Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eighty Years Ago This Day

President Emeritus Tom Sito reminds us:

... Nov 27, 1936- Max Fleischer had heard about Walt Disney developing a feature length cartoon. So he rushed two Popeye featurettes into production to hopefully get the jump on his West Coast rival. Today the first one premiered "Popeye meets Sinbad the Sailor".

"...WHO is the most remarkable and extra-ordinary fell-low..?" ...

The brothers Max and Dave Fleischer brought out Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor thirteen months before Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

At the time, Fleischer and Disney were the nation's two heavyweight cartoon studios, Disney in Los Angeles, Fleischer in New York. Popeye was the most popular cartoon character in the U.S. of A., so doing a longer animated piece with him made sense. Paramount, the Fleischers distributor, wasn't willing to finance a feature, but a third of a feature was better than nothing at all.

The year Sinbad was released --- 1936 -- marked the high point of the Fleischers' fame and influence as cartoon creators. Two more Popeye featurettes followed, also a pair of feature films and the Superman series, but losses and discord piled up and by 1942 the Fleischer Studios were swallowed whole by Paramount Pictures and Max and Dave Fleischer shown the door. A twenty-year run as independent studio operators had come to an end.


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