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."
Have you seen the new selection of adorable Betty Boop pre-paid debit cards from CARD.com? The sweetest way to pay! See all the designs here:https://www.card.com/gallery?tag=betty+boop
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!
We are delighted to be partnering with the fresh and creative production company, NORMAAL Animation. My grandfather, Max Fleischer, created Betty Boop as the fun, feisty and fashionable woman whose spirit has transcended and transformed multiple generations of fans. It is so exciting to know that this television series will present Max’s beloved icon through new, highly original content that will continue to keep Betty engaging and relatable to future generations of fans.
- Mark Fleischer, President and Chairman of Fleischer Studios.
Read the full press release HERE.
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
Who are these staffers? What did they do at Fleischer Studios? To find out, click here, and visit our very special holiday exhibit 2015. And if you haven't already done so, we invite you to check out last year's Christmas exhibit featuring 100 more remarkable cards created by our talented family of artists.
A special thanks to Ryan and Stephanie Englade, who made this post possible by allowing us to share this remarkable card from their own personal collection with all of you.
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)
Find the image you want and put it on a t-shirt, a pillow, an ipad cover... you can even make your own Betty Boop stamps! Create your own Betty Boop canvas wall art, unique holiday cards for family and friends, or a personalized Betty Boop fleece blanket; with a wide range of images, and so many great products to chose from, the possibilities are endless! Check it out here.
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.
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!