WHAT ABOUT THAD?
March 2, 2015 posted by

Paramount Sales News #40: Twilight Time For The Fleischer Studio

November-December 1941

As America entered World War II, the Fleischer studio faced its own upheaval. By the end of December 1941, Dave Fleischer had left the studio, and Max was gone by the beginning of January. Both were at the end of their contracted obligation to stay six more months at the studio (now under Paramount’s control) and it was clear to everyone that the brothers would not be working together under any circumstances.

We speculated earlier that Paramount may have hung its own Mr. Bug Goes to Town out to dry, and that appears to be so with how abruptly the movie disappears from these Paramount Sales News clippings. Compared to Guilliver’s Travels, which got months of promotion before and after, it does seem this film was set up to fail.

Paramount did give the film up to charity on at least one occasion, pictured and described in the Dec. 31, 1941 edition:

12-31-41-02

CAPTION: Pictured above are some of the 1,100 boys and girls who attended the Children’s Christmas Party at the Colony Theatre in Cleveland. MR. BUG, as the photo conveys, was one of the pictures which entertained the audience in which all of Cleveland’s orphanages were represented, in addition to children of local exhibitors and newspaper and radio people. Upon entering the theatre each child was presented with three gifts by Santa Claus.

Other pictures which were donated by Paramount for the occasion were SUPERMAN and RHYTHM IN THE RANKS. Warner Bros. donated the use of the theatre and the projectionists and stage manager gave their services. Max Joice, Paramount’s District Advertising Representative, promoted the affair.

Beyond Mr. Bug Goes To Town, we have the opportunity this week to post the only three Fleischer shorts that were released in November or December 1941: The Mighty Navy (11/14), The Mechanical Monsters (11/21) and Nix On Hypnotricks (12/19). Each one got its own promotional image and we’ve embed the actual cartoon next to each (below).

11-05-41

11-05-41

11-12-41

11-12-41

11-19-41

11-19-41

11-19-41

11-19-41

11-26-41

11-26-41

12-03-41

12-03-41

12-10-41

12-10-41

12-17-41

12-17-41

12-24-41

12-24-41

12-31-41

12-31-41

7 Comments

  • Equally sad is that after two years of their output being in the doldrums, the quality of the cartoons really picked up at the end of 1941, albeit it too late to save the studio (and given Max and Dave’s fight, even if they hadn’t run into their South Florida slump and had kept the cartoons up to the level produced in NYC, it still might not have kept the studio out of Paramount’s hands).

  • NIX ON HYPNOTRICKS is one of my favorites from this period and shows how the skills the Fleischer staff developed from their feature work and Superman series spilled over into the Popeye cartoons. The electrical sparks from the hypnotist’s fingers, the shadows on his hand in the phone book closeup and the almost photographic quality of the buildings make this short a delight to watch.

    • I’m pretty sure the background paintings for “Nix on Hypnotricks” were done by Anton Loeb. You can see similarities with the ones he did for “A Balmy Swami”.

  • Is there any hope of a proper disc release of Mr. Bug?

  • It’s too bad that WB used an aap print of “The Mighty Navy” for the Popeye 1941-1943 DVD set. I wonder if it had a special ending, since the aap print cuts to the end title so abruptly. Maybe the planes flying past the Paramount logo?

    • From what I saw in , if you watch carefully, the ending scene with the bombers in the sky fades into the ending anchor title card, as if that was the original endiing, albeit with the a.a.p. ending title jumpcutting instead of the Paramount mountain fade-in.

  • I forgot the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvHH9hc4Da4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *