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Text Commentary

Vaudeville on and Off the Screen
by Nicholas Sammond `

The Fleischer Studios short Vaudeville (1924) features producer Max Fleischer pretending to be the sole animator of the cartoon. This conceit was not Fleischers' alone; many producers took credit for the creation of their shorts. But Max and his brother Dave had long celebrated vaudeville, and would, in the next few years, attempt to mount stage versions of some of their more popular shorts...and would create sing-along cartoons for vaudeville/movie houses. This cartoon adds to that interactive quality of vaudeville another common conceit of the form: play with race and ethnicity as social and cultural conventions/stereotypes. In this instance Max uses trick photography to mimic animation's ability to metamorphose.

This Commentary is related to the following Clips:
Ko-Ko the Clown in "Vaudeville" by Dave Fleischer (1924) A 1924 silent short by Fleischer Studios, featuring their mischevious star, Ko-Ko the Clown. (Audio on this clip was added when it was re-released.) Ko-Ko was often built on a rotoscope of Dave Fleischer. This clip features the play of race and ethnicity common in vaudeville, as well as Ko-Ko's minstrel tendencies.