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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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Birth: 1894, New York City
Death: 1979.


Dave had the title of Director for most of his professional career while working with Out of the Inkwell Productions. Co-owner of Fleischer Studios, Inc.

Bio Summary

First generation American Jew who grew up in Manhattan. His father had emigrated from Austria in the late 1880’s. He and his brother, Max, distributed their Out of the Inkwell Series by themselves in mid-1921. Sometime in 1922 they signed with distributor, Margaret Winkler. Dave would dress up in a clown suit and Max would film him executing various movements. The brothers would take this live action footage and use a method called rotoscoping to trace over the movements that Dave had previously performed. In a way, Dave was KoKo the Clown and KoKo was Dave in personality and locomotion. After the filming of Dave, Max’s involvement decreased. Dave would get involved with the animators, he would brain storm with them and come up with crucial gags for the film. Dave helped govern the different aspects of the film. Dave Tendlar, an animator for the Fleischer’s, said that “Dave Fleischer’s theory was that every scene should have a gag; nobody should animate a scene without a gag.” Sight gags were important to Dave. He wanted the character along with the movements to keep in sync with the beat of the music. Dave was also in charge at the recording sessions. By 1938, Dave’s personal life eroded. Dave separated from his wife and became involved with a studio employee. He married her soon after his divorce. Enmity had been brewing between the brothers and Dave’s recent lack of moral right standing disturbed the conservative Max Fleischer. Both Fleischers left Paramount around the end of 1941. Paramount held and kept the rights to the Fleishcer Studio and to the products that Dave and Max created. Dave went on to California to be the head of Screen Gems as an executive producer. Dave left Screen Gems in 1943.

Early Life/Family

Dave was one of five brothers and one sister. His father was a tailor whose passion was to invent. Dave’s first job as a young boy sometime before 1912, was an usher at the world famous Palace Theatre. He moved on to work for Walker Engraving Company. While Dave was out of school, he made sketches of the trendiest fashions for his father‘s store display.


Some of Dave’s informal education came from working his way up the ladder in the Walker Engraving Company. In 1912, Dave worked as a cutter for Pathe` Films and continued to work his way up.

Career Outline

Became a film editor at Pathe Films. He was a Film Cutter for the Medical Corps Film Unit for the Army during WWI.
editing footage in Washington, D.C. He and his brother Max formed Out of the Inkwell Inc. in 1921. In 1929, Their first distribtion was by States Rights with Warner's for one year. In 1922, Margaret J. Winkler was given the Out of the Inkwell and Felix the Cat contracts by Harry Warner, and she started the Winkler Film company, distributing the Fleischer product for the next two years until the Fleischers merged with Hugo Riesenfeld in The Red Seal Pictures Corp. This company went bankrupt in 1927, and their association with Paramount began that same year through Alfred J. Weiss. The Out of the Inkwell Films company filed bankruptcy in January, 1929 and reorganized as Flesicher Studios, Inc.excluding Weiss. After Dave and Max split, Dave headed Columbia’s animation unit from 1942-1944. Soon after that he went to work for Universal until he retired in 1967.

Comments On Style


Disney was the Fleischer’s major competitor. Winsor Mc Cay influenced Dave and Max from a young age, inspiring them to pursue animation.


Max’s daughter, Ruth Kneitel, said that “Dave was always a wild kind of thinker, and actor, and everything else.” John Hubley, a layout director said, “The only thing you could say good about him [Dave] was, he was so out of it, he was so completely detached...”.Dave came up with many of the gags that became the Fleischer’s studio signature look.


At the age of four, Amelia his mother sent him to the store with a grocery list. Dave would draw on the list pictures of what he was to get. For salt, he would draw circles; for pepper, he would draw dots. When his mother asked him for peas, he would draw a boy peeing. The store grocer saved these lists that Dave would make and show them to the customers.


While Dave was in the Florida studio, he kept a direct wire to the racing tracks in his office along with a ticker that ran all the time. His office would be likened to a betting parlor. His personal bookie would go out to dinner with the Fleischer’s, which would really irritate Max.


1927: advertising cartoon: That Little Big Fellow
1930: Marriage Wows
1930: Radio Riot
1930: Hot Dog
1930: Fire Bugs
1930: Wise Flies
1930: The Grand Uproar
1930: Sky Scraping
1930: Up to Mars
1931: advertising cartoons: Graduation Day in Bugland (for Listerine Co.)
1931: Suited to a T. (for India Tea Co.)
1931: Hurry Doctor (for Texaco)
1931: In My Merry Oldsmobile (for Oldsmobile Co.)
1931: Texas in 1999 (for Texaco)
1931: A Jolt for General Germ (for Listerine Co.?); other cartoons: Ace of Spades
1931: Teacher's Pest
1931: Tree Saps
1931: The Cow's Husband
1931: The Male Man
1931: Twenty Legs under the Sea
1931: Step on It
1931: The Herring Murder Case
1934: Poor Cinderella
1934: Little Dutch Mill
1935: An Elephant Never Forgets
1935: The Song of the Birds
1935: The Kids in the Shoe
1935: Dancing on the Moon
1935: Time for Love
1935: Musical Memories
1936: Somewhere in Dream Land
1936: The Little Stranger
1936: The Cobweb Hotel
1936: Greedy Humpty Dumpty
1936: Hawaiian Birds
1936: Play Safe
1936: Christmas Comes But Once a Year
1937: Bunny-mooning
1937: Chicken à la King
1937: A Car-Tune Portrait
1937: Peeping Penguins
1937: Educated Fish
1937: Little Lamby
1938: Hold It
1938: Hunky and Spunky
1938: All's Fair at the Fair
1938: The Playful Polar Bears
1938: The Tears of an Onion
1939: Always Kickin';
1939: Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (2-reeler)
1939: Small Fry
1939: Barnyard Brat
1939: The Fresh Vegetable Mystery (in 3-D)
1940: Little Lambkin
1940: Ants in the Plants
1940: Kick in Time
1940: Snubbed by a Snob
1940: You Can't Shoe a Horsefly
1940: The Dandy Lion
1940: King for a Day
1940: Sneak, Snoop and Snitch
1940: The Constable
1940: Mommy Loves Puppy
1940: Bring Himself Back Alive
1941: All's Well
1941: Pop and Mom in Wild Oysters
1941: Two for the Zoo
1941: Zero, the Hound
1941: Twinkletoes Gets the Bird
1941: Raggedy Ann and Andy (2-reeler)
1941: Swing Cleaning
1941: Sneak, Snoop and Snitch in Triple Trouble
1941: Fire Cheese
1941: Twinkletoes--Where He Goes Nobody Knows
1941: Copy Cat
1941: Gabby Goes Fishing
1941: The Wizard of Arts
1941: It's a Hap-hap-happy Day
1941: Vitamin Hay
1941: Twinkletoes in Hat Stuff
Films as Director: Superman Series--
1941: Superman
1941: Superman in The Mechanical Monsters
1942: Superman in Billion Dollar Limited
1942: Superman in The Arctic Giant
1942: Superman in The Bulleteers
1942: The Raven (2-reeler)
1942: Superman in The Magnetic Telescope
1942: Superman in Electric Earthquake
1942: Superman in Volcano
1942: Superman in Terror on the Midway

Films as Director: Out of the Inkwell Series--

1919: The Clown's Pup
1919: The Tantalizing Fly
1919: Slides
1920: The Boxing Kangaroo
1920: The Chinaman
1920: The Circus
1920: The Clown's Little Brother
1920: The Ouija Board
1920: Perpetual Motion
1920: Poker (The Card Game)
1920: The Restaurant
1921: The Automobile Ride
1921: Cartoonland
1921: The First Man to the Moon
1921: Fishing
1921: Invisible Ink
1921: November
1921: The Sparring Partner
1922: Birthday
1922: Bubbles
1922: The Challenge
1922: The Dresden Doll
1922: The Fish (possibly alternative title for Fishing, 1921)
1922: The Hypnotist
1922: Jumping Beans
1922: Mosquito
1922: Pay Day
1922: Reunion
1922: The Show
1923: Balloons
1923: The Battle
1923: Bedtime
1923: The Contest
1923: False Alarm
1923: Flies
1923: The Fortune Teller
1923: Fun from the Press (series of 3 inserts)
1923: Laundry
1923: Modeling
1923: The Puzzle
1923: Shadows
1923: Surprise
1923: Trapped
1923: The Einstein Theory of Relativity (d Max only; live action, in 2-reel version, and 4-reel with some cartoon sequences)
1924: The Cure
1924: Ko-Ko in 1999
1924: Ko-Ko the Hot Shot
1924: League of Nations
1924: The Masquerade
1924: The Runaway
1924: Vacation
1924: Vaudeville
1925: Big Chief Ko-Ko
1925: The Cartoon Factory
1925: Ko-Ko Celebrates the Fourth
1925: Ko-Ko Eats
1925: Ko-Ko in Toyland
1925: Ko-Ko Nuts
1925: Ko-Ko on the Run
1925: Ko-Ko Packs 'em
1925: Ko-Ko Sees Spooks
1925: Ko-Ko's Thanksgiving
1925: Ko-Ko the Barber
1925: Ko-Ko Trains Animals
1925: Mother Goose Land
1925: The Storm
1926: Ko-Ko at the Circus
1926: Ko-Ko Baffles the Bulls
1926: Ko-Ko Gets Egg-cited
1926: Ko-Ko Hot After It
1926: Ko-Ko Kidnapped
1926: Ko-Ko's Paradise
1926: Ko-Ko Steps Out
1926: Ko-Ko the Convict
1926: Toot! Toot!;
1926: The Fadeaway
1926: It's the Cat's
1927: Inklings (series of 18)
1927: East Side, West Side (Song Car-Tune?)
1927: Ko-Ko Back Tracks
1927: Ko-Ko Makes 'em Laugh
1927: Ko-Ko Plays Pool
1927: Ko-Ko's Kane
1927: Ko-Ko the Knight
1927: Ko-Ko Hops Off
1927: Ko-Ko the Kop
1927: Ko-Ko Explores
1927: Ko-Ko Chops Suey
1927: Ko-Ko's Klock
1927: Ko-Ko Kicks
1927: Ko-Ko's Quest
1927: Ko-Ko the Kid
1927: Ko-Ko Needles the Boss
1928: Ko-Ko's Kink
1928: Ko-Ko's Kozy Korner
1928: Koko's Germ Jam
1928: Ko-Ko's Bawth
1928: Ko-Ko Smokes
1928: Ko-Ko's Tattoo
1928: Ko-Ko's Earth Control
1928: Ko-Ko's Hot Dog
1928: Ko-Ko's Haunted House
1928: Ko-Ko Lamps Aladdin
1928: Ko-Ko Squeals
1928: Ko-Ko's Field Daze
1928: Ko-Ko Goes Over
1928: Ko-Ko's Catch
1928: Ko-Ko's War Dogs
1928: Ko-Ko's Chase
1928: Ko-Ko Heaves-Ho
1928: Ko-Ko's Big Pull
1928: Ko-Ko Cleans Up
1928: Ko-Ko's Parade
1928: Ko-Ko's Dog-Gone
1928: Telefilm
1928: Ko-Ko in the Rough
1928: Ko-Ko's Magic
1928: Ko-Ko on the Track
1928: Ko-Ko's Act
1928: Ko-Ko's Courtship
1929: No Eyes Today
1929: Noise Annoys Ko-Ko
1929: Ko-Ko Beats Time
1929: Ko-Ko's Reward
1929: Ko-Ko's Hot Ink
1929: Ko-Ko's Crib
1929: Ko-Ko's Saxaphonies
1929: Ko-Ko's Knock-down
1929: Ko-Ko's Signals
1929: Ko-Ko's Focus
1929: Ko-Ko's Conquest
1929: Ko-Ko's Harem-Scarem
1929: Ko-Ko's Big Sale
1929: Ko-Ko's Hypnotism
1929: Chemical Ko-Ko
1929: Noah's Lark (sound)
and much more.


Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1972

Academy Award Nominations for Animated Short Film:

1936 Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor - Fleischer

1937 Educated Fish

1938 Hunky and Spunky

1941 Superman

1943 Imagination

Related Links

A-HAA: Filmography: I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (Fleischer/1930)

A-HAA: Filmography: Fleischer's Mariutch 1930

A-HAA: Filmography: You're Driving Me Crazy (1931)

A-HAA: Filmography: Swing, You Sinners

A-HAA: Filmography: Betty Boop in Snow White

Bibliographic References

Cabarga, Leslie . The Fleischer Story.
New York: DaCapo Press, 1988.

Barrier, Michael . Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in It’s Golden Age. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Lenburg, Jeff . The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. 
New York: Oxford,1991.

Lloyd, Ann and Graham Fuller. The Illustrated Who’s Who of the Cinema. 
New York: Macmillan Publishing Co Inc, 1983.

Contributors To This Listing

Raymond Delacoix Pointer

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below...


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