Max Fleischer was an American animator. He was a pioneer in the development of the animated cartoon and served as the head of Fleischer Studios. He brought such animated characters as Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Popeye, and Superman to the movie screen and was responsible for a number of technological innovations.
Creation of Betty Boop
In August 1930, a Rubenesque poodle-human hybrid, Bimbo's girlfriend, made her screen debut in Dizzy Dishes, and quickly became Fleischer's biggest star; she would later be named Betty Boop. By 1931, Betty's floppy canine ears had evolved into hoop earrings, and she was transformed into a fully human girl (though she retained her romantic relationship with the dog for several episodes after her transmogrification). By the time of Minnie the Moocher (1932), Betty was in a class of her own, and by August 1932, starting with Stopping the Show, the Talkartoon series was renamed as Betty Boop Cartoons; by then, as noted by even the opening song from Stopping the Show, Betty clearly became the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Animated Screen." Along with his standout female star, Fleischer had become one of the two premier animation producers; the up-and-coming Walt Disney was the other.
- Max Fleischer died from heart failure on September 11, 1972, after a period of poor health. On the day of his death, Fleischer was cited as a great pioneer who invented an industry, and was named by Time Magazine as the "Dean of Animated Cartoons".
- His son Richard Fleischer was hired by Walt Disney, who was Max's main competitor, to direct the Disney blockbuster "20000 Leagues Under the Sea". Although Disney and Max Fleischer had been competitors for decades by that time, they had never actually met, and in fact Richard said that Disney often asked him, "How's your dad doing?".
- According to Max Fleischer's book "Noah's Shoes" (1944), he held fifteen patents then being used in the motion picture industry.
- Fleischer produced some of the first war training films for the U.S. Army.
- Max Fleischer and his brother Dave Fleischer both released and produced the first sound cartoons. The first released was Come Take a Trip in My Airship. The first produced was My Old Kentucky Home.
- Co-founded, with Dave Fleischer, animation production company Inkwell Studios in 1927.
- Awarded U.S. patent 1,242,674 ("Method of Producing Moving Picture Cartoons") for the rotoscope, which allowed film footage of a live figure to be used as a guide for drawing.
- Father to Ruth Fleischer and Richard Fleischer.