Tomorrow’s new episode of Cartoon Network’s Clarence is a tribute to the iconic rubber hose animation style of the 1920s and ’30s.
In the episode “Goldfish Follies,” Clarence buys a goldfish, but the goldfish bag breaks before he can get home. You can possibly guess the rest from its original title “Clarence Puts a Goldfish in His Mouth.”
Clarence head of story and voice actor Spencer Rothbell told Cartoon Brew that he conceived the episode-long homage as a glimpse of how Clarence sees the world—“through sepia/cartoony glasses”—and that the bulk of inspiration was taken from the work of Fleischer Studios. “I’m a huge fan of [Fleischer] animation from that era—Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman. There are a few classic Disney/Felix The Cat/Tex Avery-style moments as well.”
“The design team did an amazing job. They essentially had to redesign the show in an entirely new visual style for the episode,” Rothbell said.
Character designer Kali Fontecchio, who has also worked on Disney’s Mickey Mouse shorts and Genndy Tartakovsky’s now-defunct Popeye film, worked on the episode. “I really enjoy working in the classic animation styles including the ‘Fleischer’ look,” said Fontecchio. “Personally I referenced Silly Symphonies, Flip the Frog, and Betty Boop…It’s a very cartoony episode!”
The episode also got a 1930s-style intro number from series music composer Simon Panrucker.
“It’s a really fun episode overall, packed with little gags and moments,” said Rothbell. “Goldfish Follies” airs Thursday, April 9, at 5pm ET/PT on Cartoon Network.