The son of famed animator Max Fleischer (Popeye, Betty Boop et. al.), Richard O. Fleischer was a psychology student at Brown University when he dropped out in favor of the Yale Drama Department. At age 21, Fleischer organized a campus theatrical troupe called the Arena Players. In 1942, he went to work for RKO-Pathe in New York, editing the company’s weekly newsreels before producing and directing his own short-subject projects, including the March of Time-like This is America and a series of gagged-up silent-film vignettes titled Flicker Flashbacks. In 1946, he headed to Hollywood, there to direct feature films for Pathe’s parent studio, RKO Radio; his last short-subject effort was the Oscar-winning Design for Death (1948). At first limited to “B” pictures, Fleischer gained a loyal critical following with such topnotch films as Follow Me Quietly (1949) and The Narrow Margin (1952).
Perhaps sensing that RKO was on its last legs, Fleischer moved on to MGM, then to Walt Disney… read more