Sunday, 19 October 2014

She Got Her Benny Story

Here’s another “What’s Jack Benny really like” newspaper feature, this time from the Long Island Daily Press of March 22, 1936.

There’s no indication of the stage fright that supposedly caused Mary Livingstone to, more or less, quit the show after 20 years. But it may hint at another reason she didn’t want to be on the radio. And Harry Conn, the writer who claimed no one knew who he was, once again gets more ink.

It Pays to Be Big-Hearted
By BETTY GOODWIN

NEXT TIME, Mister Editor, please let this writer have an easy assignment—such as interviewing a sound effect. Or translating a series of broadcasts by Mussolini, Emperor Haile Selassie and the St. Bernard dogs of the Alps. But never again, please, send me out to get Jack Benny to talk seriously about himself. The first thing he said was. “You don't want a story about me. I haven't any Hidden Chapters in My Life. You know as well as I do that you can't write a story without a Hidden Chapter, And looka here, I'll show you what a punk prospect I am. I haven't even a Hitherto Undisclosed Love Affair. Now where are you? What can you write about?”
Only dimly, behind the rolling clouds gray smoke, could I discern the sly smile and silver hair that are Jack's trademarks. The Benny big black cigar, in you hadn't heard, has often been compared to the ever-burning torch under the Arc de Triomphe. Now and then some trouble-maker starts a whispering campaign to the effect that Jack discards his cigar while sleeping and showering, but he is always quick to deny the rumor.
“Now, here's your story,” he went on. “Kenny Baker. There's a kid who's going to amount to something. Why, I want to tell you that Kenny—”
“But Mr. Benny,” I protested, “we'll do a story about Kenny later. What the editor wants is a story about YOU. Here you are back in New York after months and months in Hollywood. We've GOT to have a story. Everybody’s writing and asking!”
“That gives me an idea,” he said, quietly, thoughtfully. “I'll give you something for Screen and Radio Weekly. I'll get Mary to write a poem for you.”
JUST then Harry Conn, who is Benny's script-collaborator, stepped in and saved the day.
“Don't pay any attention to Jack,” he whispered. “Come out here in the control room a minute and I'll give you a story.”
He talked only a couple of minutes before the whole thing fitted together as the works fit into a watch. Jack's talking eternally about the other people in his show; the gay atmosphere of the rehearsal (because a Jack Benny rehearsal has none of the strain, none of the ragging, none of the seriousness that characterize most big-time rehearsals). Everything suddenly seemed quite clear, this story included.
The thing that makes Jack Benny different; the thing that makes you listeners love him, is really the simple old-fashioned trait of generosity. Most theatrical people and comedians particularly are selfish as they can be about the “fat parts” or the “laugh lines” of their show. The star gets the big piece of pie—or else why be a star?
WELL, there was a time (some of this I eventually wormed out of Benny, but most of it came from the people he works with) when Jack was exactly like all the rest. He began in vaudeville and in small circuits. He worked hard, kept busy most of the time—but he is the first to admit that he wasn't too good.
Those were the days when “playing the Palace” in New York was the apex of every vaudevillian's ambition. Finally, after years in the sticks, Jack got his chance at the Palace.
His act consisted of himself and a girl, but he didn't give the girl much. Just a line or two, here and there, to help him out.
When he stepped into the spotlight he almost ignored the girl altogether. This was his big moment. Why share any of the precious limelight? His reasoning was the typical reasoning of show business. “Grab the spot if it's on you or anywhere near you.”
Jack played his hardest to that blase big city audience. He gagged and he fiddled. He smiled, shouted. He gave them the works.
“You kind of keep out of things, for a while,” he tipped off the girl stooge. But it wasn't for long. A week later Jack was back in the sticks, smarting under the knowledge that somehow, unbelievably, he hadn't made good.
There were hundreds of more nights in tank town hotels before Jack won a second chance at the Palace. Even then it wasn't what he really considered a break. He had to share his skit with another guy. Guy by the name of Lou Holtz. And, golly! What ideas that Holtz fellow had! Why, he wanted to mop up the floor with Benny! He turned Benny into a regular stooge. By the time the curtain was rung down Jack hadn't enough dignity left to patch a pinhole. He'd been a goat, he'd been a chump—and he'd been a wow! That was the turning point in his career. From that performance on Benny was big-time. He had learned the secret that has guided his every move in radio: “Never mind being the big shot. It's being the under-dog that pays!”
He spent more time than ever thinking up laugh-lines—and then he gave them away. He gave them to George Olsen and Ethel Shutta, when he made his debut with them 'way back in 1932. He gave them to Mrs. Benny, when he finally persuaded her to join him behind the microphone under the name of Mary Livingston. And speaking of Mary brings up a subject that is a story in itself. She isn't a bit nervous or concerned about rehearsals, so she had plenty of time to talk to me. She said quite frankly that the first few years of her marriage to Jack were not all that she had expected them to be. You see, Mary had been brought up as far as possible from the theatrical world. She thought a husband should go to work at 9 in the morning and come home at 5. She thought he had no business associating with chorus girls, who call everybody “darling” as a matter of course.
She thought—very definitely!—that she had made a mistake when she married an actor fellow who couldn't provide anything in the way of a home except a series of cheap hotel rooms, linked together by tiresome train trips.
Several times when Jack’s girl stooge was ill, Mary filled in behind the footlights, but it wasn't in her really to like the stage. The stage was the Enemy of the Home.
THEN one night, after Jack had turned to radio, he pressed her into service again. The script ran short. There was, in radio parlance, “one minute to fill.” Jack beckoned insistently to Mrs. Benny and together they filled the minute with silly, pointless conversation.
“Now,” said Mary, after the program was off the air, “now I suppose the sponsor's sore. I'll bet I've ruined your career in radio—and just when I was beginning to see where we'd have a real home and stop hopping trains every night.”
As it turned out, nobody was sore, least of all the radio audience. They sent in hundreds of letters asking who the new girl on the show was. “We like her voice,” they wrote. “Let's have more of her.”
THAT, my children, is the story of How Mary Livingston Came to Radio. Jack, having discovered the material advantages as well as the spiritual satisfaction of being big-hearted, gave her an increasingly large part in the broadcasts. Week by week and program by program he built her into a star. Of course, she didn't know what was happening to her. Most of the Benny-made stars haven't known what was happening to them. They speak lines, to oblige Jack. They treat him rather badly, it always seems to them, cracking jokes about him, talking back and acting sassy. And then one day they wake up to find themselves famous, the beneficiaries of the powerful “Benny build-up.”
"If he wants to give lines away, if he wants stooges, why doesn't he go out and hire real actors?" you might very well ask.
The real reason is that Jack likes the non-professional way in which these singers, announcers, maestros, friends and relatives deliver their wisecracks. They're natural. They can get the laughs.
There, Mister Benny! I hope you're satisfied. You were right when you asked us to write the story about your pals. They can tell your story better than you can!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Early Plaudits For UPA

In the 1950s, UPA was the darling of film critics and movie columnists who were wont to write about animated cartoons, thanks to a little boy named McBoing-Boing that the studio purchased from Dr. Seuss. But the studio received some compliments for what it was trying to accomplish some years before that, and from a not unexpected source.

PM Daily was a literate newspaper with a deliberate leftist slant. It should be no surprise, then, that it would support a film studio founded by former unionised strikers, who won contracts with the United Auto Workers, and created a sales pitch film to re-elect Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt as president in 1944.

It would appear someone at UPA, which was just getting off the ground and dealing with cash-flow difficulties, felt some free publicity was in order, and who better to give it than the politically like-minded PM? At least, that’s a safe assumption as the newspaper’s film critic was invited to a special screening of some of the company’s work. UPA had just finished The Brotherhood of Man, and its theme of racial equality in the post-war era was, no doubt, appealing to the editors at PM.

The paper’s movie critic was John T. McManus, later a two-time candidate for governor of New York and one of the founders of The National Guardian, another publication devoted to left-of-centre causes. Here’s McManus’ take on the early UPA studio. The photos accompanied the column; it’s a shame these copies are not very clear. It’s less than shocking that McManus takes a shot at Walt Disney but a pleasant revelation that he’s a fan of Bugs Bunny, though it’s easy to read the war-time version of the rabbit as a fighter against The Big Guy (and, therefore, Corporate America).

Speaking of MOVIES
Fun and Function

The most fun and the most enlightenment I have had out of films this year I enjoyed this week at a preview of some of the works of a promising young animated film company called United Productions of America.
UPA, as the outfit will be referred to hereinafter, may best be introduced as the organization which made the Vote-for-FDR cartoon featurette, Hell-Bent for Election, for the United Automotive Workers, CIO, in 1944. When the company undertook this project, its first, it called itself United Film Productions, but actually it was merely a group of fugitive artists from the Walt Disney studios who got tired of Mickey Mousing and cut loose for themselves to devote their animated artistry to useful purpose.
The result of their success with Hell-Bent for Election was a flock of instructional work for the Army and Navy. How they got their stuff past the brass hats who insist that entertainment and learning mustn’t mix is probably a military secret, but I can't recall when I had so much fun learning things as in watching a couple of films called Fear and Japan, each about five minutes long.
Fear let the GIs in on the biological fact that everybody experiences fear and then proceeded to show, in terms of St. George and his fabled dragon fight, how to turn fear into fearlessness. What interested me particularly, aside from the irresistible humor of the treatment, was the new departure in animation design evidenced in the silhouette-style settings of knights and castles.




Japan introduced the gentlemen in the illustrations at the top of the page, Sato-San or Messrs. Average Japanese and the way Japanese thought-control police operate to keep Sato-San thinking straight. The film ends with a regular atomic punch but up to then it is as delightful a rib of Japanese custom and formality as a scene from The Mikado, and a lot more meaningful.
What brings UPA into the news of movies at this moment is the fact that the company has just completed and is preparing for general release a 15-minute cartoon subject based on the Races of Mankind pamphlet bv Ruth Benedict and Dr. Gene Weltfish. The film is called The Brotherhood of Man, sponsored by the UAW-CIO. It is in full color and will be available in 16-mm, as well as theater-size prints.
We will report more fully on The Brotherhood of Man when stills from it are available for reproduction in these pages but in the meantime my advice to all organizations, church groups, unions and others who may be listening is to get your order in now for a booking of this film, because it is a real lulu, as funny as a Bugs Bunny and as urgent as the Atlantic Charter.
The eastern address of United Productions of America is 1 E. 57th St., the western headquarters are at 1558 North Vine St., Hollywood 28. Releasing plans are not yet complete for The Brotherhood of Man, but I believe it may tour the country coupled with The Open City in addition to being made available for the 16-mm. non-theatrical circuit. It will probably be booked locally in 16-mm. through Brandon Films, 1600 Broadway, which also furnishes projection equipment for groups not owning their own apparatus.
Another film innovation in which UPA specializes for classroom and organizational use is the “slide-film” or filmstrip. This is a series of scenes printed on a strip of film about a yard long and projected like lantern slides through a stereopticon machine, usually in conjunction with a disk recording of the accompanying commentary, sound effects etc. The record signals the operator, by musical note, when to change the slide.
I saw three of these—one called The Man in the Cage, an ingratiating and convincing argument for a permanent FEPC; another called Permanent Health Plan, made to help Henry Kaiser have the last laugh on reactionary medical authorities who opposed installation of health plans at Kaiser plants; and one called Svensons Seniority, which is a riotous exposition of how a shop grievance is handled by the UAW-CIO at the Ford Plant. I can't go into more detail about these today, but let's consider this an agenda for the near future, when we'll go into the problem of Svenson's Seniority et al with full illustration and advice on how to book slide-film lectures and have fun with functional films.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Homer is Not Tex

Happy Homer Brightman tries a Tex Avery gag in “The Great Who-Dood-It,” a 1952 Woody Woodpecker cartoon.

We’ve all seen how Wolfie tries to escape from Droopy by jumping in a cab, then onto a train, then onto a plane, etc. only to reach his destination, discover Droopy’s there, and fill the screen with an outrageous take. Well, in this story, Buzz Buzzard takes a locked trunk (supposedly with Woody Woodpecker in it) and runs onto a train to catch a plane, then ride a motor scooter to the edge of a pier and drop the trunk in the water. He returns (via reused animation) to where he started, and hears Woody laugh. He turns to look. Here are the first five drawings.



The difference between this and an Avery gag—well, there are a lot of them in the execution of the animation if you really want to delve into it—is we can see Woody’s not really in the trunk as Buzz runs off with it. Brightman came from Disney so there had to be a logical explanation for what was happening on screen. Avery would never explain why Droopy was always where the wolf tried to hide from him. That’s just the way it was (to me, it was a case of cartoon law where the Bad Guy Always Loses, the same law that inflicted violence on Wile E. Coyote).

This is the first Lantz cartoon where Brightman got a story credit, and also Don Patterson’s first cartoon as a director. Patterson went on to better things in his brief directorial career. Brightman, I understand, got laughs in story meetings. Tex Avery got them on the screen.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Lively Cake

Betty Boop gets a birthday cake delivered to her in “Betty Boop’s Birthday Party” (1933). Being a Fleischer cartoon, it’s only natural the candles come to life and wish Betty a happy birthday. And they develop little rumps in the process before returning to being to inanimate objects.



Seymour Kneitel and Myron Waldman get the on-screen animation credits. Mae Questel doesn’t voice Betty in this one.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

On All Day Are Bob and Ray

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding filled the airwaves in the 1950s with some pretty funny (and biting) parodies and satires. The question isn’t “how did they do it?” but “how did they not collapse from exhaustion?”

The NBC network plucked them from a radio station in Boston and, pretty soon, they were all over the schedule, kind of like Arthur Godfrey at CBS. The difference was Godfrey had oodles of sponsors. Bob and Ray didn’t—even though Elliott did a funnier Godfrey than Godfrey did.

By the time they landed on TV on November 26, 1951 (replacing half of “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” from 7:15 to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays), they were already filling NBC’s and WNBC’s radio schedule in mornings and early evenings. Perhaps it got to be too much. By early January, NBC announced “The Goldbergs” would take over the Monday-Wednesday-Friday slots. By May 6th, a sitcom called “Those Endearing Young Charms” took over Tuesdays and Thursdays. No matter. The TV network moved them into a Tuesday night, 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. show for Embassy cigarettes called “Club Embassy.” It debuted October 7, 1952. By November, Billboard reported the sponsor wanted to dump them. Then the sponsor changed its mind. Then the sponsor changed its mind again. The show became a musical revue with Mindy Carson as of December 30th (Carson was gone the following May 19th).

The critics all seemed to love Bob and Ray. Here’s a story from the Amsterdam Evening Recorder of February 23, 1952 which sums up their show, if you haven’t heard or seen it.

Lights of New York
By L. L. STEVENSON

Only a little while ago the names Bob and Ray meant nothing to radio listeners and television -viewers unless they happened to be the monickers of friends or relatives. Within the short-space of seven months, Bob and Ray have become familiar from coast to coast. They are a couple of uninhibited zanies who are on radio and television something like 18 hours a week. Incidentally, so far as can be ascertained, they are the only air comics who have received a “cease and desist” request from the staid and dignified Smithsonian Institution. There is no "Mr. Inbetween" so far as Bob and Ray are concerned. Fans either dislike their programs violently or like them just as violently. That the latter are far in the majority is indicated by their air hours. The National Broadcasting Co. has efficient ways of ascertaining public opinion.
● ● ●
Their full names are Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding. Bob is 28 and Ray, 29. Both are married. Ray has three children. Bob none. Bob was born in Boston and Ray in Lowell, not so far away. The team was formed by accident—and by grace of favorable audience reaction. Earlier in 1946, while both were staff at WHDH, Boston. Ray read the newscasts on Bob's morning disc jockey show. They became friends and Ray would remain at the studio after his newscasts to indulge in on-the-air pleasantries and gags, with Bob. They soon realized they worked well together and began to work in routines. Their humor caught on. The station gave them a daily, half-hour program. By that time, they had developed numerous fictional characters for their satirical sketches. They now use eight of these characters, all voiced by Bob and Ray and when necessity demands, they invent another.
● ● ●
Last July, Bob and Ray moved on to New York to do a 15-minute network show five days a week and 30 minutes Saturday night. In no time at all, they were on their way. At the end of 13 weeks, the network picked up their option. Now in addition to their six network shows they also have a two-and-a-half-hour local show which starts at 6 A. M. and runs five mornings a week. The first of the year, they made their television bow and now have five 15-minute shows each week. The morning show is strictly ad lib. For their other shows they wrote their own material until they went into television. Now they have writers but the main burden is still on them. To air time must be added rehearsal time. Their rehearsals for their daily TV show start at 3 P. M. They are really busy young men.
● ● ●
Masters of satire, ingenious mimics and skilled deflaters of pomposity, Bob and Ray travel their own peculiar way. The first of their characters was Mary McGoon. Tex, representing all cowboy singers, Webley Webster, who conducts the forums. Uncle Eugene, a typical stuffed shirt who knows all the answers, and Arthur Sturdley, "Just a jerk," are among the familiars. They kid commercials by offering skits of various kinds. In fact, they kid anything and everything that comes into their versatile minds. They even needle their boss since they introduce their programs with the announcement, “Bob and Ray take great pleasure in presenting the National Broadcasting Co.”
● ● ●
Despite the fact that the kits they offer listeners are farcial in the extreme, they bring a heavy mail. There were even listeners who sent to “Thieves, NBC,” for a "get-away kit" which included a high - powered black limousine, usually driven by a confederate, stolen license plates and an "automatic summons rejector." The "House Dismantling Kit" was the one that brought the protest from the Smithsonian Institution. It was for those who buy new houses which they want to look like old Colonial homes. So there were termites and even a "condemned" sign. Though they called it the "Smithsonian Institute" so many letters reached the Washington Institution that they were asked to stop making that particular offer.
● ● ●
Being funny 18 hours a week is rather a strain, Bob and Ray admitted as we lunched at Café Louis XIV. They made that statement seriously. As a matter of fact, off the air they are rather serious young men. As we talked, they seemed more or less, detached. There was reason for that—they were soon due at a rehearsal. Asked for what they were ultimately heading, they replied in unison, “Ulcers.”


Bob and Ray continued to bounce around on the NBC schedule, then jumped to 485 Madison Avenue where their characters enlivened the airwaves on CBS. They were still on the air in the ‘70s at the former New York hub of the Mutual network, and later on NPR. Their routines perhaps evoked more nostalgia than anything else, but their humour still stands up. You don’t need to have listened to “Linda’s First Love” as you hear the banal dialogue of Bob and Ray’s soap “The Life and Loves of Linda Lovely.” And there’s still a nugget of reality stretched to the Nth degree of ridiculousness in the phoney products the pair would hawk on the air. And who can’t appreciate the know-it-all, all-American kid Jack Headstrong getting his comeuppance from his buddy Billy, even if one isn’t familiar with “Jack Armstrong” (and its breathless, condescending offers paid out of parents’ wallets)?

There was plenty of parody and self-parody on radio, but only a handful of great radio satirists. Bob and Ray were among the best.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

You Know What Elmer's Saying



If you can’t quote Elmer Fudd from this frame in “A Wild Hare” (1940), you’re on the wrong blog.

This may not have the manic energy of Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons but it’s still one of his—and animation’s—all-time greats.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Grin and Share It Backgrounds

If it weren’t for the bright colours, and the jeep in front, this might look like a background from an early Hanna-Barbera cartoon.



There’d be a reason for that. This opening shot from MGM’s “Grin and Share It” was designed by Ed Benedict and drawn and painted by Fernando Montealegre, who both went on to work on “Huckleberry Hound,” “The Flintstones” and the other earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons. This Droopy cartoon was released not too many months before H-B Enterprises was incorporated in 1957. The director of this cartoon, Mike Lah, worked at H-B for about its first year of operation.

Here are a couple more, including a snipped-together background that’s panned at the start of the cartoon.



And to add to the similarity with Hanna-Barbera, Scott Bradley’s orchestra plays Huckleberry Hound’s “My Darling Clementine” to open the cartoon.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bosko's Here

Here’s an ad from Variety announcing the start of the Looney Tunes series in 1930. Great layout. Sorry for the low resolution.



The trade ads for the Harman-Ising cartoons released by Schlesinger must have been done at the studio as the characters are dead-on perfect. It’s more than I can say for the one-sheets of Warners cartoons through the ‘40s.

Jack Benny, 73 Years Ago Today

Jack Benny found comedy in his own show. Some nights, he’d refer to screw-ups on the previous Sunday’s programme. And on others, he’d do a routine that included how the popular press viewed how he was doing.

A good example of the latter is on the show of October 12, 1941. The gang picked through reviews of the season opener a week earlier, 73 years ago today.

Jack: Well, Don, I thought the press was exceptionally nice this year. For instance, PM gave us a lovely notice. In fact, you could almost call it “a rave.”
Mary: [unintelligible over static]
Jack: Yup. PM said our opening programme really was “a humdinger.” Very nice, don’t you think?
Don: Oh, wonderful.

Well, PM did review the season opener. It didn’t use the word “humdinger,” but the article was complementary. It was unbylined and published on Monday, October 6th.

King Benny Rides Again
VENDOR: Hot dogs, hot dogs. . . .
Get your red hot dogs here. . . Hot dog, old timer?
MR. BENNY: Yes. . . . Give me two. . . .
VENDOR: Yes sir. . . . D'ya want the reg'lar, or the king size?
Thus, in his typical topical vein, the nation's favorite mummer of Americana, Jack Benny, returned to his 30,000,000 weekly listeners last night (WEAF 7), with a surfire [sic] skit that might have been entitled Mr. Benny at the Ball Game, or Down In Front.
Except for a characteristic opening-night nervousness, from which Jack genuinely suffers after nearly a quarter century in show business, the Benny show last night was just what the 30,000,000 want: a spate of discomforture for Jack, the penny-pincher; acid comments by Mary Livingston; a few well timed phone calls from Rochester, the oppressed but irrepressible valet; a song, a dance, and a hearty sales approach from 200-pound Don Wilson, the Jello announcer. You might say that Jack Benny, in his 11th radio year, and starting his eighth season for Jello, was in mid-season form.
Some listeners may have noted, however, that last night's Jello program lacked the intimacy that is its hallmark. That was because last night's broadcast came from the full-sized, 800-seat Ritz Theater in Manhattan (it will next week, too). whereas the Benny programs originate ordinarily in a 300 seat NBC studio in Hollywood. There, the studio audience usually finds itself part of the show; in Manhattan. Benny the Phenomenon has to strut the stage.
The reason NBC sets Benny up in a big studio whenever he can be lured to Manhattan is the unprecedented demand for broadcast tickets. This year's requests haven't been counted up yet. but last year. for his broadcast from Manhattan in the spring, there were 50,000 requests tor the Ritz Theater's 800 seats.
Jack is notoriously the most fretful and nervous of all the big-timers, and he was even "nervouser and nervouser" last night. After the last rehearsal, which ended about 6, he paced up and down back as though ducking a hot-foot. He lighted cigars that were already lit; his eyes had a faraway look; he sat down, then got up.
When he finally went on the air, this nervousness continued for a while. He perspired; his hands and his script trembled as though he were an amateur; he lip-read all the others' lines and nodded with the punch lines. After the first 10 minutes of the show, this stopped. The laughs relaxed him. At the sign off, he even said good night to his daughter Joan, out in Hollywood.
Although the standard radio contract runs in multiples of 13 weeks, and the usual radio season is for 39 weeks. Benny this year is doing only 35 broadcasts He can, if he wants, take off two weeks later in the season. He has also eliminated the repeat broadcast for the west coast, thus ending a long-standing radio custom traceable to the differences in east coast and west coast times. Instead of repeating, in person, the Benny program is now rebroadcast by transcription.
Jack, who is paid $18,500 a week (out of which he pays all hands on the program, including the band and maestro Phil Harris), is the only performer in radio who has the foregoing privileges. He won them last year after a long battle with General Foods, makers of Jello.
The fight got so far advanced that when it looked as though lack and Jello wouldn't get together, NBC did an unheard-of thing, they gave Jack, the comic, the option on the NBC-Red (WEAF) 7 p.m. Sunday time segment. This was the first time in radio history that a performer, and not a sponsor, got an option on broadcast time.
What prompted NBC to this unprecedented action was its desire to continue its hold on the 30,000,000 listeners who tune Jack in Sunday nights. Furthermore, Jack still has that same time option; it means he is still the boss. As one General Foods reprepresentative [sic] observed wryly.
"Jack can fire us almost any time he wants to."


As a side note, this show is an example of why doing your own research and not trusting every on-line source is necessary. Various places on the internet insist the October 5th Benny broadcast was done on location at Ebbets’ Field. That’s obviously not the case from the story you’ve just read. And anyone should be able to tell listening to the actual programme. Nowhere on the show does anyone say they’re at a ball park. The acoustics are wrong for it, for one thing. For another, Ebbets’ Field was the site of the World Series; there’s no way the field condition would be risked by placing a full broadcast stage on it. For another, Jack’s script refers to him being in Brooklyn in the past tense. And for yet another, Dennis Day gets booed when he mentions the Dodgers. Dem Bums had such a rabid fan base, surely there would have been cheers in the home of Dodgerville. The show has a sketch set at Ebbets’ Field, nothing more, nothing less.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Cartoons of 1948, Part 2

You’ve been able to drop by our blog to read the highlights of the theatrical animation industry from just before the dawn of sound to the age of television as captured in the pages of The Film Daily. But to quote the mouse in Tex Avery’s ‘King Sized Canary’—“we just ran outta the stuff.” No editions of the New York-based trade paper are available on line past September 1948, so this post covering the last half of that year will be our final one. To flesh out things a bit, we’ve added what stories we could find from Daily Variety.

By 1948, cartoon shorts were not beloved by theatre owners, who made no extra money by running them with features. So they weren’t beloved by the trade press. Therefore, there just aren’t a lot of stories about them. And studios were moving away from them. Disney had been emphasizing cartoon features and then moved more and more into live action. John Sutherland tried live action, too. He made one non-animated feature for Eagle-Lion then scuttled plans for another titled “Confessions of an American Communist” because of a lack of interest. Instead, he stuck with animated commercials and corporate propaganda films, some of which were released theatrically by MGM. George Pal planned features. Warners used animated inserts in a couple of features. UPA had acquired a theatrical release from Columbia but was animating commercials, too. One contract was for Southern Select Beer to air on a TV station in Texas. Impossible Pictures’ cheap-o “Daffy Ditties” series lasted four cartoons. There was no clamour for them.

Television was exploding in late 1948 and looking at animation, too. But it could never afford full, theatrical-style cartoons, so it tried short-cuts. One example can be found below in Variety. As it turned out, TV was the future home of animation, first with releases of old theatricals, and then the stripped-down kind made especially for the medium, led by the attractively designed cartoon shows created by Hanna-Barbera in the late ‘50s. But ten years earlier, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were at MGM, coming up with new characters to freshen the Tom and Jerry series. Which characters? At the time, Metro’s publicity machine wasn’t all that concerned with veracity, just that the studio’s name made the trades, so its P.R. people invented characters and cartoons. Was Tex Avery really working on a mystery cartoon, like the studio told Variety? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We’ll never know unless someone ploughs through what has been preserved of the studio archives.

The Walter Lantz studio’s situation is confusing if you go by Variety. A story said it had completed two seasons of 12 cartoons for United Artists but that wasn’t true. It delivered only a dozen shorts and that turned out to be it. A Variety report at the end of January 1949 gave the correct numbers (one season, 12 cartoons) and said that Lantz and his writers already finished working scripts on seven others. A week later, he was off on a junket that took him to Hawaii, Europe and South America, then to New York, where he signed a deal with Universal to re-release another 13 of his shorts, before moving on to Canada in the fall. Evidently his studio was closed the whole time. Lantz eventually gave up on U-A and re-signed with Universal releasing (perhaps not coincidentally) seven cartoons in 1951.

So with that introduction, let’s look at some stories and reviews. Stories are from Film Daily unless otherwise noted.

July 1, 1948
Daily Variety
Lollypop Lane Television Productions, Inc., headed by Marsha Drake and Jacquelyn Ross will film a 13 week series of children's video reels. Series will be a combined animation-live action.

30 CARTOONS GOING SET METRO RECORD
Daily Variety
With 30 cartoons in work, Metro cartoon department currently is at the highest production level in five years. Ten of the animateds are in the Tom and Jerry series in Technicolor. Others include five in the Droopy series and 15 novelties. Fred Quimby, studio cartoon head, reported the last previous high was in 1943 when 22 cartoons—including four under government contract—were in work.

July 6, 1948
48 Metro Short Subjects Scheduled for 1948-49
... Program includes ... the following one-reel-ers: 16 Technicolor Cartoons (including the Tom and Jerry Series); four Gold Medal Reprint Cartoons in Technicolor ...

July 8, 1948
Disney Works At All-Time High
PICTURES GOING WONT BE FINISHED UNTIL 1950
Daily Variety
Walt Disney's studio has reached an all-time high in both personnel and pictures with enough films already underway to keep that lot operating at full blast well into 1950 if no more pictures are started. All of Disney's pre-war executive staff has been returned to the payroll with new employes being added. Currently in production at the plant are three full-length features with three additional features undergoing pre-production work. Approximately 20 short cartoons featuring Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Goofey are in works. In addition, Disney has six 30-minute color subjects working under the title of True Adventure series.
MY HEART SCORING
"So Dear to My Heart," full-lengther featuring Burl Ives, Beulah Bondi, Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patton, is on the scoring stage. Negative will be turned over to Technicolor on August 28 in anticipation of a release before the holidays. Pic features six new tunes by eight top song writers and four old folk songs. Second picture on slate is "Fabulous Characters" feature, starring the four Crosby kiddies with Bing himself narrating and singing. Crosby boys will be only live actors in the film. Scenes featuring the children will be shot following their current vacation. Negative goes to Technicolor by April 1 of next year.
MYSTERY FILM
Third feature in production, which is more or less of a mystery in that only those high up in the "know" are familiar with what the story is about, has been inked for 14 months. This feature has been in animation for 60 days and has a minimum budget of $2,000,000. Three features in pre-production stages include "Three Wishes," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Hiawatha." "Three Wishes" feature, being made with cartoon and live action, is already in final detail stages.

July 9, 1948
Daily Variety
Frank Nelson will gab "Bungle in the Jungle," cartoon now being made by Impossible Pictures for Republic.

July 15, 1948
Daily Variety
Shamus and Maxine Culhane signed by Bonded Television to do all studio's animation work.

METRO CARTOONERY CLOSES FOR VACASH
Daily Variety
Metro cartoon department shutters tomorrow night as employes trek off for annual vacation. Idea launched by producer Fred C. Quimby ten years ago, permits department to function at peak economy since vital teamwork needed for the shorts would be impaired by staggered vacation sked. Vacation period this year comes at a time when the cartoon studio is at its highest production peak in five years with 30 pix in various stages of filming.

July 22, 1948
That Song Boosts Bookings of Woody
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — With the "Woody Woodpecker Song" topping the Hit Parade, Universal-International, it is learned, will reissue more than 20 Woody Woodpecker films on hand, while Producer Walter Lantz will deliver nine Woody cartoons of the 12 pix to be turned over to United Artists this year. As the first animated cartoon star ever to make the Hit Parade, Woody right now is the hottest star in the field of animated cartoons, and a leader among juke-box selections, with disc jockeys and in sheet and record sales, Lantz reported.
Exhibitors, Lantz said, have made an increased demand for the Woodys, reporting that the requests for the films have hit an all-time high. They, incidentally, have been playing the Woody Woodpecker song during intermissions, giving the cartoon character an added boost.
As a result of the tremendous popularity of the song, which was first played on the air by Kay Kayser [sic] on May 27, to become an overnight hit, Lantz claims that he has been deluged with Woody Woodpecker business. Requests for new licensee tieups have been numerous, with one new item—the Woody Woodpecker balloon ready to go on the market this week—and several dozen others in various stages of completion.
Woody's scope is widening even more, for now Chicagoan Don McNeill, originator of the Breakfast Club on radio, has chosen the Woodpecker as his official mascot in his "McNeill for President' campaign, which is slated for a big buildup over ABC stations. One million Woody Woodpecker stickers and buttons are being sent out by McNeill to 267 ABC stations, and Woody gets daily mention on the program. Lantz has been invited to make a guest appearance on the show, and plans to do so if at all possible.
Song has been recorded by Columbia, Capitol, Decca, Mercury, M-G-M, and Varsity. Sheet music sales are over 5,000 per month—tops in novelty type songs.

July 27, 1948
New Tele Outfit Will Do Reels a la Carte
Daily Variety
New video firm, "Television Clearing House," has been formed by Dave Fleischer, Lou Notarius and Walter Bowman. Firm will make animated telepix, the first of which will be "This Amazing World." Fleischer asserted that company will make TV reels on order only.

August 2, 1948
Cartoons as Title Cards for 'Happy'
Daily Variety
William Dozier has set Walter Lantz to produce a special animated cartoon strip to be used for main title cards for "You Gotta Stay Happy." Cartoon will feature a jet propelled plane and will be in keeping with the mood of the Joan Fontaine-James Stewart comedy.

August 3, 1948
Hold Powers Rites Today in Buffalo
Buffalo—Private funeral rites will be held here today for Patrick A. Powers, pioneer film producer and executive, who died Friday in New York following a brief illness. Services will be conducted from St. Mary's Cathedral in Buffalo with interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, Limestone, N. Y. Powers died in Doctors Hospital, N. Y. He was 78.
Born in Ireland, P. A. Powers started his business career in Buffalo as representative of the Edison Phonograph Co. and Victor Talking Machine Co. He was credited with promoting the "His Master's Voice" slogan.
In 1912, Powers organized Universal Pictures Corp. which comprised eight independent production units. Later he started Film Booking Offices of America which eventually merged with RKO. He introduced "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" cartoons and developed the Powers Cinephone recording systems. He produced two series of cartoons for M-G-M release and another known as Powers Comi-Color, which were released via Celebrity. He headed Celebrity since 1930. He was connected with the latter company until a year ago.
In recent years his interest was taken up with the operation of the Long Shore Beach and Country Club in Westport. He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Roscoe N. George; a sister, Mary E. Powers, a nephew and three nieces.

August 16, 1948
LANTZ IS EYEING CARTOON FEATURE
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz, who has deal with United Artists to turn out 12 cartoons annually, is looking into possibilities of cartoon feature production. Producer already has scanned folklore for subject matter, and has made extensive study of costs. He now is exploring for original story idea on which to build his first feature, on theory that any cartoon feature which carries a good story will be acceptable to market.

August 19, 1948
Pal to Gird Globe
Daily Variety
George Pal yesterday announced that "The Adventures of Tom Thumb," will get full global treatment in a saturation servicing in both 16m and standard prints. Live action-animation fantasy will be issued in 14 languages.

August 25, 1948
Cox Ankles Disney's, Joins Sutherland
Daily Variety
Rex Cox has ankled his post as story man in Walt Disney's commercial setup to assume vee-pee job with John Sutherland Productions. He'll take charge of Sutherland's animated and live action commercial and tele-pix.

September 7, 1948
"Three Little Pigs" To Replay Music Hall
Marking the first time the big house has booked a reissue, Radio City Music Hall will replay Walt Disney's "Three Little Pigs" during the run of Leo McCarey's "Good Sam." RKO also has set 250 day and date openings for the cartoon classic, for which some 20,000 bookings in the U. S, and Canada are anticipated.

September 16, 1948
SUTHERLAND SHORTS WILL BE FUSED INTO MEX FEATURE
Daily Variety
John Sutherland returned yesterday from Mexico City confab with number of Mexican industry uppers on a musical comedy to be filmed there in Spanish. Project would combine four cartoons which Sutherland previously filmed out for United Artists with live-action. Cartoons, in Technicolor, never released in Latin America, run 10 minutes, to which will he added 50 minutes of live-action. UA already has granted Sutherland rights to Latin American distribution of cartoons which include "The Cross-Eyed Bull," "The Lady Said No," "Choo Choo Amigo" [and "The Flying Jeep"?].

September 21, 1948
Metro Cartoons Mixing Action and Animation
Daily Variety
Metro is getting into the field of combination live action and animation cartoons. First two cartoons in the combined medium will be "Senor Droopy," with Lina Romay and "House of Tomorrow," with Joy Lansing. Tex Avery will direct both shorts for producer Fred Quimby.

September 22, 1948
Pals Puppets Sought For Sherman's Oater
Daily Variety
George Pal and Harry Sherman are talking a deal under which Pal would revive Jasper and other puppet characters from his Puppetoons for a special animation sequence of 1500 feet in Sherman's projected production, "Carmen of the West." Joel McCrea and Peter Thompson have been set for top roles in Sherman's sagebrush version of the opera.

October 5, 1948
Daily Variety
LEO THE LION may find someone growling back at him any day. Now Metro's famous trademark is leaving himself wide open—he's stepping down from his perch to act. He'll debut with cartoon stars Tom and Jerry in "Jerry and the Lion" which William Hanna and Joseph Barbera co-direct for producer Fred Quimby. If the film works out well, Leo will be starred in his own cartoon series. If not—well, what film critic is going to take a poke at a lion?

October 6, 1948
BURKE MORRISON
Daily Variety
Burke Morrison, 35, cartoon cameraman at Walt Disney Studio, died Oct. 3 after a three-month illness of encephalitis. Morrison, a member of Studio Cameramen's Local 659, was a veteran of World War II, having served extensively with the Navy.

Dick Haymes Gets 'Tom Thumb' Offer
Daily Variety
Negotiations are underway on a deal between George Pal and Dick Haymes whereby latter will play the romantic lead in Pal's forth coming live action-animation Technicolor feature for UA, "The Adventures of Tom Thumb."

October 6, 1948
'Pickwick' Cartoon
Daily Variety
Elsa Manchester [sic] yesterday closed deal with United Productions for animated cartoon version of "Pickwick Papers," which she adapted from the Dickens' classic and will narrate.

October 11, 1948
Daily Variety
WALT DISNEY has hired vet song-plugger, Dave Kent, to do nothing but get disc jockey spins and radio and band renditions of title tune from upcoming "So Dear To My Heart" film. Although other songs are sifted into pic, Kent concentrates only on the title tune. Thus Disney is off on something of a new tangent in touting a film. He hopes repetition of the title, dinned musically into public's cars, will reap a big response when the combination cartoon-live action film is released in December.

October 13, 1948
Now Has a Mouse Playmate
Daily Variety
Preview reaction to Metro's Tom and Jerry cartoon, "The Little Orphan," resulted in the birth of a new star—Nibbles, the mouse with the ravenous appetite. As a result, there'll be a new series at Metro—the Nibbles series with William Hanna and Joseph Barbara co-directing.

October 15, 1948
CARTOON SEQUENCES EMERGING INTO MAJOR FEATURES
Daily Variety
Majors are happening to go in for cartoon sequences in their features. Wave started recently with Warners' "Two Guys From Texas" and William Dozier [garble] animation for main title and credits in his "You Gotta Stay Happy" for Universal-International release. Latter was done by Walter Lantz. Lantz currently is doing cartoon sequences for pair of other films, which are slated to be surprise incorporations in these productions. Several other majors, too, have been talking deals with cartoon producer for similar sequences.

Daily Variety
Right on the heels of the features, Fred Quimby is preparing a series of "Tom and Jerry" cartoons for Metro featuring foreign locales. They are "Cheese Heaven," located in Holland; "Mouse in Mexico" and "Cat in Calcutta."

October 25, 1948
Fairy Tale for Pal
Daily Variety
George Pal has set machinery in motion for development of a live action-animation version of "Rumpelstiltskin." Latter yarn about the famous fairy tale tailor probably will follow "Tom Thumb."

October 26, 1948
MGM 'Question Mark" Proves Apt Title
Daily Variety
Mystery shrouds Fred Quimby's cartoon "Operation Question Mark" at Metro. Production gets under way today and Quimby has decreed no visitors within department until production is finished. Shorts department topper reports only that the cartoon, directed by Tex Avery, is a completely different animated production.

October 27, 1948
Brushoff to Documentary Pix, Army Censorship Scored by Lorentz
Daily Variety
Documentary films have been given a triple brush-off by the Government [according to Pare] Lorentz, producer of "The River." In an address Saturday before the N. Y. Herald Tribune forum, Lorentz said the reasons for the documentary's decline were "money, indolence and fear. And the greatest of these is fear." Lorentz charged U. S. Army officials with suppressing the United Automobile Workers' one-reel tolerance cartoon, "Brotherhood of Man," in Germany out of fear of rubbing some Southern congressmen the wrong way. [remainder of story unavailable]

October 28, 1948
RKO TO RELEASE 85 SHORTS; 24 BY DISNEY
Daily Variety
New York, Oct. 27.-Eighteen Disney Technicolor cartoons and six Disney reissues will [garble] the 1948-49 shorts program announced here for RKO.

October 29, 1948
Meet 'Droopy,' 'Spike'
Daily Variety
Metro yesterday put the finishing touches on "Wags to Riches," cartoon featuring two new characters, "Droopy" and "Spike." Canines were dreamed up by Fred Quimby and his assistants. They'll be used in a series of the shorts.

December 2, 1948
Daily Variety
Warners yesterday laid off 28 members of its cartoon department. Group included assistants and in-between artists.

December 3, 1948
3 Tom and Jerry Cartoons Crayoned
Daily Variety
Trio of Tom and Jerry cartoons have just come off drawing boards at Metro. Subjects are "Hatch Up Your Troubles," "The Little Orphan," and "Heavenly Puss." William Hanna and Joseph Barbera co-direct the cartoons, which Fred Quimby produces.

December 13, 1948
ABC DEVELOPS CHEAPER FORM OF TELE ANIMATION
Daily Variety
ABC will unveil something new in television next Friday via a NY press preview of animatic, combo live action-film gimmick. The "something new" is actually a revival of a childhood toy via which animation was achieved by flicking cards. Figures appeared to move by changing their position on succeeding pasteboards. The animatic effects animation, and also cuts costs, via only two frames of film, changing at the rate of 200ths of a second. First of the films, with which local announcers and studio audiences appear on tele-receivers, are "Guess Again," quiz show; "Artist In Crime," cartoon mystery, and "Pot Luck," cartoon cookery item. Scripts for presentation of the shows by local station emcees accompany the films. Carroll Dunning of Dunning-color invented the machine. Harry McMahan of Five Star Productions supervised filming of features used on it.

December 21, 1948
Lantz Winds Program Of 12 Shorts for UA
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz yesterday completed his second annual program of 12 cartoons for United Artists release, with one year still to go on three-year pact. Producer in past has included four Woody Woodpeckers on his annual schedule, but due to popularity of "Woodpecker" number, has boosted this figure to nine of current year's schedule.

December 23, 1948
DISNEY WILL MAKE 3 FEATURES FOR RKO NEXT YEAR
Daily Variety
Walt Disney's feature output will be upped 50 percent next year. RKO's releasing schedule calls for three from the producer, compared with two this year. "So Dear to My Heart" goes into national release first of the [garble] following its Jan. 19 premiere [garble] Indianapolis with 150-day-and-date midwest bookings. "Two Fabulous Characters," now on its way through the camera department, will go out in August. "Cinderella" will have a Christmas release. Disney's cartoon short program will remain the same but a new series of half-hour "short features" titled "True Life Adventures" will be added. Latter also be available for television. First is "Seal Island," in Technicolor, short in Alaska's Probilof islands. Second in the series is "Adventure With Nature," now shooting in Idaho. Producer also has close to 400 cartoon shorts that may be dug up out of the vaults and made available for tele.

December 28, 1948
Daily Variety
"Fine Feathered Friend," revival of MGM cartoon yesterday, was announced for release next month. Fred Quimby produced the animated.

REVIEWS

July 7, 1948
"Little Tinker"
M-G-M (Technicolor) 8 Mins. Tops
Concerns Mr. Skunk's unfortunate plight as a social outcast in an endeavour to be a lover, with, alas, a happy ending when he meets up with one of the weaker sex of his own breed. Adults as well as kiddies will go for this one.

"Hounding the Hares"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Diversion
The hunter, his dog and a zany crew of rabbits run a wild gamut of animated resourcefulness in this Terry cartoon which finally results in the utter demoralization of the man with the gun. It is amusing stuff for the most part.

"The Bear and the Hare"
M-G-M (Technicolor) 7 Mins. Very Good
A hare gets under Barney's skin when the latter goes a rabbit-hunting. His attempts are frustrated when the whimsical rabbit refuses to be caught.

July 14, 1948
"Bugs Bunny Rides Again"
Warners (Technicolor) 7 Mins. Tops
When it comes to a challenge Bugs Bunny is right there to accept it. Rip-roaring Yosemite Sam tries to put Bugs to shame. Our hero, in his typical style, beats the arrogant bad man in suffering defeat.

"Mighty Mouse and the Magician"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Okay
With a couple of original touches in the animation department, this Paul Terry job in Technicolor soon becomes the standard cat and mouse diversion in which the felines come out behind the well known black sphere marked eight.

July 15, 1948
"Bone Sweet Bone" (Cinecolor Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Will Do
After an exhaustive endeavor to retrieve the sole bone missing from the dinosaur's skeleton and blamed for the disappearance, Shep, the professor's dog, finally brings it back only to find out his master had it all the time.

September 16, 1948
"Rebel Rabbit"
WB. 7 Minutes One of the Best
Chagrined at the picayune bounty offered for rabbits, Bugs Bunny goes on a rampage to prove that rabbits can be as annoying as foxes and bears. Hilarious sequence of the U. S. Army pursuing Bugs marks this short as one of the best about the WB rabbit.

"The Truce Hurts"
M-G-M 7 minutes Okay
Tom, the cat, and Jerry, the mouse, have been at each other long enough. So this time they decide to call off their usual roughhouse antics and bury the hatchet. They don't bury it too deep, however, and after finding the olive branch too heavy and troublesome to maintain, they are at it again. In Technicolor.

"The Shell-Shocked Egg"
WB 7 Mins. Mild
Adventures of a partly hatched turtle are told with mild humor. As the turtle wanders blindly from one hazard into another, one is reminded of the old hair-breadth experiences of Harold Lloyd in the 20's.

"Up-Standing Sitter"
WB 7 Mins. Fairly Amusing
Daffy Duck gets daffier as he tries to mind Mrs. Hen's latest offspring. Tiny chick enlists the aid of a ferocious bulldog to thwart Daffy's solicitude. Slapstick sequences are mildly diverting.

"Hen House Henery"
WB 7 Minutes Topnotch
This Merrie Melody Cartoon is a sure candidate for the Academy Award. The antics of Henery Hawk and a rooster ten times his size will keep audiences laughing from opening shot to the last sequence. The little chicken hawk after several false starts finally tricks the rooster.

September 23, 1948
"Gandy Goose and the Chipper Chipmunk"

20th-Fox 7 Mins. Kid Stuff
Gandy Goose and his pal, the Cat, are making like a picnic but soon a voracious chipmunk starts after their food and via one turn of events and another all the vittles finally wind up underground. It is rather primitively handled.

"Pluto's Purchase"
RKO-Disney 7 Mins. Good
Pluto, sent to the butcher for a salami, thinks it's for him but learns, after a trying session with Butch, the bulldog, that it was intended as a birthday present by Mickey for—you guessed it—Butch. It shapes up effectively.

"The Witch's Cat"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Fair
The mice world is celebrating Halloween when a witch and her cat come into the scene for some dirty business. They try to join in the festivities but are discovered. A chase ensues. Many rodents are captured some, however, escape and signal Mighty Mouse. He comes. Enuff said.

"Magpie Madness"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Fair
Heckle and Jeckle have a session with a stupid dog. They swipe his bone and lead him a merry, screwball chase all for the hell of it. Actually, they are all palsy walsy but it was a dull day and they had to do something to liven things up. They did.

"A Sleepless Night"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Average
The Talking Magpies en route South are stranded when their transportation disintegrates. They invade the domicile of a hibernating bear, and in short order give him another version of their well known "works." Their shenannigans backfire at the conclusion.

"Love's Labor Won"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Fair
Mighty Mouse applies himself to one of those treatments wherein the villain pursued her and she was rescued by the undaunted hero. The animated action takes place on a train, mostly, and generates the sort of wild spectacle that grips juvenile imagination, no doubt.

"The Pest That Came to Dinner"
Warners 7 Mins. Good
Porky Pig has a French termite on his premises that is eating everything made of wood, but voraciously. Finally he engages an exterminator whose advice results disastrously. Pig finally turns the tables and in cahoots with Pierre gives the exterminator what for, sets up an antique furniture biz. Lot of good fun. Technicolor.

"Dough Ray Me—Ow"
Warners 7 Mins. Plenty Laffs
Louie, the parrot, on learning that Heathcliff, the cat, stands to inherit a million bucks, promptly embark on a program of murderous mayhem which will make him the next beneficiary. It's rip snortin' stuff ingeniously developed. Heathcliff sounds like "Lennie" in "Of Mice and Men." Cinecolor.

September 24, 1948
"You Were Never Duckier"
Warners 7 Mins. Very Good
Daffy Duck is attracted by a $5,000 prize for the best rooster at a poultry show and dons a couple of props that almost disguise him as a barnyard sultan. He tangles with young Henery Hawk, chickenhawk, that is, and who wins ? Papa Hawk takes the five gees, Henery the duck prize. Daffy gets nothing. Well developed humor in this one. Technicolor.

September 28, 1948
"Cat Nap Pluto"
RKO-Disney 6 Mins. Fair
After a hectic night out Pluto comes home to be tormented at an ungodly hour in the morning by a cat that wants to play frisky. It's torment upon torment with Pluto having a hard time of it as a sandman keeps appearing and tossing the sleep stuff into his eyes. Doings conclude with both animals given quietus.

"Hot Cross Bunny"
Warners 7 Mins. Top Fun
Plucked from the lap of luxury, Bugs Bunny, medical researchers think, will be the subject of an experiment wherein he takes on the characteristics of a chicken. Nothin' doin' doc! After a high old runaround session the doc winds up making with the cackles and Bugs is his wacky old self. "Foul play, doc," he says at the fadeout.