Animated April: Betty Boop

The Jazz Age was a time of short skirts, high heels and wild adventures-and even the animated cartoons got into the act. Betty Boop was the embodiment of a flapper from the 1920’s complete with bobbed curls, long eyelashes and a sassy garter belt peeking from her flippy skirt. She was the creation of a now almost forgotten animator named Max Fleischer.

Max Fleischer was an innovative artist who in many ways was the successor to the creative genius of Winsor McCay. Fleischer was a poor immigrant who came to New York with his family in 1887. He studied to be an artist and got a job as a cartoonist at a small Brooklyn newspaper. But Max was soon joining an old newspaper buddy who had started his own animation studio, John Randolph Bray. Continue reading Animated April: Betty Boop

Animation April: Gertie the Dinosaur

The first animated film star wasn’t a mouse or a rabbit. It may have seemed like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (1988) was one of the first times animation and live-action interacted but Roger and his other inked on acetate pals all owe a debt to Gertie the Dinosaur.

Yes, Gertie was a decidedly female animated star, even though she sprang from the imagination of a particularly gifted male artist named Winsor McCay. McCay was largely self-taught though he did do a brief stint as a student at Eastern Michigan University. Ambitious and rebellious of his family’s hopes of him entering the world of business, McCay headed to Chicago to try to support himself in his own way. Continue reading Animation April: Gertie the Dinosaur