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Quotes / Max and Dave Fleischer

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"Tired of reading the word 'surrealism' in connection with Fleischer. I'm sure upon hearing it connected with their work, they'd have rolled their eyes to the ceiling and snorted. In the 1930s, these weird occurrences were used to help the narrative along; visual hyperbole to get from point A to B. Now creators, in trying to imitate them, will make cartoons in which there are no gags; nothing but quirks. Chaos without a sum total. There are only a few of the originals (such as ANY RAGS) which make truly no sense whatsoever. An English teacher warned me about throwing the word "surrealism" about blithely. I agree with him. The reason I thought about it in the first place was because I just read it used...glibly...on another damn blog. Every time someone is writing about Fleischer, they use it as a knee jerk, not because they've really thought about it. It's old. It's no longer an observation; it's parroting. That was a running fault of the FELIX show I directed shorts for. Narratives would stop dead in their tracks so a 'funny' actor could do his schtick as a piece of furniture. Always ignoring the Felix character, who should have been compelling enough on his own as he had once been. No more Swing, You Sinners! knockoffs, please. I didn't mean to imply I feel the word is *inappropriate* discussing Fleischer, but that it is used so automatically by fans who don't know what it even means. Many seem to consider a talking object as representing the school of thought...or lack of it. I'd hope that a writer could express an original viewpoint, not just reflect (Leslie) Cabarga's observation from 30 years ago (when it was a unique observation). Dali was an individual. One mind going wherever it would; a dreamlike state, which constitutes what I think of as *true* surrealism. How different from a building full of men trying to create...on a deadline...what they thought cartoons were supposed to offer: entertainment that couldn't be filmed with a live camera. When a work goes thru so many channels, I see every move as becoming very deliberate. Serendipitous, yes. Unrestrained; no doubt. "Surreal"...?"
—Cartoonist and animator Milton Knight on Fleischer Studios

"During the span of years from 1914, I have made efforts to retain the 'cartoony" effect. That is, I did not welcome the trend of the industry to go "arty". It was, and still is, my opinion that a cartoon should represent, in simple form, the cartoonist's mental expression. In other words the "animated oil painting" has taken the place of the flashiness and delightfulness of the simple cartoon. In my opinion, the industry must pull back. Pull away from the tendencies toward realism. It must stay in its own backyard of "The Cartoonist's Cartoon.". The cartoon must be a portrayal of the expression of the true cartoonist, in simple,unhampered cartoon style. The true cartoon is a great art in its own right. It does not need the assistance or support of "Artiness." In fact, it is actually hampered by it."
—Max Fleischer, in a letter to Shamus Culhane, recalled in "Talking Animals And Other People".

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