Friday, December 04, 2015

Fates Sealed

On this date in 1941, Japanese carriers and their accompanying task force was steaming toward the Hawaiian islands, and a whole lot of things were about to change.

Also, too, Hoppity Goes To Town, the Fleischer Brothers second animated feature, was released.

As President Emeritus tom Sito tells us, the picture was ...

Max Fleischer's last gamble to keep up with Walt Disney, and keep his studio alive. Songs written by top pop song writer Hoagy Carmichael. ...

The picture received generally favorable reviews, but Pearl Harbor happened days later and it died a quick death at the box office.

Of course, what's forgotten now is that most animated features at the time were dying at the box office. Pinocchio didn't make its costs back. Fantasia was a bomb. Gulliver's Travels had turned a profit, but Hoppity/Mr. Bug was a large, dark hole into which Paramount Pictures poured money and got little in return. Only Dumbo, Disney's lower budget feature, made any money that particular year.

But even before the Fleischers' second feature was released, the Paramount mothership purchased the company from the squabbling brothers and redubbed it Famous Studios.

Though Hoppity ended up kaput and Max and Dave were without a corporate home, but Famous went on for decades. Once in a while even a disaster has a happy ending.


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