Aesop's Film Fables

Aesop's Film Fables

Aesop's Film Fables

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Aesop's Film Fables was a series of animated short subjects, created by American cartoonist Paul Terry. Terry came upon the inspiration for the series by young actor-turned-writer Howard Estabrook, who suggested making a series of cartoons based on Aesop's Fables. Although Terry later claimed he had never heard of Aesop, he felt that Estabrook's idea was something worthwhile. Terry immediately began to set up a new studio called Fables Studios, Inc. and received backing from the Keith-Albee Theatre circuit.

The series launched on May 13, 1921 with The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs. Only the earliest films were loose adaptations of the actual Fables while later entries usually revolved around cats, mice, and the disgruntled Farmer Al Falfa. Each short concluded with a "moral" that usually had nothing to do with the actual cartoon itself. Terry staffer Mannie Davis once remarked that the morals were even "funnier than the whole picture itself." "The fact that they're ambiguous is the thing that made 'em funny," Terry once said. Morals included "Go around with a chip on your shoulder and someone will knock your block off" or "Marriage is a good institution, but who wants to live in an institution?"

The series proved to be enormously popular with the public during the 1920s. Walt Disney admitted that his earliest ambitions was to produce cartoons of comparable quality to Paul Terry. With the popularity of Al Jolson's...
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