Black, white, and red illustration of Koko the Clown on a red background
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Animator Max Fleischer initially created Koko the Clown to showcase his Rotoscope, a device that allows animators to trace over live-action footage. The Rotoscope allows for smoother, more life-like animations with the added bonus of speeding up the animation process. Koko was modeled after Fleischer's younger brother, Dave, who worked as a clown at the Steeplechase Amusement Park in Coney Island. Towards the end of his fifteen-year run as the star of Fleischer's cartoons, Koko the Clown would be eclipsed in popularity by another Fleischer creation: Betty Boop.