Out of the Inkwell

Out of the Inkwell is an American major animated series of the silent era produced by Max Fleischer from 1918 to 1929.[1]

Out of the Inkwell
Out of the Inkwell - Jan 1922 EH.jpg
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Directed byMax Fleischer
Dave Fleischer
Written byMax Fleischer
Produced byMax Fleischer
Release date
June 10, 1918 – November 4, 1963
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English (1960s reboot)
Rotoscoped sequence of Koko the Clown from the 1919 film The Tantalizing Fly: length 45 seconds, 410 kbit/s overall.
Link to full size 480×320 pixels.
Link to complete film.
Still from an Inkwell Imps cartoon featuring Koko the Clown and Fitz the Dog.

HistoryEdit

The series was the result of three short experimental films that Max Fleischer independently produced from 1914 to 1916 to demonstrate his invention, the rotoscope, a device consisting of a film projector and easel used to achieve realistic movement for animated cartoons. The rotoscope projected motion picture film through an opening in the easel, covered by a glass pane serving as a drawing surface. The image on the projected film was traced onto paper, advancing the film one frame at a time as each drawing was made. Fleischer's younger brother Dave Fleischer, who was working as a clown at Coney Island, served as the model for their first famous character, eventually known as Koko the Clown.

Out of the Inkwell began at the Bray Studio as a monthly entry in The Bray Pictograph Screen Magazine produced for Paramount from 1918, and later for Goldwyn Pictures from 1919 to 1921. In that same year, The Fleischer brothers started their own studio, and in 1923, the clown who previously had no name came to be known as Koko when animation veteran Dick Huemer became the new director of animation.

Huemer, who began his animation career with the Mutt and Jeff cartoons in 1916, brought the influence of the short and tall companions to Out of the Inkwell with the creation of a small canine companion named Fitz, who later evolved into Bimbo in the sound era. Huemer redesigned the clown for animation, which reduced Fleischer's dependency on the Rotoscope for fluid animation. He also defined the drawing style with his distinctive inking quality that the series was famous for. But it was the interaction of the live-action sequences with the artist/creator, Max Fleischer, and his pen and ink creations that were the foundation of the series. Typically, the cartoons start with live-action showing Max drawing the characters on paper, or opening the inkwell to release the characters into "reality."

 
Advertisement to theater owners in The Film Daily, 1926

The Out of the Inkwell series ran from 1918 to mid 1927,[2] and was renamed The Inkwell Imps for Paramount, continuing until 1929.[3] In all, 62 Out of the Inkwell and 56 Inkwell Imps films were produced in eleven years. The Inkwell Imps series was replaced by the "Talkartoons" in 1929, and Koko was retired until 1931, appearing as a supporting character with Bimbo and Betty Boop. Koko's last theatrical appearance was in the Betty Boop cartoon Ha-Ha-Ha (1934), a remake of the silent Out of the Inkwell film The Cure (1924). Koko had a brief cameo in his only color theatrical appearance in the Screen Song entry Toys will be Toys (1949).

In 1950, Stuart Productions released a number of the Inkwell Studios Out of the Inkwell cartoons, and a selection of the Paramount Inkwell Imps cartoons to television.[4] In 1955, the Inkwell Imps, along with 2,500 pre-October 1950 Paramount shorts and cartoons were sold to television packagers, the majority acquired by U.M. & M. TV Corporation.

In 1958, Max Fleischer revived his studio in a partnership with Hal Seeger, and in 1960 produced a series of one hundred Out Of The Inkwell five-minute cartoons. In the new color series, Koko had a clown girlfriend named Kokette, a pal named Kokonut, and a villain named Mean Moe. Larry Storch provided the voice for Koko and all of the supporting characters.

Many of the shorts in the original series are now in the public domain. One short in the series, 1922's The Hypnotist, was preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2010.[5]

FilmographyEdit

The following is an attempt to list the complete filmography of the Out of the Inkwell/Inkwell Imps shorts assembled from the best-surviving documentation.[6][7]

The Bray Studio Years (1918–1921)Edit

  • Experiment No. 1 (1918) (Lost)
  • Experiment No. 2 (1919) (Lost)
  • Experiment No. 3 (1919) (Lost)
  • The Clown's Pup (30 August 1919)
  • Slides (12 March 1919) (Lost)
  • The Tantalizing Fly (4 October 1919)
  • The Boxing Kangaroo (2 February 1920)
  • The Circus (6 May 1920)
  • The Chinaman (19 May 1920)
  • The Ouija Board (4 July 1920)
  • The Clown's Little Brother (6 July 1920)
  • Poker (aka The Card Game) (2 October 1920) (Lost)
  • Perpetual Motion (2 October 1920)
  • The Restaurant (6 November 1920) (Lost)
  • Cartoonland (2 February 1921) (Lost)
  • The Automobile Ride (20 June 1921)

Inkwell Studio: Out of The Inkwell years 1921–1926Edit

'The Mechanical Doll' (1922)
  • Modeling (1 October 1921)
  • Fishing (21 November 1921)
  • Invisible Ink (3 December 1921)
  • The Hypnotist (1921) (Partially survives as a 3 minute excerpt)
  • The Mechanical Doll (07 February 1922)
  • The Mosquito (6 March 1922) (Lost)
  • The Birthday (11 March 1922)
  • Bubbles (20 April 1922)
  • Flies (1 May 1922)
  • Pay Day (8 July 1922)
  • The Challenge (29 August 1922)
  • The Show (21 September 1922)
  • The Reunion (27 October 1922)
  • Jumping Beans (15 December 1922)
  • Bedtime (1 March 1923)
  • Surprise (1 April 1923)
  • The Puzzle (1 May 1923)
  • Trapped (1 June 1923)
  • The Battle (1 July 1923)
  • False Alarm (1 August 1923)
  • Balloons (aka. Koko's Balloons) (1 September 1923)
  • The Fortune Teller (1 October 1923)
  • Shadow (1 November 1923) (Lost)
  • The Contest (1 December 1923)
  • The Laundry (1923/1924) (Lost)
  • Masquerade (1 February 1924)
  • The Cartoon Factory (21 February 1924)
  • Mother Goose Land (21 March 1924)
  • The Runaway (25 June 1924)
  • A Trip To Mars (1 April 1924)
  • Vacation (23 July 1924)
  • Vaudeville (aka Koko's Showtime) (20 August 1924)
  • League of Nations (15 October 1924)
  • Sparring Partner (24 October 1924)
  • The Cure (15 November 1924)
  • The Storm (aka. Koko's Storm) (20 December 1924)
  • Koko the Hot Shot (1924/1925)
  • Koko in Toyland (20 January 1925)
  • Koko the Barber (25 February 1925)
  • Big Chief Koko (15 May 1925)
  • Clay Town (28 May 1924)
  • Koko Trains 'Em (aka. Koko's Pup Talent) (15 June 1925)
  • Koko Celebrates the Fourth (15 July 1925)
  • Koko Sees Spooks (aka. Koko Haunted Hat) (15 August 1925)
  • Koko on the Run (15 September 1925)
  • Koko Nuts (15 October 1925)
  • Koko Packs Up (17 October 1925)
  • Koko Eats (15 November 1925) (Lost)
  • Thanksgiving (21 November 1925)
  • Koko Steps Out (21 November 1925) (Lost)
  • Koko's Paradise (27 February 1926)
  • Koko Baffles the Bulls (6 March 1926)
  • It's the Cat's (1 May 1926)
  • Toot Toot (5 June 1926)
  • Koko Hot After It (12 June 1926)
  • Koko's Queen (1 October 1926)
  • Fade Away (1 September 1926)
  • Koko Kidnapped (26 October 1926) (Lost)
  • Koko the Convict (11 November 1926)
  • Koko Gets Egg-Cited (1 December 1926)

Inkwell Imps (1927–1929)Edit

  • Koko Makes 'Em Laugh (10 February 1927)
  • Koko in 1999 (10 March 1927)
  • Koko the Kavalier (10 March 1927)
  • Koko Needles the Boss (10 May 1927)
  • Ko-Ko Plays Pool (6 August 1927)
  • Ko-Ko's Kane (20 August 1927)
  • Ko-Ko the Knight (3 September 1927)
  • Ko-Ko Hops Off (17 September 1927)
  • Ko-Ko the Kop (1 October 1927)
  • Ko-Ko Explores (15 October 1927)
  • Ko-Ko Chops Suey (29 October 1927)
  • Ko-Ko's Klock (12 November 1927)
  • Koko's Kicks (26 November 1927)
  • Ko-Ko's Quest (10 December 1927)
  • Koko Back Tracks (12 December 1927)
  • Ko-Ko the Kid (24 December 1927)
  • Ko-Ko's Kink (7 January 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Kozy Korner (21 January 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Germ Jam (4 February 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Bawth (18 February 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Smokes (3 March 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Tattoo (17 March 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Earth Control (31 March 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Hot Dog (14 April 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Haunted House (28 April 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Lamps Aladdin (12 May 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Squeals (26 May 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Field Daze (9 June 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Goes Over (23 June 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Catch (7 July 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's War Dogs (21 July 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Chase (11 August 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Heaves Ho (23 Heeves Ho 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Big Pull (7 September 1928)
  • Ko-Ko Cleans Up (21 September 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Dog Gone (20 October 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Parade (26 October 1928)
  • Ko-Ko in the Rough (3 November 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Magic (16 November 1928)
  • Ko-Ko on the Track (1 December 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Act (17 December 1928)
  • Ko-Ko's Courtship (28 December 1928)
  • No Eyes Today (11 January 1929)
  • Noise Annoys Ko-Ko (25 January 1929)
  • Ko-Ko Beats Time (8 February 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Reward (23 February 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Hot Ink (8 March 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Crib (23 March 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Saxophonies (5 April 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Knock Down (19 April 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Signals (3 May 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Conquest (31 May 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Focus (17 April 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Harem Scarum (14 June 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Big Sale (28 June 1929)
  • Ko-Ko's Hypnotism (12 August 1929)
  • Chemical Ko-Ko (26 August 1929)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (Revised ed.). Plume Books. pp. 85–89. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 40-42. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 31-32. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part 1: Animated Cartoon Series. Scarecrow Press. pp. 209-210. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  5. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  6. ^ Maltin 1987, p. 370-373.
  7. ^ "Fleischer Studio filmography". fleischerstudios.com. Fleischer Studios. Retrieved May 10, 2022.

External linksEdit