Flipbook – Fleischer Brothers – “Dance”

The Fleischer Brothers came from a Jewish family in Austria who then moved to New York City. Max Fleischer was born in Austria, while Dave Fleischer was born after the move to New York. Growing up on the Lower East Side, they had access to the largest concentration of movie houses in the world during the first years of cinema (Holberg). At the time, New York City was packed with many lower class immigrants living close together, so it was inevitably a rough environment with a lot of sex and violence. This hostile environment no doubt contributed to the more racy style the Fleischer cartoons had, compared to others like Walt Disney, who grew up on a farm and then a small town.

The brothers started out with Out of the Inkwell cartoons, where they combined animated characters with live-action footage and brought characters like Koko the Clown into the real world. They created an invention called the Rotoscope, which was a system of projecting live-action footage onto panes of glass and then tracing over them in order to create animation using real-life motions. This ground-breaking invention got them a deal with Paramount Studios and soon they began creating the Betty Boop sound cartoons they are most known for.

Since they invented the rotoscope, rotoscope animation was a key part of their animation at the time. They did rotoscoped sync-sound films using a famous jazz musician called Cab Calloway to bring in audiences. The Fleischer Brothers often utilized rubber-hose animation, where the limbs of characters would wave around unjointed. The humor and gags of the cartoons were known for being very risqué and discriminatory.

In my flipbook, I rotoscoped footage of someone dancing and then incorporated rubberhose limbs into it. The gag I did was of the hair actually turning out to be a wig and bouncing off of the person’s head and falling back down onto it. I chose this type of gag because it is not as common for women to have wigs and if they do, it may likely be because of an illness like cancer, and making a gag along those lines might tread the line of political correctness, which is exactly what the Fleischer Brothers were doing in their era. I think my animation is pretty successful, since it incorporates the rubber-hose limbs and still has the smooth movement from the rotoscope.

Works Cited:

Deneroff, Harvey. “The Thin Black Line.” Sight and Sound 06 1999: 22,22,24,3. ProQuest. Web. 17 Sep. 2014 .

Holberg, Amelia S. “Betty Boop: Yiddish Film Star.” American Jewish History 87.4 (1999): 291. Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.

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