Saturday, January 2, 2010

Abners Kneitel and Matthews Follow-up

After my last post speculating the possibility of Abner Kneitel and Abner Matthews being the same person I got the following email from Seymour Kneitel's daughter (and Max Fleischer's granddaughter) Ginny. Here's her thoughts on my conjecture:

About Abner perhaps using the Matthews name to avoid nepotism issues. I totally doubt that. I think the nepotism thing is overstated, and don't think the Fleischers worried about what existed of it. It's true there were a number of people in the family working at Fleischer Studios, but most were his brothers who had specific skills Max utilized early on... and they mostly then stayed on with the company. Other family that worked there were Max's daughter (Ruth), Seymour (Ruth's husband, who worked there before they even dated), a family member who ran the cafeteria (badly, I understand), and I think that was pretty much it. I've read an interview that said something like 30 relatives worked there (no way!) and read one that said Izzy Sparber was a relative -- definitely not true.

But I do agree it seems likely that Abner Kneitel and Matthews are one and the same. Here's my 2 guesses as to why... one, it may have just looked funny on the title to have 2 people named Kneitel getting screen credit, so they came up with the idea of Matthews.

The other possibility is Abner may have changed his last because the name Kneitel was cumbersome and people usually mangled it when they pronounced it. My father, early in his career changed his name to Seymour Knight for that very reason, all his early work is signed 'Seymour Knight,' which professionally he thought was an improvement. Ultimately he found no one remembered the name Knight, and he changed it back to Kneitel. I'm speculating maybe Abner had the same experience........

Thanks to Ginny for her input and correcting some Fleischer family misinformation.


John V. said...

That's interesting to know that Seymour K. had nothing to do with the Fleischer family when he was first hired.

Mr. Semaj said...

It's cool to learn so much about Fleischer and Famous Studio history. I' like to learn more about Kneitel, Sparber, and Buchwald.