While Max Fleischer isn’t a name you’re necessarily familiar with, we figured we’d celebrate his birthday anyway. Well, his would-be birthday, that is. Fleischer passed away in 1972 as the age of 89, but not before changing the face of animated films forever. You’ve heard of Betty Boop and Popeye? You can thank Fleischer for bringing them to the big screen.
Born on July 19, 1883 in Poland, Fleischer came to the United States with his family was he was just four years old, settling in New York City. Ha attended Evening High School and The Mechanics and Tradesman’s School, but it was his role as an errand boy for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle that changed his life: He eventually became a cartoonist for the newspaper and, there, he was introduced to the animator John Randolph Bray. Before founding Fleischer Studios, he worked under Bray at Bray Studios, producing the Inkwell films.
What Fleischer is perhaps best known for, however, is his creation of the Rotoscope — the concept of tracing frames of live action film for animation — which greatly simplified the animation process. But there’s not much can tell that Fleischer can’t say for himself. Well, through his films, at least. Take a trip down memory lane by checking out the clips below. You may not have recognized his name, but we’re pretty sure you’ll recognize his work.