Check out this amazing and informative short film from the folks at VOX. Hosted by Phil Edwards, this episode of Vox Almanac features one of Max Fleischer's best known inventions, the rotoscope. What made the rotoscope so special? What does it really do? How is it still impacting film making today? Find out the answer to these questions, and so much more in just five minutes. Thanks Vox!
It's the perfect addition to your Halloween viewing, including some seriously surreal clips, like the one above from "Bubbles." Check it out here!
Nearly two years ago, on December 6, 2015, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the day Max Fleischer submitted his patent application for the Rotoscope. This year we're celebrating the date on which the United States Patent and Trademark Office officially approved Max Fleischer's patent application: October 9, 1917.
It was on August 9, 1930, that a doe-eyed, nameless nightclub singer made her big screen debut in "Dizzy Dishes." Though her role was brief, she quickly won over audiences, and it wasn't long before she became known to the world as Betty Boop.
We hope you enjoy this short video tribute to Betty, and don't forget to check out the 6-part Betty Boop exhibit in our Museum!
You can find part one of our discussion HERE. Stay tuned for even more of our discussion with Mr. Pointer in the coming weeks!
Ray Pointer is the author of The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer.
Now on CBCRadio: How the 'independent, sexy, smart' Betty Boop continues to stay relevant after 87 years
The TMC evening continues with two films directed by Max's son, the acclaimed film director Richard Fleischer: the noir classic The Narrow Margin (1952) followed by the sci-fi thriller Soylent Green (1973) starring Charlton Heston. Thanks to animation historian Ray Pointer for helping to make this wonderful event into a reality. Ray's upcoming book The Art and Invention of Max Fleischer: An American Animation Pioneer is due to be released in December of this year.
From start to finish that's more than 4 hours of Fleischer films, covering 35 years of film making, and featuring 3 generations of the Fleischer family. You don't want to miss this!
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.
In Part Two, we look at the actual making of Mr. Bug Goes to Town, and how the staffers of Fleischer Studios made use of innovative techniques and ground-breaking inventions (many of which they themselves had developed) to bring this beautiful film to life.
Part two of this fascinating exhibit includes rare and wonderful home movie footage of the Mr. Bug animators at play, the story behind the Studio's hangnail insurance policy and so much more!
Today we're launching the first in this 3-part series, The Story About the Story. Look for parts 2 and 3 later this month:
Part Two - coming February 17
Part Three - coming February 24
While some saw combat, many were called on to use their special blend of artistic talent and technical know-how to create training and educational films for our troops. Still others worked with the signal corp developing and managing communications, and others were enlisted by the government to create films that would help to build morale at home, and encourage Americans to do their part, whether it be by donating scrap metal or buying war bonds.
This historic photo, taken in front of the Fleischer Studio's Miami home, serves to commemorate some of the brave members of the Fleischer Studio family who served their country during World War II.
Myron Waldman (in the photo above, front row and third from the left) enlisted in the Signal Corp and worked with Frank Capra on the Why We Fight series which was created to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war, and later to the public to encourage American support for involvement in the war.
One Fleischer animator who saw combat was Willard Bowsky. Having started with the Studio in the 1920's in New York, Bowsky - whose work can be seen in Talkartoon, Color Classics and Screen Song (Bouncing Ball) films, as well as dozens of classic Betty Boop and Popeye cartoon shorts - moved with the Studio to Florida in 1938, and enlisted in the Army in 1942.
Willard Bowsky was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, and is interred at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.
On this Veterans Day, as we revisit and honor these great heroes of yesteryear, all of us at Fleischer Studios want to offer up our heart felt gratitude and admiration to to the courageous men and women - heroes all - who continue to fight for us today.
Thanks for all you do!
Sometimes it seems like there is a national holiday for everything, so it might surprise you to discover that November 5, 2015 is the very first ever National Love Your Red Hair Day!!!
In recognition of International Animation Day, we're taking a look back at a pioneer of animation who actually never set foot in Fleischer Studios and whose work predates Max Fleischer's invention of the Rotoscope by more than twenty years: Charles-Émile Reynaud.
Reynaud's technique involved creating numerous tiny paintings that he would then string together to create a sense of movement. As the drawing (below) demonstrates, Reynaud used two projectors to project his animated work: one to project the stationary background and another to project moving objects.
Looking at the excerpt below from Reynaud's charming early work, Pauvre Pierrot, one can see how, even in its early and somewhat crudely executed state, animated pictures captured the public’s imagination.
While Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique was all-too-quickly eclipsed by the advent of live-action of motion pictures, it served to inspire many early animators – like Cohl, Blackton, Bray and of course Max Fleischer – who combined innovation, invention and artistry to bring worlds created almost entirely of pen and ink to wonderful, animated life.
Max Fleischer, like Reynaud, would go on to hold numerous of patents for his innovative animation techniques and mechanisms, including the Rotoscope (1915) which he used in making the 1919 The Tantalizing Fly featured below. It offers a wonderful contrast to Reynaud's earlier work, and it's interesting to note that both films feature the antics of classic clown characters.
For more information on International Animation Day, visit Association Internationale du Film d'Animation on their website or check them out on Facebook.
Pauvre Pierrot (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
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.
And stay-tuned, the month is nearly over... but we've still got one more installment to come in our Celebrating Betty series. Look for it on August 31st!