An Account Of The Production History Of The Fleischer Brothers Studios

Essay by cherrocksUniversity, Bachelor's December 2004

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Fleischer Studios was an animation company that was headed by brothers, Max and Dave Fleischer who were both East Coast American animators. The company opened in 1921 and at the time was Disney's biggest competitor. Originally from Vienna, Max and Dave Fleischer immigrated to New York in the 1880's along with their Jewish family that included another brother Joe who would later contribute to the Fleischer's success.

Max Fleischer studied art at Cooper Union and the Art Students League and began his commercial career as an artist and cartoonist but an interest in mechanics led him to animation. While trying to find an easier and more economical way of producing animations Max and his brothers Dave and Joe invented the Rotoscope, a mechanism used to trace movement from live-action film. This process was used in the Fleischer's first film Experiment No.1 (1915) in which Dave portrayed the character of a clown who would later become the famous Koko The Clown.

After the invention of the Rotoscope in 1915 Max and Dave Fleischer began working with John Randolph Bray who commissioned them to produce a series of shorts called Out Of The Inkwell featuring Koko for Bray Studios. The brothers also produced educational films, which included some of the first training films for the US army.

In 1921 the Fleischer brothers left Bray to form their own animation company, Out Of The Inkwell Films, Inc. and began producing some of the most innovating films of the time including some of the first sound cartoons.

By 1929 Max and Dave had formed the Fleischer Studios to produce cartoons for Paramount Pictures in a new series called Talkartoons and although they had previously had success with the character Koko The Clown the introduction of sound had made the animation field a very...