Friday, 21 October 2016

Baby Elf Waltz

A little elf tries to hammer in a nail to the strains of “Tales of the Vienna Woods” in Friz Freleng’s Holiday for Shoestrings. Note the smear animation.

We all know how the scene’s going to end. The bigger elves are shocked at what they’ve done. They close their eyes in anticipation of the take.

Cut to the gag.

Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Ken Champin and Manny Perez animate from a story by Mike Maltese and Tedd Pierce.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Catnip Capers Backgrounds

What imaginative cartoon released in 1940 featured a cat, a mouse and a wild chase? “Puss Gets the Boot” you say? Nah, we’re not talking about Tom and Jerry. We’re talking about the Terrytoon “Catnip Capers.” It has imaginative camera work, great dance sequences featuring the cat and a girl cat, morphing characters and perspective animation.

The backgrounds are very good, too. The plot turns a bit when the cat sniffs some catnip. Suddenly, he’s hallucinating. The walls and doors of his home become wonky.

A pink elephant with a carpet on its back appears and takes the cat, through a dissolving background, into the sky. The elephant disappears but the carpet remains to take the cat on a ride into an Arabian castle.

After dancing with the girl cat, the floor opens up. The cat tumbles into some kind of hellish place populated with huge mice.

As usual at Terry, the background artist doesn’t get a well-deserved credit. And, unfortunately, the Terry cartoons have never been released on DVD.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Audience Warm-Ups, 1943

“Don’t forget to laugh loud,” cajoled Jack Benny, “that is, if you ever want to get here again.”

Benny never said it on his show. He said it to his audience as part of the pre-show for a radio broadcast (of October 24, 1954 to be precise). The warm-up is still used today in television, as producers try to assure the audience at home that what they’re seeing is worth watching because the people in the studio enjoy it.

We talked about Johnny Olson and his warm-ups in this post; Johnny was called the best in the business by many. We’ve done a story about a Jack Benny warm-up. Somewhere on the blog, you’ll find a tale of Fred Allen’s words before a show to the studio audience. Here’s a story from the New York World-Telegram of May 1, 1943, talking about what happened before some of the shows that aired from the Big Apple (incidentally, do apples grow in New York?).

Radio Stars Get Audience in the Mood

Holding a mirror low in front of him, a sad-eyed young man walks through the audience, steps absently to the platform and stands there a full minute before the announcer deigns to notice him.
“What are you doing with that mirror?” he is finally asked.
“The doctor told me to watch my stomach,” replies the young man, still staring down at the glass.
This, in case you never attended a broadcast of Truth or Consequences on Saturday night, is part of the gag routine that precedes the show. It is part of the radio institution known as the warmup, without which the laughter you hear wouldn’t be nearly so long, so loud or so spontaneous. It is a custom peculiar to radio alone, based on the theory that an audience will not reach the high point in laugh response unless, like a race horse, it is trotted around the comedy track for workout aimed to limber up the funny-bones.
Gags Relieve Tension
It is peculiarly necessary in comedy shows, because the atmosphere in any studio in those hushed minutes just before air time is tense with excitement, not at all conducive to laughter.
Besides jollying the audience into a receptive state of mind, the warmup serves to introduce the performers. Acquainted with a comedian’s technique, they laugh more freely—and more quickly.
Of all warmup shows Truth or Consequences undoubtedly is the most strenuous, for both performances and guests. Ralph Edwards and his producer, Herb Moss, knock themselves and the audience into a kind of joyous delirium with a half hour of nonsense out of the same corn-bin as Hellzapoppin’.
Not for the Worrisome
“Do you care what happens to you tonight,” Edwards will ask, as he strolls down the aisle seeking contestants for the wildest comedy quiz on the air. “Are you sure you don’t care?” he will repeat, as two of his stooges walk stealthily down the opposite aisle, bearing a sheet-covered stretcher. “This? Oh, just one of last week’s contestants,” a stretcher-bearer will tell a curious lady on the aisle.
Edwards’ questions are not to be considered rhetorical when you remember that this is the show that sent an innocent contestant to Town Hall, where, for the first time in her life, she played the violin. Another contestant was put into a fight ring where he sparred with a kangaroo—until the latter was disqualified for kicking.
Garry Moore, master of ceremonies on Jimmy Durante’s Thursday night show, ad-libs for a half an hour before the show, good-naturedly insulting the audience. People are always surprised when they see Garry for the first time. He looks like a college freshman. His hair is cut crew style, standing up straight over his head. He lets the audience stare at him for a full minute before he says a word. Then, running fingers through his wiry thatch, “So what did you expect—feathers?” Durante takes little part in the warmup, appearing at the last minute from a seat in the rear of the studio. His timing is perfect, however, for the audience is applauding him and laughing uproariously when the signal is given “We’re on the air.”
Styles of Other Stars
Jack Benny usually presents a violin solo—complete with gags—before his show. Milton Berle ad-libs in his customary manner for several minutes, as does Phil Baker.
Fred Allen, one of the few comedians who are natural wits, has his audience rocked in mirth 15 minutes before the program starts. His routine varies little from week to week. He warns the audience against swallowing laughs, citing a recent medical discovery (by Young Doctor Malone) that swallowed laughter has a bad habit of accumulating at the end of the spine. “You don’t want to be a lead-end kid, do you?” he’ll ask. To further impress studio guests with the need for laughter—and lots of it—Fred tells the sad story of a man who swallowed all his laughs the wrong way, until finally Young Dr. Malone had to operate. And when he began to carve the incision went “Huh-haw.” Fred makes it an old, old laugh with an unmistakeable death rattle in it.
Red Skelton provides the audience with very little laugh ammunition before the show. He resorts instead to the old spinach-now-candy-later psychology. “If you’re a good audience,” he advises, “and laugh as hard as you can at all our jokes I’ll put on a real show for you after the broadcast.” And he does.
How Cantor Warms Them Up
Cantor clowns for the folks before and after the show. He warms them up, gives them a show, then cools them off, as he puts it. Duffy’s Tavern has no warmup, save for a brief introduction of the performers by Announcer Dan Seymour. Information Please stages an informal quiz before the show, more to put the guest experts at ease than anything else. Likewise the Quiz Kids, who occasionally have a grownup guest who is shy of the mike, and scared silly in the presence of so much youthful genius.
Musical shows, naturally enough, rehearse a few numbers that the audience will hear again on the show proper. Dramatic shows introduce the leading members of the cast. Diane Courtney and the Jesters present a half hour of variety numbers, usually including their famous arrangement of McNamara’s Band. Accompanist John Gart gives a novachord demonstration. Most comedians and musical artists are too weary to give an epilogue. Garry Moore probably speaks for the majority when he says to the audience, “Beat it.”

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Felix Fights

Felix the cat takes on something-or-other in a fist fight in “Forty Winks” (1930?). Some of these cartoons handled by Otto Messmer’s crew used silhouettes and negative/positive effects during scenes of violent action (along with alternating frames of stars).

Our hero then grabs the thing’s nose,takes off his tail, and uses it like a bow to play the nose like a violin. Felix is always pretty expressive.

There no animation credits on any of the Copley Felix releases.

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Hands of Avery

Tex Avery’s animators could deliver wild takes, but their animation could be subtle, too. In Daredevil Droopy (released in 1951), the circus owner explains to Droopy and Spike there was only one job open for the two of them. Notice the hands.

Walt Clinton, Mike Lah and Grant Simmons animated the cartoon.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Van Gogh of Music

How Jack Benny had the stamina, I’ll never know.

He toured all over North America, giving benefit shows to help raise money for symphony orchestras and their homes. In addition to the concerts, that meant a lot of commercial airline flying, rehearsals, news conferences and meet-and-greets. It must have been wearisome after a while.

One of Jack’s many stops was in Austin, Texas. He remarked on stage it was like being in Nome because it happened to snow the day of his show. It’s not exactly the kind of weather one expects in central Texas, even in February.

The Austin Statesman wrote up a few stories in the day leading up to the show and then the paper’s John Bustin covered the concert. If we get a chance, we’ll transcribe one of the lead-up stories. For now, here’s his report on the performance, published February 23, 1966.

BENNY MAGIC: He Charmed 2,000 Persons
Jack Benny is a magic name with a near-magic talent for warming his public, and if only he had been magical enough to do something about the weather Tuesday night, it would have been a perfect evening at Municipal Auditorium.
In town to make a benefit appearance with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the famed comedian ran up against unexpected competition from a snow storm that, for Austin, was crippling to traffic and certainly staggering to the size of the house.
Luckily for the Austin Symphony, which gains the total box office from Benny’s benevolent performance, much of the house was sold out in advance. And even in the face of the steadily falling snow, some 2,000 Austinites turned out for the concert.
Once instead the auditorium, the glittering crowd, heavily dotted with dignitaries, got a program that quickly made them forget the woes of the weather outside. For the first 45 minutes, conductor Ezra Rachlin and the orchestra provided a sprightly, if lighter-weight music that included Nicolai’s “Merry Wives of Windsor,” Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne” Suite No. 2 and a lilting suite from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”
Then Benny bounded onstage in his characteristic stride and proceeded to put the frosting on this concert confection.
Standing imperiously in the spotlight, he got his A from concertmaster Leopold LaFosse (who makes a credible straight man, by the way), repeated the note until he was approximately close to it and then eased into the “Zigeunerweisen” as if he intended to give it the definitive virtuoso performance.
Somewhere along the route, it turned into “Love in Bloom,” but long before chin, the delighted audience knew he was kidding.
Or they thought they did. For Benny actually plays well enough—most of the time—to raise a few doubts about whether he’s playing a piece straight or for laughs. But the wonder of this performance—and also his playing of Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto (in condensed form and the Rimsky-Korsajov “Capriccio Espagnol,” for which he became the orchestra’s concertmaster—was the comedy mileage that Benny managed to get out of what is essentially a single gag: i.e., his fumbling prowess on the violin.
Turning a disdainful eye on a violinist who has shown up the soloist with a flashy outburst, looking suspiciously toward a percussionist who has overpowered him on cymbals or simply smiling blithely at the audience while awaiting a cue, Benny was effortlessly, gracefully hilarious. So masterfully did he build the audience—which, in effect, had been preconditioned over years of exposure to Benny’s finely honed comic style—that one sometimes suspected that the spectators were chortling even when Benny hadn’t intended them to.
Later, moving into a monologue, Benny explained that he’s always nervous at these benefits concerts, even though TV and stage appearances never faze him. “I have no reason to be nervous,” he said grandly. “In the first place, I do them for nothing.” Then after one of those patented Benny pauses, he added, “Maybe that’s what makes me nervous.”
He allowed that his concert reviews are usually mixed, although in Chicago, he’s known as “the Van Gogh of music.”
“The first time I played there,” he explained, “a lady on the third row shouted, ‘My God, he’s lost his ear!’”
And so it went—Benny reeling off gags, telling anecdotes about George Burns, lampooning such “other famous violinists” as Mischa Elman and Isaac Stern and finally getting around to encore versions of Schubert’s “The Bee” and “Putting on the Ritz.”
It was an infectiously funny evening, one that cheered the audience at the same time that it was displaying Benny’s mastery as a comedian.
And as one normally serious concertgoer remarked on the way out, “I’ve never heard such sweet sour notes.”
To the Austin Symphony, which will be enriched substantially by the affairs, those notes must have sounded like pure gold.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Cartoons of 1958, Part 1

Virtually all the developments in the animation world in 1958 took place on television. That’s where the money was. Variety reported on January 20th that AAP had grossed $45,000,000 in less than two years on Warner Bros. films it bought for $20,000,000. Granted, the company didn’t only purchase cartoons, but there seemed to be no end of TV stations that wanted to buy them.

In leafing through Variety for the first half of the year, you’ll notice animation for TV was slowly expanding. In fact, the paper did a whole article on the subject. The situation would soon change. The Huckleberry Hound Show would debut later in the year and became such a huge hit, it would cause Hanna-Barbera to expand its operations and other TV studios to try to follow in its path. 1958 also saw the first rumblings of the interestingly designed but little moving Colonel Bleep and the strictly-for-humourless-kiddies Spunky and Tadpole in development. A more interesting concept that never got off the ground was the idea of having Bert Lahr in as a costumed MGM lion cavorting and introing Metro’s old cartoons on a half hour show.

Hugh Harman dredged up his dream of a King Arthur feature, this time in a co-production deal with a Japanese animation firm. Stories make it clear why the idea failed—nobody had any money. And both Dave and Max Fleischer announced plans to get back into cartoons as well.

Over at Warners, Eddie Selzer retired and was replaced by Johnny Burton, the ex-assistant animator and cameraman. And at Terrytoons, Gene Deitch’s name is conspicuous by its absence (by August, he was running his own company in New York).

Let’s wander through Variety. We’ve skipped a long, dry piece by Adrian Woolery about animated TV commercials, which were still popular. A short story on the rise of Hanna-Barbera can be found here. And another lengthy article on TV and animation will be posted separately.

January 1, 1958
Atlanta—Louis O. Hertz Jr., has been named promotion manager for WAGA-TV. Formerly he was on the animation staff of UPA on the Coast producers of "Mr. Magoo" cartoons. Prior to his Air Force stint, he was associated with WABT, Birmingham, as art director.

Just back from a two-month tour of Europe, his first since joining Screen Gems, [company international director Bill] Fineshriber reported 18 new program sales in England and on the Continent. Screen Gems, he said, now has 15 half-hour programs plus serials, cartoons and features (about 50 of the latter) sold in England, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden , Switzerland, Monte Carlo and Luxembourg, and has deals pending in Portugal and Spain.

January 8, 1958
Norman Katz, Associated Artists Productions topper in Britain, has cemented two tv film deals, one with a British commercial tv outlet, the other with Swiss Television. The British pact is with Associated Television for "Popeye" cartoons, and the Swiss tv deal is for a large package of Warner Bros, features —claimed to be the largest American features buy made by Swiss video to date.
The "Popeye" pact with ATV, it's believed, will be the first time a cartoon show will have 100% saturation over the entire commercial tv web in England. Granada-TV and Associated-Rediffusion have already inked contracts for the cartoons.

January 9, 1958
Edward Selzer, head of Warner Bros, cartoon division since 1944, disclosed yesterday he'll retire March 1, 1958, after 28 years with company. He'll continue, however, to serve in an advisory capacity.
Joining Warners in 1930 to handle special material for short subjects based on Robert Ripley's "Believe It Or Not," he headed troupe going to Africa and the Near East in 1931 to film oddities and in 1938 became studio publicity director. He held this post until 1937, when he took over trailer and main title department.
When studio acquired Leon Schlesinger Productions, cartoon outfit, in 1944, he became prexy of Warner Bros. Cartoons and served until 1955, when parent company absorbed cartoonery. Since then, he's continued to head cartoon department.

January 10, 1958
Danny Kaye has been set for a special number on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Oscar Awards telecast on March 26.
In addition, Walt Disney will produce a four-minute cartooned history of the pix biz for the show.

Walter Lantz returned yesterday from six-week trek on behalf of his "Woody Woodpecker" show, aired weekly over 167 ABC-TV stations. Kellogg sponsors.

January 21, 1958
Edward Selzer, retiring head of Warner Bros, cartoon department, will be feted tonight by Animated Film Producers Assn. with a dinner at House of Murphy. On Friday night, Whitman Publishing Co. will host for him at BevHills Club.

January 22, 1958
Pete Cooper, who was production manager in charge of UPA's animation for commercial clients, starts as general manager of Robert Lawrence Production's new animation division shortly.
Ken Drake, who was replaced as UPA production manager two years ago by Cooper, returns to the job. At that time, Drake went to UPA's London office, which closed last spring.
Tieup with Cooper was brought on as the result of Lawrence breaking off, after only a few months, his animation affiliation with Ernest Pintoff in Pintoff-Lawrence Productions. Subsequently Lawrence decided to incorporate a new animation arm within the existing PL production company.

January 29, 1958
Jay J. Frankel, 21-year old American executive of M. J. P. Enterprises is in Paris to finalize deal for Czech cartoons and one Czech "special effects" feature called "Weapons of Destruction." Frankel initiated his deal when in attendance some months ago at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Communist satellite country.
Frankel is in on a proposed U.S.-Czech co-production, "The War of the Salamanders" by Karl Capek to shoot this summer in Prague in the science fiction idiom. Youthful Yankee has been tracking down cartoon product in Bucharest and Warsaw.

National Telefilm Associates’ Famous Films division, which handles rerun product, has inaugurated a subscription plan to stations.
Under this, the entire FF library becomes available to the subscribing station, with no limitations as to runs or time slots.
Included in the FF library are about 1,000 hours of films for telecasting, including features, half-hour telefilms and cartoons and short subjects. In addition, new programming will be added to the catalogue from time to time.

February 5, 1958
"Energetically Yours," a 13-minute color cartoon produced by Transfilm, commercial and telepix outfit, has obtained theatrical booking at the Guild Theatre, N. Y. George K. Arthur is releasing.

Albany, Feb. 4.
WTEN's Charles (Gig) Pogan, director of tv operations, follows some simple rules to achieve what he deems as good taste in feature telecasting. (WTEN has a bundle of Metro pix).
Station never schedules a Jean Harlow release on its "Early Show," from 5:30 to 7 p.m., when kids make up the bulk of the audience. The stress on "body" is considered too sexy for the youngsters. "If a youngster stays up after 11 p.m.," opines Pogan, "we feel it is the parent's responsibility. Not ours." He added that some of the films produced in the early '30's contain scenes, especially anatomical, which WTEN does not consider suitable for home reception. These are eliminated. Older cartoons must be watched, too. WTEN does not wish to have any double entendre telecast, even though it may be over the heads of kid viewers. Nor does it wish to slate cartoons which are prejudicial to amicable race relations.

Associated Artists Productions made a hefty feature film sale to Australia's commercial television stations, claiming that it was the first total library placement abroad by any American distributor and that the Aussie pact in t h e long haul would be worth $1,000,000 to AAP. Norman Katz, AAP foreign sales boss, disclosed in New York last week that the deal was contingent on the expansion of the Australian television market, and that as audience increases were made AAP picture charges would increase accordingly.
Over 500 Warner Bros. flicks were sold to Herald Sun Television, in Melbourne, and Television Corp., Sydney, for a station in each of the cities. Previously, Katz had sold a smaller group of Warners and AAP's cartoons (including the "Popeyes") in Australia. Katz said that on his last trip sold a batch of Warner features to television in Hong Kong.

February 6, 1958
Walt Disney leads with three subjects, Warner Bros, and the National Film Board of Canada with two each, in nominations announced yesterday by Academy, prexy George Beaton for the short; subjects awards in upcoming Oscar Derby, Metro and UPA-Columbia are repped with one each. Nominations as selected by a special committee chairmanned by Hal Elias are as follows:
Cartoons: “Birds Anonymous,” Warners, Edward Selzer, producer; "One Droopy Knight," Metro, William Hanna, Joseph Barbara; "Tabasco Road," Warners, Selzer; "Trees and Jamaica Daddy," UPA-Columbia, Stephen Bosustow; "The Truth About Mother Goose," Walt Disney Productions-Buena Vista, Disney.
[Disney was also nominated in the Live Action category: "Portugal," Disney-Buena Vista, Ben Sharpsteen; "The Wetback Hound," Disney-Buena Vista, Larry Lansburgh.]

For the first time in its history, UPA Productions isn’t going to do what comes naturally. It has decided to background its first full-length feature cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights," a Columbia release, with realistic, rather than impressionistic settings of story's locale, ancient Baghdad.
Reason for switch is producer Stephen Bosustow's determination not to destroy children’s familiar nursery-book illusion of that city.

February 10, 1958
UPA Pictures will embark upon an expansion into fields of regional tv spot announcements and combined live action and animated cartoon feature films, prexy Stephen Bosustow disclosed over weekend at annual stockholders conclave.
Exec said that such new operations, augmenting work already being done in motion pictures, tv, music publishing and merchandising, "will put the company in the best possible position to meet the swift changes of today's erratic markets."
Two new board members also were named at meeting. Pete Lytle, of Dempsey-Tegler & Co. and Bill Roberts, stockholder and writer, succeed Alfred J. Scalpone and Howard Meighan, resigned.
UPA's major effort this year, according to Bosustow, will be the full-length feature cartoon "Magoo's Arabian Nights," to get underway in several weeks for Columbia release.

February 11, 1958
Regis Films, a new national feature and telefilm distribution company, has been formed, with Shull Bonsall, prexy of Capital Enterprises, at the helm. Initial property of the firm for tv distribution is a package of 260 new "Crusader Rabbit" cartoons, being made by TV Spots, "for which almost $1,000,000 has been advanced in production costs," according to Lee Orgel, v.p. of Regis.

A deal for recording, publishing and merchandising rights to the new UPA cartoon series, “Ham and Hattie” has been signed with Golden Records, Franklin Watts and Bland Charnas, three firms which handle the respective divisions of these tie-ins.
UPA yesterday delivered the second of the new series to Columbia, which releases. The first of the cartoons has been nominated for Academy Award consideration.

February 13, 1958
Pete Burness, director of UPA's feature-length cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights," hops to Gotham over weekend to record Jim Backus' voice for title character. Backus, whose voice is used for "Magoo," now lives In Gotham, where he has his own network show.

February 17, 1958
Package of 260 "Crusader Rabbit" cartoons, being poised for syndicated release by TV Spots, Inc., has resulted in expansion of the cartoon studio's facilities and personnel, according to Shull Bonsall, prexy of the firm.
Studio space has already been doubled to make room for an increase in staff from 25 to 60.
Understood that three local stations are bidding for the "Crusader Rabbit" package, with announcement to be made shortly. KPIX in San Francisco has already purchased the product.

February 19, 1958
John Elliott and Jack Meakin will pen music for UPA's "Ham and Hattie" cartoon for Columbia release.

NTA Pictures, theatrical releasing subsidiary of National Telefilm Associates, is going to market with a new flock of reissues, as mapped, at the outfit's first national sales convention this week.
A. W. Schwalberg, director of the distribution outfit, reported that the first' of the Shirley Temple oldies to be offered to theatres is "Susannah of the Mounties," made by 20th-Fox in 1939 with Randolph Scott as costar. This is to be packaged with "Gulliver's Travels," cartoon feature.

February 24, 1958
KHJ-TV has purchased and inaugurated airing of "The Adventures of Colonel Bleep," a package of five-minute cartoons dealing with outer space.
Purchase of the package from Richard Ullman 6 Associates was transacted some time ago, but the local station, which receives the films at the rate of only two-a-week, had to withhold airing in order to build up a sufficient backlog. The Ullman firm is preparing a series of 104 segments.

March 3, 1958
[Army Archerd column]
Harold Hecht, who has a personal yen to film "Jellyroll Morton" with UPA, part-live, part-cartoon, says they haven't as yet been able to convince backers of the pic's possibilities. However, if Hecht is crazy about doing a pic, he'll do it!

March 5, 1958
Metro TV is packaging a new vid-series consisting of 26 "Tom and Jerry" cartoons plus new footage of Bert Lahr, who would be seen as "Leo, the Wonderful Lion." Disclosure of the new half-hour tv project at the Culver City lot was made yesterday by Charles C. (Bud) Barry, v.p. In charge of tv for Metro, and Sam. Marx, exec producer of the studio's tv operation. Metro execs are currently negotiating a deal with a sponsor.
Plan is to use "T & J" cartoons originally seen in theatres, and integrate them with footage of Lahr. Larry Harmon is producer-writer of the show. In addition, Barry and Marx are casting two new pilots, "The Fastest Gun Alive" and "Father of the Bride," and are currently seeking leads for the new entries. Barry has just returned from a trek abroad, where he discussed sale of studio's "Northwest Passage" to British commercial tv, and "The Thin Man" series to French tv execs.
Regarding Metro's post-1948 backlog of product, Barry commented: "We are giving no consideration to unloading these pictures to television." Studio, like the other majors, has released its pre-1948 pix to tv.

March 6, 1958
June Foray, the voice of several cartoons and radio programs, will entertain at the WAIF Benefit at the Tennis Club in Palm Springs Saturday.

March 12, 1958
Pic critic Robert Benayoun has put out a book called "The Anthology of Nonsense." He feels that films, by their very nature, are the best examples of this form of expression which consists of looking at the world from a headstand position and obstinately interpreting it from this angle. He lists W. C. Fields as the king In this field and feels that Jerry Lewis, who could discourage a chimpanzee, is the nearest to the late Fields. He also gives the nod to Groucho Marx, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton and the cartoons of Tex Avery.

March 19, 1958
New York, March 18. — Veteran cartoon producer Max Fleischer has formed an animation firm, Out of the Inkwell, Inc. The new company's name is based on his early-day innovation combining live action and animation with his Koko, The Clown, character, which used to emerge out of an inkwell.
The firm will concentrate on production of new animated cartoons for video. Hal Seeger, who headed Hal Seeger Productions, is joining Fleischer as exec veepee and Byron [sic] Waldman as production supervisor. Company will headquarter here.

Columbia Records is dickering with Jim Backus on a proposed "Mr. Magoo" album series. Backus is voice of "Magoo" on the UPA cartoons.
Last year RCA Victor tapped Backus for a "Magoo" album. It was a one-shot deal, however.

"Trees" and "Jamaica Daddy," which make up a six-minute cartoon nominated in Oscar Sweepstakes, has been accepted for entry in upcoming Cannes Film Festival, UPA Pictures was notified yesterday by Columbia Pictures rep in France.
Cartoon is UPA's first in its new "Ham and Hattie" series, under which title it will compete at Cannes.

Suit asking $66,250 assertedly due him from a deal with Edward Janis was filed yesterday in Superior Court by Philip Nasser against Janis and Beverly Hills Productions. Nasser charged that he and Janis had entered into an agreement whereby he was televise and work on an idea for a tv cartoon series originated by Janis in November, 1956, "Fish and Chips," in which they were to split 50-50 on all proceeds.
However, he claimed, he was excluded when Janis sold rights to the idea in February, 1957, to Beverly Hills Productions for 125,000 shares of stock, at $1 per share, in corporation, plus $7,500 per year. Two defendants, according to complaint, "conspired to exclude Nasser from deal.

March 24, 1958
Writers Guild of America West has secured $17,500 in additional pay retroactively due six writers from Walt Disney Productions, the screen branch reported over weekend.
Participating are Ray Darby, Sterling Silliphant, Clinton MacAuley, Jack Speirs, Charles Shows and Carl Cons. Not all, according to report, are Guild members, but were repped by org nevertheless under its jurisdictional rights.
Involved in dispute and settled by Guild were questions regarding Guild's jurisdiction, terms of its minimum basic agreement, and construal of cartoon story men and "researchers" as writers.

March 26, 1958
Veteran cartoonist Max Fleischer, who last week set up Out of the Inkwell Inc. as his own independent cartoon production house, believes the prevailing pessimism about production of new cartoons is unjustified. To prove it, he's already begun production on a new color series of "Koko the Klown" shorts which he says he'll bring in "at less than one-third the budget it previously required to make a first-class fully animated cartoon."
The new "Koko" series (he created the Koko character in 1917 "and it's still on the screen") is already in production, rolling at the initial rate of one a week and to be speeded up to a three-a-week output shortly. After Fleischer finishes the first two of the six-minute cartoons, he'll decide on what kind of distribution deal to make.
Fleischer says the cost problem in animation can be licked by a combination of equipment and operating techniques. He's invested $75,000 in equipment for the series and has perfected a new form of hand operation that will enable him to bring the cartoons in within the cost restrictions of tv's current cartoon market, he states.
He's also updating the series itself, creating new characters (including a girlfriend, Koquet, for Koko), adding novelty effects and music, aside from color. As from the start, Fleischer himself will appear in live-action sequences to introduce each episode.

March 27, 1958
Jennifer Jones, subbing for Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson presented [Oscar] winners in live action and cartoon short subjects, and there was a moment of confusion as Hudson was handed the wrong envelope and read “Birds Anonymous,” Warner Bros., Edward Selzer, producer, as winner of live action shorts. It was actually winner in cartoon shorts, with the live action shorts Oscar going to an old familiar, Walt Disney, whose "The Wetback Hound," produced by Larry Lansburgh, won.

April 3, 1958
Final drawings for the first sequence in UPA's first feature-length cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights," have been completed and are expected to be ready for the Technicolor cameras sometime next week.
UPA's biggest project to date is expected to require some 100 artists, working for about six months, to complete the 200,000 individual drawings. Columbia will release, probably in 1959.

April 8, 1958
[Army Archerd column]
Walt Disney has $28 million now socked in Disneyland, adds another two million this year. He will also film four features and is looking for more stories. His newest all-cartoon feature, "101 Dalmatians," will be two years in the making.

April 9, 1958
UPA Pictures used 100 artists for its feature-length cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights."

George Cannata into Robert Lawrence Productions as storyman and creative designer.

April 11, 1958
Paramount will release 40 one-reel color cartoons during the 1958-59 short subjects program beginning Sept. 1, including a new series, "Modern Madcaps," which will feature a new type of streamlined animation.
The new program will include, in addition to the six "Modern Madcaps," six "Noveltoons," four "Herman and Katnips" and four "Casper, the Friendly Ghost." Twenty "Cartoon Champions" completes the schedule.

April 14, 1958
Ned Washington and George Duning will write the words and music, respectively, for six songs for UPA Pictures' "Magoo's Arabian Nights," for Columbia release.

Producer Dave Fleischer has acquired rights to the Mirror-News syndicate's "Lil Pedro" cartoon strip and has put into work two projected series, one for motion pictures and one for television
. Fleischer said he will use a new three-dimensional cartoon process that does not require special glasses for viewing. System has been developed by Sid Glenar, long-time associate of Fleischer.
Included in Fleischer's rights to the strip, created by the late William De La Torre, are rights to merchandising, comic books and radio.

April 16, 1958
Kellogg is experimenting with "Woody Woodpecker" as a nighttime show. The half-hour cartoon series, produced by Walter Lantz and shown Thursday afternoons for a moppet viewership on ABC-TV, has been slated for dual exposure at night in network markets.
Repeat of the afternoon version started last week at 9 p. m., one night a week on WMAL-TV, Washington. Kellogg, via Leo Burnett, slotted a repeat of the cartoon in another market, but the name of the location was unavailable. Object is to see how parents take to the stuttering bird, which has become a big afternoon rating hit (with Nielsens in the 20's).

Associated Artists Productions has formed a new division to handle sales on all the celluloid in the house except for the Warner Bros, features and the "Popeye" cartoons. New outfit is being called Gold Mine Division.
Shift in selling format was attributed by the company to the need to release salesmen exclusively to the sale of Warner flicks and "Popeye" animations. Gold Mine will handle the selling (mostly rerun) of the other features in the house, including several comedies and mysteries acquired before the Warner 750, half-hour syndications, including a Gabby Hayes group, and then there are the Warners' "Looney Toon" cartoons.
Sales chief Bob Rich took two of the AAP staffers and added three new men to handle Gold Mine sales. Veteran Len Hammer will handle eastern sales and Lester Tobias the west coast areas. New men are James C. Stern, for the southeast; Sam Posner, for Midwestern selling, and Bill Mattingly for southwestern markets. Gold Mine Division was opened last week.

April 18, 1958
A picture book version of UPA's feature-length cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights," will be published by Western Printing and Litho, in a deal set through Columbia's affilate, Screen Gems. UPA's "Magoo" will be released by Col.

April 21, 1958
Don Hillary, business representative for the IATSE Screen Cartoonist Local 839 since its formation six years ago, has resigned to become a partner of Dave Fleischer, who last week acquired film and tv rights to the Mirror-News Syndicate's comic strip, "Li’l Pedro."
The executive board of the local meets tomorrow with president Volus Jones to name a temporary successor to Hillary, whose term mas to have expired next summer.

April 24, 1958
The realities of marketing problems have forced a change in UPA Pictures' production plans, prez Stephen Bosustow said yesterday. Gone are the unique “specials” such as James Thurber's "Unicorn In the Garden," to be replaced by series with standard characters. Bosustow admitted that his cartoonery has had to compromise some of its early idealism in favor of a more realistic approach.
"We still intend to do experimental, creative cartoons but within a saleable format," he said. "Buyers, particularly theatre chains, won't even sit down and look at a special, although the 'A' houses will. They want to buy, say, a half-dozen 'Magoos' and so many 'Gerald McBoing Beings.' Except for the first-run theatres there's very little attention to programming."
Shorts, said Bosustow, are still regarded as "mere fillers when they could be theatre fillers with the right promotion and showmanship." The studio's answer is "Ham & Hattie," a format which permits of wide variety while retaining the same characters, a moving away from shorts into feature-length production, such as "Magoo's Arabian Nights," now on the drawing boards.
Having won three Academy Awards for shorts, Bosustow explained that the award does not substantially help a cartoon in the way it helps a feature. While it may bring in an additional $1,000,000 for a feature, award brings only about $10,000 for a cartoon, he declared.
UPA, which considers talking animals preposterous, hopes that animation will eventually be accepted as a means to portray anything covered by live pix — love, murder, war. "It never was true that cartoons are for children — look at the comic pages of a newspaper," he pointed out.

April 28, 1958
Sales exceeding $500,000 in the first eight weeks of its operation are reported by Lee Orgel, sales v.p. of the new film distribution company, Regis Films. Firm is currently marketing "Crusader Rabbit," new cartoon series produced by TV Spots Inc.
Initial sales of the new series have been made to WBBM-TV, Chicago; WHDH-TV, Boston; KPIX-TV, San Francisco; WMAL-TV, Washington; KCRA-TV, Sacramento; KTVH-TV, Wichita, Kansas; KGMB-TV, Honolulu; KVAR-TV, Phoenix; and to the Rochester Bread Co.

April 30, 1958
“Sing Along” has been slotted as an hourlong CBS-TV summer replacement show...[in] the Wednesday night 7:30 to 8:30 period effective June 18.
[T]he web is taking its "Boing Boing!" show, which was originally scheduled for that time period, and moving it into Friday nights at 7:30, starting May 23. The UPA cartoon reruns series, which ran part of last season on Sunday afternoons, will replace "Dick & the Duchess" reruns currently in that spot.

Walter Lantz Productions has voluntarily given cartoon outfit's 63 employees a free health and life insurance plan, effective May 15, with company footing entire bill. Policy provides a $3,000 life insurance feature with double indemnity clause, and 100% medical and hospital expenses up to 55,000.

WOR-TV, N.Y., has slotted "The Space Explorers" in its stripped "Terrytoon Circus" show. "Explorers" is distributed by Sterling Television. Incidentally, WOR-TV initiated a promotional tieup with the. schools on the factual cartoon series . . .

May 2, 1958
"Circus Boy," vidfilm series produced by Herbert B. Leonard and Norman Blackburn, and "Ruff and Ready," NBC-TV cartoon show, have been sold by Screen Gems for another season, production exec Irving Briskin was notified yesterday. Mars Inc. will sponsor both programs on an alternate week basis.

May 7, 1958
A new electronic process, said to be capable of speeding up and simplifying the production of animated films, has been developed by Jean-Paul Boyer, formerly head of research for Kodak, DeBrie and Technicolor in Paris. According to Boyer, who has made a number of films in the process in his own home, the pictures were completed in six weeks Father than the several months it usually takes to make a cartoon.
Boyer's techniques calls for only one drawing, with the desired movements being recorded on a pilot electronic tape which is mixed to create the animation. Boyer has been working on the process for 15 years. His three cartoons—"Insomnies," "Un Martian a Paris" and "Un Bebe Lune Pour Paris" (A Sputnik for Paris) — have all been released here. They resemble the line drawings of the UPA cartoons, but are not as polished. However, they have attracted attention for their beguiling simplicity and inventiveness.
Harold Smith, a former representative of the Motion Picture Export Assn., is handling the promotional and business aspects of the process which hasn't been given a trade name as yet. Boyer plans to make commercial shorts for theatrical use here and for video exposure in the U.S. Several American animation firms are said to be putting in bids for the process.

May 8, 1958
CBS-TV is bringing back the cartoon series, "Gerald McBoing-Boing," and has slotted it for 6:30 p.m. on Fridays. Bill Goodwin will be the host-narrator.

May 9, 1958
Lovell Norman, former sound editor of Metro's "Tom and Jerry" cartoon series, will do special sound effects for George Pal's "Tom thumb," Russ Tamblyn starrer.

May 14, 1958
With another 50 fresh Terrytoon cartoons put into the Terrytoon library and with renewals on station contracts being exercised, CBS Film Sales has written about $750,000 in Terrytoon biz the past few months.
Terrytoon, now a subsid of CBS Film Sales, having been bought out over three years ago, is now developing additional cartoon series, utilizing what it believes to be a simplified cartoon method which is not full animation.
Under the aegis of Bill Weiss, Terrytoon is making cartoons for 20th-Fox for theatrical distribution, and "Tom Terrific" for tv's "Captain Kangaroo," as well as having a commercial tv department.
Terrytoon's commercial biz at this point is running at about $1,000,000 yearly.
When CBS Film Sales took over the operation three years ago, it took 400 Terrytoon cartoons released theatrically and put 200 on the CBS-TV net, syndicating another 150. The syndication of the 150, under three year unlimited run licensing arrangements, now has been augmented by another 50 cartoons. The full 200 now is being sold throughout the country, with about 120 stations currently pacted for the Terrytoons.

May 15, 1958
First co-production deal between the East and West for a program of feature-length cartoons has been closed by Harman-Ising Pictures, Hollywood animation outfit, with the Toei Motion Picture Co. Ltd., of Tokyo and Kyoto. Toei, one of the largest film companies in Far East, will provide major portion of financing for program, also to include shorts, commercial and industrial films and several tv series.
Under the arrangement, Harman-lsing, which previously made short subjects for both Metro and Warners and in recent years has concentrated on commercial-industrial pix, will do all preparation here. Under the supervision of an American staff, Toei will do all animation at its Japanese studios, using Jap artists. H-I will expand and set up a permanent staff at its Hollywood plant to concentrate on the creative elements of upcoming program.
Initial films will be "King Arthur," "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves" and "Joy to the World." Actual production is expected to start in Japan around September. Budgets look to be between $1,500,000 and $1,800,000, according to Hugh Harman, prexy of H-I. Toei, in addition to furnishing major financing, also has arranged with Jap government for use of American blocked yen for possible use in program. Should such coin, called non-resident yen and owned by American majors, be utilized, films likely will be released through American company making frozen yen available.
International deal will make possible a savings of between 25% and 80%, it's estimated by Harman.
Later, too, combo live-action and animated features are planned for joint production. Attorney Gordon Levey, exec secretary of H-I who finalized deal in Tokyo, planes back to Hollywood over weekend.

May 16, 1958
Hugh Harman, prexy of Harman-Ising Pictures, has created a new slate of officers for company which will engage in joint cartoon feature production with Toei Motion Picture Co. Ltd. in Japan.
Panel includes Hank Fine, Rudy Ising, veepees; Edward Ashdown, executive treasurer and general manager; Gordon Levoy, exec secretary ; and James Harman, secretary-treasurer.

May 21, 1958
Walt Disney Productions set new records in the first six months (ended March 29) of its current fiscal year with gross revenues of $22,499,750 and a net profit of $1,633,250, or $1.06 per share.
Gross in the first half of last year was $16,457,933 and the net $1,532,391, or $1.03 per share.
Film rentals, in the new period amounted to $7,707,280, television brought $7,886,027, the Disneyland amusement park $3,876,686 and other items such as music and records, cartoon character licensing, newspaper comics and publications yielded $3,029,757.
Walt Disney Reductions has declared itsregular quarterly cash dividend of 10c per share on common stock.
Divvy is payable July 1, 1958, to stockholders of record June 13.

June 4, 1958
[News from Paramount’s AGM]
[A]bout $1,700,000 expectedly will be realized shortly from the sale, reportedly to Harvey Publications, of all rights to all cartoons and shorts in the library.

CBS Film Sales has pulled a neat parlay on Terrytoon cartoons, picking up about $1,000,000 in fresh biz via station sales of the cartoon library. Stimulating the biz is the guaranteed sponsorship of two clients, Bakers Instant Chocolate and Sweets Co., in some 65 markets, either separately or together. Another factor pushing the sale is that for the first time CBS Film Sales decided to theme the cartoons under the general title of "Farmer Alfalfa and His Pals."
The show has been edited down to the regular 26 1/2 minutes, with the Farmer Alfafa cartoon character acting as emcee for the 200 Terrytoons included in the deal. An opening, close and bridge has been included for a complete half-hour show on the reel.
Bakers Instant Coffee, a General Foods brand, goes off ABC-TV's "Disneyland" in mid-July for a ride on "Farmer Alfafa" in 46 major markets as an alternate sponsor for 26 weeks. Sweets Co. of America has taken alternate sponsorship for 13 weeks in some markets and 26 weeks in others. Total markets included in both sponsorships deals are 65. CBS Film Sales deals with the stations are for a two-year unlimited library run.
Representing General Foods in the deal is Young & Rubicam. John Howell, sales topper of CBS Film Sales, and Jim Victory, account exec, carried the ball from the telefilm end.
The "Farmer Alfalfa" series will be double-exposed in N. Y. and Los Angeles. In N. Y., WOR-TV will carry the series at 7 p.m. Saturdays and at 6:30 p.m. Sundays, white in Los Angeles, KTTV will carry the half-hour skein at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sundays. Other markets inked include WGN, Chicago; WFIL-TV, Philadelphia; WJW-TV, Cleveland; WCCO-TV, Miami; KDKA, Pittsburgh; and WMAL, Washington.

Foreign sales on "Sheriff of Cochise," "Official Detective" and other properties of National Telefilm Associates were reported by Sam Gang, NTA's foreign representative who recently returned from a tour of the Far East.
"Sheriff" was sold in Japan, Australia and the Philippines. "Official Detective" was purchased in the Philippines and Australia. Approximately 200 color cartoons were bought by the Nippon Television Network for presentation in Japan.

Allen Swift completed narration on tv animated cartoon commercial for Spic and Span Cleaner.

June 11, 1958
Hits Incorporated of Hollywood and Japan's Toei Motion Picture Co. has signed a three-year working agreement for co-production of three feature-length animated cartoons and two shorts. The subsidiary of Harmon-Ising Productions will supply the know-how, experience and story boards while the Japanese unit will furnish craftsmanship. Hits Inc. will send a crew of 15 or 20 to supervise the Toel cartoon department which will be increased to a force of about 250. Harmon-Ising topper Hugh Harmon spent about a month in Japan before signing pact with Toei prez Hiroshi Okawa. Films made under pact will be international in subject and international in release. Three slated feature cartoon pix are to be picked from "Arabian Nights, " "Ali Baba and 40 Thieves," "Court of King Arthur" and "Joy To World."
Toei will retain sales and copyright of finished product for Japan and Okinawa whjle Hits will distribute throughout the remainder of the world, utilizing channels of a major picture company. Also under consideration is the co-production of telefilm series, educationals, business films and tv spots. In the case of tv production, contract calls for the sponsor or sponsor's agency to advance the costs.
In recent years Toei started the serious study of the animated cartoon field, embarking on own production in this field last spring when the Toei Animated Cartoon Film Company was established, absorbing the Nichi-Do studio.
It produced a feature-length cartoon, "Hakujaden" (Story of a White Snake) which took 18 months to make.

June 16, 1958
Hans Conried, Daws Butler and Herschel Bernardi will furnish the voices for eight characters in UPA's feature-length cartoon, "Magoo's Arabian Nights," concluding voice casting.
The trio today join Jim Backus, Kathy Grant and Dwayne Hickman in rehearsals preparatory to recording.

June 18, 1958
Trial of suit brought by Animation Inc. against Mike Todd Productions for asserted plagiarism and misappropriation of a cartoon idea, set for yesterday, was postponed. Parties said that a settlement is pending.
Animation brought action over Todd's use of a cartoon sequence m "Around the World in 80 Days." Company asked payment of $350,000 damages.

June 19, 1958
Edward Janis, prexy of Beverly Hills Productions, said yesterday his company had made and sold 40 five-minute cartoons on "The Adventures of Spunky and Tadpole" to Guild Films.

June 25, 1958
As the race for firming up the fall network programming schedule goes into its final lap, Screen Gems is way out in front with new entries, leaving the other telefilm syndicators way behind....
New SG properties set for the fall season include:... "Huckleberry Hound," a half-hour animated cartoon show sold to Kellogg for placing on either one of the three nets or national spot.

June 27, 1958
Beverly Hills Productions, which last week inked a $125,000 deal with Guild Films for distribution of its new "Adventures of Spunky and Tadpole" cartoons, is now negotiating a new deal with Guild which calls for production of 150 of the three-and-a-half-minute shorts, according to Beverly Hills prexy Edward Janis.
New deal, which would supersede the first, would also give Guild options on 350 more of the color cartoons under a longterm lease arrangement involving flat payment of $4,000 per subject plus a participation in merchandising rights. New pictures would be budgeted at $2,500 each, as compared with the $1,850 per-pic budget which pertains on the 50 Guild has already purchased.
Beverly Hills, which was launched last summer via a $125,000 public stock issue, got back just that amount via its initial Guild deal, which called for a guarantee of $2,500 per pic for the 50 cartoons. Janis has 40 of the 60 in the can and is wrapping up the rest.
He started production on the cartoons last November, and without a studio himself, has sub-contracted the various animation and recording elements while retaining production control. Films, which can be combined into 15 and 30-minute packages, are done in limited-animation style.