Brain Pickings

Animation Pioneer Max Fleischer Illustrates 1944-1945 News Wires

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From the most expensive kiss on record to university classes on how to choose and keep a husband.

We’ve previously seen artists visually capture the news, from Félix Fénéon’s illustrated three-line “novels” circa 1906 to Sophie Blackall’s brilliant illustrated Craigslist missed connections. In 1944-1945, iconic animation pioneer Max Fleischer, while heading the animation department at the Handy (Jam) Organization (remember them?), created a series of humorous “news sketches” based on human interest stories from the Associated Press wires.

If the stop-motion timelapse editing and Fleicher’s illustration style look familiar, they should be — they presage the excellent and ever-popular RSA animations by over half a century and no doubt inspired everyone’s favorite intellectual sketchnote-storytelling.

The film is now in the public domain and available as a free, legal, remixable download courtesy of the Internet Archive.

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