Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Fairy Tale That Couldn't Come True

The Fleischer Studios was famous for it's classic black and white rubber hose cartoons. Their most successful cartoons were Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor Man. In fact in the 1930's there was a poll taken that revealed that Popeye was a more popular cartoon character than Mickey Mouse. Max Fleischer, however, developed a grudge against Walt Disney who was having so much success at the time.

Walt Disney had exclusive rights with Technicolor which made their cartoons popular and enjoyable to watch. Max Fleischer asked his studio, Paramount, to give him the money for colored cartoons but they could not budget it. Max Fleischer was forced to invent his own method of coloring his cartoons which did pretty well for its time but really couldn't compare with Disney.

Max Fleischer was not satisfied and loathed the fact that Disney's Studio was doing so well and got rewarded at the box office. He jealously commented to his son at one point when Walt Disney was getting so many rewards that “You can't eat medals.”

In 1937 when Walt Disney came out with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Max Fletcher did not want to lose to his competitor so he set out to produce a full length feature of his own. He moved his studio to Florida and begged Paramount to back him in making Gulliver's Travels which he promised would do well. Unfortunately this proved to be the worse decision he could have made for his studio. Snow White had taken Disney three years to complete and Fleischer was given only one year to finish his film, Gulliver's Travels.

In 1939, Paramount released Gulliver's Travels and the response after Snow White was poor. It did not have the heart and feel that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had had which captivated the audiences back then. The failure of Gulliver's Travels marked the end of Max Fleischer and his relationship with Paramount and the studio soon was forced to shut down.

Max Fleischer was better off going with his original style of cartoons that had made him famous in American households everywhere. If he only had not been so stubborn and just let Disney's success be he would have had a better end to his career.

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