The Appeal of Old Style Cartoons

Saturday mornings as a child watching cartoons is a memory that many of us remember. Whether you loved Hanna Barbera classics or you preferred edgier choices, old style cartoons have inspired how people experience emotions such as laughter and happiness through the bright saturated colors that emanated from TV screens.

Why were these cartoons so appealing?

  • They were simple: In this day and age of CGI, it is easy to forget why retro cartoons were so popular. It’s because the animation was kept simple with smooth lines and facial descriptions that were easy for viewers to understand. Take the perennially popular Flintstones cartoon series whose original run was from 1960 to 1966. The concept of the Flintstones was simple because it was centred on two families (the Flintstones and the Rubbles). The simple concept allows the cartoons to shine with people and it was instantly popularity to a point where the Flintstones is now a brand that spawned a film in the 1990s. The Flintstones is an excellent example of a cartoon whose animation was simple because it was geared towards children. The dialogue was funny yet easy to understand for children which is why it has managed to remain relevant throughout the decade. By keeping the premise of the plots and animation simple, old style cartoons were able to hit several demographics such as children and adults.
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  • They were short: Typical episodes of Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 1947 – 1952 era were short and sweet. Tom & Jerry is a good example of an old style cartoon series where plenty of action was packed into a relatively short time frame. This was done for several reasons of which the most compelling was that because this cartoon series was geared towards children, they wanted to keep their attention focused on the series for as long as possible without boring them. The chases between Tom and Jerry in each episode were busy yet short. The brevity of old style cartoons added to their charm because they became more memorable by ensuring that less is more was truly the way forward in animation.
  • They had double meanings: Betty Boop is one of the most iconic cartoons from the vintage era of animation. Betty Boop is also an example of the depiction of women in animation which is something that was ground breaking for its time because she was the center of attention, not a damsel in distress or a sidekick as other female cartoons have been in the past. Betty Boop was one of the first examples of coquettish female charm in animation that was titillating for the audience at the time because she was a pin-up cartoon character with attitude.
  • Animals were given character: One element that old style cartoons pioneered was how animals were humanised in a way that allowed the audiences to connect with them. Porky Pig and Daffy Duck are two examples of vintage cartoons based on animals that had human feelings mixed with animal instincts. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse cartoons added innocence to the animal cartoon canon that has animators around the world inspired to find ways of adding this retro flair to modern day cartoons.
  • They were exciting: The old style Road Runner cartoons were exciting to watch for past audiences and present day ones because they had plenty of action wrapped into one package. You knew that Wile. E Coyote would never really get the best of the Road Runner but that didn’t affect how fun the cartoons were. Old style cartoons did not have carte blanche to discuss whatever they wanted which is why action and cunning played a huge role in the storylines for these cartoons.
  • They were stylish: The Jetsons was a groundbreaking cartoon series that was based in the future. The sleek futurism of the Jetsons made it ahead of its time, and if you watch the original episodes of the Jetsons, it still looks stylish yet retro at the same time.

Old style cartoons have encouraged countless animators because of the feelings that they evoke in animators and people. The retro cartoon glow shows no sign of fading as more cartoons from this era are issued on DVD. 

This is a guest post by Leoni Dizon. Leoni is an advertisement specialist working for Flikli Animated Productions and now writes about how to create attractive business explainer videos, educational and instructional videos, and screencasts that brings concepts to life in a simple way. 

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