché Bugs Bunny. Touché.

This is the VHS for "An Extremely Goofy Movie".

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Why cartoon characters wear gloves

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    韓澐 posted on 2022/06/19
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