Monday, December 12, 2011

A Love Story...

My parents were married on December 24, 1931. They met while both were working at Fleischer Studios. They remained completely devoted to each other through raising three children and dealing with the sometimes-challenging politics of the animation business.

My dad had married Ruth Fleischer, the boss’s only daughter. When they met, my father Seymour was a young animator at Fleischer Studios. Another Fleischer animator, Shamus Culhane, in his autobiography, Talking Animals and Other People, notes: “The marriage made no difference in Seymour’s status in the studio: he was never given, nor did he ever ask for, special handling from the management.”

In another post I’ll share more about my mother. She was in some of Max Fleischer’s very early films, including roles in his short-lived and little known completely live action series ‘Carrie of the Chorus.’ Before working at the studio she had been dancing ‘on the road’ in an all girl troupe. In the late 1920’s she joined the staff of Fleischer Studios as an inker, progressing to head of the Coloring Department- and then to head of the Inking Department.

In an interview with historian Mike Barrier my mother talked about working at the studio “When I met Seymour, everyone became involved in the romance…It was a family; everybody knew what everybody was doing. The great part of it was, after work, we didn’t just all go away and forget each other.” This was a close-knit staff that spent considerable time together outside the office .

As they started life together it was with the background of the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash of October 1929. Although many bussinesses closed or struggled to survive, this was not true of the movie business. Films and animated cartoons were an inexpensive escape from the troubles of daily life. In fact, there was so much creativity and technical progress during this time (at a number of animation studios) that the 1930’s is often referred to as “The Golden Age of Animation.”

Seymour’s Letter of Contract from Fleischer Studios (below) shows the typical salary of an animator in the early1930’s….eighty dollars a week. The second letter reflects the huge success and popularity of Fleischer films that allowed a bonus to be distributed to employees Christmas 1931.


  1. thank you for sharing this information.

    i've always been curious how your parents met (i did not know that your mother worked at the studio).

    i've also wondered what their relationship was like with max fleischer after the fleischer studios closed.

  2. My parents were bpth extremely close with Max before and after the close of Fleischer Studios-- and through the rest of their lives. My father had discussed with Max before he took over Famous Studios, the successor to Fleischer Studios. Max was very supportive of his doing so. Besides Max's desire to have the Studio continue, and the employees there to continue to have a job, Max was sensitive to my father having a family with three young children to support.

  3. That's a lovely capture! Really sweet moment between the couple.