On this day in 1941, Fleischer Studios released what would be the first of nine Superman cartoons (another eight were made by the Studio's successor, Famous Studios). Considered by many to be some of the finest animated short films from the Golden Age of Animation, the first film in this series, "Superman" (a.k.a "The Mad Scientist") took the 33rd spot in Jerry Beck's 1994 book "The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals."
In celebration of this very special day we're sharing a few fascinating facts about these captivating and lavishly animated cartoons, and the impact they - and the Fleischers themselves - had on the American myth that is Superman.
Like Popeye before him, Superman was one of the few characters that the Fleischers did not create, but rather brought to animated life from comics. And just like Popeye before him (to whom the Fleischers gave a predilection for - and super strength from - spinach), Superman found some of most of his identifiable traits at the hands of Fleischer animators.
Join the team! Betty Boop, Fleischer Studios, King Features and the friends and family of Max Fleischer's granddaughter, Terri Kneitel, will be coming together to fight Pancreatic Cancer at the Lustgarten Foundation's Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk on Sunday, October 11th in NY on Long Island's Jones Beach... and you can help by joining Terri's Bettys!
Although recent advances in cancer treatment have led to overall better survival rates in the U.S., pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest forms of this terrible disease. Despite being the nation’s fourth leading cancer killer, pancreatic cancer receives only 2% of federal research funding. Simply stated, more money is urgently needed to help researchers identify better treatments and a cure for this disease.
So when Terri Kneitel, the great-grandaughter of Fleischer Studios Founder Max Fleischer and granddaughter of the Studios' long-time Head Animator Seymour Kneitel, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2015, her friends, colleagues and family wanted to do all they could to support her. Terri and others like her, who are now engaged in the fight of their lives, urgently need funding that will enable researchers to continue their efforts to discover better treatments, and an eventual cure, for this devastating disease.
According to Terri, her "friends and colleagues from work at the Brookhaven National Laboratory sprung into action. Jason Remien, Manager of the Environmental Protection Division, signed up with the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Walk and created a team to walk and raise money for the cause." They named the team Terri's Bettys. When Terri talked to Mark Fleischer, CEO of Fleischer Studios, he offered to help with the artwork for the T-Shirts. Mark contacted King Features and Creative Director Frank Caruso was more then happy to help out. He created the wonderful Terri's Bettys design at the top of this post.
Terri says she "is overwhelmed by all the support," and thanks everyone for supporting Terri's Bettys in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
WHAT IS THE LUSTGARTEN FOUNDATION?
The Lustgarten Foundation is the nation’s largest private supporter of pancreatic cancer research.
Thanks to Cablevision Systems Corporation’s commitment to underwrite the Foundation’s administrative expenses, 100% of every dollar donated to The Lustgarten Foundation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research.
Visit the Lustgarten Foundation on Facebook here.
At Fleischer Studios, we're celebrating this very special holiday with Betty and Grampy (1935), the first screen appearance of that wacky, wonderful and just plain unstoppable genius called simply Grampy.
From the moment he burst to wonderful life, Grampy was the quintessential grandparent: wise, warm, always ready for fun and full of surprises.
Grampy's ingeniously complicated inventions are often referred to as "Rube Goldberg" machines. As it turns out, this may be no coincidence. Goldberg, a cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor was already well known by the time Grampy first appeared in 1935.
Many believe Grampy is based chiefly on Max himself, which is also possible. Max, like Grampy, was a life-long tinkerer and inventor with numerous patents to his name. Although he is best remembered for his inventions and innovations in the area of animation, Max actually held a number of patents for some very Grampy-like inventions, including a "Never-Wind" clock!
Max Fleischer himself would go on to become much-beloved grandfather of six, all of whom called him "PopMax." He even lived long enough to meet and enjoy many of his sixteen great-grandchildren before passing away in 1972.