Fleischer, Max and Dave
FLEISCHER, Max and Dave
Animators. Nationality: American. Born: Max in Vienna, 17 July 1883 (or 1885); Dave in New York City, 14 July 1894. Education: Max studied at New York Art Students League, Cooper Union, and Mechanics and Tradesmen's School. Military Service: U.S. Army, 1917; edited live action training films, 1917–18. Career: 1887—Fleischer family moved to New York City; before 1912—Dave worked as theater usher and in engraving company; 1912—Dave a cutter for Pathé Films; before 1914—Max an errand boy for Brooklyn Daily Eagle and for Boston photoengraver; 1914—Max a commercial artist for Crouse-Hinds, and Popular Science Monthly art editor; 1915—Max invented Rotoscope, device for tracing live-action film for conversion to animation; 1916—employed by John Randolph Bray at Paramount, producing animation sequences for Bray Pictograph series; joined by Dave as assistant and Rotoscope model; 1917–18—Max made Army instructional films; 1919—brothers formed Out of the Inkwell, Inc. production company; 1925—distribution company Red Seal Pictures acquired; 1929—Fleischer Studios, Inc. formed, distributing through Paramount; 1936—produced medium-length Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor; 1939—studio moved from New York to Miami; 1939—first full-length feature Gulliver's Travels; 1941—second feature Mr. Bug Goes to Town, a financial failure; Paramount withdrew loans, shutting down studio; 1942—Dave became head of Columbia cartoon dept. Max produced instructional films for Jam-Handy company; 1944—Dave moved to Universal, held various positions until1967 retirement; 1962—Max formed a new Out of the Inkwell, Inc.; 1963—Max retired. Died: Max Fleischer died in 1972; Dave Fleicher died in 1979.
Films as Director:
(Max Fleischer as Director):
Out of the Inkwell (+ pr + sc + an, Dave asst d, Rotoscope model)
How to Read an Army Map; How to Fire a Lewis Gun; How to Fire a Stokes Mortar
(Dave Fleischer as director, Max as producer of cartoon shorts, both collaborating on scripts):
advertising cartoon: That Little Big Fellow
Marriage Wows; Radio Riot; Hot Dog; Fire Bugs; Wise Flies; The Grand Uproar; Sky Scraping; Up to Mars
advertising cartoons: Graduation Day in Bugland (for Listerine Co.); Suited to a T. (for India Tea Co.); Hurry Doctor (for Texaco); In My Merry Oldsmobile (for Oldsmobile Co.); Texas in 1999 (for Texaco); A Jolt for General Germ (for Listerine Co.?); other cartoons: Ace of Spades; Teacher's Pest; Tree Saps; The Cow's Husband; The Male Man; Twenty Legs under the Sea; Step on It; The Herring Murder Case
Poor Cinderella; Little Dutch Mill
An Elephant Never Forgets; The Song of the Birds; The Kids in the Shoe; Dancing on the Moon; Time for Love; Musical Memories
Somewhere in Dream Land; The Little Stranger; The Cobweb Hotel; Greedy Humpty Dumpty; Hawaiian Birds; Play Safe; Christmas Comes But Once a Year
Bunny-mooning; Chicken à la King; A Car-Tune Portrait; Peeping Penguins; Educated Fish; Little Lamby
Hold It; Hunky and Spunky; All's Fair at the Fair; The Playful Polar Bears; The Tears of an Onion
Always Kickin'; Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (2-reeler); Small Fry; Barnyard Brat; The Fresh Vegetable Mystery (in 3-D)
Little Lambkin; Ants in the Plants; Kick in Time; Snubbed by a Snob; You Can't Shoe a Horsefly; The Dandy Lion; King for a Day; Sneak, Snoop and Snitch; The Constable; Mommy Loves Puppy; Bring Himself Back Alive
All's Well; Pop and Mom in Wild Oysters; Two for the Zoo; Zero, the Hound; Twinkletoes Gets the Bird; Raggedy Ann and Andy (2-reeler); Swing Cleaning; Sneak, Snoop and Snitch in Triple Trouble; Fire Cheese; Twinkletoes—Where He Goes Nobody Knows; Copy Cat; Gabby Goes Fishing; The Wizard of Arts; It's a Hap-hap-happy Day; Vitamin Hay; Twinkletoes in Hat Stuff
Superman; Superman in The Mechanical Monsters
Superman in Billion Dollar Limited; Superman in The Arctic Giant; Superman in The Bulleteers; The Raven (2-reeler); Superman in The Magnetic Telescope; Superman in Electric Earthquake; Superman in Volcano; Superman in Terror on the Midway
Out of the Inkwell Series—
The Clown's Pup; The Tantalizing Fly; Slides
The Boxing Kangaroo; The Chinaman; The Circus; The Clown's Little Brother; The Ouija Board; Perpetual Motion; Poker (The Card Game); The Restaurant
The Automobile Ride; Cartoonland; The First Man to the Moon; Fishing; Invisible Ink; November; The Sparring Partner
Birthday; Bubbles; The Challenge; The Dresden Doll; The Fish (possibly alternative title for Fishing, 1921); The Hypnotist; Jumping Beans; Mosquito; Pay Day; Reunion; The Show
Balloons; The Battle; Bedtime; The Contest; False Alarm; Flies; The Fortune Teller; Fun from the Press (series of 3 inserts); Laundry; Modeling; The Puzzle; Shadows; Surprise; Trapped; The Einstein Theory of Relativity (d Max only; live action, in 2-reel version, and 4-reel with some cartoon sequences)
Big Chief Ko-Ko; The Cartoon Factory; Ko-Ko Celebrates the Fourth; Ko-Ko Eats; Ko-Ko in Toyland; Ko-Ko Nuts; Ko-Ko on the Run; Ko-Ko Packs 'em; Ko-Ko Sees Spooks; Ko-Ko's Thanksgiving; Ko-Ko the Barber; Ko-Ko Trains Animals; Mother Goose Land; The Storm
Ko-Ko at the Circus; Ko-Ko Baffles the Bulls; Ko-Ko Gets Egg-cited; Ko-Ko Hot After It; Ko-Ko Kidnapped; Ko-Ko's Paradise; Ko-Ko Steps Out; Ko-Ko the Convict; Toot! Toot!; The Fadeaway; It's the Cat's
Inklings (series of 18); East Side, West Side (Song Car-Tune?); Ko-Ko Back Tracks; Ko-Ko Makes 'em Laugh; Ko-Ko Plays Pool; Ko-Ko's Kane; Ko-Ko the Knight; Ko-Ko Hops Off; Ko-Ko the Kop; Ko-Ko Explores; Ko-Ko Chops Suey; Ko-Ko's Klock; Ko-Ko Kicks; Ko-Ko's Quest; Ko-Ko the Kid; Ko-Ko Needles the Boss
Ko-Ko's Kink; Ko-Ko's Kozy Korner; Koko's Germ Jam; Ko-Ko's Bawth; Ko-Ko Smokes; Ko-Ko's Tattoo; Ko-Ko's Earth Control; Ko-Ko's Hot Dog; Ko-Ko's Haunted House; Ko-Ko Lamps Aladdin; Ko-Ko Squeals; Ko-Ko's Field Daze; Ko-Ko Goes Over; Ko-Ko's Catch; Ko-Ko's War Dogs; Ko-Ko's Chase; Ko-Ko Heaves-Ho; Ko-Ko's Big Pull; Ko-Ko Cleans Up; Ko-Ko's Parade; Ko-Ko's Dog-Gone; Telefilm; Ko-Ko in the Rough; Ko-Ko's Magic; Ko-Ko on the Track; Ko-Ko's Act; Ko-Ko's Courtship
No Eyes Today; Noise Annoys Ko-Ko; Ko-Ko Beats Time; Ko-Ko's Reward; Ko-Ko's Hot Ink; Ko-Ko's Crib; Ko-Ko's Saxaphonies; Ko-Ko's Knock-down; Ko-Ko's Signals; Ko-Ko's Focus; Ko-Ko's Conquest; Ko-Ko's Harem-Scarem; Ko-Ko's Big Sale; Ko-Ko's Hypnotism; Chemical Ko-Ko; Noah's Lark (sound)
Song Car-Tune Series—
Come Take a Trip in My Airship; Mother, Mother, Mother, Pin a Rose on Me; Oh, Mabel!; Old Folks at Home; Echo and Narcissus; The Proxy Lover: A Fable of the Future
Daisy Bell; Dixie; Good-bye My Lady Love; I Love a Lassie; My Bonnie; Suwanee River; Evolution (d Max only; partlive action feature)
By the Light of the Silvery Moon; Comin' through the Rye; Darling Dolly Gray; Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?; In the Good Old Summertime; My Old Kentucky Home; Oh You Beautiful Doll; Old Black Joe; Pack Up Your Troubles; Sailing, Sailing over the Bounding Main; Sweet Adeline; Take a Trip; Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Der-A; Trail of the Lonesome Pine; Tramp, the Boys are Marching
Carrie of the Chorus Live-Action Series—
Berth Mark; Another Bottle, Doctor (not released); Morning Judge
Screen Songs Series—
The Sidewalks of New York; Yankee Doodle Boy; Old Black Joe; Ye Olde Melodies; Daisy Bell; Mother Pin a Rose on Me (remake of 1924 title); Chinatown My Chinatown; Dixie (remake of 1925 title); Good-bye My Lady Love (remake of 1925 title); My Pony Boy; Smiles; Oh You Beautiful Doll (remake of 1926 title); After the Ball; Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet; I've Got Rings on My Fingers
Bedelia; In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree; I'm Afraid to Come Home in the Dark; La Paloma; Prisoner's Song; I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles; Yes! We Have No Bananas; Come Take a Trip in My Airship (remake of 1924 title); In the Good Old Summer Time (remake of 1926 title); A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight; The Glow Worm; The Stein Song; Strike Up the Band; My Gal Sal; Mariutch; On a Sunday Afternoon; Row, Row, Row
By the Beautiful Sea; I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now; I'd Climb the Highest Mountain; Somebody Stole My Gal; Any Little Girl That's a Nice Little Girl; Alexander's Ragtime Band; And the Green Grass Grew All Around; My Wife's Gone to the Country; That Old Gang of Mine; Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean; You're Driving Me Crazy; Little Annie Rooney; Kitty from Kansas City (also Betty Boop series); By the Light of the Silvery Moon (remake of 1926 title); My Baby Just Cares for Me; Russian Lullaby; Please Go 'way and Let Me Sleep
Sweet Jenny Lee; Show Me the Way to Go Home; When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along; Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie; Just One More Chance; Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning; Shine On Harvest Moon; I Ain't Got Nobody; You Try Somebody Else; Rudy Vallee Melodies; Down among the Sugar Cane; Just a Gigolo; School Days; Sleepy Time Down South; Sing a Song; Time on My Hands
Dinah; Ain't She Sweet; Reaching for the Moon; Aloha Oe; Popular Melodies; The Peanut Vendor; Song Shopping; Boilesk; Sing, Sisters, Sing!; Down by the Old Mill Stream; Stoopnocracy; When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba; Boo, Boo, Theme Song; I Like Mountain Music; Sing, Babies, Sing
Keeps Rainin' All the Time; Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing; Tune Up and Sing; Lazybones; This Little Piggie Went to Market; She Reminds Me of You; Love Thy Neighbor
I Wished on the Moon; It's Easy to Remember
No Other One; I Feel Like a Feather in the Breeze; I Don't Want to Make History; The Hills of Old Wyomin'; I Can't Escape from You; Talking through My Heart
Never Should Have Told You; Twilight on the Trail; Please Keep Me in Your Dreams; You Came to My Rescue; Whispers in the Dark; Magic on Broadway
You Took the Words Right Out of My Heart; Thanks for the Memory; You Leave Me Breathless; Beside a Moonlit Stream
Betty Boop Series—
Swing, You Sinner; Accordion Joe; Mysterious Mose; Dizzy Dishes; Barnacle Bill
Silly Scandals; Bimbo's Initiation; Bimbo's Express; Minding the Baby; In the Shade of the Old Apple Sauce; Mask-a-Raid; Jack and the Beanstalk; Dizzy Red Riding Hood; Betty Co-ed; The Bum Bandit
Minnie the Moocher; Swim or Sink; Crazy Town; The Dancing Fool; A-Hunting We Will Go; Chess-nuts; Let Me Call You Sweetheart (also Screen Song); Hide and Seek; Admission Free; The Betty Boop Limited; Stopping the Show; Betty Boop's Bizzy Bee; Betty Boop M.D.; Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle; Betty Boop's Ups and Downs; Romantic Melodies (also Screen Song); Betty Boop for President; I'll Be GladWhen You're Dead, You Rascal (also Screen Song); Betty Boop's Museum; Any Rags; Boop-Oop-a-Doop; The Robot
Betty Boop's Ker-choo; Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions; Is My Palm Read; Betty Boop's Penthouse; Snow White; Betty Boop's Birthday Party; Betty Boop's May Party; Betty Boop's Big Boss; Mother Goose Land; The Old Man of the Mountain; I Heard; Morning, Noon, and Night; Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party; Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Ha! Ha! Ha!; Betty in Blunderland; Betty Boop's Rise to Fame (compilation of sequences from Stopping the Show, Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle, and The Old Man of the Mountain, + new material); Betty Boop's Life Guard; There's Something about a Soldier; Betty Boop's Little Pal; Betty Boop's Prize Show; Keep in Style; When My Ship Comes In; She Wronged Him Right; Red Hot Mama
Baby Be Good; Taking the Blame; Stop That Noise; Swat the Fly; No! No! A Thousand Times No!; A Little Soap and Water; A Language All My Own; Betty Boop and Grampy; Judge for a Day; Making Stars; Betty Boop with Henry the Funniest Living American; Little Nobody
Betty Boop and the Little King; Not Now; Betty Boop and Little Jimmy; We Did It; A Song a Day; More Pep; You're Not Built That Way; Happy You and Merry Me; Training Pigeons; Grampy's Indoor Outing; Be Human; Making Friends
House Cleaning Blues; Whoops! I'm a Cowboy; The Hot Air Salesman; Pudgy Takes a Bow-wow; Pudgy Picks a Fight; The Impractical Joker; Ding Dong Doggie; The Candid Candidate; Service with a Smile; The New Deal Show; The Foxy Hunter; Zula Hula
Riding the Rails; Be Up to Date; Honest Love and True; Out of the Inkwell; Swing School; Pudgy and the Lost Kitten; Buzzy Boop; Pudgy and the Watchman; Buzzy Boop at the Concert; Sally Swing; On with the New; Thrills and Chills
My Friend the Monkey; So Does an Automobile; Musical Mountaineers; The Scared Crows; Rhythm on the Reservation; Yip, Yip, Yippy
I Yam What I Yam; Blow Me Down; I Eats My Spinach; Season's Greetinks; Wild Elephinks (all cartoons also Betty Boop series)
Sock a Bye Baby; Let's You and Him Fight; Can You Take It?; The Man on the Flying Trapeze; Shoein' Hosses; Strong to the Finich; Shiver Me Timbers!; Axe Me Another; A Dream Walking; The Two-Alarm Fire; The Dance Contest; We Aim to Please
Be Kind to Aminals; Pleased to Meet Cha; The Hyp-nut-tist; Choose Your Weppins; Beware of Barnacle Bill; For Better or Worser; Dizzy Divers; You Gotta Be a Football Hero; King of the Mardi Gras (also Betty Boop Series); Adventures of Popeye (compilation with sequences from I Eats My Spinach, Popeye the Sailor, and Axe Me Another); The Spinach Overture
Vim, Vigor and Vitaliky; A Clean Shaven Man; Brotherly Love; I-ski Love-ski You-ski; Bridge Ahoy!; What No Spinach?; I Wanna Be a Life Guard; Let's Get Movin'; Never Kick a Woman; Little Swee' Pea; Hold the Wire; Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor (2-reeler); The Spinach Roadster; I'm in the Army Now (compilation)
The Paneless Window Washer; Organ Grinder's Swing; My Artistical Temperature; Hospitaliky; The Twisker Pitcher; Morning, Noon, and Night Club; Lost and Foundry; I Never Changes My Altitude; I Like Babies and Infinks; The Football Toucher Downer; Protek the Weakerist; Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (2-reeler); Fowl Play
Let's Celebrake; Learn Polikeness; The House Builder-Upper; Big Chief Ugh-Amugh-Ugh; I Yam Love Sick; Plumbing Is a Pipe; The Jeep; Bulldozing the Bull; Mutiny Ain't Nice; Goonland; A Date to Skate; Cops Is Always Right
Leave Well Enough Alone; Customers Wanted; Wotta Nitemare; Ghosks in the Bunk; Hello, How Am I?; It's the Natural Thing to Do; Never Sock a Baby
Shakespearian Spinach; Females Is Fickle; Stealin' Ain't Honest; My Feelin's Is Hurt; Onion Pacific; Wimmin Is a Myskery; Nurse Mates; Fightin' Pals; Doing Imposikible Stunts; Wimmin Hadn't Oughta Drive; Puttin' on the Act; Popeye Meets William Tell; My Pop, My Pop; Poopdeck Pappy; Eugene, the Jeep
Problem Pappy; Quiet! Pleeze; Olive's Sweepstake Ticket; Flies Ain't Human; Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle; Olive's Boithday Presink; Child Psykolojiky; Pest Pilot; I'll Never Crow Again; The Mighty Navy; Nix on Hypnotricks
Kickin' the Conga 'round; Blunder Below; Fleets of Stren'th; Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye; Many Tanks; Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix; Baby Wants a Bottle-ship
Stone Age Cartoons Series—
Way Back When a Triangle Had Its Points; Way Back When a Nag Was Only a Horse; Way Back When a Night Club Was a Stick; Granite Hotel; The Foul Ball Player; The Ugly Dino; Wedding Belts; Way Back When a Razzberry Was a Fruit; The Fulla Bluff Man; Springtime in the Rockage; Pedagogical Institution (College to You); Way Back When Women Had Their Weigh
Adventures in the Far North (Captain Kleinschmidt's Adventures in the Far North) (Kleinschmidt) (co-pr and ed Max only; live action)
Finding His Voice (co-d Max only; for Western Electric Co.)
Screen Gems Series—
Song of Victory (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Gullible Canary (Geiss) (Dave pr); The Dumbconscious Mind (Sommer and Hubley) (Dave pr); Tito's Guitar (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Malice in Slumberland (Geiss) (Dave pr); Toll Bridge Troubles (Wicker) (Dave pr); King Midas, Junior (Sommer and Hubley) (Dave pr); Cholly Polly (Geiss) (Dave pr)
Slay It with Flowers (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Vitamin G-Man (Sommer and Hubley) (Dave pr); There's Somethingabout a Soldier (Geiss) (Dave pr); Kindly Scram (Geiss) (Dave pr); Prof. Small and Mr. Tall (Sommer and Hubley) (Dave pr); Willoughby's Magic Hat (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Plenty Below Zero (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Duty and the Beast (Geiss) (Dave pr); Mass Mouse Meeting (Geiss) (Dave pr); Tree for Two (Wickersham) (Dave pr); He Can't Make It Stick (Sommer and Hubley) (Dave pr); The Fly in the Ointment (Sommer) (Dave pr); Dizzy Newsreel (Geiss) (Dave pr); A-Hunting We Won't Go (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Rocky Road to Ruin (Sommer) (Dave pr); Room and Bored (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Imagination (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Nursery Crimes (Geiss) (Dave pr); The Cocky Bantam (Sommer) (Dave pr); Way Down Yonder in the Corn (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Playful Pest (Sommer) (Dave pr); Polly Wants a Doctor (Swift) (Dave pr)
Sadie Hawkins Day (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Herring Murder Mystery (Roman) (Dave pr); Magic Strength (Wickersham) (Dave pr); Lionel Lion (Sommer) (Dave pr); Amoozin' But Confoozin' (Marcus) (Dave pr); Giddy-yapping (Swift) (Dave pr); The Dream Kids (Wickersham) (Dave pr); The Disillusioned Bluebird (Swift) (Dave pr); Tangled Travels (Geiss) (Dave pr); Trocadero (Nigh) (Dave pr, live action + d animated sequences + ro)
Sing and Be Happy Series, live action with cartoon inserts—
Merrily We Sing (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); A Bit of Blarney (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); The Singing Barbers (Moore) (Dave anim spvr)
Let's Sing a College Song (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); Let's Sing a Western Song (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); Kernels of Corn (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); Let's Go Latin (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); Manhattan Memories (Moore) (Dave anim spvr)
Lamp Post Favorites (Moore) (Dave anim spvr); Singin' the Blues (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Spotlight Serenade (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Choo Choo Swing (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); River Melodies (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Clap Your Hands (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Hits of the Nineties (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Let's Sing a Love Song (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Sing While You Work (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); Songs of the Seasons (Parker) (Dave anim spvr); The Year Around (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr)
Minstrel Mania (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Songs of Romance (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Sailing with a Song (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Singing Along (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Francis (Lubin) (Dave live action, storyboard only)
Cartoon Melody Series, live action with cartoon inserts—
Brother John (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Lower the Boom (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Peggy, Peg and Polly (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr)
Bedtime for Bonzo (de Cordova) (Dave, live action + d anim sequences for trailer); Bubbles of Song (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Readin' 'ritin' and 'rithmetic (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Down the River (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Hilly Billy (Cowan) (David anim spvr); MacDonald's Farm (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Reuben, Reuben (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Uncle Sam's Songs (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr)
Memory Song Book (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Songs That Live (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr); Toast of Song (Cowan) (Dave anim spvr)
By the FLEISCHERS: books—
Fleischer, Max, Betty Boop, New York, 1975.
Fleischer, Max, Betty Boop's Sunday Best, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1995.
On the FLEISCHERS: books—
Garvie, Charles, The Betty Boop Book, London, 1984.
Cabarga, Leslie, The Fleischer Story, New York, 1988.
On the FLEISCHERS: articles—
de Bree, K., "Max Fleischer, de koning van de voorfilm," in Skoop (Amsterdam), vol. 8, no. 5, 1972.
Beylie, Claude, "Les Epinards par la racine," (obituary for Max), in Ecran (Paris), November 1972.
Langer, M., "Max and Dave Fleischer," in Film Comment (New York), January-February 1975.
Fernett, G., "Even Popeye Couldn't Hold Fleischer's Studio Together," in Classic Film Collector (Muscatine, Iowa), Winter 1978.
Baker, B., "Max & Dave Fleischer," in Film Dope (London), February 1979.
De Bree, K., "In Memoriam Dave Fleischer," in Skoop (Amsterdam), August 1979.
Obituary for Dave, in Variety (New York), 4 July 1979.
Moret, H., obituary for Dave, in Ecran (Paris), 20 October 1979.
Cahiers de la Cinémathèque (Perpignan), Summer-Autumn 1980.
Maltin, Leonard, in Of Mice and Magic, New York, 1980.
Culhane, Shamus, in Talking Animals and Other People, New York, 1986.
"The Perfect Film," in Animation Journal (Orange), Fall 1992.
Langer, Mark, "The Fleischer Rotoscope Patent," in Animation Journal (Orange), Spring 1993.
Butters, Patrick, "Respectable Collectibles: Animated Cartoon Cels as Collectibles from Disney, Warner Bros and Max Fleischer Studios," in Insight on the News, 1 February 1999.
Deneroff, Harvey, "The Innovators 1930–1940: The Thin Black Line," in Sight & Sound (London), June 1999.
* * *
Max and Dave Fleischer were important innovators in American animation in the 1920s and 1930s. Their cartoon series, which included Out of the Inkwell, Betty Boop, Popeye, and Superman, relied on a flair for ingenuity and comic imagination that made their work stylistically distinctive. The best of the Fleischer brothers' work features an unselfconscious surrealism and fluid imagery unparalleled in pre-Second World War animation.
Max Fleischer emigrated with his family in 1887 from Vienna to New York City, where his brother Dave was born seven years later. Max studied art at the Art Students League and Cooper Union in New York City. After his schooling, he became a staff artist on the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. There he met cartoonist John R. Bray, whose subsequent move into animation later furthered Fleischer's own career. By 1915, Max was an art editor at Popular Science Monthly. His job heightened his interest in mechanics and inspired him to invent a machine that would enable an animator to trace over live-action film frame-by-frame. Fleischer was assisted by his brothers Joe and Dave in his new invention, the Rotoscope.
The Fleischers put the Rotoscope to use in a series of cartoons produced by Bray and called Out of the Inkwell. The series featured the "out-of-the-inkwell" appearances and adventures of a cartoon clown (later named Ko-Ko) in live-action settings. Max and Dave collaborated on the Out of the Inkwell series for Bray until 1921, when they established their own company. Max took over responsibility for managing the business and distributing the films. Dave, meanwhile, assumed creative directorship over all the company's cartoons. The Fleischers released their cartoons from 1921 to 1927 through their own distribution company, Red Seal Pictures. After Red Seal collapsed in 1927, they distributed through Paramount pictures until they were forced out of business in 1942.
The brothers' success increased in the late 1920s with Talkartoons, a series of sound cartoons. One of the Talkartoons' characters became so popular that she got her own series. Betty Boop, modelled after the flapper actress Helen Kane and individualized by Mae Questel's vocals, was the first sexualized cartoon character. Frequently likened to actress Mae West for her suggestive body language and natural insouciance, Betty Boop appealed to adults as well as to children. The best of the series capitalized on good-natured sexual innuendo, constantly metamorphosing images, and thinly veiled Freudian symbolism. But in 1934, Hollywood's new Production Code called for so much revision that a sanitized and desexed Betty Boop destroyed the series' imaginative flair, though it continued until 1939.
When Betty's popularity waned, another Fleischer cartoon character became the studio's main attraction. The Popeye series, based on the Elzie Segar comic strip character, featured new songs, comic twists, and a more ambitious graphic style that used perspective and a range of values. The peak of the series came in the late 1930s in three two-reel Popeyes (Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor, Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp). The three films featured Technicolor, and the first two used Max Fleischer's Turntable Camera, a device for photographing animation cels in front of revolving miniature sets that created three-dimensional effects.
Soon after, the Fleischers attempted to compete with Walt Disney's successful animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They made two feature-length cartoons. Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Bug Goes to Town. The financial failure of the latter prompted Paramount pictures to foreclose on the Fleischers' company. Paramount took over the management, renamed the studio (Famous Studio), and fired the Fleischers. The two brothers, who had not been speaking to each other for some time, went their separate ways.
Dave worked at Columbia Pictures cartoon studio and Universal studios. He retired in 1969. Max worked on a series of industrial and educational projects, mechanical inventions, and television animation, but he never achieved his former success. He died in 1972 at the Motion Picture Country Home, where he had been a resident for almost ten years.