We are thrilled to celebrate Memorial Day, and all our men and women in uniform, with the help of our very first guest contributor Bob Jaques. An acclaimed animation producer and director - currently an Animation Director working on SpongeBob Squarepants, Jaques is a self proclaimed Fleischer Studios fanatic. His blog Popeye Cartoons celebrates, as he states, "the most amazing cartoon character ever created."
An avid amateur animation historian, Jaques comes to us with the fascinating story of Jack Ozark, Fleischer animator turned World War II code-breaker (one of many animators to use his very special set of skills while serving in the armed forces during the War).
This fascinating exhibit includes a number of wonderful drawings that his fellow animators created for Ozark during his time in the service. It's a wonderful tribute to an amazing animator and serviceman, and an important reminder of the power of humor and friendship - even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Launched by the National Cartoonist Society on May 5, 1999, National Cartoonists Day commemorates the debut of the first color comic strip, Hogan's Alley - drawn and written by Richard Outcault - on May 5, 1895 in New York Sunday World.
We're celebrating by sharing this great, early comic strip drawn and written by a young Max Fleischer, and which appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on December 14, 1903. E.K. Sposher, the intrepid photographer featured in this strip, is attempting to photograph the Williamsburg Bridge which would open a few days after publication, on December 19, 1903.
As Max's son, Richard Fleischer, recounts in Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution, it was in 1900 that a then 17-year-old Max was so determined to work at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which was well known for both its comic strips and editorial cartoons, that he...
... biked his way across the Brooklyn Bridge, found the Eagle's offices, somehow or other got to meet Herbert S. Ardell, the manager of the Art Department and made him a proposition. Max offered to pay the Eagle two dollars a week to just let him sit in the Art Department and watch the artists work.
Impressed, Ardell made a counteroffer: the Eagle would pay Max two dollars a week to deliver papers from a horse drawn wagon and be the Art Department's errand boy. Max quickly accepted, confident that:
"once he got his foot in the door, the rest of him would soon follow."