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:
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).