The Dead Animators Society
(continued from page 4)

LC: Were you frustrated about your cartoons when you were making them?

MF: Yes and no. I was frustrated about my lack of participation -- that's why when someone came up with a good idea that made me look good I was quick to try to claim it as mine. But I knew my tail was covered because Dave and the boys were doing good work. I usually tried to stay out of the way because of my insecurity. It happened early on. I knew I was limited in my drawing skills, and in my animating skills. Also, I had a rather prosaic, old fashioned sense of humor. It was too sweet to be really funny. Dave went the other way toward the ribald. We were quite opposite. So I kept myself quite busy inventing things. It was one thing to invent something and another to market it. I was more interested in new things all the time, and so I did not pay adequate attention to the cartoons. On the other hand, my brother was also myopic but in a different way. He [Dave] focused in so tightly on the cartoons themselves, on every bit of business, that he lacked a larger view of the quality. He also had no interest in running the studio. So really the ship was out of control much of the time, or rather the rats were in charge of the ship. You reminded me, I spoke of this in my autobiography, Noah's Shoes. You were correct in your assessment of my placing autobiographical details in that story. How could I have avoided it? I was in something of a state of shock when the studio was taken over and there I was on the street. It was very humiliating and defeating, and yet Paramount did it because of my very inability to take control. I was receding into my interior dimension -- my mind -- far too often and was out of touch.

LC: How would you assess the Fleischer cartoons now?

MF: Oh they were unique alright! We made some very good cartoons. I am very proud of that body of work. Do they stand up to Walt's stuff? I can't tell you. Let's say it was apples and oranges to a certain degree. But I did begin to look at what he was doing and question myself. His stuff made me lose heart. I couldn't stand conflict and I certainly couldn't stand such competition. I also had a lot of anger within for the way so many of my best men had defected to Walt's studio. We made out alright though and I am glad when people still appreciate my work.

Seeing the cartoons come to life and watching peoples' reactions made me happy in those days. Also the process of inventing something, in dealing with the myriad of problems; technical problems to workout. This was when I was in my element. I wish to return to earth in another life someday and bring my inner self, my imagination more out in the open. I'll do it at a time when folks are more open to new ideas, and when communications mediums have advanced even further than they have now. Then I will be able to share my inventive personality and all my ideas on the outside without having to seek refuge in my own mind. I'll be looking out for you too and hoping we will meet then. Good day!

Does this visionary man really need an introduction? Beginning in Kansas City in 1922 with Laugh-O-Gram Films, Disney, of course, later moved to Hollywood and founded the most successful animation studio of all time.

Walt Disney
: Many have tried to contact me on this side, although many are not yet convinced that I am over here! I am impressed with what my organization has become and also a little startled by it. We were always "corporate-minded." We always had the greater goals of the corporation, of the dynasty or "the dream," foremost in our minds when it came to decisions regarding employees and business practices, and these considerations often made us appear to be cold or unfeeling toward the employees. It was just that we had an organization to feed, to perpetuate, and it just seemed larger at that point than any mere complications arising from disgruntled employees. [Roy is also present during the interview.] I want to point out that we had as our goal, always, to have created the finest artistry and highest accomplishments that we could. Here too, inferior work and inferior men were not tolerated. When it comes to discussions of what the organization has become, I can only say that had I not passed away, I would not have disagreed too fundamentally with present management in most areas of decision-making. Of course, I would have avoided the descent into mediocracy and films of lower moral character that have in recent years emerged from the place, but I was tired. I'd driven myself to exhaustion and back countless times and by the time of my passing was in no shape to make adequate judgments over anything, to say the least, how our pictures were being produced. I tell you, if I could come back today I would experiment more, not take the easy road: we would not be rehashing our finest efforts of the past in formulaic rituals, but exploring even newer mediums just as we had broken ground so many times in the past.

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