In this, the second installment of our Max and Me series, Ginny Mahoney - Max Fleischer's grand-daughter - shares one of her favorite memories of voice artist Mae Questel, perhaps best remembered as the voice of Betty Boop.
One of my favorite memories of Mae is actually a phone call she made to me while visiting my mother, Ruth, in New York sometime around 1970. I was a young mother at the time, living in Washington, D.C. and at home with three young kids, including my eldest, Jeni, who was six at the time and absolutely loved Casper the Ghost.
“Put Jeni on the phone,” Mae said when she heard Jeni was a fan.
“Hi Jeni…this is Casper,” Mae intoned in Casper’s iconic friendly voice. Mae, as Casper, then proceeded to have an entire conversation with Jeni. “Wait,” Casper finally said, “let me get Betty Boop!” After talking to Betty, Jeni when on to have conversations with Popeye, Olive Oyl and about a half dozen other characters.
Mae’s lovely and very generous gesture made for a very special day in the Mahoney household, and wonderfully exemplifies the spirit of this vibrant and talented artist.
For more, check out Finding Her Voice in our virtual museum, featuring Mae Questel and the five other women who voiced Betty in the 1930s.
BETTY BOOP © 2014 King Features Syndicate, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc.
TM Hearst Holdings, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc.
Max and me by Ginny Mahoney
Though the rest of us grew older, Betty Boop seemed to remain as young and vital as ever. Even today, the world is watching the films Fleischer Studios made in the 1930’s.
In an effort to understand why Betty and so many of PopMax’s other creations remain such beloved and iconic characters, I began researching and reflecting on my own family’s history: Max’s story, the birth of Fleischer Studios, the characters they created and the times in which they lived.
That’s what I want to share with all of you --
Every once in a while I’ll post some of the fascinating things I’ve discovered along the way.
For starters –
Do you know how many films Betty appeared in during the 1930s?
Does this post look familiar? Some of "Max and Me" posts also appear on BettyBoop.com
It's All Relative(s)! - a young journalist writes about animation history and discovers she is a part of the story!
In the Small World Department, Fleischer Studios’ historian Ginny Mahoney was recently contacted by high school sophomore Louisa Goldman. A budding young journalist, Louisa was working on an article about Lucas Gray, an animator living in Santa Monica, who was heavily influenced by the work of early pioneering animators, including Max Fleischer and Fleischer Studios.
Ginny and Louisa had a lovely long conversation about Max and the history of Fleischer Studios, and Louisa wrote up her article. It wasn’t until her family read the article that Louisa found out she was not only writing about Fleischer Studios, she was related to it! And in some very important and foundational ways.
As it turns out, Louisa is related to Roger Goldman, who’s related to Frank Goldman. Frank Goldman is credited with making a huge difference in the survival of Max and Dave's fledgling animation business back in the 1920s. Here’s an excerpt from Out of the Inkwell, Richard Fleischer’s biography about his father, Max Fleischer:
"To cut a long and depressing story short, Max and Dave found it impossible to work for Weiss and quit the company. Shortly after they resigned, Weiss declared bankruptcy and disappeared.
And if that’s not enough, it appears Louisa is also related to J.F. Leventhal. Mr. Leventhal was a very early partner of Max’s and together they created the very first military training films – for WWI.
So, relatively speaking, this was a fabulous connection for both Louisa – and Fleischer Studios!
You can read Louisa’s article, Behind the scenes of Jewish Animation, here.
Richard Fleischer's Out of the Inkwell is available here.
Photo of Fleischer Studios staff, taken outside Goldman-Carpenter Labs, Long Island City, where the studio was located for about a year in 1929. Front row l. to r.: possibly Sid Wallick, Edith Vernick, George Cannata, Seymour Kneitel, Max Fleischer, Charles Shettler, Sid Marcus. Al Eugster behind Vernick (with hat and cigar). Behind Cannata and S. Kneitel is Abner Kneitel. Wearing a white hat (on left) is Rudy Zamora. In distance behind Seymour is Joe Fleischer (wearing suspenders), William Henning is man with his hand on the window. 1929.
This just from Animation Scoop on the Indie Network of blogs: A tribute to the film of Fleischer Studios May 30, May 31 and June 1!
According to Mr. Beck, "This is part of a special film series presented at classic movie theatre in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Highlights will include several films for which Max Fleischer was nominated for Academy Awards:Popeye Meets Sinbad, Superman, Hunky & Spunky, and Educated Fish. Silent cartoons will be accompanied live on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ."
For the full blog post on Animation Scoop, click here.
For more information and directions to this event, click here.
Check out Max and Me!
Ginny Mahoney, Max Fleischer’s granddaughter, has started posting delightful short essays about growing up with her “PopMax” and letting us in on little-known and unique info about our ever-popular Betty Boop!
Click here to read Ginny’s first blog post.
Keep checking bettyboop.com for more exciting posts in the coming weeks.