Monday, November 09, 2009

From the archives

While digging around my clippings I found this one:

I met Pauline Comanor when she was appearing at Hampshire Mall in Hadley, MA. I explained who I was and what I was working on and she agreed to an interview.

She also insisted on borrowing my copy of Leslie Cabarga's book on Max Fleischer, which she never returned.

She was convinced that her creation of Chunky Monkey was going to be her ticket to fame and fortune. I frankly felt a little sorry for her. She had worked her whole life as a traveling lightening artist and was now in her senior years. her biggest claim to fame was her connection to the Fleischer Studio, but she had never worked on any of the cartoons.

Ironically, Lillian Friedman, the female animator at the studios didn't get this kind of publicity. Perhaps she didn't want it. There's an element of freak show novelty to it that might have been unappealing to a true pioneer.

Although some people have said that Edith Vernick was the first woman animator at the studio, Myron Waldman told me that Vernick received a tryout on the "Fresh Vegetable Mystery," but couldn't keep up with the pace the animators had to work.

When I interviewed Vernick in 1977 I don't recall her mentioning her work as an artist. I have to check the tape.

© 2009 Gordon Michael Dobbs

1 comment:

Bumby said...

Mike Dobbs! Indeed a blast from the past! This is Linda, Pauline Comanor’s daughter. I remember well your interview with my mom when she was appearing at the Hampshire Mall. Your story was enjoyed by all.

I can confirm, yes, your Cabarga book was borrowed and alas, never returned. We got a few chuckles out of your scribbled comments on the book challenging Cabarga’s Fleischer history (such as “bullshit," and wrong, wrong, wrong”), and we hoped that you would get your own Fleischer book done soon, even though Cabarga had beat you to the punch. Hopefully by now (24 years later, believe it or not), you are making some progress on your very own Fleischer book.

One correction in your blog, my mom did indeed work on the cartoons in the studio. While her main job with Fleischer was to represent the studio and make personal appearances with “Betty Boop” on stage, she was fluent in all aspects of what went on there, especially versed in animation art.

As far as Chunky Monkey goes, we do sell a doll and other Chunky Monkey merchandise , but Chunky Monkey’s real “fame and fortune” for us has come about through licensing the name and character. Funny how things turn out!

This may be a bit overdue, but I would like to finally return your Cabarga book!
Best wishes, Linda