#103.5 | Kings of New York: The Fleischer Studios Story (Best Of)

Brandon, John & Kareem revisit a discussion from last year on the history of the Fleischer cartoon studio in New York City (and briefly in Miami). Max Fleischer and his brother Dave not only gave the world cartoon characters like Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, and the animated versions of Popeye and Superman, but inventions such as the rotoscope that are essential to animation production to this day.

In addition to the history of the studio and its best works, we also explore the influence of Black jazz culture on the Fleischer style (and the many jazz musicians who appeared in the cartoons, such as #CabCalloway and #LouieArmstrong), the truth behind the “Betty Boop is Black” meme, and how union busting and backroom conspiring eventually brought the studio down.

During the show, Brandon showed the other guys several Fleischer productions, clips of which are in the show and a link to a YouTube playlist to which is included below. A lot (a _lot_) of Fleischer material is now in the public domain, and to that end we’ve cleaned up a few of them for you and provided a few full cartoons as well:


YouTube Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrTQGIWVb9hh-14QEMoT4d8pNIZk9Poby

Out of the Inkwell: “The Tantalizing Fly” (1919)
Song Car-Tunes: “My Ole Kentucky Home” (1926)
Inkwell Imps: “Koko’s Earth Control” (1927)
Talkartoons: “Dizzy Dishes” (1930) – first appearance of Betty Boop
Talkartoons: “Boop-Oop-a-Doop” (1932): with Betty Boop
Talkartoons: “Minnie the Moocher” (1932): with Betty Boop and Cab Calloway
Screen Songs: “Dinah” (1932): With the Mills Brothers
Betty Boop: “Betty Boop’s Rise to Fame” (1934, used for the segment intro):
Color Classics: “Poor Cinderella” (1934): with Betty Boop
Color Classics: “The Kids in the Shoe” (1935) – public domain
Color Classics: “Small Fry” (1939) – public domain
Popeye Color Specials: “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor” (1936) – public domain
Popeye Color Specials: “Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves” (1937) – public domain
“Gulliver’s Travels” (1939) – public domain
“Superman” (1941) – public domain
“Mr. Bug Goes to Town” (AKA “Hoppity Goes to Town”) (1941)

Join Brandon, John, Kareem, Ken, and Jamison as we discuss, dissect, and try to make sense of the past, present, and future in film, television, music, animation, race relations in media - and on occasion comics and tech - while trying to remain sane. If you’re tired of hearing the same (*ahem*) monochromatic take on modern media, we’re the podcast for you!