- Hans Fischerköesen was an animation pioneer in Germany. Because of his asthma, he could not fight in World War I but was sent to work in Army hospitals. Having produced a very popular ad for a shoe company, he established his Fischerköesen Studio in Leipzig to specialize in advertising films. By 1937, he’d won both first and second prizes at a Dutch-sponsored competition for commercials with the runners up including George Pal and Alexander Alexeieff. By this time, Fischerköesen had made around 1,000 publicity films.
When World War II broke out, German cinemas lost the distribution of Disney and other animated shorts. Goebbels sought someone to fill the bill for a German animation studio. Fisherkösen got the job, but received the mandate to work with Horst von Möllendorf, a popular Berlin newspaper cartoonist, as a gag writer-storyman. He was also required to compete with Disney and Fleischer using multiplane effects.
The first film they did, Weather-beaten Melody (1942) almost shows off the technique with a bravura sequence using both the multiplane and stereo-optical processes. It’s this opening sequence that I’m featuring in this post; this is far beyond anything done even in subsequent films. Unfortunately, these frame grabs come from a streaming video, so the quality leaves a lot to be desired.
The opening title – Scherzo
The film moves on to follow the bee who finds a gramophone in the grass. With its stinger the bee is able to play the music on the record for the other bugs.
At first the record doesn’t move.
It’s the bee who runs in circles.
Here is a QT of the movie:
You can find an excellent biography of Fischerköesen by William Moritz here.
Fischerköesen continued to make advertising films until 1969, and died in 1973.
The Snowman is part of the DVD The Golden Age of Cartoons: Cartoons for Victory! This is part of the excellent product produced by Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Animation.
As I mentioned earlier, the quality of the frame grabs has a lot to be desired. You can find better ones on Hans Bacher’s wonderful site, One1More2Time3′s Weblog. Also there are other films including some of the advertising films.
There is also a letter in the comment section of Hans’ site. I thought it interesting enough that I copied it here:
- from MariaElena Kadala
This were my grandfather’s films … I’m trying to get these pictures into Wikipedia articles about the films, without success. Perhpas you can do it?
While he was imprisoned by the Russians after the war (having been accused of being a Nazi) they asked his workers to provide the secrets of his techniques. They made a duplicate copy of all information, which I inherited, being the lone “techie” among many artistic heirs.