Discussion about the early history of animation tends to focus on Walt Disney and Looney Tunes, ignoring good old Max Fleischer. Fleischer was the man behind Betty Boop, Popeye, and other Depression-era classics. We could talk about those for a week, especially the censorship of Betty Boop, but one of the most critical parts of Fleischer’s cartoons was the music he used. Compared to Steamboat Willie‘s stereotypically peppy score, Betty Boop was jazzier, riskier, and a little more culturally savvy.
In celebration of Max Fleischer’s career, the currently ongoing Washington Jewish Film Festival will host a screening this weekend of some of Fleischer’s cartoons with the music performed live, as improbable as this sounds, by a Max Fleischer cover band. Hear Betty Boop sing! Marvel at how Fleischer’s animation reflects the Jazz Age rather than glossing it over!
The video embedded above should give you an idea of what to expect. This is really novel performance idea and a great way to celebrate Fleischer’s body of work.
The screening-concert will be at 8:30pm on Saturday, March 5th, at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring.