The Museum of Modern Art will be running a series of works from a famous animation pioneer next week. Fleischer Cartoons: The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer is showing from March 7-13, 2024. 

The Fleischer Brothers created Betty Boop and Koko the Clown, among others. Their cartoon adaptations of E.C. Segar’s Popeye and DC Comics’ Superman are still popular. (Warner Bros. put out a Blu-ray re-release of the Superman shorts just last year.) 

The cartoons will be grouped, sometimes thematically — there are sessions on New York stories and spooky stories — sometimes by format — musicals, silents, color cartoons — and some by character — with a focus session on the beginnings of Betty Boop. Matinees are intended to be family-friendly.

Many of the programs include discussions with those familiar with the work, including Max Fleischer’s granddaughter Jane Fleischer Reid, restoration experts, and Fleischer Studios art director Frank Caruso. Reid has supervised new 4K restorations for much of the material, some of which is making a world premiere during this event. 

The full schedule can be found at the MoMA website

As the US approaches 100 years as an animation powerhouse, MoMA is thrilled to present a comprehensive survey of classic cartoons by the Fleischer Brothers, who gained notoriety for their Jazz Age creations Betty Boop and Koko the Clown as well as wildly popular screen adaptations of E. C. Segar’s Popeye and DC Comics’ Superman. In addition to family-friendly matinees, the series will include programs of historical and thematic groupings. Highlights include Max Fleischer’s very early Koko the Clown silents, which famously combined live-action hijinks with hand-drawn animation; programs highlighting the Fleischers’ merciless sense of humor and profound eye for anything phantasmagorical and transgressive, including sound-era triumphs like the Betty Boop headliner Minnie the Moocher, featuring a ferocious rotoscoped performance from Cab Calloway; and the Technicolor two-reel masterpiece Popeye the Sailor Man Meets Sindbad the Sailor Man. 

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