Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saul Kessler??

Saul who, you say. Never heard of him?? Saul Kessler is another one of the many uncredited animators to work at the Fleischer Studio. I've known for years that a photo existed of him in a 1930 - 31 studio personnel group shot, but nothing else until recently. Flipping though the pages of Fleischer's Animated News I was able to cobble bits of information together, and in turn, make a conjecture about his work.

I'm assuming that Kessler was already an animator in 1931 based on the group photo (link below) where he was placed in forth row from the top and beside animator Nick Tafuri. And in a 1935 Animated News, Kessler is noted a being a member of the Johnson crew alongside animators Tex Hastings and Don Figlozzi.

(courtesy of Ryan Englade)

At some point Kessler may have been shifted into Seymour Kneitel's crew - possibly after Crandall left to head up his own crew. A Fleischer animation crew would average 6 animators - that number included the head animator/de facto director. Crandall's departure would have left a hole in Kneitel's crew - one that Kessler may have filled. My guess is based on similarities between the following gag drawing and frame grab.

Kessler gag drawing from Oct.'36

The above Popeye drawing is arguable in the style of Seymour Kneitel's 1936 cartoons - and leads me to believe Kessler may have been part of Kneitel's crew at the time of the drawing. Below is a frame grab with drawing similar to the one above.

Saul Kessler animation?? Frame grab from 'I Likes Babies and Infinks' - Sept. 1937

Update: Check out the comments for some links to Kessler's comic book work.


Mr. Cro said...

That looks like a Henning scene to me.
The Fleischer personnel photo is from 1930-1931.

BTW, it looks like "I Likes Babies and Infinks" is DVNRd!

Bob Jaques said...

You're right - that photo was from 1930 - 1931. I've changed the text.

As for Henning - I've noticed that there is an animator of similar traits to Henning with slightiy different drawing licks - hence my conjecture.

In one issue of the animated news, IIRC, there are 7 members noted (thought no names detailed) to Seymour's crew.

Ted said...

Volta review (The Speech Reading and Speech Magazine), February 1920


"... an elaborate program which included... a clever series of cartoons... Mr. Kessler's cartoons were especially enjoyed."

Rare EC comic:

"Desert Dawn #nn (EC, circa 1935)
Only two copies of this rarity are known to exist. EC lived up to its "Educational COmics" designation with this release, a promotional comic under the aegis of the American Museum of Natural History. THe story was written by a museum staffer, while the art was in the hands of comics pro Saul Kessler. The star s distincly Bugs Bunny-like Johnny Jackrabbit. Not listed in Overstreet."

Original art from it (includes instructions on how to get to the rest of the art; go to jhalpe.com and type 9242 into the Search box ):

Said to be the artist on Blackie Bear


AMongst other things in the comic "Funny Stuff"

Mentioned in a Screen Cartoonists Guild thing form 5/26/44

Bob Jaques said...

Thanks for the links Ted!!

Steven Rowe said...

Saul Kessler worked on comic books from 1944 to 1947, for DC, EC (including work on Land of the Lost) and Fox. Probably best known for the two years he did Blackie Bear in DC's FUNNY STUFF. He was still in the animators union in 1944-5.

Bob Jaques said...

Steven - thanks for the additional info!!