Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fleischer Cartoon Ads, 1935

The Fleischer studio had the best-looking and funniest cartoons out of New York. When the 1930s began, the Fleischers presented the world with some of the oddest-looking characters in stories that were interrupted by little routines (some of which had little to do with what was going on screen) or took a sudden left turn into strangeness. As the decade wore on, the cartoons mellowed. Experts blame the Production Code of 1934, a strike, a move to Florida and a case of D.C.D. (Disney Cutsey Disorder), not necessarily in that order.

Here are some full-page ads from The Film Daily from 1935. The designs in the Color Classics ad look like the great goggle-eyed characters of the early ‘30s. The Popeye two-reeler didn’t come out until late 1936 (and “Sinbad” inherited an extra “d” in his name). I’m of the vintage who first saw the cartoon on TV in the black-and-white days but it’s truly spectacular in full colour. And I can only presume that Betty Boop was saddled with newspaper comic strip characters in an attempt to make lightning strike twice in the same studio. The Fleischers successfully adapted Elzie Segar’s Popeye to the screen after a try-out on a Boop cartoon. Henry, the Kaztenjammer Kids (who later bombed at MGM) and the Little King (who had an earlier appearance at Van Beuren) failed. Someone could have sued for false advertising for gluing the moniker “the Funniest Living American” on Henry. Only the last word appears to be correct.


  1. I didn't know that the Fleischer's made any Katzenjammer Kids cartoons, or even considered the idea.

  2. They considered it, but didn't do it (no Toots and Casper, either). Frankly, I think Fleischer would have been a perfect fit for the Katzies—but not mixing them with Betty. Either way, it's a moot point...

  3. Dave, was it a case of Fleischer having right of first refusal or was there a deal with King Features to actually use those characters?