WISCONSIN RAPIDS CELEBRATES
ANIMATED SCREEN STAR BETTY BOOP
Community Festival Held in Hometown of Animator Grim Natwick
BBF Wisconsin Inc will host the third annual Grim Natwick Film Festival, June 22-24, 2012, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. The festival celebrates Betty Boop’s 1930 animation debut and honors Grim Natwick - Wisconsin Rapids’ native son and Betty’s original top animator at Fleischer Studios - for his lifelong achievements. The first Festival was held in summer 2010.
Created by Max Fleischer, Betty Boop began her career as a flirty puppy dog, in part to be a competitor to Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. Natwick, who began his career at Hearst’s International Film Services in 1921, later moved to Fleischer Studios, where, from 1929 to 1931, he used his artistic talent as the key member of the team that worked under Max’s direction in transforming Betty into the sassy “booper” girl we know today. Natwick left Fleischer Studios in 1931 to work at Ub Iwerks Studio and then moved in 1934 to work at Disney, where he became the primary animator for Snow White. He returned to Fleischer Studios in 1938, and worked on Gulliver’s Travels.
Jim Natwick, Grim’s great nephew said, “The Natwick family is very excited to see this festival in collaboration with the Fleischer family. In a way, Grim is the most famous of Wisconsin
Rapids' native sons – by proxy – through Max Fleischer’s creation, Betty Boop. Max and Grim both knew they were working with the best in teaming up to bring Betty to life.”
During his 100-year-long life, Grim Natwick worked on a number of popular features in addition to Walt Disney’s Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. They included Fleischer Studios’ Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons and Gulliver’s Travels; Mr. Magoo; and many other classic animation cartoons and movies.
New York City-based Fleischer Studios took huge risks to bring Betty to the big screen because of the censorship practices of the 1930s. Ever since she made her big-screen debut, she has captured the imagination of generations of fans with her famous "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" and powerful cartoon sensuality. Today, as the worldwide exclusive licensing agent for Betty Boop, King Features works closely with Fleischer Studios to keep Betty entertaining her fans.
A Festival to Remember
Grim Natwick Film Fest honors the original top animator of Betty Boop – native son Grim Natwick, born and buried in Wisconsin Rapids – and to celebrate world famous Betty Boop. Over twenty hours of films, workshops and filmmaker talks will take place at McMillan Library, 490 East Grand Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids, over a three-day period.
BBF Wisconsin is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community organization; proceeds from its events are used to support future Festivals in Wisconsin Rapids. The festival originated out of the Arts & Heritage Cluster, a volunteer group of community members dedicated to “engaging, uniting and illuminating their local arts and heritage for a vibrant community,” and the Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Arts & Heritage Cluster was part of an effort to revitalize greater South Wood County by focusing on the area’s assets and strengths.
About Grim Natwick
Born August 16, 1890, in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, Myron "Grim" Natwick studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in Vienna, Austria.
Natwick is best known as a top animator for Fleischer Studios; its most popular character was Betty Boop. While working there in 1939, Natwick was in charge of drawing the Prince and the Princess for Gulliver’s Travels, as well as helping to animate Popeye the Sailor Man.
During his career, Natwick worked for a number of other American animation studios, including the Ub Iwerks studio, Walt Disney Productions, the Walter Lantz studio, UPA, and the Richard Williams studio. At Disney, Natwick was a lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and helped animate Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. He also worked on Mr. Magoo and many other cartoon greats of the 1940s and ‘50s.
According to the ASIFA-Hollywood-International Animated Film Society, “Grim Natwick is undoubtedly one of the most influential animators who ever lived. If one had to define the single element that set his animation apart, it would have to be that his characters always seemed to have a genuine spark of life.”
Natwick died in Los Angeles on Oct. 7, 1990, just after having a 100th birthday party with friends. He is rumored to have remarked "Well, what do you want from me now – 200?!"
About Betty Boop
Betty Boop made her debut on Aug. 9, 1930, in the “Talkartoons” series, the first “talkies” of animation, which creator Max Fleischer’s New York City-based Fleischer Studios produced for Paramount. After trials early on by other actresses, Mae Questel was chosen to provide Betty’s distinctive voice. By 1932, Betty, considered to be the first and only female animated screen star, had taken the country by storm. Betty Boop has starred in more than 100 Fleischer cartoons, two syndicated comic strips, two animated musical television specials for CBS, and in the 1988 film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” She was saluted in a prime-time, star-studded tribute on American Movie Classics and was the first cartoon character to be featured in A&E’s award-winning “Biography” series.
Today, Betty Boop is a worldwide licensing and merchandising phenomenon. More than 250 licensees in the United States and nearly as many internationally produce quality products bearing Betty’s likeness in virtually every category.
The third annual Grim Natwick Film Festival in Wis. Rapids
will be held June 22-24, 2012.
P O Box 732, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495-0732
Deliveries go to: 540 Third St S, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54494
For information about other local attractions, please contact:
Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
For information about Betty Boop from King Features, please contact: