Mar 3, 2010

"Mr. Bug Goes to Town" & the Downfall of Fleischer Studios

With the unfortunate fact that the Fleischer brothers were not even speaking to each other during the production of Mr. Bug Goes to Town, the film was surrounded with an undeserving negativity that grew worse as time progressed. After moving from New York to Miami to create a new but expensive studio, the Fleischer's goals were to make feature films like Gulliver's Travels to compete with the success of Disney's Snow White. While Gulliver's Travels did well in theaters, Mr. Bug Goes to Town would soon suffer from terrible, unpredicted circumstances. Due to the expense of not only the Miami studio, but the cost of Mr. Bug Goes to Town and the Superman shorts, the Fleischers were forced to sell their studio to Paramount mid way through production. While Fleischer Studios had planned to release the film in November of 1941, Disney released the highly successful Dumbo weeks before Mr. Bug was planned to come out, so the release date was pushed back to December of that year. Unfortunately, two days after Mr. Bug Goes to Town's release, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred and not only ruined any success that the film could have had, but eliminated Max and Dave Fleischer from their own studio to be renamed by Paramount as "Famous Studios." Even when Paramount later rereleased Mr. Bug as Hoppity Goes to Town, it was still unable to earn back half of the finances it took to make the picture in the first place. It's extremely unfortunate that many do not know of this film, as it is a really beautifully animated and enjoyable feature film that surely deserves more recognition and appreciation.

The whole film is available on YouTube:

--Phylicia F.

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