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Max Fleischer, the Psychedelic Animator

by Debbie Burke HE GAVE US Popeye the Sailor Man, Betty Boop and Koko the Clown, and Superman – some of the iconic images that Baby Boomers grew up on – as well as inventing and inaugurating the technology for “Follow the Bouncing Ball” songs. He invented the Rotoscope, a method to create smoother animation […]

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February 5: The Sidewalks of New York — and Betty Boop

The animation studio of Dave and Max Fleischer released on this date in 1929 their second cartoon titled “The Sidewalks of New York” (an earlier version came out in 1925) as part of their new “Screen Songs” series with Paramount Pictures. The cartoon marked the studio’s permanent transition to sound cartoons, with seventeen released in […]

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November 1: Arab Cartoonists and the 2012 Election

The Anti-Defamation League reported on this date in 2012 that the U.S. electoral contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was being portrayed in many Arab newspapers as a contest between candidates “indis­tin­guish­able in their sub­servience to Jews and Israel…. On a daily basis, the edi­to­r­ial car­toons which ADL com­piles from media out­lets across the region […]

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The Hungry Hagode

The Whole Megile, in Verse by Lawrence Bush A FAMILY DINNER? What’s the big deal? Let’s skip all the talking and get to the meal! It’s Passover — why not pass over the chatter? And pass out the matzo balls! Hey! What’s the matter? Sorry! Okay, I’ll be quiet, I promise. I’m listening. Yes, I […]

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November 29: Is Diss a System??

Cartoonist and silent-film animator Milt Gross, whose Yiddish-inflected comic strips captured America’s heart through syndication, died at 58 on this date in 1953. After serving in World War I, he had his first comic strip success with “Gross Exaggerations,” an illustrated column in the New York World that reworked popular tales in a Yingish dialect […]

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November 5: Li’l Abner’s Jewish Father

Al Capp (Caplin), the cartoonist who created “Li’l Abner” in 1934 and continued to write and draw the hugely popular comic strip for forty-three years, died at 70 on this date in 1979. Capp, a son of poverty, lost a leg to a streetcar accident at the age of 9. He was an autodidact who […]

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Nick Thorkelson’s Cartoon about Herbert Marcuse

From the Autumn, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Nick Thorkelson celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Herbert Marcuse’s influential One Dimensional Man. This comic is also available to download [PDF].             Nick Thorkelson is a longtime activist and cartoonist. You can view more of his work at his […]

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August 25: The Jewish Will Rogers

“Meyer the Buyer,” a radio show based on Harry Hershfield’s cartoon character, Abie the Agent, premiered on this date in 1932, starring Alan Reed, Sr. (Herbert Theodore Bergman), who would later supply the voice for Fred Flintstone. The show lasted only sixteen weeks, while Hershfield’s strip ran from 1914 to 1940. Hershfield’s career as a […]

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