Max Fleischer


Max Fleischer

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 ClownPopeye 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 and Walt Disney (1956)

Max Fleischer Meets Walt Disney

On the 4th of January 1956, the Fleischer Studios once rival studio The Walt Disney Company founder Walter Elias Disney met Max Fleischer. The meeting was set up by Richard Fleischer, who had directed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Fleischer, 72 at the time creator of Out of the Inkwell, Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons, spent Monday at the Disney studio. Max Fleischer a veteran cartoonist was still active and was working on secret training films for the U.S Navy. He came to the coast to celebrate his golden wedding anniversary with Mrs. Essie Fleischer. Max stayed in Beverly Hills with his son, Richard, who was a director including  the latter's wife and three children. Fleischer started as a newspaper cartoonist with the Brooklyn Eagle nearly half a century ago. He is one of the real pioneers of animated cartoons still active. He made training films as far back as World War I. Among Fleischer's scientific creations were his cartoon productions of "Einstein's Theory of Relativity" and "Darwin's Theory of Evolution." His son Richard, directed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, for Disney.


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.
  • After actress Helen Kane tried to sue the studios for allegedly stealing her style, Max couldn't stand the acteress and had her blacklisted from a newspaper and could not say another good word about her. 

See Also

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