Grampy has figured out what to do.


Medium: Theatrical Animation
Produced by: Fleischer Studio
First Appeared: 1935
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From O.G. Wotasnozzle to Gyro Gearloose, the whacky inventor has always been a staple in cartoons. When, following the introduction of film censorship, Max Fleischer's cartoon studio found the popularity of its biggest home-grown star, Betty Boop, dropping in tandem with her hemline, one of its attempts …

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… to reverse the trend was to introduce such an inventor as one of her supporting characters.

Grampy debuted in Betty Boop & Grampy, released August 16, 1935. In it, Betty and several of her friends went over to say hello to the spry old man, and stayed to marvel at his many inventions — most of which weren't based on super-science, but were fashioned out of materials at hand. Grampy himself was cheerful and energetic, with a method of locomotion that was unique even among cartoon characters. Standard reference sources don't mention who did his voice, but there are a few isolated mentions of an Everett Clark in that capacity. Standard reference sources are also silent on any other credits for this actor.

Aside from carrying on the cartoon inventing tradition, Grampy could be seen as an avatar of Fleischer himself, an innovative tinkerer from a very young age (tho there's no actual evidence the fictional inventor was directly inspired by the real one). In fact it was having invented the rotoscope that got him into animation in the first place.

Grampy went on to a half-dozen more appearances with Betty, in which he delighted orphans, eased housework, played practical jokes, etc., by inventing new ways to use common, household items. Unfortunately, while his cartoons were a lot of fun, he didn't do much to reverse La Boop's waning fortunes.

The last Grampy cartoon was The Candid Candidate (released August 16, 1937), in which he followed in the footsteps of A. Mutt, Andy Gump and many toons to come, and ran for high public office. Betty herself followed him into oblivion less than two years later.


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Text ©2006-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Max Fleischer Productions.