Oral Histories

Interview of Dave C. Fleischer

Animator and co-owner of Fleischer Studios. Known for the Popeye the Sailor and Betty Boop cartoon series.
Recollections of Dave Fleischer
Oral History of the Motion Picture in America
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Animator and co-owner of Fleischer Studios. Known for the Popeye the Sailor and Betty Boop cartoon series.
Adamson, Joe
Fleischer, Dave C.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Joe Adamson; B.A., Theater Arts, UCLA; M.A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Recipient of an American Film Institute Fellowship in 1969, and a University Film Foundation Fellowship in 1970. Author of Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo, and Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo and Tex Avery, King of Cartoons. Head of the film study program at Pennsylvania State University.
5.25 hrs.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Series Statement:
These interviews with prominent individuals in the motion picture industry were completed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Film Institute to the UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The project was directed by Howard Suber, UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The UCLA Oral History Program provided technical advice but was not involved in respondent selection, research participation, research preparation, interviewing, editing, or transcript preparation.
Childhood in New York; drawing cartoons; Windsor McCay's Gertie, the Dinosaur; usher at Palace Theater; invention of Rotoscope with brother Max; creation of Koko the Clown and "Out of the Inkwell"; employed in art department of Walker Engraving Company; using comic ability; starting Red Seal Pictures distribution company with Max; formation of Fleischer Studios; invention of "bouncing ball"; move to California to run Screen Gems for Jack Cohn; strike at Screen Gems; "Fox and the Crow" and "Li'l Abner" series; Fleischer Studios taken over by Paramount Pictures; hiring Izzy Sparber and Frank Tashlin; feature film Gulliver's Travels; Walt Disney and The Three Little Pigs; evaluation of story potential through use of charts; creation of Popeye and Betty Boop; use of models for "Film Facts," "Casper, the Friendly Ghost," "Superman," and other series; with Mike Todd on Around the World in Eighty Days; pictures with Cab Calloway, the Mills Brothers, Ethel Merman, Rudy Valle; animated commercials; relationships with employees; techniques of editing; conflicts with Max and with Paramount.