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Encyclopedia > Fleischer Studios

Fleischer Studios, Inc. is an American corporation which originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 by brothers Max Fleischer and Dave Fleischer, who ran the company from its inception until being fired by parent company Paramount Pictures in January 1942. In its prime, it was the most significant competitor to Walt Disney Productions, and is notable for bringing to the screen cartoons featuring Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman. Animation is the illusion of motion created by the consecutive display of images of static elements. ... This article is about the street in New York City. ... New York, New York redirects here. ... 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Max Fleischer (July 19, 1883–September 11, 1972) was an important pioneer in the development of the animated cartoon. ... David Fleischer ( July 14, 1894 - June 25, 1979) was a German-American animator, film director, and film producer, best known as a co-owner of Fleischer Studios with his older brother Max Fleischer. ... The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003. ... This article is about the year. ... Walt Disney Productions is the former name of The Walt Disney Company, which it held from 1929 to 1986. ... Koko the Clown and Fitz Koko the Clown was an animated character created by animation pioneer, Max Fleischer. ... Betty Boop from the opening title sequence of the earliest entries in the Betty Boop Cartoons series. ... Popeye from an opening still from one of his cartoon shorts, with his characteristic corncob pipe and single good eye. ... This image of Superman appeared at the beginning of each of the cartoons. ...

Contents


Silent Films

The company had its start when Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope which allowed for extremely lifelike animation. Using this device, the Fleischer brothers got a contract with Bray Studio in 1919 to produce their own series called Out of the Inkwell which featured their first character, Koko the Clown. This became a very successful series which gave them the confidence to start their own studio in 1921. Rotoscoping is a technique where animators trace live action movement, frame by frame, for use in animated cartoons. ... Bray Productions was the dominant animated series studio in the years before World War I. // History The studio was founded in December of 1914 by J. R. Bray, perhaps the first first studio entirely devoted to animation, and series animation at that (he was probably beaten a few months earlier... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Koko the Clown and Fitz Koko the Clown was an animated character created by animation pioneer, Max Fleischer. ...


Throughout the 1920s, the studio was one of the top producers of animation, with clever humor and numerous innovations. These included Ko-Ko Song Cartunes, sing-along shorts (featuring "The Famous Bouncing Ball"), which were a precursor to music videos; and extended length educational films on subjects like relativity. A music video (also video clip, promo) is a short film or video meant to present a visual representation of a popular music song. ... In physics, the term relativity is used in several, related contexts: Galileo first developed the principle of relativity, which is the postulate that the laws of physics are the same for all observers. ...


The studio even produced some experimental sound films years before The Jazz Singer. The sound shorts attracted little interest at the time though, in part because only a few theaters were then equipped with electronic speakers. The Jazz Singer is a 1927 U.S. movie musical notable for being the first feature-length motion picture with talking sequences. ...


The studio used Lee De Forest's methods to produce over a dozen early cartoons with synchronized sound tracks, including, Come Take a Trip in My Airship, Darling Nelly Gray, My Old Kentucky Home, and In the Good Old Summer Time. Lee De Forest patented a three-electrode version of the Audion. ... My Old Kentucky Home, originally released on April 13, 1926, by Max Fleischers Out of the Inkwell Films company, was one of the Song Car-Tunes series. ...


Sound and Color

Betty Boop, from the opening title sequence of the earliest entries in the Betty Boop Cartoons series.
Enlarge
Betty Boop, from the opening title sequence of the earliest entries in the Betty Boop Cartoons series.

With the full adoption of sound films in the late 1920s, the studio was one of the few animation companies to successfully make the transition with Screen Songs, a continuation of the earlier Ko-Ko Song Cartunes. The first of these was The Sidewalks of New York, released on February 5, 1929. In October of that same year, the Fleischers introduced a new series called Talkartoons. Earlier entries in the series were mostly one-shot cartoons, but a new character, Bimbo became eventually a staple of the series. Bimbo was quickly upstaged by his girlfriend, Betty Boop, who quickly became the star of the studio. Betty was the first featured female character in American animation, and she reflected the distinctive adult urban orientation of the studio's product. Betty Boop. ... Betty Boop. ... Sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or primarily in North America and in Australia as the Roaring Twenties . In Europe it is sometimes refered to as the Golden Twenties. ... February 5 is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Look up October in Wiktionary, the free dictionary October is the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... Bimbo in the 1931 Talkartoon, Silly Scandals. ... Bimbo is a cartoon dog created by Fleischer Studios. ... Betty Boop from the opening title sequence of the earliest entries in the Betty Boop Cartoons series. ...


The Fleischers' success was further solidified when they licensed E.C. Segar's comic strip character Popeye the Sailor for a cartoon series of his own. Popeye eventually became the most popular series the Fleischers ever produced, and its success rivaled that of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoons. Three Technicolor Popeye featurettes were produced in the late 1930s, which were billed in many theatres alongside with or above the main feature. Elzie Crisler Segar (born December 8, 1894 - died October 13, 1938) was an American cartoonist who created the famous comic-strip character Popeye in 1929. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... A Popeye comic book cover shows Popeye, with his characteristic corncob pipe and single good eye, and his girlfriend Olive Oyl. ... For the company founded by Disney. ... Mickey Mouse Promotional Poster. ... It has been suggested that John Hay Whitney/Technicolor be merged into this article or section. ... // Events and trends The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the global depression. ...


Unfortunately, the studio's fortunes began to turn as the 1930s continued. In 1934, the Hays Code was enacted in Hollywood, which meant severe censorship for films. As a result, Betty was desexualized and much of her charm was lost. Even worse, the Fleischers caved in to pressure from their distributor, Paramount Pictures, to begin emulating the style and content of Walt Disney's cartoons, which robbed the studio of their distinctive flavor. The most notable example of the Fleischers' adaptation of the Disney style was their Color Classics series, which was essentially a copy of Disney's Silly Symphonies. // Events and trends The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the global depression. ... 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Production Code (also known as the Hays Code) was a set of guidelines governing the production of motion pictures. ... The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003. ... Color Classics was an animated short subjects series produced by Fleischer Studios from 1934 to 1940 as a competitor to Walt Disneys Silly Symphonies. ... Silly Symphonies was an acclaimed series of animated short subjects produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1938. ...


Later period

Fleischer Studios' efforts to emulate the Disney studio culminated in the production of animated feature films, following the success of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Paramount loaned Fleischer the money for a larger studio, which was built in Miami, Florida in order to take advantage of tax breaks and to break up union activity resulting from a bitter 1937 strike. The new Fleischer studio opened in March 1938, and production on the first feature, Gulliver's Travels, went from the development stage into active production. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. ... Downtown Miami as seen from Watson Island City nickname: The Magic City, The American Riviera, The Sixth Borough Official website: http://www. ... A tax is a compulsory charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state (e. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Gulliver Gullivers Travels (1726, amended 1735) is a work of fiction by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the travellers tales literary sub-genre. ...


Upon its Christmas 1939 release, Gulliver performed modestly, although the quality of the story and animation was far behind that of the film it tried to emulate, Snow White. Between the release of Gulliver and the follow-up feature, Mister Bug Goes to Town, the Fleischers produced their best work from this period, a series of high quality shorts based upon the comic book superhero Superman. The first short in the series, simply titled Superman, had a budget of $100,000, one of the highest ever for a theatrical short, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Christmas is a holiday observed in much of the world on 25 December (or on 7 January in most Eastern Orthodox Churches). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Mister Bug Goes to Town is an animated feature produced by Fleischer Studios and released to theares by Paramount Pictures on December 4, 1941. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Superman (left) and Batman, two of the most recognizable and influential superheroes. ... This image of Superman appeared at the beginning of each of the cartoons. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ...

The Superman series, Fleischer Studio's most successful late period project.
The Superman series, Fleischer Studio's most successful late period project.

However, this late success did not help the studio lift its financial trouble. The expanded staff of the new Miami studio created a high overhead, necessitating steady production. A number of the shorts turned out during this period, such as the continuing Popeye shorts and a 1941 adaptation of Raggedy Ann and Andy, maintained a high level of quality. Others, like the Stone Age shorts, and the various Gulliver spin-off series, were among the studio's least successful output. Superman, from the title sequence of the Fleisher Superman cartoons This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Superman, from the title sequence of the Fleisher Superman cartoons This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Raggedy Ann is a fictional character created by writer Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938) in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. ...


As profits dwindled, the Fleischers had to continuously request loans from Paramount, putting more and more of the shares of their studio up as collateral. In addition, Max and Dave Fleischer were no longer on friendly speaking terms. Paramount had both Fleischers submit a signed letter of resignation, to be used at Paramount's discretion, in order for the Fleischer Studio to receive financing for the 1940 - 1941 film season. On May 24, 1941, Paramount assumed full ownership of Fleischer Studios, Inc., and incorporated a new company, Famous Studios, as the successor to Fleischer Studios, which remained active as a corporate shell. The Fleischers remained in control of production through the end of 1941. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Famous Studio was the animation studio owned by Paramount Pictures after the company foreclosed on Fleischer Studios and ousted Max and David Flesicher in 1942. ...


Mister Bug Goes to Town was finally released in December 1941. Unlike Gulliver, Mister Bug failed to make an impression of any kind, and sunk quickly. Dave Fleischer left the studio at that time to become the head of Columbia's Screen Gems animation studio in California. With the co-owner of their animation studio now working for a competitor, Paramount produced the letters of resignation and called their loan, bankrupting Fleischer Studios, Inc. and officially removing the Fleischers from control of the studio. Max Fleischer went on to become an employee of the Jam Handy studio, and Isadore Sparber, Dan Gordon, and Max Fleischer's son-in-law Seymour Kneitel became the new heads of the studio, which was moved from Miami back to New York by 1943. The Fleischers were never a major force in the industry again, but their films and characters have remained popular, and by the 1980s, the Fleischers were recognized as the animation pioneers that they were. Look up December in Wiktionary, the free dictionary December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Screen Gems is an American subsidiary company of Columbia Pictures Corp. ... State nickname: The Golden State Official languages English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) Barbara Boxer (D) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 3rd 410,000 km² 4. ... (in silhouette from bottom center) Tom Servo, Joel Robinson, and Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000 watching Hired! Part One. ... Daniel Gordon is a fictional character of the television series of Charmed. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... The 1980s in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1980 and 1989. ...


Fleischer Studios is today an in-name-only company, handling the licensing of characters such as Betty Boop and Koko the Clown.


Public Domain

The rights to the Fleischer/Famous Studios cartoon library are complicated. With the exception of the Superman and Popeye cartoons, Paramount's cartoon library was originally sold to a company called U M & M Corp. (which later became National Telefilm Associates [NTA] and Republic Pictures). U M & M (as well as its NTA successor) altered the original negatives to a majority of the cartoons and modified their original front-and-end credit sequences, either blocking out all references to Paramount or creating new but cheaply done credits. True animation historians and fans should be aware that this was not the way these classic cartoons were originally intended to be seen. Republic Pictures Corporation (aka Republic Entertainment) is an independent film, television, and video distribution company that was originally a movie production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, best known for its specialization in quality B pictures, westerns and movie serials. ...


The 1950-1958 cartoons were sold to Harvey Comics in 1958, which also bought the 1958-1962 cartoons as well (today they are owned by Classic Media). The copyright for the Fleischers' cartoons was not renewed by Famous or Paramount, and as a result the majority of the Fleischers' cartoons entered the public domain. This included the Color Classics series, the Superman series, and the two full-length feature films. The Popeye series did not become public domain as Popeye's trademark was enforced by King Features Syndicate and the cartoons themselves acquired by Associated Artists Productions (which became part of United Artists), including the three two-reel Popeye Color Specials (Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp). Classic Media, L.L.C. is an independent production company/distributor of family programming. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... Associated Artists Productions was a distributor of theatrical features and short subjects for television founded in 1953 and headed by Elliott Hyman. ... The current United Artists logo. ... Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor is a two-reel animated cartoon short subject in the Popeye Color Specials series, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on November 27, 1936 by Paramount Pictures. ... Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Babas Forty Thieves is a two-reel animated cartoon short subject in the Popeye Color Specials series, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on November 26, 1937 by Paramount Pictures. ... Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp is a two-reel animated cartoon short subject in the Popeye Color Specials series, produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on April 7, 1939 by Paramount Pictures. ...


Most of the Flesichers' color films have been widely available on video since the 1980s, often on inexpensive (and poor quality) videotapes sold in supermarkets and department stores as parts of collections of other public-domain cartoons. Both animation fans and the UCLA Film and Television Archive have worked to give the classic Fleischer cartoons the credit they deserve, and high-quality restored editions of the Flesicher cartoons have also been made available on pay-cable, home video and DVD. Many of these restored prints include the original front-and-end Paramount titles. The 1980s in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1980 and 1989. ... DVD-R writing/reading side, based on Photo DVD.jpg. ...


Roughly half of the entries in the Betty Boop series, and most of those in the Out of the Inkwell/Inkwell Imps series have also entered the public domain, though they are not as widely available because of the popular belief among today's video producers that black and white and silent cartoons in general do not appeal to young children. Some of these cartoons have also appeared in restored versions (mostly with their original credits). This article is about the term as used in media and computing; for more specific uses, see Black and White. ... A silent film is a film which has no accompanying soundtrack. ...


In any case, DC Comics (via Warner Bros.) now owns the original film elements to the Superman series, while Turner Entertainment (also via Warner Bros.) owns the Popeye series outright (with the exception, of course, of the later produced 1960s made-for-TV shorts which are owned by King Features Entertainment). Meanwhile, Paramount (through Republic, which the studio's parent company, Viacom, acquired in 1999), in a twist of irony, now owns the original elements to its 1927-1950 output they themselves originally released (in addition to the 1962-1967 shorts they have retained the rights to). Paramount now also owns the video rights, having inherited them via sister company Republic (whose previous video licensee, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, had held video rights until September, 2005 when Paramount took over). Although there were official releases in the late 1980s of Betty Boop compilation VHS and LaserDisc box sets by Live Entertainment (Lions Gate's predecessor), and select Superman cartoons by Warner Home Video (as part of separate VHS and LaserDisc collections of episodes from The Adventures of Superman TV series of the 1950s), sadly it would take longer for any official DVD releases of the Fleischer cartoons due to Republic's ownership and video license changes, the potential film and/or digital restoration costs, and the financial viablility as the result of releasing restored versions. The current DC Comics logo, adopted in May 2005. ... The WB Shield used from 2003 to present day Warner Bros. ... Turner Entertainment Company was established August 4, 1986 to oversee Turner Broadcastings film library after its acquisition of MGM/UA. In addition to the studio, Turner got its library, which included all of MGMs films, Warner Bros. ... Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation is a Canadian entertainment company that trades on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol, LGF. As of 2004, it is the most commercially-successful film and television distribution company based outside of the United States. ... Pioneers LaserDisc Logo The laserdisc (LD) was the first commercial optical disc storage medium, and was used primarily for the presentation of movies. ...


Recently however, there have been some notable video releases--at least two separate versions of the Superman series released on DVD, both of which feature all 17 original episodes: The Complete Superman Cartoons - Diamond Aniversary Edition (released in 2000 by Image Entertainment) and Superman Adventures (released in 2004 by Platinum Disc Corporation); and VCI Entertainment/Kit Parker Films' DVD compilation of all the Color Classics entitled Somewhere In Dreamland, which includes only a fraction of shorts remastered from 35MM, but otherwise taken from the best available sources Kit Parker could provide VCI, and digitally recreating the original front-and-end Paramount titles (Animation archivist Jerry Beck served as consultant for this box set, as well as providing audio commentary for select shorts). Jerry Beck (born February 9, 1955) is a well known animation historian, with ten books and numerous articles to his credit. ...


See also

During the beginnings of the silent film era, the central location of the motion picture industry had not yet relocated to Hollywood. ... The Golden Age of American animation is a period in American animation history that began with the advent of sound cartoons in 1928 and lasted into the 1960s when theatrical animated shorts slowly began losing to the new medium of television animation. ...

External links

  • Toonopedia: Max Fleischer Studio
  • Fleischer Sound Cartoons Filmography

  Results from FactBites:
 
Max Fleischer Studio - Don Markstein's Toonopedia (883 words)
The Fleischer Studio teamed with Dr. Lee DeForest, an early sound experimenter, to produce sing-along cartoons with sound as early as 1924.
In a sense, however, it was Disney that proved the Fleischer Studio's undoing.
Fleischer was the only studio of the time to take up the challenge.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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