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Useful Notes / Noteworthy Fleischer Staff

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We all love the cartoons of Fleischer Studios, including Popeye and Betty Boop, but without these people, we might not have ever gotten all of those classics made! So here's some noteworthy Fleischer staff for your reading pleasure.

Compare to Noteworthy Disney Staff, Noteworthy Looney Tunes Staff and Noteworthy MGM Cartoon Staff.

Staff Includes:

  • Billy Murray: Originally a recording star in the early 20th century, he provided voices for Fleischer films once the studio switched to sound in 1929, and voiced several characters, including Bimbo, until 1932.
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  • Grim Natwick: One of the studio's star animators. Having joined in 1930, he helped create Betty Boop and animated some of Fleischer's most lively shorts until he left in 1931 for the Ub Iwerks' studio, and later, the Disney studio. He returned to the studio for a brief time during the Miami era.
  • Jack Kirby: Before he became an influential artist for DC Comics and Marvel, he worked at the studio for a very brief period in the mid-1930s. He worked as an assistant animator on the Popeye short "A Clean Shaven Man".
  • Jack Mercer: Originally a in-between animator, he became the studio's voice of Popeye the Sailor in 1935, a role he continued for the next 50 years. He also became a story man for both Fleischer and Famous Studios starting in 1942.
  • Joe Oriolo: An animator who arrived in the mid 30's and stayed throughout the studio for a long time, even after it was reformed into Famous Studios. An assistant to Otto Messmer on the Felix the Cat comics, he would later be famous for his TV cartoons of Felix the Cat and The Mighty Hercules. Joe Oriolo was also the creator of the original story treatment for Casper the Friendly Ghost.
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  • Lillian Friedman: The first female animator! She started at the studio in 1930 as an inker, she was trained as an animator by Shamus Culhane. She worked under Myron Waldman's unit, and although credited on only six cartoons, she did a lot of animation for Fleischer in the mid-1930s, including Popeye's "twisker punch" from Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor.
  • Mae Questel: Having started in Yiddish theater, she was a Helen Kane impersonator who was known for being the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl in the mid-1930s until the studio moved to Miami in 1938. She returned to voice work in 1944 when the studio, by then having become Famous Studios, returned to New York, and went on to voice Olive Oyl and several other character well into the 1960s.
  • Myron Waldman: He was known for helming some of the more sentimental Fleischer shorts, including many of the later Betty Boop shorts (where he created the character Pudgy) and some of the softer Color Classics, as well as two Popeye shorts. He continued animating at Famous Studios, where he headed many Casper the Friendly Ghost shorts.
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  • Pinto Colvig: The voice of Disney's Goofy, he came to the Fleischer studio in 1938 during the move to Miami. He became the voice of Gabby in Gulliver's Travels and the spin-off shorts that followed, as well as other incidental voices until his departure on 1941. He was also credited in writing the Gabby short Two for the Zoo and the two-reel special The Raven.
  • Roland 'Doc' Crandall: One of Fleischer's top animators who started way back in 1921 to work on the Out of the Inkwell series, and since worked at the studio until he retired in 1941 shortly after Paramount foreclosed the studio. As a reward for his dedication to the studio, he was given the task of animating all of the Betty Boop short Snow White (1933).
  • Sammy Lerner: A staff songwriter for the studio, best known for composing Popeye's theme song "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
  • Seymour Kneitel: Max Fleischer's son-in-law. Hired in 1928 as an inbetweener, he quickly became one of the studio's star animators, working on Betty Boop and Popeye as well as on Gulliver's Travels. He suffered a heart attack in 1939 and was absent until 1941, when he provided the stories for several Superman shorts. He later became a manager of Famous Studios and served as one of the main directors well until his death in 1964.
  • Shamus Culhane: Another one of the studio's star animators in the early 30s, he left in the mid-30s for the Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney studios. He returned briefly when the studio moved to Miami and became an animation director on both feature films and several shorts, including the Popeye short Popeye Meets William Tell. Afterwards, he left for Warner Bros., Walter Lantz and then starting his own studio before becoming the head of Famous Studios for a brief period in 1966-67 before retiring.
  • Ted Pierce: A writer at Warner Bros., he came to the studio in 1938 and worked on several shorts and both features produced by Fleischer. He also provided the voice of C. Bagley Beetle in Mr. Bug Goes to Town. He returned to Warner Bros. in 1943.
  • Willard Bowsky: Started at the studio in the late 1920s, he became a lead animator on some of the more grittier Fleischer shorts, including the notorious Swing You Sinners! and many Popeye shorts. He stayed with the studio until shortly after Fleischer became Famous Studios, when he joined the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. He was killed while fighting in France in 1944, and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.


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