Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Film Fun clipping

For many years the only celebrity animator was Walt Disney – at least when I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s. Of course I also knew of Walter Lantz because of his appearances on his Woody Woodpecker television show.

During the silent era, though there were two men who stood out with different degrees of public awareness. Pat Sullivan, the "creator" of Felix the Cat, was deft with publicity. Max Fleischer, though, did one better as he was the co-star with Ko-Ko of many of the silent shorts.

Max in the 1940s

I've not been able to find any reference to why Max starred in these shorts – as opposed to hiring an actor. My theory is that he was simply following the tradition set by Winsor McCay and other cartoonists who appeared on the stage with a lightening sketch act. He was the cartoonist presenting the drawings.

Max's fame was noted in this clipping from "Film Fun," a movie magazine that took stills from popular films and put "funny" captions to them. This was the opening image from the story supposedly written by Max and its shows a little of the Inkwell Studios facility from the mid-Twenties.

I've not been able to identify any of the artists in the shot, but have always been impressed by the dark and cramped quarters depicted in it.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs