Max Fleischer (1883-1972)

Max Fleischer was an important technical and artistic innovator. Born in 1883 in Vienna, Fleischer emigrated with his Jewish family to New York City at an early age. After graduating he worked as a commercial artist, yet an interest in mechanics led him to animation.

Fleischer was driven to find a method of animation more efficiently and economically, which led to the invention (with his brother Dave and Joe) of the Rotoscope. The Rotoscope was a device used to trace movement from live action film. This was first demonstrated in the film, Experiment No. 1 (1915), where Dave posed as a clown called KoKo.

The silent KoKo films were extensions of the first animated films in which live action artists would bring drawings to life, implementing another of Fleischer's inventions, the Rotograph. The Rotograph was a system for combing live action and animation.

The Fleischer Brothers went on to produce many memorable characters utilizing other techniques they invented, including Betty Boop and Popeye.


Koko the clown
Origins Marey Muybridge Fleischer Rob Bredow Q & A Debate Siggraph Panel CG Animation Pipeline Future Squash and Stretch Splines Experiment Summary Further Reading

(c) Shane Aherne 2005

Contact:  shane@shaneaherne.com