Monday 24 June 2024

What I Like About Fleischer Cartoons

If you’re like me, you’re a sucker for those throw-away scenes in the early Fleischer cartoons where something inanimate springs to life, does or says something weird or silly, then becomes inanimate again.

Here’s an example from Betty Boop For President. It has nothing to do with the plot. Mr. Nobody’s water pitcher grows a face. It is thirsty. It pours water from itself, grows hands, drinks the water, is satisfied, and returns to being an inanimate object.

There’s an added irony here because the pitcher is full of water already, but is thirsty.

The Fleischer cartoons are littered with bits like this and it adds to the humour.

Seymour Kneitel and Doc Crandall are the credited animators.


  1. Hans Christian Brando24 June 2024 at 14:13

    That's why I'm less than charitable about the later Fleischer cartoons. I know the pressure was on to keep up with Disney, and apparently the Paramount executives were as unimaginative as they were unkind toward "their" cartoon studio. But the Fleischers betrayed their own heritage; when you watch those wonderfully surreal, jazzy Talkartoons and early Betty Boop, you'd think how great if the cartoons only had been able to evolve along their own lines. Although acquiring Popeye was a major plum, even he began slowly losing his moxie by the early forties. Superman has a fan base now, but those cartoons were not highly regarded in their time (nor frankly should they be: as much as they're alleged to have cost, they still seem like cheesy low-budget live-action shorts badly rotoscoped in drab Technicolor). Most of the so-called Color Classics are pretty bad; the later non-Popeye shorts (Animated Antics, Gabby, Stone Age) beyond the pale. The features are enjoyable and charming but second rate.

    I'm glad other people like them, though, and that they're being restored and shown theatrically again.

  2. Chuck Fiala

    It would have been better for animation if Fleischer was able to continue without becoming more Disney-like. I'm guessing that isn't what the public of the 1930s wanted though.

    1. The fact that every studio copied Disney to an extent--even Van Beuren--shows that's what they thought people wanted. I still enjoy the early Fleischer cartoons immensely; there's always something worth watching.

  3. “Hey, Kool-Aid!” “OH YEAH!!!!!”