Friday, 20 July 2018

Help! I'm Outside the Cartoon!

Porky the Rainmaker has a great ending. Porky’s farm animals swallow meteorological pills, which turns them into living versions of the weather (fog, lightning, tornado, etc.). But the rain pill gets into the sky, causing a downpour that saves the crops on the farm. Porky, his dad and the animals celebrate and strike a pose like at the end of a stage musical.



But it’s not over. The animals suddenly turn back into the weather-emulating versions of themselves.



But it’s still not over! The goose gets thrown, then gets caught “outside” the cartoon as the iris closes on him. He bangs on the “wall” and is pulled back in to end the short.



Leave it to Tex Avery to screw around with the ending of a cartoon (he also had a reach-out-from-the-iris gag to end I Love to Singa, released two weeks earlier).

Sid Sutherland and Cecil Surry are the credited animators; Avery’s little group also had Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Virgil Ross and assistants Bobe Cannon and Elmer Wait at the time.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Flying Duck Dinner

Would you eat a duck that got stripped and then roasted by an airplane propeller? Tom and Jerry would in In The Bag (1932).



They never eat the duck. Their plane crashes and they go onto something else.

John Foster and George Rufle get the co-director credit with Gene Rodemich providing the score (I couldn’t tell you the name of the song behind the above scene).

The film studios weren’t terribly possessive about titles. There was a Slim Summerville two-reeler called In the Bag released a week after this one.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

An Engaging Rodent and Minor Masterpieces

Even as Mickey Mouse was being recognised and praised by the people who hand out the Oscars in 1932, the humanoid mouse had peaked in films.

Mickey, of course, stuck around for many years and still starred in films, but he was eclipsed by multiple colours, then by multiple pigs, then by multiple dwarves. Even setting aside features and Silly Symphonies, Donald Duck and, to a lesser extent, Goofy, began grabbing the audience’s attention in short films.

One wonders if part of the blame, if blame’s the word, could be put on film censors. Donald was just a loudmouth with anger management issues. Goofy was a dope. But Mickey was a “role model.” He had a wife-like companion, a dog, a home. In many ways, to the kid audience, he was similar to dad. And dad can’t be shown doing anything bad. He must uphold the American Family Way. So out went chamber pot and outhouse jokes, and udders and bodily fluids and stuff like that. Mickey became bland as, well, dad with his predictable routine of work, dinner, pipe and slippers and reading the paper.

Here’s a story from the New York Herald Tribune of November 27, 1932. I reprint it not because of its analysis of Mickey Mouse but because it has some small praise for other animated shorts. How often do you see Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry receive some favour in the popular press? Almost never. You do here. Even Flip the Frog (before he stared at showering women through a keyhole) warrants a mention.

Mickey Mouse’s New Garlands Are the Subject of This Essay
By J.C. Furnas

THE annual awards of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences for the best acting, directing, camera work and so forth always produce more or less dispute. But that one of the recent awards which gave special recognition to Mickey Mouse is something with which almost all picturegoers can be thoroughly satisfied. You have your own ideas as to whom turned out the best job of acting among the great ladies of the screen, but, unless you are more or less than human, you cannot object to seeing Mr. Walt Disney’s engaging rodent hung around with garlands. Although it seems a little unfair that Minnie Mouse was not included in the honors, that is a matter touching domestic diplomacy and had been not be discussed in public.
Nor is this laboring of the Academy mountain to bring forth a mouse a matter of mere routine, like the selection of an All-American quarterback or the year’s best director. A special award of this sort has been made only twice before, once for Charles Spencer Chaplin, once for the Warner Brothers’ contribution in developing sound-production. This is fame. It ranks the absurd creature of Disney’s fancy with the actor who heads the screen pantheon and with the most important technical development the screen has seen since the close-up was invented. And there can be little doubt that Mickey deserves to be in such company. Only the early Chaplin comedies ever gained such a hold on the public affection as animated cartoons in general, and Mickey Mouse in particular, have developed since synchronized sound was combined with the old cartoon technique.
By an unfortunate coincidence, the current Mickey Mouse releases at the time of the award were not quite up to standard. Neither Mickey’s adventures in Arabia at the Roxy nor “The Wayward Canary” at the Rivoli match up with the best Mickey has done, such as the battle with the octopus on the beach, nor even with his average quality, which was well represented in “Mickey’s Revue.” And just at the moment attention has been diverted to the new colored Silly Symphonies, of which an excellent example is now showing at the Palace. But week in and week out, Mickey overshadows all other animated cartoons, and the best way to take this welcome award is as a tribute to the whole cartoon business, properly given to the most eminent practitioner.
Otherwise you would be guilty of the same sort of invidious preference which denies merit to all the old two-reel slapstick comedies except Chaplin’s. For, although Mickey Mouse is indubitably the best of the lot, there are plenty of other animated cartoons that are well worth sitting through. A Silly Symphony like “The Spider and the Fly,” also a product of Mr. Disney and his merry men, can come close to the edge of Mickey’s mantle. Bosco and Tom and Jerry and Flip the Frog all have their moments and, if you can discount the fading curse of the bouncing ball, even a few of Betty Boop cartoons have displayed an admirable fancy, particularly that specimen in a kind of topsy-turvy land where fish caught men and pipes lighted matches. Yet there seems to be something about Mickey which prompts his creator to a flawless taste, so that Disney is never guilty in a Mickey Mouse of the occasional candy-box prettiness that mar his Silly Symphonies.
It will be interesting to see how color affects Mickey’s personality, if they ever get round to ornamenting him with the dazzling polychromy that the Silly Symphonies already use. Color in photographed films has proved of little service, but perhaps Mickey can survive its preemptory monopoly of attention. He is developing all the time in other directions, not only in decorum with his past trouble with the censors. To his faithful and much tried Millie he is adding other stock characters: the lugubrious hound dogs that danced in “Mickey’s Revue” and the horse-creature with the laugh like a defective pump that caused so much of the joy in “Mickey’s Revue” and “Mickey’s Whoopee Party.”
If the academy award is to be taken seriously at all, it must mean that the animated cartoon has become a major achievement in films. Certainly the picture business accords no such emphasis to any other breed of short subjects. Mickey Mouse gets his own billing on marquees and stands outside theaters alongside cutouts of the popular stars. And the most precious and pretentious critics of the cinema agree with the cash customers: animated cartoons are the object of high praise and formidably grave analysis among those to whom Hollywood and its fruits are usually anathema. It is so often the fate of the American picture industry to labor pantingly to become aesthetically respectable in a big way and then discover that the aesthetes have come over to something like Chaplin or Mickey Mouse which nobody ever took seriously.
It may mean, of course, that the animated cartoon has a chance of developing into something large scale and important. Outside theorists like H.G. Wells have long been wondering why the flexibility of this medium is not turned to account in serious work, and animated cartoons receive a great deal of the credit for developing the new sound technique in conventionally photographed films. At least one Hollywood director—Frank Tuttle—now and then injects a cartoon gag into a regular film. But the main reason for the delight that the aesthetes take in Mickey Mouse is said to derive from the fact that in cartoons alone can they still find the complete subjugation of fact to fancy, the mad irresponsibility, the passing of which is still the subject of much lamentation among those who consider that the art of the cinema died with silent production and lives again only in Rene Clair.
That is a big load for Mickey Mouse to stagger under, as dean of the profession. It is hard to avoid a lingering suspicion that it is too much of a load, that, even at their amazingly delightful best, animated cartoons are very minor masterpieces and that Hollywood needs such surpassing achievements in major keys. It is as if the most fertile and aesthetically significant work on English literature were the limericks of Edward Lear. But things like that sound unpleasant in connection with the apotheosis or Mr. Disney’s offspring. Mickey Mouse is for all that, a joy forever, and if he can only keep from developing a swelled head—his proportions at the north end already far exceed the Lysippic canon—there is no reason why he should not continue to be the delight of the many and the admiration of the few.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Pink Descending a Staircase

The Pink Panther has to be the best theatrical cartoon character to come out of the 1960s and his first short, The Pink Phink (1964), deservedly won the Oscar. The outline designs enhance the colour gags, Henry Mancini’s theme (occasionally punctuated by Bill Lava’s minimal dissonance) sets a perfect mood and there’s that fine timing that Friz Freleng was known for.

Writer John Dunn comes up with a stream of funny gags, all based around the idea that a man is painting a home blue, but the Pink Panther obsessively wants it coloured pink. The Panther pours a bucket of pink paint onto a newly-blued staircase and lets gravity take its course. The reaction drawings are tops.



Hawley Pratt co-directed the cartoon. Friz’ animation crew from Warners didn’t work on this crew, with the exception of background artist Tom O’Loughlin and Bob Matz, who had been an assistant in his unit. La Verne Harding, Don Williams and Norm McCabe are also credited with animation.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Wheels on the Cat Go Round and Round

Tom escapes from a rival cat in Springtime For Thomas (1946). Their feet turn into wheels. You’d see the same kind of thing in Hanna-Barbera cartoons 12 years later.



The credits say Mike Lah, Ken Muse and Ed Barge are the animators, but I suspect there are others here, too.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Cartoonist Pinto on the Radio

What’s the big radio station in San Francisco these days? It’s not KDN, that’s for sure. But it was in March of 1922, just as KYJ and KOG were the main stations in Los Angeles, all forgotten except by diehard niche radio historians.

Those of you who remember the days of BBS on the internet know how a new dial-in board seemed to appear every day. Radio was the same way. It exploded in the U.S. in 1922, when the government began handing out licenses for broadcasting stations—some of which had been on the air for some time—and there was a huge rush to apply for them.

The West Coast, in particular, was a proverbial hotbed for radio. Several newspapers in Los Angeles had radio connections; the three papers in Vancouver, B.C. had stations by March 1922. Other papers jumped on the fad and gave radio fans special columns or pages in their daily editions.

One was the San Francisco Chronicle, with its first special radio page on March 19, 1922. Besides listings of the stations that existed in northern California, news, and photos, it engaged a 29-year-old former musician to draw a radio cartoon. You may not recognise names of the stations we mentioned above, but you probably recognise his name. He was later the voice of Goofy, Pinto Colvig.

Here are 12 of the first 14 cartoons that Pinto drew. The other two are too faded; one involves a cat’s whisker pun where you, unfortunately, can’t make out his cat drawing. In early 1922, radio wasn’t necessarily a matter of plugging the set into the wall. People built them from scratch; the Chronicle has an article on a boy who made one using a cigar box. Adolescents and young men were the ones who were generally into radio, something that proved to be a puzzle to some adults. Radios were mostly battery-powered, required an aerial and a ground, and headphones to hear, though some could be fitted with a huge Magnavox horn so everyone in the room could listen.

No, Colvig didn’t invent Amos ‘n’ Andy in the April 6th comic, but there’s the usual Southern dialect and stereotypes about gin and craps. Incidentally, the comic contained the version of the “n” word popular in rap today. I’ve censored it because someone may stumble on the picture doing a web search and get offended instead of focusing on Pinto’s fine drawing style.

You can click on any of the comics to make them bigger and your mouse should activate a box with the comic’s date.



I haven’t looked into when Colvig stopped drawing the cartoon, but it didn’t last long. By late July, it had turned into a soap opera. By August, the Chronicle had reduced its radio coverage to a list of the hours a station was on the air, and a question box. The aforementioned KDN was obsolete and off the air in 1923. Pinto Colvig moved on to bigger things in the animation, recording and TV industries in Hollywood.

It's Just Not Funny Any More

Parody and satire was originally Jack Benny’s stock-in-trade, long before he turned 39, owned a Maxwell, or turned to the audience and shouted “Well!”

On Benny’s first show in 1932, he satirised advertising by making fun of the sponsor’s product, Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Soon, he was making fun of plays and movies in the second half of his show, which bound his “gang” together in the minds of the audience.

When Benny left radio in 1955, he was still having fun with his sponsor, at least during the middle commercial with special music by Mahlon Merrick (the opening and closing spots became increasingly uninteresting). And every once in a while, he’d drag out a movie parody, but only when he had a guest star (eg. Bob Hope). But along the way, Benny tried and abandoned other routines that just didn’t work or stopped getting laughs from the studio audience.

Here’s Jack in his ubiquitous bathrobe (he did a lot of interviews wearing one) chatting with the Associated Press. I cannot find out if Hub Keavy or someone else wrote this. He talks about dumping a number of running situations that highlighted his shows for several seasons. This appeared in papers on April 19, 1941.
BENNY DISCARDS 'WASHED-UP' GAGS
HOLLYWOOD, April 19 —(AP)— Tomorrow evening Jack Benny will formally (and funnily, he hopes) say goodbye to the Quiz Kids "because the situation is washed up."
When the Benny jokes become more important than the Benny situations, Jack finds something else to talk about.
The Buck Benny situation is washed up, as a running, week-to-week gag.
So is Jack's fiddle-playing, temporarily at least. The Fred Allen feud isn't washed up, but it's been deferred.
A quarter of a century of vaudeville and 10 years of radio have taught Benny most of the intricate ins and outs of humor.
"Well, I worry a little, too. That seems to help," Jack admitted.
Nervous Toll Is Great
Jack was in a secret-telling mood, pale blue shorts and a white terry cloth bathrobe, in the den of his home, the same home he uses so often for his humor.
For some, reason he felt like taking down his professional hair to show why his program goes on clicking like it does. His own hair was soon mussed by nervous hands. He smoked cigarettes continuously, often paced the room, jumped to answer the phone.
Obviously the toll on his nervous system is great. Getting to be radio's No. 1 man was comparatively easy; staying there is no cinch.
Uses "Situation" Comedy
Jack worries about his precious situations so much that he usually can anticipate when one is about to be washed up. Here's what he means by washing it up:
"Ours is a situation comedy. We don't just tell jokes. The gags we have fit the situation. We use a situation—say like the Buck Benny business—only as long as it is funnier than the jokes.
"The longer you use a situation, tho funnier the jokes must become. Phil Harris was the drunken pappy in that series.
"After four weeks, his jokes had to be twice as funny. In eight weeks, four times as funny. Just go on multiplying—brother, jokes just ain't that funny."
Likes Joke About Hotel
The Quiz Kids played on the Benny program for the past two Sundays, building up for Jack's Wednesday appearance with them. It was a new situation for him.
"Having them with us once more is as much as we could get out of that situation," he confessed.
"Last week they were staying at my house and everybody thinks it's nice of me to have them as my guests until we overhear one say, 'I think it would be just as cheap at a hotel'."
Jack first chuckled when he repeated that line, then laughed uproariously.
"You can't top a gag like that. I couldn't have them back at the house. But, since the idea is still good, I take them to the train."
Of course! Jack can't take them in anything but his Maxwell during tomorrow's episode at 7 o'clock (over WBEN). You've never heard him use the ancient bus unless the business at hand called for it.
Play Satires Are Finished
He seldom uses Rochester unless the scene, is laid at the Benny house. When the program is in the studio, Rochester telephones.
The play satire situation is just about washed up.
The last, "Tobacco Road," read well and sounded good in rehearsal, but the studio audience didn't react the way Jack hoped they would.
In other words, it wasn't too funny. Two or three years ago, satires on current movies went best on the Benny program. Times change, and so does humor.
"And situations," added Jack. "Let's see, now, on the first Sunday in May we oughta......"
Benny changed writers in 1943 out of necessity. Afterward, the show foundered a bit for several reasons. Jack insisted on doing shows at military hubs; jokes were aimed at servicemen in the seats, not listeners at home. Lucky Strike commercials were strident and repetitive and, frankly, a tune-out factor; the insistent cigarette sell was the first thing the listener heard instead of Don Wilson soothingly regaling the audience about six delicious flavours and big red letters. The writers needed to get their bearings—they invented characters like whiny insurance man Herman Peabody and a pet camel that didn’t work. Losing Dennis Day and, for a time, Phil Harris to the war didn’t help. It seems the Benny brain trust wouldn’t entrust singer Larry Stevens with comedy and the lines handed to the replacement bandleaders sounded strained at times. The McFarland Twins were more amusing when they were parodied by Bob and Ray.

But the writers looked at those tried-and-true routines Jack talked about above and came up with new twists on them. Jack inherited a violin teacher that allowed for very good comedy byplay and reactions. Creative song parodies livened up the middle spot. The Fred Allen feud was resurrected with funnier insults and less outright nastiness. More and more of the show moved into situations at Jack’s home. That meant more Rochester. The audience loved Rochester. Rochester was the guy who symbolised the attitude they’d have with their unfair boss if they had the nerve. Ratings rose. Benny was still pretty well near the top when radio coughed and sputtered as it was fed less advertising money in the 1950s and the show had to leave the air. No matter. Benny found a home on television for some of those same routines until his show ended weekly production in 1965.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Birth of Saturday Morning Cartoons

There are people who take it for granted that Saturday morning television was always a land of cartoons, and how dare it not be that way today.

Well, of course, that wasn’t always the case. Like weeds choking a garden, cartoons slowly took over the Saturday morning landscape until they killed kids hosts like Shari Lewis and tired old filmed programmes like Fury.

Television was still developing in the early 1950s. The FCC had imposed a freeze on construction of new stations in 1948 because it had to sort out things like channel assignments, interference, and colour systems. The bureaucrats took their sweet time and lifted the freeze on April 14, 1952, though the colour battle continued. More stations meant more people watching. Networks were now being able to tell ad agencies and potential sponsors there were more eyes on television, and coax them into buying time periods that were comparatively dirt cheap—like Saturday mornings.

The reason the networks didn’t fill time with cartoons in 1952 is simple—there weren’t any available. Syndicators had snapped up as many cartoons as they could buy—either made by long-dead ‘B’ studios like Iwerks or silents with stock music added to them, like the Farmer Alfalfa cartoons—and had sold them on a station basis. Some were even running on Saturday mornings. However, a break came in a few years to one network. CBS had purchased the Terrytoon studio—it had been running Terry cartoons on its Barker Bill show twice weekly starting in November 1953. Now it went through with plans for a new show called Mighty Mouse Playhouse, which debuted at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, 1955. For the record, the cartoons were “The Uninvited Pest,” “The Exterminator” and “Svengali’s Cat.” The show was moved to 11 a.m. the following Saturday, then to 10:30 the following April 7th.

So, yes, Mighty Mouse was the first Saturday morning network cartoon show, even though the cartoons on it had been shown in theatres for a number of years. Some may argue that Winky Dink and You was the first. But Winky wasn’t really animated and didn’t actually star in a cartoon; the host was a somewhat self-conscious Jack Barry before he got mired in the quiz show scandal a few years later. I’m afraid we’ll leave it to diehards to argue the point.

Next is when Hanna-Barbera gets into the picture. In 1957, Screen Gems, Columbia Pictures’ TV arm, worked out a deal with NBC to put a half-hour show on the air called Ruff and Reddy. Despite the fact it had a human host, and featured a pair of animated shorts from the Columbia library, it is considered the first made-for-TV network cartoon show because it included two cartoons made by H-B specifically for it. (A show called NBC Comics aired on weekdays in 1950 but consisted of still drawings over a voice track).

As for the first all-cartoon show made for television on Saturday mornings? The honours go to King Leonardo and His Short Subjects, which replaced Ruff and Reddy in the 1960-61 season. No human host, no tired theatricals. Just brand-new cartoons made by Total Television Productions (the first ones were animated at Creston Studios, aka TV Spots, in Los Angeles but the voice tracks were cut in New York).

Still, Saturday mornings network television time was mainly occupied—and networks were still signing on comparatively late—with old films or hosted shows, but things started to change in 1962. And you can credit (or blame) the Great Prime Time Failure of cartoons in the 1961-62 season. The Alvin Show and Top Cat were ratings busts in the evening. So, the following year, they were rerun on Saturday mornings. They were hits. The Bugs Bunny Show was moved to Saturday morning. Another monster hit. And Hanna-Barbera managed to resurrect reruns of Ruff and Reddy. Saturday mornings became the place for castoffs from other time slots. The following season, Beany and Cecil joined the line-up. Two new made-for-TV shows, Tennessee Tuxedo and Hector Heathcote, found Saturday morning homes. Casper the repetitious ghost made a comeback, with old theatricals mixed in with new TV cartoons (the latter three shows, incidentally, voice-tracked in New York).

By the time 1965 rolled around, when Hanna-Barbera made its first made-for-Saturday-morning shows, Secret Squirrel and Atom Ant, the bulk of programming was animated. Most of the non-cartoon holdouts aired after 11 a.m.

Hanna-Barbera’s success on Saturday mornings did two things. One, is it saved the studio. Networks weren’t interested in prime-time cartoons because they attracted the wrong demographics. But they attracted the right ones on Saturday morning and H-B could make shows within a sponsor’s budget. And two, it spurred a Saturday morning cartoon industry that stayed around until the networks realised they could make—and own—their own Saturday morning live-action shows, like Saved by the Bell.

For some reason, people love lists. They can’t get enough of them. So here is the list portion of our post. To give you an idea of the evolution of Saturday morning television from test patterns to live shows to cartoons, allow me to post the network schedules from the start of the 1951-52 season. The bulk of these come from grids published at the time in Sponsor magazine. The networks fussed with their schedules, so the end of the season didn’t always look the same as the start of the season. With few exceptions, we’ll provide schedules as they were fixed in October of each year. We’ve included the dear, departed Du Mont Network as well. These are for the East Coast; schedules in the West likely looked a little different. Cartoons are in blue.

1951-52
ABC
● 10:30 a.m. – Hollywood Jr. Circus (host); cancelled in Feb.
● 11 a.m. – Foodini the Great (puppets); replaced with Personal Appearance Theatre in Jan.
● 11:30 – A Date With Judy (film); cancelled in Feb.
● 12 p.m. – Betty Crocker Star Matinee (film), moved to 11:30 in March
● 12:30 p.m. – City Hospital (film, alt. weeks, net silent at 1); cancelled in Mar.
CBS
● 11 a.m. – Fashion Magic with Arlene Francis, replaced by The Whistling Wizard (puppets)
● 11:30 – Smilin' Ed's Gang (puppets)
● 12 p.m. – The Big Top (host, net silent at 1)
Du Mont
● no programming
NBC
● no programming

1952-53
ABC
● no programming
CBS
● 11 a.m – Space Patrol (live)
● 11:30 – Smilin’ Ed’s Gang (host)
● 12 p.m. – The Big Top (net silent after 1 p.m.)
Du Mont
● 11 a.m. – Happy’s Party (host/puppet)
● 11:30 a.m. – Kids and Company with Johnny Olson (host, net silent after 12)
NBC
● 11 a.m. – Space Patrol (live)
● 11:30 p.m. – Pud’s Prize Party (live, net silent after 12)

1953-54
ABC
● 10 a.m. – Tootsie Hippodrome (host)
● 10:30 – Smilin’ Ed McConnell (host/puppet)
● 11 a.m. – Space Patrol (live)
CBS
● 11 a.m. – Winky Dink and You (host)
● 11:30 – Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers (live)
● 12 p.m. – The Big Top (host)
● 1 p.m. – The Lone Ranger (film, net silent after 1:30)
Du Mont
● 11:30 a.m. – Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (live, 27 stations, net silent at noon)
NBC
● no programming

1954-55
ABC
● 10 a.m. – Animal Time (host)
● 10:30 – Andy Devine (film)
● 11 a.m. – Space Patrol (live, net silent at 11:30)
CBS
● 10:30 a.m. – Winky Dink and You (host)
● 11 a.m. – Captain Midnight (film)
● 11:30 a.m. – Abbott and Costello (film)
● 12 p.m. – The Big Top (host)
● 1 p.m. – The Lone Ranger (film)
● 1:30 p.m. – Uncle Johnny Coons (host)
● 2 p.m. What in the World (net silent at 2:30 p.m.)
Du Mont
● no programming
NBC
● no programming

1955-56
ABC
● 11 a.m. – Kiddie Special (occasional show; net silent at 12:30 p.m.)
CBS
● 10 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
● 10:30 – Winky Dink and You (live host); replaced with Mighty Mouse Playhouse (cartoon) in Dec.
● 11 a.m. – Captain Midnight (film); replaced with Winky Dink in Dec.
● 11:30 – Tales of the Texas Rangers (film)
● 12 p.m. – Big Top (film)
● 1 p.m. – The Lone Ranger (film)
● 1:30 p.m. – Uncle Johnny Coons (live host, net silent at 2)
Du Mont
● no programming
NBC
● 10 a.m. – Pinky Lee Show (host)
● 10:30 – Paul Winchell Show (host/ventriloquist)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Mr. Wizard (live host, network silent at 12)
NBC (end season)
● 10 a.m. – Howdy Doody (host/puppets)
● 10:30 – I Married Joan (film)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Uncle Johnny Coons (host)
● 12 p.m. – Captain Gallant (film)
● 12:30 – Best of Mr. Wizard (net silent at 1)

1956-57
ABC
● no programming
CBS
● 9:30 – Captain Kangaroo (host)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Winky Dink and You (host)
● 11:30 – Texas Rangers (film)
● 12 p.m. – Big Top (film)
● 1 p.m. – The Lone Ranger (film, net silent at 1:30)
NBC
● 10 a.m. – Howdy Doody (host/puppet)
● 10:30 – I Married Joan (film)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Cowboy Theatre (film, net silent at 12:30 through Dec.)
● 12:30 – Mr. Wizard (from Dec., net silent at 1 p.m.)

1957-58
ABC
● no programming
CBS
● 9:30 – Captain Kangaroo (host)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Susan’s Show (puppet with cartoon); replaced with Heckle and Jeckle (cartoon) in Jan.
● 11:30 – Saturday Playhouse.
● 12 p.m. – Jimmy Dean; replaced 12:30-1p.m. with Concert From Carnegie Hall in Jan.
● 1 p.m. – The Lone Ranger (film, net silent at 1:30)
NBC
● 10 a.m. – Howdy Doody (host/puppet)
● 10:30 – Gumby (animated); replaced with Ruff and Reddy (cartoon) in mid-Dec.
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Captain Gallant (film); replaced with Andy’s Gang in mid-Dec.
● 12 p.m. – True Story (film)
● 12:30 – Detective Diary (film, silent at 1)

1958-59
ABC
● 11 a.m. – Uncle Al Show (host/puppet; net silent at 12)
CBS
● 10 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
10:30 a.m. – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
11 a.m. – Heckle and Jeckle (cartoon)
● 11:30 – The Adventures of Robin Hood (film)
● 12 p.m. – silent
● 12:30 – Young People’s Concert (until 1:30)
NBC
● 10 a.m. – Howdy Doody (host/puppet)
10:30 – Ruff and Reddy (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Circus Boy (film)
● 12 p.m. – True Story (film)
● 12:30 – Detective Diary (film, silent at 1)

1959-60
ABC
● 12 p.m. – Lunch With Soupy Sales (net silent at 12:30)
CBS
10 a.m. – Heckle and Jeckle (cartoon)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – I Love Lucy (film)
● 11:30 – Lone Ranger (film)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film; net silent at 12:30)
NBC
● 10 a.m. – Howdy Doody (host/puppet)
10:30 – Ruff and Reddy (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Circus Boy (film)
● 12 p.m. – True Story (film)
● 12:30 – Detective Diary (film)
● 1 p.m. – Mr. Wizard (net silent at 1:30)

1960-61
ABC
● 12 p.m – Lunch With Soupy Sales
(host) ● 12:30 – Pip the Piper (net silent at 1)
CBS
● 10 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo
● 11 a.m. – Kellogg Magic Land of Alakazam (host/cartoon)
● 11:30 – Roy Rogers (film)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film)
12:30 – Mighty Mouse Playhouse (cartoon)
● 1 p.m. – CBS News (net silent at 1:30)
NBC
● 7 a.m. – Today on the Farm
● (7:30-10 a.m. – net silent)
● 10 a.m. – Shari Lewis (host/delightful puppets)
10:30 – King Leonardo (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Lone Ranger (film)
● 12 p.m. – My True Story (film)
● 12:30 – Detective Diary (film)
● 1 p.m. – Mr. Wizard (net silent at 1:30)

1961-62
ABC
● 11 a.m. – On Your Mark (game show)
● 11:30 – Don Alan’s Magic Ranch (host, net silent at 12)
CBS
● 9 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
● 10 a.m. – Video Village Jr. (game show)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Kellogg Magic Land of Alakazam (host/cartoon)
● 11:30 – Roy Rogers (film)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film)
● 12:30 p.m. – My Friend Flicka (film, net silent at 1)
NBC
● 9:30 – Pip the Piper (host)
● 10 a.m. – Shari Lewis (host/puppets)
10:30 – King Leonardo and his Short Subjects (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Make Room For Daddy (film)
● 12 p.m. – Update (news for high schoolers)
● 12:30 – Watch Mr. Wizard (host, net silent at 1)

1962-63
ABC
● 11 a.m. – Make a Face (game show, cancelled in mid-Dec., net silent)
11:30 – Top Cat (cartoon)
12 p.m. – The Bugs Bunny Show (cartoon)
● 12:30 – The Magic Land of Alakazam (host/cartoon)
● 1 p.m. – My Friend Flicka (film, net silent at 1:30)
CBS
● 9 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
10 a.m. – The Alvin Show (cartoon)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Rin Tin Tin (film)
● 11:30 – Sky King (film)
● 12 p.m. – Roy Rogers (film)
● 12:30 – The Reading Room (children’s panel)
● 1 p.m. – CBS Saturday News (net silent at 1:30)
NBC
9:30 – Ruff and Reddy (cartoon)
● 10 a.m. – Shari Lewis (host/puppets)
10:30 – King Leonardo (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Fury (film)
● 11:30 – Marx’s Midway Magic (host)
● 12 p.m. – Make Room For Daddy (film)
● 12:30 – Exploring (educational)
● 1 p.m. – Watch Mr. Wizard (host, net silent at 1:30)

1963-64
ABC
10 a.m. – The Jetsons (cartoon)
10:30 – The New Casper Show (cartoon)
11 a.m. – Beany and Cecil (cartoon)
11:30 – The Bugs Bunny Show (cartoon)
● 12 p.m. – The Magic Land of Alakazam (host/cartoon)
● 12:30 – My Friend Flicka (film)
● 1 p.m. – American Bandstand (host, net silent at 1:30
CBS
● 8 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
9 a.m. – The Alvin Show (cartoon)
9:30 – Tennessee Tuxedo (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Quick Draw McGraw (cartoon)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
● 11 a.m. – Rin Tin Tin (film)
● 11:30 – Roy Rogers (film)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film)
● 12:30 p.m. – Do You Know? (educational quiz)
● 1 p.m. – CBS Saturday News (net silent at 1:30)
NBC
9:30 – Ruff and Reddy (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Hector Heathcote (cartoon)
● 10:30 – Fireball XL5 (puppet)
● 11 a.m. – Dennis the Menace (film)
● 11:30 – Fury (film)
● 12 p.m. – Sergeant Preston (film)
12:30 – Bullwinkle (cartoon)
● 1 p.m – Exploring (educational)
● 1:30 – Watch Mr. Wizard (host, net silent at 2)

1964-65
ABC
● 9:30 – Buffalo Bill, Jr. (film)
● 10 a.m. – Shenanigans (game show)
● 10:30 – Annie Oakley (film)
11 a.m. – The New Casper Show (cartoon)
11:30 – Beany and Cecil (cartoon)
12 p.m. – The Bugs Bunny Show (cartoon)
12:30 – Hoppity Hooper (cartoon)
● 1 p.m. – The Magic Land of Alakazam (host/cartoon)
● 1:30 – American Bandstand (host)
CBS
● 8 a.m. – Mr. Mayor (host)
9 a.m. – The Alvin Show (cartoon)
9:30 – Tennessee Tuxedo (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Quick Draw McGraw (cartoon)
10:30 – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
11 a.m. – Linus the Lionhearted (cartoon)
11:30 – The Jetsons (cartoon)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film)
● 12:30 p.m. – My Friend Flicka (film)
● 1 p.m. – I Love Lucy (film)
● 1:30 – CBS Saturday News
NBC
9:30 – Hector Heathcote (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Underdog (cartoon)
● 10:30 – Fireball XL5 (puppet)
● 11 a.m. – Dennis the Menace (film)
● 11:30 – Fury (film)
● 12 p.m. – Exploring (educational)

1965-66
ABC
● 10 a.m. – Shenanigans (game show)
10:30 – The Beatles (cartoon)
11 a.m. – The New Casper Show (cartoon)
11:30 – The Porky Pig Show (cartoon)
12 p.m. – The Bugs Bunny Show (cartoon)
12:30 – Milton the Monster (cartoon)
1 p.m. – Hoppity Hooper (cartoon)
● 1:30-2:30 – American Bandstand (host)
CBS
● 8 a.m. – Captain Kangaroo (host)
9 a.m. – Heckle and Jeckle (cartoon)
9:30 – Tennessee Tuxedo (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Mighty Mouse (cartoon)
10:30 – Linus the Lionhearted (cartoon)
11 a.m. – Tom and Jerry (cartoon)
11:30 – Quick Draw McGraw (cartoon)
● 12 p.m. – Sky King (film)
● 12:30 p.m. – Lassie (film)
● 1 p.m. – My Friend Flicka (film)
● 1:30-2 p.m. – CBS Saturday News
NBC
9 a.m. – The Jetsons (carton)
9:30 – Atom Ant (cartoon)
10 a.m. – Secret Squirrel (cartoon)
10:30 – Underdog (puppet)
11 a.m. – Top Cat (film)
● 11:30 – Fury (film)
● 12 p.m. – The First Look (educational)
● 12:30-1 p.m. – Exploring (educational)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Pluto Jolson

Was there a cartoon studio in the early ‘30s that didn’t make an Al Jolson reference? Even Disney did it at the end of Mickey Steps Out (1931) when Pluto and the cat bust up a stove sending coal dust all over the place.



The characters all emerge in blackface. “Mickey!” cries Minnie. “Minnie!” cries Mickey. “Mammy,” cries Pluto (Pluto talks?!), sounding more like something out of Amos ‘n’ Andy than the great Jolson. “Whoopee!” cries the cat.



I like the effect when the cat bashes Pluto with the stove plate. The characters remain. The rest of the frame turns into white.



As you might expect, there are no credits on the cartoon.