MAX and Me
by Ginny Mahoney
Granddaughter of Betty Boop’s creator, Max Fleischer
The year was 1934 and Betty was starring in Poor Cinderella, the first color film to be made by Fleischer Studios. All of Betty’s previous films were in black and white. In fact, this is the only color film that Betty appeared in during the 1930s.
Although there had been early experiments in the use of color in film, color didn’t become practical until the 1930s. At that time there were several different color processes being tried. Walt Disney had secured exclusive rights from 1932-35 to use what was called the “3-strip Technicolor” process.
Because Technicolor was unavailable to them in 1934, the Fleischers turned to another color process called Cinecolor in order to make this film. This was basically a two-color process using red and blue. In looking at Poor Cinderella, one might think the color is due to the age of the film. It’s really due to the color process used! The animators made Betty’s hair red in order to take best advantage of the limited color in this process.
There are many other interesting things about this film. It was the first film in the Fleischer’s new Color Classics series and it also shows off the techniques the Fleischers had developed to give a three-dimensional effect to their films.
Poor Cinderella is a really beautiful film. You can easily find it on YouTube or at http://www.fleischerstudios.com/theater/.