The Fleischer brothers, Max and Dave, were animation pioneers. They were a big thing in the 1920´s, with Max at the helm, at a time when the Disney brothers (with Walt at the forefront) were…well, just two unknowns to most people as yet.
They created flawless, one could even say fluid, animations that were so modern for the times and so adventurous, that they soon caught everyone´s imagination. They were the creators of Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, and the Bouncing Ball, the first Looney Toones (!), they also brought Popeye the Sailor Man to the screen, and they even produced the first feature-length animated cartoon about the theory of relativity.
They virtually attacked (in the artistic sense) everything in sight. Their Superman cartoons are amongst the most luxurious and sophisticated ever done, attempting to do something that would capture the attention of both kids and adults. If you have never seen them I am including an episode underneath the documentary that we are highlighting here today. You will find a definite Art Deco feel to everything, with a touch of inspiration in Fritz Lang.
You will also be delving into the creative stimulation, and the exploration of visual expression, it caused in past, as well as current, directors and composers (Steven Spielberg -who also was influenced by Lang and later, by David Lean- and John Williams in the Superman theme, come immediately to mind).
They mixed live action and cartoons, they were doing mischievous things at a time when, we tend to think, the technology was so basic it could not do much (remember that each drawing was made and colored by hand). There are no computers and no CGI effects here.
For those very reasons I invite you to meet, or rediscover today, the Fleisher Brothers. Artistic geniuses.
Until next time
©2021 by Ignacio Alperin Bruvera