gulliver thumbnails

Thumbnail images for the Internet Archive's free Gulliver's Travels download.

Recently, a fellow cartoonist shared a Popeye video on his Facebook wall.  (However, I don’t own the copyright, so I’m afraid I can’t post here.  If you Google “Popeye,” many videos will come up. )

The particular video shared was from a 1938 Popeye cartoon called Goonland and produced by the Fleischer animation studios.
Seeing the video reminded me of how very creative and inventive the Fleischer animation studio was back in the 1930’s and 40’s.

It also reminded me of the first time I saw Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels.

An area film professor had a Saturday night show on local television in which he screened forgotten/classic films. One lucky night, I happened to tune in when Gulliver’s Travels was shown. I was probably in my early teens.  I can still remember being absolutely wowed by this film!

The Fleischer Studio was doing technical/creative/quirky things none of the other studios would not even attempt. For instance, if you happen to watch the entire Popeye Goonland cartoon, make sure to look for a very creative little twist that probably surprised 1930s audiences.  It surprised me even today.

Technically, the Fleischer studio was on the cutting edge of the day.  They developed a very ingenious camera system. It was called the Stereoptical camera, and  gave certain scenes a 3D feeling of depth.

While a student at Ohio State, I took an animation and film class.  During one class, a Fleischer Popeye cartoon was shown.   This particular Popeye short made use of the Stereoptical camera process.  After seeing it, we all asked the instructor if an early computer of some sort was used to create the 3D quality of certain scenes.  It really is quite amazing to see the camera in action and how it created this illusion of depth!

If you want to see more terrific animation from this wonderful studio, I recommend the following DVDs:

Gulliver’s Travels (Fully Restored 60th Anniversary Limited Edition) This is a terrific restoration of Fleischer’s first full length animated feature.  The DVD also features a documentary on the studio where you can see them use the Steroptical camera system while working on a Popeye animated cartoon.

Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 If you want to see some amazing Popeye cartoons, fully restored, then this is the one DVD to get!  It also includes the notable Popeye color two-reeler short, Popeye Meets Sinbad The Sailor. Again, this cartoon makes extensive use of the Stereoptical camera.

The Complete Superman Cartoons – Diamond Anniversary Edition the Fleischer studio was also known for producing some of the bet Superman cartoons.  This DVD collection from Bosko video contains all suprman shorts and are fully restored.  They look gorgeous!  And many of these animated Superman shorts are so well done, and used some of the most cutting edge technology of the day, that they still hold up even by today’s standards.

So, if you’re looking for some great family entertainment, pick up any or all three of the above DVDs.  You’ll have a fun time and will simply marvel at the wonderful creativity and artistry that was Fleischer Studios.

In researching this blog post, I learned that Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels is in the public domain.  So, it’s possible to legally download it for free. You can do so at the Internet Archive. Let me point out that the Gulliver’s Travels (Fully Restored 60th Anniversary Limited Edition) is still superior in picture quality.


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