Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Game Show Perils

Nobody could say the words “It’s an Amana Radaraaaaaaaaaange!” like Don Pardo.

He was the announcer on “The Price is Right.” The real one with Bill Cullen. That’s where I first heard him as Cullen grinned and asked him to “tell him what he wins.” Then he moved on to many years on “Jeopardy.” The real one with Art Fleming (trivia: Doug Browning filled in for him for three shows in 1966). Considering how many game shows Pardo announced and then his long career on “Saturday Night Live,” it’s odd thinking of him as a news or sports announcer. But he was that, too. Pardo walked into NBC and emerged with a radio staff announcer’s job on June 15, 1944. A staff announcer did what the assignment sheet said. Station IDs and promos. Programme intros and extros. News. Sports. Always live. Almost always anonymously.

Pardo died last night at 96. If he wasn’t one of the last surviving network staff announcers from the war era, he was certainly among them. What’s remarkable is NBC’s voice people back then all seemed to have a similar sound. Not Don Pardo. His voice was distinctive.

You can read a couple of stories about him from the ‘60s on this post. There’s also a little tale about Pardo in a story written by Art Linkletter (with Leslie Lieber) for This Week, one of the many weekend newspaper magazine supplements. Besides pushing a book he had written, Linkletter told some great stories about unexpected uncomfortable things happening on live game and audience participation shows in the ‘50s. It’s lengthy but interesting. But if you just want to read the Pardo story, just do a word search on “Pardo” and your browser will take you to that part of the article.

This was published on December 13, 1959.

If the quiz-fix scandals gave you the idea that everything that happens on television nowadays is rehearsed, I can tell you there are some moments on camera as unpremeditated as the bounce of a football. If you don’t believe it, talk to some friends and colleagues of mine—the TV emcees.
There’s nothing fixed about their job except the fixed gaze of millions of viewers waiting for them to make a blooper and wondering how the dickens John Daly’s “going to get out of that one.”
The TV emcee meets crisis head on, under “combat conditions.” His ears are always cocked for the first faint blips of bad taste and off-color innuendoes.
The perils of emcees
The initials M.C. actually stand for “Mighty Cautious,” says Bert Parks, a long-standing associate of mine in the care and coddling of contestants. For the master of ceremonies is painfully aware that one serious violation of good taste can lose the sponsor his customers, the network a sponsor, and himself a job. Yet, every week he sticks his professional neck into a noose held by some stage-struck stranger who is apt to profane the coaxial cable, insult five minorities, or tear up the studio by the roots—all before the poor moderator can say “Good-by, Neilsen.”
The emergencies that crop up on professional-panel shows are usually not as nightmarish as those involving amateur cut-ups. Nevertheless, on programs like “What’s My Line?” the ad-lib often verges dangerously close to the ad-libido. To warn when the panel is approaching thin ice, John Daly—like other “control panel” emcees—has secret signals. John tugs on his earlobe.
Daly practically dislocated his ear one Sunday while his panel was trying to guess the profession of a guest who had already been identified for home viewers as a manufacturer of Pullman berths. “This thing you’re connected with,” inquired a panel member, “can a boy take his girl there for a vacation?” Daly’s feverish ear semaphors quickly shunted the questioning onto a safer track.
Panelists can be perilous all right—and the wittier and more amusing they are, the greater the potential danger. But amateurs are even more of a problem.
Garry Moore’s storm-warning signal on “I’ve Got A Secret” is a strictly unconscious gesture—he pats the top of his crew-cut with the open palm of his hand, or twirls rapidly in his swivel chair.
One night, an Air Force Captain, whose secret flashed on the screen for the audience’s benefit, was: “When I was a child, I broke Sally Rand’s bubble with a slingshot.” Poking around for a hunt, a panelist asked the bemedaled aviator, “Do you do this on direct orders from President Eisenhower?”
The audience howled. But Garry, sensing danger ahead, stopped the line of questioning. The panel got the high-sign by watching Moore’s crew-cut.
Once in my many years as a radio and TV welcoming committee-of-one I had to sock a guest in the jaw to preserve the peace of the airwaves. It was during a man on the street broadcast emanating from a big Texas Fair. Unfortunately, it was raining and there was hardly anybody around. Finally I saw a figure careening through the downpour, and latched on to him before I found that he was spiffed to the fills. “Give me that microphone,” he bellowed. For two terrifying minutes, a see-saw battle raged for the mike, into which my interviewee was pouring his alcoholic vocabulary.
Out of breath, I gasped to the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, you’ll have to forgive me, but in a situation of this kind, my obligation is to you—and your children.” So saying, I put down the microphone and knocked the poor fellow out cold.
I was relieved when my unseen audience responded with congratulatory letters and telegrams asking when the “return bout: would be held and suggesting Madison Square Garden as a worthy setting.
This slugfest was a Little Lord Fauntleroy affairs compared with another melee that took place on war-time on our “People Are Funny” show. We had secretly placed two stunt men in the audience with instructions to get up in the middle of the show, start battling each other at their seats, and then chase each other onto the stage and finish their “grudge fight” up there. Later we intended asking startled members of the audience to give their versions of what happened, to show how unreliable eyewitness evidence can be.
The marines landed
Unfortunately, we had overlooked a crucial fact: our audience that day consisted almost exclusively of servicemen. When the disturbance started, three kindhearted sailors seated next to the stunt men dove in to stop the fight. But when four soldiers saw the sailors attack, they attacked the sailors. Six marines then piled onto the other two branches of the service—and the free-for-all spread to every corner of the theater.
I figure that in that situation as in many others, honesty was the best policy, and I shouted the truth to the embattled audience. “You see, folks,” I concluded above the Donnybrook, “as I’ve always told you, people really are funny.”
Kids, of course, can be terribly funny—as I’ve already revealed in this magazine as well as in my new book, “The Secret World of Kids.” But Garry Moore had an experience with a tot that could have been far from funny. He had a cute little 19-month-old girl on his show. Her secret: “I learned how to swim four months ago.” Well, she could swim all right, performed like a little dolphin in a wet run-through that very afternoon in the pool “I’ve Got A Secret” rented and trucked over to the studios. But that night, with millions watching, she just sat on the edge of the pool and refused to go in.
One shove would have solved the problem
Here was a typical emergency: the sponsor, the advertising agency, and millions of people expected this child to swim. Someone standing off-camera behind Garry whispered, “Push her in! Push her in!” But Garry made a wise decision. He just sat down beside the tot, hugged her, looked the TV camera straight in the eye and said: “Believe me, folks, she swam this afternoon.”
One of the most embarrassing moments for an emcee happened to George DeWitt on “Name That Tune.” A likeable young butcher’s apprentice named Mario Cicero on the program had often talked so endearingly of slicing pork chops and of his fondness for “Schwartz’s Meat Shop,” where he worked, that the program’s producers secretly decided to buy out his beloved Schwartz’s and present it to him lock, stock and sirloin on his final TV appearance. Unbeknownst to its contestant, the program went into a huddle with lawyers, bankers and Mr. Schwartz and purchased Schwartz’s Meats. They had an immense sign made with “Mario’s Meats” splashed across it and unfurled it amidst a wild orchestra fanfare and applause on the program. All eyes then turned to Mario to feast on his joy. He was the picture of dejection.
“I cannot accept,” he said. “My ambition has always been to go into the florist business. Last week, my brother and I took my winnings and bought a florist shop. It’s to be called ‘Flowers by Mario.’”
So “Name That Tune” found itself in the meat business for a couple of weeks. Then Mr. Schwartz bought it back—and “Name That Tune” has since gone the way of most quiz shows.
A crisis—one second before airtime
The orchestra leader’s baton was already poised one second before airtime the night I emceed the Emmy Awards dinner in Hollywood when the lights in the staging area went out and somebody knocked over a tall row of Corinthian columns. Though made of cardboard, they were fairly heavy. They crashed into the orchestra, sending musical scores off the stands and musicians sprawling on the floor, breaking instruments and knocking out three violinists.
Nerve-racking? Maybe, but believe me, that’s a simple crisis to explain—even in the dark as I had to do—compared to the emcee’s worst bugaboo: the weird and unpredictable guest who, suddenly smitten with the urge to be on television, walks onto the stage like a dreamy somnambulist and gives you the fish-eye.
Recently, I was interviewing a little boy on my CBS-TV “House Party” when a strange woman walked into camera range and shouted: “Stop ruining this child’s life. You have already ruined mine!”
When you can’t laugh it off
In a case like this—with a strange woman telling millions of your fans that you have ruined her life—an emcee thinks ten times before he says a word. Could this, I wondered, be a practical joke staged by my friends, the producers? One look into those wild eyes told me no. I asked the woman if she was a relative or parent of the child. Her only response was to repeat her accusation. This was serious—something that no public figure could slough off as a big joke.
Time was running short, so I looked into the camera and said, “I have long tried to prove to the TV audience that ‘People Are Funny,’ but this afternoon, I’m getting more assistance than I need. This lady says I’ve ruined her life. I think you’re entitled to hear details of what she accuses me of—so tune in tomorrow and find out.”
The network’s legal eagles didn’t want me to run the risk of what the woman might say. But I did. Her accusation: that I have been hypnotizing her on TV and preventing her from coming to Hollywood to win prizes. I flippantly snapped my fingers to “bring her out of it” and suggested that all listeners similarly affected come to Hollywood to have their spell lifted.
One of an emcee’s ugliest problems is handling slurs against races and religions. Most of us are governed by one cardinal rule learned from bitter experience—if not from heartfelt conviction--never let an offensive remark slip by in the hopes America didn’t hear it! They hear it all right, and there’ll be trouble.
I will not allow a slang phrase against minorities to pass on any show of mine. Usually, calling attention to such a slip is enough to elicit an apology. But one of my TV guests not only refused to ease the situation but repeated the stinging racial slang-phrase with I-said-it-and-I-meant-it finality.
“Sir,” I told him, “you have forfeited all rights as a guest of mine. I’d like you to leave now and don’t try to come back. And if you don’t leave on your own accord, I’ll have the ushers throw you out!”
This happened to express my sentiments exactly; so it wasn’t hard to say.
Faye vs. the spider
Though profanity is another scourge that can turn an emcee’s hair gray, it’s sometimes better to let a verbal lapse pass rather than embarrass everyone by making a Federal Case out of it. As an example, take what happened on an “I’ve Got A Secret” Halloween program. The producers had strung a huge spider from the ceiling which they suddenly let down in front of Faye Emerson’s face in the middle of the program.
“Take that damn thing away from me!” yelled Miss Emerson, cringing from genuine fear. The next time her turn came to speak on the panel, she apologized profusely for what she had said. What she didn’t know was that the mike had been turned off and didn’t catch her outburst. But thousands of people, mad with curiosity, wrote in demanding to know what Faye had said that was so bad. She couldn’t tell them without cursing again.
Sometimes the crisis takes place even before the show begins. Recently Bob Stewart, producer of “The Price Is Right,” had to make a last-minute decision that could have involved life-and-death for several hundred people in the studio audience. Just before this top-rated telecast was scheduled to go on, the New York Police Department got a telephone call informing them a bomb had been placed under a seat. Thinking fast, Stewart called Don Pardo, the program’s warm-up announcer, backstage, and with police co-operation whispered a plan in his ear. Pardo went on stage and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to give an extra prize tonight. We will award it to anyone in this theater who finds something under his seat. How get up and look—immediately!”
There was a gay flurry of excitement in the theater while the audience, to a man and woman, took part in a treasure-hunt for what they little realized was a bomb. With the police standing by, ready to empty the theater, Pardo requested that anyone who had found a package under his seat to raise his hand. The police held their breath. No hand was raised.
“Then I must have left my raincoat on the subway,” said Pardo amid gales of laughter from a jolly audience who, until they read these line, never knew they might have been sitting on dynamite.
Anybody want a job?
I’m not sure this article will ever be used as an enticing want-ad for emcee recruits. But we’d certainly welcome some smooth-talking mavericks into the fold. The background required for the job is minimal: just a little experience wrestling alligators, walking a circus tightrope, and flying into the eye of hurricanes will do just fine.

By the way, stories abound that Art Fleming spoke the words “Tell him what he wins, Don Pardo.” It never happened. “Jeopardy”’s contestants got cash. Losers got an encyclopaedia set and the home version of the game. If NBC hadn’t foolishly destroyed archives of its shows years ago, it’d be easier to correct this kind of misinformation.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Early Jones Take

The goofy white magician’s rabbit indulges in a take in “Prest-O Chang-O” (1939). These are consecutive frames. It reminds me of a Casper Caveman take in “Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur,” the next Chuck Jones cartoon to be released by Warners.



And the dog’s eyes widen, too.



With one exception, Ken Harris, Bob McKimson and Phil Monroe got the rotating animation credits on Jones’ cartoons that year.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Jack and Sid

The story goes that Jack Benny’s first sponsor fired him because he kept making fun of the sponsor’s product on the air—even though, by all accounts, the advertising was effective. But another explanation was making the rounds in early 1933 as to why Benny stopped working for Canada Dry.

The Canada Dry programme with Benny and Ted Weems’ orchestra aired twice a week—Sundays at 10 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m. His last shows for the sponsor were on January 22 and 26, 1933. The following Sunday, he was replaced with a concert orchestra broadcast and by “The Easy Aces” on Thursday. Yet the Brooklyn Eagle reported on January 3, 1933 that Benny was out, and would be replaced by one of his cast members.

Sid Silvers was known at one time as “The King of the Stooges.” During the 1920s, he partnered with Phil Baker. Baker would tell the jokes on stage and Silvers would heckle him from a box in the theatre. This led to Silvers landing a contract to write talking films in Hollywood. He appeared with Jack Haley on Broadway. And for a while near the end of 1932, he was part of the Canada Dry programme with Benny.

This column in the Eagle picks up the story, although not all of it.

Reverting to Type
By ART ARTHUR

A ROVING REPORTER REVIEWS HIS RAMBLES
Jack Benny looks SO tired . . . I sat a few feet away from him on three successive nights and he appeared wearier each time . . . they tell me that he plans to holiday in Florida . . . he looks as though he needs it . . . the first time I spotted him was in Dave's Blue Room . . . sitting with him were his wife, Mary Livingstone, and Burns and Allen . . . Benny's hair was mussed and he seemed haggard . . . George Burns was wearing glasses and reminded me of my tailor, who is the father of seven children . . .
The next night the Club Richman opened . . . I strolled in and again found Jack a few feet from my table . . . with him was Mary and a party that included Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers . . . I didn't recognize Chico until he turned his head, so that I saw him in profile . . . it seemed strange to see him without that mangled hat and hear him talking without his Italian accent . . .
Ted Husing made an awkward break . . . Ted was acting as a makeshift Master of Ceremonies because Harry Richman was ill . . . he had introduced Jack Benny . . . and every one applauded . . . a few minutes later, he introduced Sid Silvers, who is succeeding Benny on that radio program . . . Ted declared Sid would show that he was “second to none” as a radio comedian and so on . . . necks craned to watch Benny's reaction . . . but his poker face didn't change . . . you see, Sid Silvers was working with Jack Benny on the air until Benny decided that he was getting too many laughs that belonged to Benny . . . so he demanded that his sponsors oust Silvers . . . he said that either he or Silvers would have to drop out . . . so they bought up Silvers' contract . . . now Sid is replacing Benny . . .
I always liked Benny's spontaneous humor . . . for instance when Husing made another fumble and said that both Chico and Zeppo Marx were present . . .Chico rose to take a bow . . . then everyone waited for some sign of' Zeppo...so Jack Benny rose to fill the breach and took the bow for the absent Zeppo . . . a number of noted football coaches were present as guests of Ted Husing . . . Ted introduced Princeton's coach, "Fritz" Crisler . . . and somebody, mistaking him for the noted violinist, chirped, "Make him play something". . . but Husing got more applause than anybody... when he introduced himself as, "Ted Husing, the world's worst football announcer" . . . what? No putrid?


Arthur was quite right. There was bad blood between Benny and his stooge. Here’s part of what Weekly Variety reported on December 13, 1932. The version of the story I have is garbled so not all of it is readable.

Sid Silvers C.D. [canned?] Over Mrs. Benny's Squawk
Squabble which has been brewing for several weeks between the Jack Benny family and Sid Silvers over the lines that the latter as author [had given him has ended].
The broadcasts wound up last week with Silvers suddenly being dropped from the Canada Dry program.
Account settled for the balance of Silvers' 13-week contract after Benny had handed in his ultimatum that either he or Silvers would have to go. Trouble over a claim made by Mary Livingstone (Mrs. Benny) that Silvers in preparing the script had as each broadcast unfolded cut down on her part and built up his own mike [time] with more lines. It looked to her, Mrs. Benny complained, as though it was Silvers' intention to eliminate her altogether.
Writer Denies Charge
Benny took up the cudgel for his frau and took the grievance to the commercial [sponsor] and its agency rep, N.W. Ayer. During a subsequent meeting of the cast in the agency's office Silvers heatedly expressed his resentment of the Benny family's charges, describing them as "unfounded and malicious." Verbal set-to came to a climax when Benny demanded an immediate showdown, that either Silvers was let out or he and Mrs. Benny would walk.
Silvers' contract with Canada Dry had seven more weeks to go and he was paid off in full. With last Sunday (11) night's stanza the continuity built around the experiences of a legit producer and authored originally by Silvers was abandoned, and the script portion of the session resumed the previous routine of crossfire and bit gagging. Preparation of the patter was turned back exclusively to Harry W. Conn.
Canada Dry stated that it has no intention of replacing Silvers with another gag man of similar standing, but to confine the payroll to the Ted Weems band and the Bennys.


Seven days later, Variety announced Canada Dry had taken advantage of a cancellation clause and was pulling the Benny show on January 26th.

The story is amusing in a perverse sort of way as Mary Livingstone insisted she never wanted to be an entertainer. That doesn’t appear to have been the case in 1932, though it does seem she was right in that Silvers wanted to take the show in a different direction and I suspect her attitude may have been “if I’m ever going to leave, it’ll be my decision and not Sid Silvers’.” And word is that Mary didn’t exactly get along with Harry Conn, either.

Benny was never one to hold a grudge. He had Silvers back on his radio show several years later. Silvers even stooged for him in the Oscar-nominated musical “Broadway Melody of 1936” (partly written by Silvers and Conn). The odd thing about Arthur’s story is I’ve been unable to find a Canada Dry show in 1933 starring Silvers. According to Variety of April 18, 1933, the company decided to put off going back into radio. In fact, it ended up changed ad agencies. Silvers was writing a Milton Berle stage show in February, cut an audition for a radio show in April with Jean Sargent, Babs Lyon, Billy Hillpot and the Lenny Hayton orchestra but later in the month was on his way to Hollywood.

Hiring Silvers in the first place was not Benny’s idea. Here’s Variety of November 29, 1932:

At the insistence of the advertiser the staff of authors for Jack Benny's material on the Canada Dry session has been augmented to three. Original gagman on the show was Harry W. Conn. When the show went to CBS, Sid Silvers was not only added to the cast as foil for Benny but given a writing assignment. While the program was being broadcast from New Orleans the account complained that the script was in need of strengthening, with David Freedman, collaborator (Cantor) on the Chase & Sanborn stanza [being brought in]

The Canada Dry firing hurt Benny, but only briefly. Benny (and Joe Cook) both auditioned to emcee a show for Old Gold Cigarettes to debut on CBS on February 7, 1933. Benny didn’t get it. Why? Variety reported on January 31st that he was too closely associated with Canada Dry, becoming famous for kidding the soft drink on the air during commercials, to be associated with a new sponsor so soon. But Chevrolet took a chance. It signed him in February for a contract through April 7th and Variety announced on March 21st it had been extended. Benny lasted a year for Chevrolet.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Cartoons of 1946, Part 2

The cartoon business should have been flourishing in 1946—foreign markets cut off by the war were open again, materials used to make cartoon character merchandise were available, screen time given free for war-related films was now open for paying short subjects. But that wasn’t the case at all.

Walter Lantz outlined the problems facing producers in trade and public media; one of the places was The Film Daily, a New York-based newspaper. Walt Disney was having money trouble, too, and reacted with layoffs. And studios weren’t even dealing with competition from television yet, as the U.S. had fewer than a dozen stations, almost all of them relying on locally-produced programming.

We’ll get to what else The Film Daily had to say in the second half of 1946. I’ll leaf through a few things contained in Variety that The Film Daily didn’t bother with. Perhaps the least lamented was the demise of the Columbia cartoon studio, Screen Gems, the people who brought you rip-offs of Warners characters like “Wacky Quacky” and misunderstood attempts at Tex Avery humour, like in “Topsy Turkey.” Variety pointed out on November 19 that Screen Gems was going to go out of business because of “the high cost of production” and on December 25 that due to the shortage of Technicolor prints, only two of a planned dozen shorts releases would be in color. The November 19th edition also mentioned George Pal was suspending production of his Puppetoons. Indeed, his final Puppetoon, the Oscar-nominated “Tubby the Tuba,” appeared on screens in 1947.

MGM: Chopin Cartoon Music. Chopin's 24th Prelude will offer background to the next Tom and Jerry cartoon at Metro, which is labeled "Cat's Concerto." Scott Bradley has written special arrangement of the music. (July 17); Now Metro is breaking out with a series of cartoons, titled "Fried Hamlet," "Romeo and Joliet," etc. The spirit of Sam T. Jack marches on. (Aug. 5); "Kitty Foiled" is tag for latest Metro Tom and Jerry cartoon. (Aug. 29); Metro cartoon department continues to put out bright titles on its product. Latest is “The Secret Life of Walter Kitty.” (Sept. 11); Metro does a nice job on its cartoon titles. Coming up is "Uncle Tom's Cabana," starring Red Hot Riding Hood. (Oct. 10); Scott Bradley scored trio of Metro cartoons yesterday: "Salt Water Tabby," "The Hound Hunters" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse." (Oct. 15); Announces Cartoon Schedule. Metro yesterday announced its full slate of cartoon titles, for the first time in its history, for the 1946- 47 schedule. Sixteen subjects produced by Fred Quimby include seven Tom and Jerry shorts, eight separate releases and one short "Henpecked Hoboes," introducing two new inker characters, George and Junior. Fourteen cartoons have already been completed and are now at Technicolor for prints. (Dec. 6)

Warner Bros.: Carl Stalling and Milt Franklin draw musical score assignment on Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Hare Grows in Manhattan," their 350th cleffing job for Warners. (Sept. 6); Newest among the year-end epidemic of film awards is the "Octy," being handed out by the Wisconsin Octopus, University of Wisconsin humor magazine. College publication yesterday notified Edward Selzer of Warners cartoon department that award is being presented him as result of poll of 20,500 students... (Dec. 24)

Walter Lantz: Cartune Title Move. Spanish titles for the Walt Lantz Cartunes henceforth will be done at the studio. Formerly Spanish inserts were put in in the New York office. (Aug. 2); Lantz Starts Short Walter Lantz yesterday started "Circus Symphony," last of his 1946-47 series of animated shorts for Universal- International.(Aug. 27); Lantz Art Class To Meet Weekly. An art class has been formed by Walter Lantz staff, and will meet at Lantz studio one evening a week from 6 to 9 p.m. Starting this week, group will employ professional models, but no instructors. Each artist will experiment in the medium of his choice, with view to improving technique. In the Lantz classes, animators with more training will advise and help new employes who are mostly ex-G.I.'s. Classes are limited to Lantz employes. (Aug. 27); Walt Lantz is preparing scripts to be used in his Mercury Records album. (Sept. 27)

Famous: Mae Questel, of the new "Land of the Lost" [radio] cast, signed by Paramount to do a new cartoon character, “Little Audrey.” (Oct. 2); 'Popeye' and 'Little Lulu.' Present difficulty in getting color prints is giving cartoon producers a bad time, making its imprint upon production almost as potent as upping of production costs to a prohibitive high. . . Latest to be affected by tinting situation is Paramount, which is reported cutting out its cartoon program... (Dec. 9, see below)

George Pal: George Pal has added to his next year's schedule of Technicolor short subjects for Paramount release, "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp." (Oct. 8)

John Sutherland: Morey Drops Out of Sutherland Partnership. [Larry] Morey & Sutherland have split active partnership, although Morey retains his stock interest in company. Hereafter, John Sutherland will head company, which in addition to car toons for United Artists release, is producing commercial and industrial films. Larry Morey returns [to Disney] (July 2); Sutherland End UA Cartoon and Starts Second. John Sutherland Productions has finished its first flat animation cartoon for United Artists release, "The Fatal Kiss," and will embark immediately upon its second, "The Missing Ghost." Pied Pipers will do vocal numbers for takeoff film. (Aug. 5); Script Gets OK. John Sutherland Productions has received approval of script on "Private Enterprise" [original title of “Make Mine Freedom”?] from Harding College, and shooting will start this week on all-animation short, to be filmed in Technicolor. (Oct. 8).

Hal Roach: In Cartoon Field. Hal Roach Studios will make their first venture into the animated cartoon field with a feature comedy combining cartooning and live action and budgeted at $500,000. Prelect [?] was announced yesterday by Hal Roach, Jr., who assigned James Bodrero, formerly of Disney's, Homer McCoy and Edward Montaigne to do the script. (Aug. 9)

Bob Clampett: Assignments—Paul Smith, chief animator, “It’s a Grand Old Nag,” (Nov. 8)


Variety also reported Dave Fleischer opened Cartoon Records, Inc., although he had another screen project that fell apart. And it revealed stop-motion pioneer Charlie Bowers died in Pompton Lakes, N. J., November 23rd, following a lengthy illness. And there was this story from Dec. 9th:

Shortage of Color Prints Perils Par’s ‘Popeye’ and ‘Little Lulu’
Present difficulty in getting color prints is giving cartoon producers a bad time, making its imprint upon production almost as potent as upping of production costs to a prohibitive high.
Latest to be affected by tinting situation is Paramount, which is reported cutting out its cartoon program. Inability to get sufficient prints for company’s “Popeye” and “Little Lulu” series has led to outfit calling off all further production of either series.
John Sutherland Productions likewise is temporarily stymied in one of its educational shorts, “The Traitor Within,” made for American Cancer Society. With 250 prints ordered from Technicolor, Sutherland has been able to get delivery on only one print, which now is in hands of Society.


Thanks again to Thad Komorowski for his help deciphering the Variety snippets and for the picture of Wacky Quacky.

Now, let’s peer at The Film Daily for news and reviews. The publication seems to have liked most of the Warners cartoons, even the Blue Ribbons. And, despite the bad news, UPA was moving ahead with “Brotherhood of Man” and would, in a few years, help change the look of theatrical cartoons.



July 1, 1946
Nugent Joins Disney
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Frank S. Nugent has been signed to head the Walt Disney story department, advise on purchases and writer assignments, and act in an advisory capacity on scripts. Formerly motion picture critic of the New York Times, Nugent was on the 20th-Fox writing staff and has recently been freelancing for magazines.

July 2, 1946
New Musical Series In RKO's 176 Shorts
A series of 18 Walt Disney subjects in Technicolor will be released.

July 3, 1946
Seven of RKO’s 36 Features to be in Technicolor On Disney's Schedule
Disney's "Make Mine Music" and Goldwyn's Danny Kaye starrer, "The Kid from Brooklyn," both of which have had Broadway runs, are ready for national distribution. Second Disney contribution will be “Song of the South,” with real-life cast including Bobby DriscoU, Luana Patten, Ruth Warrick, Eric Rolf, Lucille Watson, James Baskett, Hattie McDaniel and Glen Leedy. Disney will follow with "Fun and Fancy Free," with Dinah Shore, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, Luana Patten, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Jiminy Cricket.

July 5, 1946
Gentillella Heads Cartoonists
John Gentillella was elected president of Screen Cartoonist Local 1461, succeeding Orrie Calpini who served for two years. Others elected include Perry Rosove, vice-president; Louise LaFleur, recording secretary; Shirley Knoring, financial secretary; Dave Tendlar, treasurer; Ralph Pearson, conductor; Bill Hudson, warden, and Dorothy Weber, Earl James and Graham Place, trustees.

July 10, 1946
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• That new Walt Disney-RKO Radio distribution deal you read about in this pillar weeks ago is now official.... It calls for two Technicolor cartoon features annually for the next two years.

July 11, 1946
UA Board Okays 3 Distribution Deals
United Artists' board of directors yesterday authorized three new distribution deals with producers, but no action was taken on a reported move toward the return of UA to the Motion Picture Association.
The three new product deals, announced by President Edward G. Raftery, were with Harman-Ising for two feature-length cartoons, one with Arnold Pressburger and one with Arthur W. Kelly.
The Harman-Ising pictures [missing words] "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" and "The Little Prince."

July 15, 1946
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Gracie Fields has signed with Walt Disney to sing and narrate the "Wind in the Willows" sequence of his next picture. Others in the cast are: Fred Waring and his orch., Freddy Martin and his orch., Jerry Colonna, the Kings Men, Ethel Smith, the Dinning Sisters, the Andrews Sisters, Eric Blore and Pat O'Malley.

July 17, 1946
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • THREE CHEERS AND A TIGER DEPT.: Walt Disney has added "Hiawatha" to his feature cartoon schedule .... It easily could be another "Snow White" ... But if Walt will take a tip from Phil M. he'll go to Iroquois folklore for story material ... There's a wealth of it to be found at the Onondaga Reservation near Syracuse.

July 18, 1946
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Cliff (Ukelele Ike) Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's "Pinocchio," will create the voice again for Disney's "Fun and Fancy Free."

July 19, 1946
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Ted Eshbaugh, celebrating 15 years as color cartoon producer, will be interviewed tonight by Faye Elizabeth Smith on her WNBT program," "Window Shopper" ... Eshbaugh's first color cartoon production, including the film and original drawings, is on permanent exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum ... His recent production, “Capn' Cub” being distributed by Film Classics, will also be televised.

43% of Workers Are Laid Off by Disney
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Faced with immediate necessity of readjusting its long-range production plans because of economic conditions, reflecting increased wage demands by union crafts as well as other inflated costs, Walt Disney Productions has notified employes of a general layoff which will affect 450 out of 1,060 on payroll.
It is understood that based on present payrolls, union wage demands have meant an annual increase of more than $1,000,000.
The layoff will be effective Thursday of this week and will include all employes except those necessary to finish certain pictures selected for completion at this time and such other members of organizations required for studio maintenance, reguired business functions, and future education planning.
Stories which will continue to be developed and from which Disney will select his future productions when necessary adjustments are made are "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland," "Cinderella," “Lady and the Tramp,” "The Little People," “Destino” (which Salvador Dali is []eying), and a feature story based on great American folklore. Disney will also continue development on a road scale of his educational profits which will go forward via research and production. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and all other famous Disney characters will be continued.
"Song of the South" will be ready for premiere showing next November; "Fun and Fancy Free" for release next Summer; "How Dear to My Heart" next autumn, and "All for Fun" early in 1948.

August 7, 1946
Disney Settles Dispute With Cartoonists Guild
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — The dispute between Walt Disney Studios and the Screen Cartoonists Guild has been settled, according to officials of the Guild.
Settlement, it was stated, provides for the return to the studio's staff of 94 of 215 non-apprentice cartoonists discharged because of increase on production costs. The rest will receive two weeks' severance pay provided they are not rehired within 90 days.

August 13, 1946
36 UA Features For the New Year
Fifty-nine short subjects are included in the 1946-47 product lineup...Thirteen Morey and Sutherland "Daffy Ditty" color cartoons will be furnished for the coming season.

Pal to Make Three Features in Holland
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood— George Pal has announced an extensive expansion program for his Palco Films, his Netherlands studios, with the launching of the first of a series of feature length films to be produced at the rate of three a year.
Several shorts are already in production at his Amsterdam studios, Palco having branched out from extensive production of Technicolor Puppetoons. Pal revealed that he intends to wind up his first feature length picture late in December and will schedule three features for 1947.
Wants Robert Donat
Under instructions from Pal, S. W. Numann, who heads Pal's interests in the Lowlands, is now in England in an effort to sign Robert Donat for the starring role in the Palco production of "The Lake," based on the Swedish classic folk-tale from the works of Olof Almquist.
In the treatment of this fantasy, Pal plans to use both the animated maiionettes, much as they appear in Puppetoons, and live actors, even aiming at achieving animated conversational sequences between the wooden and the living players.
Pal's plans for accelerated activity in his Holland studios in no way alters his busy production schedule of Puppetoons for Paramount release. Pal expects to develop a profitable market for Dutch-language films on the continent, in the Pacific isles, and in the Dutch population sections of South Africa.

August 15, 1946
4,800 in Wilmington See WB's Cartoon Carnival
Wilmington — Warners two-hour "Cartoon Carnival" yesterday hung up some sort of record.
First the 1,800-seat Warner Theater was sold out, then the 1,400-seat Grand, and tickets finally sold out for the 1,600-seat Queen.
Thus the 15-cartoon show, at 25 cents a head, played to 4,800 people.

August 16, 1946
Bosustow, UPA Prexy
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Stephen Bosustow has been elected president of United Productions of America. He succeeds Zachary Schwartz who resigned to enter indie production. Bosustow was formerly connected with the animation departments of Universal and Walt Disney.

August 24, 1946
Metro to Distribute 5 Short Subjects Series
...[including] 16 one-reel Technicolor cartoons...

August 26, 1946
Cartoon Industry Threatened To Fade Out Unless Remedy Created—Lantz
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — For the first time in its history, the animated cartoon industry is wobbly to the point of possible extinction. The authority for this statement is Walter Lantz, president of the Cartoon Producers Association, veteran of 30 years in the field, and creator of well-known characters Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, and Wally Walrus.
The problem: production costs are higher than the return, and the animated cartoons are no longer a paying proposition. Whereas, up until the latest cartoon employes' salary increase of 25 per cent, the producers were just about trading dollars, now — under present box-office returns — they will be operating in the red.
Unless something is done immediately to remedy the situation, Lantz predicts that it is only a matter of a year", possibly less, until there will be no more animated cartoons.
The recent wholesale lopping of heads at the Disney studio is only the beginning, avers Lantz, who soberly claims that he and George Pal — the other independent producer in the business — are faced with the same problem.
Producers Quimby at M-G-M, Selzer at Warners, are not independents, but head cartoon departments for those major studios. Similar case occurs at Columbia, 20th Century-Fox, and Paramount. Therefore, these producers do not have the same acute problem as the three independents; however, they realize that if they continue to operate at a loss, it will be only a matter of time until the majors discontinue them as a losing proposition.
Costs Jump 165 Per Cent
Explaining his own position, Lantz states that since 1940 his costs have jumped 165 per cent, while revenues have increased only 12 per cent. Other cartoon producers figure about the same. Lantz has no objection to paying higher salaries, but producers simply can't pay more than the tariff will bear, he said.
There seems to be a general misconception that the past few lush box-office years have materially helped the cartoon producers as well as the makers of "live" features.
This is not the case. Major companies and exhibitors have shared the same lethargic attitude where cartoons are concerned; they haven't taken the cartoon producers demand for higher rental for their product seriously, Lantz contended.
And while the cartoon producers would be the first to admit that their films may not be the magnet that draws audiences to a theater, they do point to the fact that audiences everywhere react favorably to them the moment they are flashed on the screen. That's a lot more than can be said for many major releases, with star names, he added.
Public Wants Them
Apprised of the seriousness of the cartoon situation in an Associated Press interview with Lantz by Robert Myers, letters by the hundred have been pouring in to Lantz, protesting the discontinuance of cartoons. Boys, girls, their mothers, and fathers, and just adults who enjoy the comic antics of the cartoon characters, are writing in and pleading their cause.
One man, reading the article in The Philadelphia Bulletin wrote Lantz that "we have little enough to laugh at in the world today. Don't take away one of the few bright spots we have left."
A mother from Milwaukee wrote for her little son and daughter, and made a good suggestion: "Let us know when, and what, cartoon comedy is being shown at our neighborhood theater. Give it billing. We would send our children to see such a show when we would keep them away otherwise. And if it's a question of money, let us know. We'll pay more."
While Lantz appreciates this mother's offer, he doesn't think the public should be forced to pay higher admissions; they're paying enough already. But he does offer a very simple solution: let every exhibitor take one admission price and add it to the rental of the cartoon he is running. That little additional revenue might just save the day. One admission — say eighty-five cents — doesn't sound like much, but when you multiply it by 8,000 theaters, you have something, he said.
Plainly, it is up to the exhibitors to say whether or not they want to continue to have cartoons to show to their audiences, Lantz said. The cartoon producers have reached the end of their rope, he asserted, declaring that they have gone as far as they can in their efforts to please movie audiences since the first cartoon was made in 1914.
Lantz himself has been in the business since 1916, and has seen the industry grow from a mere handful of newspaper cartoonists who founded it, into its present high level of efficiency and artistic skill.
As an educational medium, cartoons proved their worth during the war when the finest training films were turned out by cartoon producers. (Lantz made 22 for the U. S. Navy.) In industry, business, professions, the animated cartoon offers possibilities never possible in “live” action films.
And as an important cog in the entertainment field, the place of the motion picture animated cartoon has never been questioned, Lantz said.
It seems, then, that the only question is: Will theater exhibitors and major studio executives give them the same high regard and make it possible for the animated cartoon producers to stay in business? Lantz wants to know.

September 12, 1946
• George Pal, creator of Puppetoons, and an amateur trap drummer, “sat in” at the drums in a jam session with Duke Ellington while the Duke was appearing in "Date With Duke," the Puppetoon which will introduce the new Ellington piece, "Parfum Suite."

September 19, 1946
RKO to Re-Present Disney's “Fantasia”
RKO Radio will re-present Walt Disney's "Fantasia," after several highly successful test engagements. Pic opens Sept. 28 at the Republic here and will be booked as a concert feature in leading theaters. Plans are now under way for openings in Chicago, Omaha, Rochester, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Kansas City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

October 3, 1946
ZACK SCHWARTZ AND DAVID HILBERMAN, formerly president and vice-president, respectively, of United Productions of America, have organized Tempo Films. Aside from me production of animated cartoons and slide films tor theatrical and non-theatrical fields, Tempo Films will establish a film consulting service for sponsor, advertising agencies, and other producers of animated cartoons.

October 4, 1946
Form Minitoons to Handle Brief Color Cartoon Ads
Minitoons, a new company to produce and distribute advertising via the screen in brief color cartoons has been formed by Robert G. Leffingwell, Wilbur Streech and Joseph Magro, who were formerly in the Army attached to the Signal Corps.
Distribution will be chiefly in England where screen advertising overcame newsprint shortage during the war and audiences were exposed to the medium to advantage. The Minitoons will be dubbed in five languages. They will be aimed at audiences in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Italy. Leffingwell will leave for a survey tour of Europe next month. Eventually the firm plans to expand in India and China. An experimental distribution plan will shortly be launched in Latin-American countries.

November 8, 1946
"TREASURE FROM THE SEA," a Walt Disney production sponsored by the Dow Chemical Co., revealing the possibilities cf magnesium, was premiered at the Monte Carlo yesterday. The showing which launched national distribution of the film, assigned exclusively to the Princeton Film Center, was attended by reps, of dailies, trade papers and magazines.

"Mr. Fix-it" Fixed
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Mel Blanc, "Mr. Fixit" on his CBS radio show, "The Mel Blanc Show," and the voice of Bugs Bunny en the screen was confronted with a situation he could not fix—an election bet with his friend Joe Rines, radio producer. Blanc was required to lead a rabbit on a leash from Hollywood & Vine to one block West and while doing so keep up a Bugs Bunny chatter.

November 13, 1946
Acquires Cartoon Rights
Gilma Co. Films, headed by Marc Gilbert, has acquired exclusive distribution rights in Continental Europe on 25 Celebrity Comi-Color Cartoons. Gilbert's office is at 152 W. 42nd St.

Agfacolor Cartoon Breaks Scandinavian Run Record
Copenhagen (By Air Mail) — "The Tinder-Box," full-length Agfacolor cartoon, has broken all Scandinavian run records by holding for a 16th week at the Palladium. Picture is the first full-length cartoon produced in Denmark. Because of the long run, Palladium's booking of "Lydia" has been postponed from this Pall until some time in 1947.

Tempo to Shoot in Corona
Jack Schwarts [sic] and David Hilberman, who recently formed Tempo Films, have completed negotiations for production facilities at the Film Graphic studios in Corona, L. I. Production of their first cartoon film is scheduled during this month.

Pal Story Purchase Hints Trend Change
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Presaging a new trend augmenting the present crop of swing and jitterbug themes in short subjects and swinging back to the fairy-tale charm of his earlier success. Producer George Pal has purchased "The Clock Of St. Sierre," an original by Jack Miller, as the basis for a forthcoming Puppetoon The story is along the king-and-the-beggar line of Middle Ages fairy stories and Pal believes it will have the same wide appeal as did "The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins," the Puppetoon which Pal produced and which got an Academy Award nomination and which is still considered by many to have been the finest subject of this type ever made.
Pal's decision to augment his modern musical theme subjects with a return to the fairy-tale field followed suggestions from a number of educational associations which have for some time recommended Pal's making more subjects of "The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins" type.
Others specifically asking for more of this type of Puppetoon included the editorial board of Parents Magazine.
Meanwhile, Pal has completed Puppetoons featuring hot players like Duke Ellington and Woody Herman and has one in the hopper for Clarinetist Artie Shaw.

November 18, 1946
Meridian to Produce Full 16 mm. Lineup
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Edward Scofield, veteran public relations and advertising director, has been appointed executive vice-president in charge of production and public relations for Meridian Pictures, 16 mm. producing and distributing organization. Scofield will continue as head of his own public relations firm, Edward Scofield Associates.
Concomitant with announcement of appointment was the decision of Meridian's board of directors to produce 24 features, 24 cartoons and 24 short subjects for the 1948-1947 season []oger a full program of 22,000 exhibitors of 16 mm. films in the United States.

"One People" Prints Ready
"One People," a full color, animated cartoon short, starring Ralph Bellamy as narrator, and detailing the dramatic story of the settling of America by groups of every national origin, is currently being made available to organizations throughout the country, it was announced at the weekend by Richard E. Gutstadt. National Director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. All regional offices of the League are handling distribution.

November 25, 1946
Good Night!
Son Antonio, Tex. — Interstatecircuit is booking together for showing in its houses the feature "The Big Sleep" with a short, "The Big Snooze." Latter is a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

November 27, 1946
RKO Plans Chain in S. America
..."Disney is a terrific favorite in Latin America"; "Snow White" has been re-issued five times...

November 29, 1946
WALT DISNEY'S "Song of the South" established a new opening day record at the RKO Palace, New York, where a 7:30 a.m. opening has been put into effect.

December 2, 1946
UA Board Defers Action On Selznick Till Dec. 10
The board of directors of United Artists on Friday tabled the threatened litigation to oust David O. Selznick as an owner member until the next meeting of the board, scheduled for Dec. 10.
The directors at Friday's meeting authorized a long-term deal with Walter Lantz for the distribution of 11 Lantz Technicolor cartoons a year.

December 3, 1946
Disney Net for Year Down to $196,000
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Los Angeles—President Roy O. Disney reports that net income of Walt Disney Prods, amounted to appoximately $196,000 for the fiscal year ended Sept. 28, based on preliminary unaudited figures.
Net income for the year was equal to 26 cents a share on the 652,840 common shares now outstanding after provision for preferred dividends accumulated during the year but not paid.
During the 1945 fiscal year, net income amounted to $350,532, equal, after providing for preferred dividends accumulated during 1945, but not paid, to 31 cents a share on the 380,000 common shares then outstanding.
The lower earnings for 1946 were in line with managerial forecasts of a year ago. As forecast at that time no income was received in the 1946 fiscal year from the new Disney feature pictures, "Make Mine Music" and "Song of the South." However, there is every indication that these pictures will make a substantial contribution to earnings during the next year, Disney said.

Schwartz-Fleischer Plan “Jack and the Beanstalk”
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Jack Schwartz will produce "Jack and the Beanstalk," color feature in association with cartoonist Dave Fleischer. Two will combine live action with animation.

December 16, 1946
Disney Plans Won't Affect Shorts Lineup
Long-range plans for two combo-pix a year will not affect his current cartoon shorts program it was said at the week-end by Walt Disney following his return from a trip to England and Ireland.
Disney said he had not yet determined whether he will curtail shorts production, as he had intimated he might several weeks ago. Concerned as he is about growing production costs, he is still enthusiastic as ever about plans for "Little People," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan" and "Fun and Fancy Free," all combination pix (part animated cartoon, part live action).
"Little People" is the tentative title for Disney's next magnum opus which won't be ready for public release before 1950. First he has to wade through volumes of Irish folklore, then a story has to be scripted, and then the usual headaches of production, not counting the special technic required to blend live action with animated cartoon.
For the next three years the Disney Studios will be busy with "Alice" and "Peter." By next Spring he hopes to release "Fun" starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy in their version of "Jack and the Beanstalk."
Disney also plans to make educational shorts. "Great future for films in education," he said. He implied that his approach to the educational cartoon short would be off the beaten track.
Disney and his wife returned to Hollywood on Saturday via train.

December 20, 1946
Quimby Heads Metro Studio Shorts Dept.
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Fred C. Quimby has been named head of Metro's short subject department at the studio. In addition to producing 16 Technicolor cartoons annually, Quimby will produce six John Nesbitt Passing Parades and four two-reel Specials. Also included in the program will be 10 Pete Smith Specialties produced by Pete Smith and 12 Technicolor Traveltalks produced by James A. FitzPatrick.

Pal Enters Fight for "Kilroy" Film Rights
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—The fight for priority rights to the much-publicized title "Kilroy Was Here" was joined yesterday by Producer George Pal who is about to close a deal for the purchase of a story by that name by William Fleming French and published in the Saturday Evening Post more than two years ago.
With at least six other producers and studios squabbling over claims to the name, Pal quietly stole a march when he opened negotiations with French for the story and title, claims to which are supported by the Saturday Evening Post publishers, Curtis, and by copyright files in Washington.
Pal wants to film the Kilroy story as a high budget full length feature, and considers French's story good screen material. Title, which was chalked on walls all over the world by GI Joes during the war, is considered a natural for the box office and legal action may be taken before ownership of those three words is finally settled.

December 23, 1946
Disney Cartoons Off BBC's Tele Programs
London (By Cable) — All Disney cartoons will be withdrawn from BBC tele programs, effective Jan. 1, because of the clause in the contract with the musicians union (AFM) which prohibits the telecasting of a member's work without his permission.

December 26, 1946
Suggestive Cartoons Charged by Ind. ATO
Indianapolis — Lewdness and suggestiveness in some cartoon subjects is criticized in the current Associated Theater Owners of Indiana bulletin, Theater Facts. Holding that animated subjects are the children's portion of a program, bulletin warns that someone outside the industry is bound to make an issue of the matter unless cartoon producers are more careful in selecting story material.

December 27, 1946
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Since Walt Disney already has a similar pic on tap, Jack Schwarz has dropped plans to produce "Jack and the Beanstalk," as a combined live-action and cartoon feature.



REVIEWS

July 1, 1946
"Little Brother Rat"
Warners 7 Mins. Very Good
After having successfully stolen a cat's whisker, little Brother Rat is well on his way to winning the Treasure Hunt. His last problem, however, is to bring in an owl's egg. In this endeavor he not only runs into stiff opposition from the old owl, but also from a rather irate cat. Lots of laughs, especially from the hatched owl offspring who becomes attached to I.B.R., and follows him everywhere, saying, "Hoot!"

"Snap Happy Traps"
Columbia 7 Mins. Fair
This black and white cartoon presents a troubled Mr. Bear who has difficulty in ridding his cave of mischievous mice. He goes in search of a cat to pull him out of his misery and brings a tiger's cub home by mistake. The cub plays along with the mice in continuing to make the Bear's life miserable.

"Kitty Kornered"
Warners 7 Mins. Should Entertain All
Porky Pig has his problems trying to get rid of four cats who take over his home. In the melee he is thrown out several times. Story and animation are lively and should entertain all.

"Sheep Shape"
Paramount 7 Mins. Good Fun For All
When the Wolf learns that Blackie the Sheep is custodian of a $10,000 orphans fund, he decides to don a disguise in order to fleece Blackie. He dons several, and finally does make off with the bankroll, only to head straight for the nearest nightclub. He is finally separated from the jack by Blackie, who has posed as the club singer. Good fun for all.

"Hollywood Daffy"
Warners 7 Mins. Excellent
Daffy Duck, with all his word-spitting exuberance and enthusiasm tries to crash the gates of a Hollywood studio. After masquerading as several screen personalities, he manages to get inside, and does see stars the kind you see when hit violently over the head by a studio cop! Clever dialogue and story rank this one high.

July 2, 1946
"Peep in the Deep"
Paramount 7 Mins. Good Popeye Fare
Popeye and Olive Oyl are on the hunt for a sunken treasure ship, which they finally get after being heckled by villainous Bluto, a swordfish in mermaids clothing and an octopus with a yen for Popeye. Right triumphs over might, however, (with the help of some spinach) and the treasure is theirs: the treasure being a picture of Frank Sinatra! Good fare for Popeye, or Sinatra fans.

July 3, 1946
"Acrobatty Bunny"
Warners 7 Mins. Bugs Is Always Good
A lion's cage in a wandering circus is parked right over Bugs Bunny's underground abode. Natch, he does not care for this arrangement, and sets out to make the lion leave home. These antics carry them through a series of circus routines as Bugs tries to out-maneuver the drooling king of the beasts. Bugs is always good, but especially funny when kicking the lion around.

July 8, 1946
"Donald's Double Trouble"
RKO 7 Mins. Good For All
When Daisy objects to Donald's poor English and uncouth manners, he decides to do something about it. Walking down the street he meets his double, in looks, who speaks like Ronald Colman. He hires the double to win Daisy over, and the fun starts when the double starts to fall for her and Donald does a slow burn. Good fare for all.

"Picnic Panic"
Columbia 6 Mins. Good
When a Mexican boy and his girl trade in their faithful donkey for an automobile their troubles begin. The donkey watches them go with tears in his eyes, and watches them set out a picnic lunch not far away from a temperamental volcano. He also sees the volcano start to erupt, of which fact they are completely oblivious, and dashes to rescue them. Final scenes show the trio happily united.

"Unsure Runts"
Columbia 7 1/2 Mins. Plenty Worth While
The conniving Crow this time sets out to sell the unsuspecting Fox some insurance. When the Fox refuses, the Crow sets all sorts of traps, one of which finally lands him in the hospital. Needless to say, the insurance is then sold. Good sequences make this plenty worth while.

"Kongo Roo"
Columbia 6 Mins. Amusing
Fuzzy-Wuzzy goes a huntin' for cannibals astride his favorite ostrich. Unfortunately, things do not work out as F-W wishes. This is pleasant comedy which will please most.

July 17, 1946
"Choo Choo Amigo" (Daffy Ditty)
UA 8 Mins. A Sure B. O. Bet
There is a delightful quality about this animated Technicolor item that makes the short a sure thing for old and young. The film creates considerable amusement in relating the story of an old-fashioned choo choo beloved of the people that is condemned to the scrap heap after years of spreading joy. The train is replaced by a modern streamlined monster to which the people take such an antipathy that it soon winds up as a diner and our friendly little choo choo is restored to service. The Latin-American flavor adds charm to the short.

July 22, 1946
"Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 Mins. Excellent
Donald Duck and Goofy are featured in this one. Donald is skirting through the jungle looking for wild men for his circus. He gets tangled up with Goofy who enjoys himself in the jungle swinging on monkey vines and acting generally like a mad Tarzan. Donald chases him with a cage. They both run into a lion's den, and the film ends with Donald acting like a wild man in Goofy's clothes and Goofy escaping from the jungle island in Donald's motor boat.

July 25, 1946
"The Tortoise Wins Again" (Terrytoon)
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Very Funny
The Fable of the tortoise and the hare is here retold in a Technicolor cartoon crowded with laugh-getting incidents. This time the race between the two is conducted on ice skates. The rivals take turns in trying to outwit each other, resorting to ingenious devices that are highly amusing. The hare wins with the connivance of his offspring. The exhibitor can book this one with assurance.

"Great Piggy Bank Robbery"
Warner Bros. 7 mins. Very Good
Daffy Duck, that exuberant spirit, out-does himself while admiring Dick Tracy, and experiences some of the thrills and chills that come to the super sleuth. He is very much relieved when he discovers it was all a dream and is very content to settle back into anonymity as D.D. once again.

July 29, 1946
"Dinky Finds a Home"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Good
This Technicolor cartoon is a touching little item about the attempt of a black duckling to find love and a home. Terrified by gunfire, the duckling seeks shelter in a henhouse, where he is discovered by a rooster, who ejects him. He doesn't gain his goal until he rescues a chick from drowning. His heroic deed causes the rooster to take him to his heart. The humor is gentle. Audiences will like the short a lot.

August 1, 1946
"Johnny Smith and Poker Huntas"
Warner 7 mins. Very Well Done
Johnny Smith, arriving on the Mayflower, gets himself rather confused with the Indians but is finally rescued by a cute little Indian quail named Poker Huntas who carries him off in her Oldsmobile. Very well done, the animation and dialogue is clever and witty.

"Chick and Double Chick"
Paramount 6 Mins. Bright
Little Lulu's father says she may keep her dog if he is a good watchdog and guards a batch of soon-to-be-hatched chicks. She and the dog provide many a good laugh in their efforts to restrain an eager cat from stealing one. Amusing episodes brighten this one.

"Rodeo Romeo"
Paramount 6 Mins. Should Do Well
When Popeye sees Bluto impressing Olive Oyl with his Rodeo tricks, he uses his can of spinach and outdoes Bluto in every stunt. Angry at this, Bluto fills another can with loco weed and Popeye eats it, thinking it is spinach. He revives just in time to save Olive from Bluto, who has also eaten some by mistake. Pretty funny in places; should do well.

August 7, 1946
"Robinhood Makes Good"
Warner Bros. 7 Mins. W. B. Makes Good, Too.
Three squirrels decide to enact a book about Robin Hood that they've been reading. Two bigger squirrels make the baby squirrel be the villain much against his wishes. However, they are willing to let him be Robin Hood whenever he wants, after he saves them from a sly fox who has masqueraded as the Maid Marion. Very sprightly and cleverly done.

"Bathing Buddies" (Waltz Lantz Cartune)
Universal 7 Mins. Just Fair
Woody Woodpecker goes screwy in this one when he accidentally drops a dime in the bathtub and attempts to retrieve it causing landlord Wally Walrus no end of aggravation while the latter is also taking his bath. The film ends in an explosion when Woody decides to use dynamite to blast the dime out of the pipe. The house is wrecked and Woody finds his dime on Wally's head as the latter is sitting dazedly among the debris.

"Eager Beaver"
Warner Bros. 7 Mins. Good
E. B. does his best to help a crew of lumberjacks get a dam together, but as usual only succeeds in putting his foot in it. However, this time he puts a log in it, the dam that is, which is threatened by a flood, and so saves the day. Rate it as good.

August 12, 1946
"The Purloined Pup"
RKO 7 Mins. Very Good
Many laughs as Pluto, a rookie cop, gets hot on the trail of a dog-napper. He finally outwits the beast, and rescues a St. Bernard pup from a gruesome death. Well done, as usual, it has chuckles to offer for all.

August 14, 1946
"Goal Rush" (Noveltoon)
Paramount 6 Mins. Entertaining
In addition to a "bouncing ball" sequence when the audience is given an opportunity to join in several College football tunes, this Technicolor cartoon features some amusing antics between the teams of Canine College and Alley-Cat College as they play the outstanding game of the season. Highlight of the subject is the tossing of a fire hydrant on the field to stop the canines from scoring and a mechanical mouse which stops one of the Cats two inches from the goal line.

"John Henry and the Inky Poo" (Puppetoon)
Paramount 7 Mins. Exceptional
In a departure from the fables dreamed up for the familiar scarecrow and the little pickaninny character, usually featured in this series, George Pal has produced an engaging Puppetoon version of the legendary figure, John Henry, drawn from the annals of American folklore, who pitted his brawn and brains against the steam engine known as the Inky Poo in order to dispel the fear of his railroad co-workers that machines would eventually put them out of work. The Technicolor, Rex Ingram's narration, and the folk song delivered by the Luvenia Nash Singers are all standouts.

August 15, 1946
"Cagey Bird" (Flippy Cartoon)
Columbia 6 1/2 Mins. Average
The cat and canary again, and in Technicolor. The cat plays doctor to get a feathered snack but he is foiled by a dog that only appears stupid.

August 22, 1946
"Walky Talky Hawky" (Technicolor Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Very Good
There's a lot of sly humor and clever comedy involved in the telling of this brief tale of a dopy little chicken hawk who, never having seen a chicken, is subjected to all sorts of ruses by a dog, a rooster and finally a horse. It's a laughable—and very suitably so—item from start to finish.

"Of Thee I Sting" (Technicolor Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Good
Basic training, target practice, maneuvers and kindred angles borrowed from the military and applied to a squadron of mosquitoes who are being groomed for attack on the well-known epidermis will provide a lot of fun and laughter for viewers of this offering. The script pattern is reminiscent of large scale aerial bombardment. The finish should provoke a roar.

"The Schooner the Better" (Phantasy)
Columbia 7 Mins. Not So Hot
As cartoons go this is a primitive. "Sea Hawk," bird character, tries to shanghai an innocent. He gets shanghaied, so does the innocent. Very little imagination in the telling.

August 26, 1946
"Bacall to Arms" (Technicolor Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Topnotcher
A clever idea carried out for high entertainment values. A screwy “wolf” attends a movie and views the famous "whistle" scene from "To Have etc." It is too much for him. The telling is highly imaginative and fun provoking.

"Little Red Walking Hood" (Technicolor Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Good Gag Treatment
This is another variation and seemingly the original version of the well-known tale, plus gags, gag lines and the surprise finish. It's silly but provokes laughter.

September 6, 1946
"Wet Paint" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 Mins. Good
This latest in the Donald Duck series is highlighted by the Technicolor treatment given the subject which deals with Donald's attempt to do a paint job on his new roadster. He has just finished painting when a little bird, engaged in building a nest, drags a piece of string over the wet paint, leaves her foot prints, and even spills a can of paint remover over Donald's work. Donald naturally fights back, but all is forgiven when the mother bird's young ones snuggle up to him.

"Pepito's Serenade" (Daffy Ditty)
UA 8 Mins. Very Good
Briefly, this deals with a puppet character in some Latin country who fails to win his love with his music. Advised to take a few lessons, he visits an ogre of a teacher. He is made a protege after some horrifying experiences. What sets this up for fine entertainment is the highly ingenious backgrounds, camera tricks, lighting effects and animation stunts. It builds into a sock item for everybody's pleasure. In color.

September 11, 1946
"The Jail Break" (Terrytoon in Technicolor)
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Very Good
Bad Bill Bunion breaks out of Alcatraz and goes on a wild fling of robbery and crime with the action taking place in Nevada, Chicago stockyards, Buffalo and Philadelphia. It is in the latter city where he steals the football from an exciting Army-Navy football game and the might of Army's tanks, Airforce planes and the Navy's fleet are outwitted by this ruffian until Mighty Mouse comes to the rescue, recaptures the ball from the bandit and saves the day by putting it back into play.

"Winning the West" (Terrytoon)
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Very Good
This Mighty Mouse cartoon is vividly photographed in Technicolor with action of Indians on the war-path. Historic heroes such as General Custer, Daniel Boone, Stonewall Jackson and Buffalo Bill fail in their efforts to come to the rescue of the caravan train of Mice, but the travelers are saved by Mighty Mouse who puts the Indians to flight.

September 12, 1946
"The Housing Problem" (Terrytoon in Technicolor)
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Good
Just a place to hang their "Home Sweet Home" sign is the situation that confronts the pleasant but worried pig family in desperation to find living quarters. Finally they are housed in a fabricated house only to have an army of termites destroy the home. But they make the best of it in living in the wreck happy, "be it ever so humble."

September 27, 1946
"Sudden Fried Chicken"
Paramount 7 Mins. Swell
Herman the Mouse backs up his old friend Hector, a rooster, who is completely hen-pecked by his wife. With Herman's help. Hector kayos One Round Hogan, and tries to establish himself as head of the house. But his wife has the last punch and Herman and Hector wind up in the hospital. Swell piece of work which will have universal appeal.

"Fair and Wormer"
Warners 7 Mins. Okay
This one is slightly repetitious and seemingly long. There is a long succession of chases, those involved including: a worm, a cow, a cat, a dog, a skunk and dog catcher. The pot of gold in this case happens to be an apple, which the worm explains, is the only available apartment in town.

"Racketeer Rabbit"
Warners 7 Mins. Excellent
Bugs Bunny goes to sleep in a house which later turns out to be the hideout of two characters who greatly resemble Edward G. Robinson and Peter Lorre. The rabbit outwits both these shrewdies, and the audience will get a great kick out of him doing it. A fast-moving piece of work, which assures sure-fire laughs.

"Jasper in a Jam"
Paramount 7 Mins. Jive Jamboree
Charlie Barnet, his orch. and vocalist Peggy Lee provide the aural interest in this fantasy of Jasper and his adventures in a pawnshop, while taking refuge from a storm. The musical instruments come alive and fascinate the boy. Probably cast spell over an audience, too, which should really like this one.

"Fox Pop"
Warners 7 Mins. Clever
When two hawks come upon a for smashing a radio to pieces they ask him why. He replies that a commercial unwittingly sent him off to a fox farm from which he has just escaped, and relates the story in detail. Well done and exceptionally good in spots.

October 9, 1946
"Mysto Fox"
Columbia 7 Mins. Good
When the crow learns that Mysto Fox is looking for a rabbit for his act he masquerades as something that looks very much like Bugs Bunny, and lands the job. The mad antics of the crow completely wreck Mysto's act to the extent where the crow is sawing him in half. Should have a good effect on any bill.

November 1, 1946
"Song of the South"
with Ruth Warwick, Bobby Driscoll, James Baskett
Disney-RKO 94 Mins.
ANOTHER FOR THE DISNEY COLLECTION OF LAURELS; SHOWMANLY BLENDING OF ANIMATION AND LIVE-ACTION SHOULD PROFOUNDLY IMPRESS AND RE-IMPRESS IN SEASONAL RE-BOOKINGS.
Shifting to still another new experimental tack, Walt Disney has in "Song of the South" a stirring gem that is going to prove important in box office competition, a delight to the young 'uns and a poignantly sentimental memento to grown-ups.
He has here, blended a Technicolor narrative with his own distinctive brand of animation. There is evidence of a great deal of experimental procedure and much sweating of the brow, back and elbow went into the final copy. But it was successful. The ultimate result bears conclusive proof.
From the realm of the fanciful and the wide range cf literary juvenilia Disney has selected the "Uncle Remus" tales of "Brer Rabbit." He has created a kindly colored character, a resident of a Southern ante bellum plantation, who entrances the children of the locality with his tales of the rabbit, intersected with bits of homey, decent wisdom and always with sly touches of earthy humor.
He has taken a few of the brief tales of Joel Chandler Harris and fashioned them into beautiful examples of storytelling and entertainment in the cartocn sense and he draped these stories on a subtly realistic framework of human characters. It's a technical trick but as rewarding as the look in a child's eyes when he strains his imagination to conceive the highly fantastic, and comprehending, the light shines forth.
The rabbit character, and he's a "type," is ludicrously drawn and given full rein in his clever elusive tactics. His chief problem is getting the best of "Brer Fox," aided and abetted by "Brer Bear." The rabbit is on the screwball side. He's gay most of the time with a contagious humor. The bear and fox, while the best of friendly enemies, get in each other's way and the rabbit always eludes the stewpot.
These cartoon sequences relieve the serious aspects of the story which are concerned with a boy's emotional problems as they interrelate with his parents' private troubles. The songs are gay and the Technicolor treatment one of the pleasantest jobs of the season.
CAST: Ruth Warwick, Bobby Driscoll, James Baskett, Luana Patten, Lucile Watscn, Hattie McDaniel, Glenn Leedy, Mary Field, Anita Brown, George Nokes, Gene Holland, "Nicodemus" Stewart, Johnny Lee.
CREDITS: Producer, Walt Disney Art Director, Perry Ferguson; Cameraman, Gregg Toland; Film Editor, William M. Morgan; Special processes, Ub Iwerks; Sound, C. O. Slyfield; Songs by Ray Gilbert, Allie Wrubel, Sam Coslow, Arthur Johnston, Johnny Lange, Hy Heath, Eliot Daniel, Robert McGimsey, Foster Carling; Music Director, Charles Wolcott.
DIRECTION, Excellent. PHOTOGRAPHY, Superb.

November 11, 1946
"Mousemerized Cat"
Warners 7 Mins. Very Entertaining
Babbitt, a mouse who's an amateur hypnotist, tries to put his pal. Costello, in a trance so that he can make like a dog, scare the cat, and grab some cheese. But Costello turns the table and Babbit thinks he's a dog, allowing Costello to happily consume the cheese. Audiences should appreciate this very entertaining cartoon.

"Silent Tweetment"
Columbia 6½ Mins. Good For Laughs
Flippy, a canary, cheers everybody in the household with his singing except a lazy cat who is trying to doze. He finally quiets her to the extent that she will not sing at all. This worries him, and the gyrations he goes through to get her to sing again are very amusing. Good laughs in this one.

"Big Snooze"
Warners 7 Mins. Excellent
Elmer, Bugs Bunny's straight man who hates wabbits, decides he's had enough of B.B.'s freshness, tears up his Warner contract and takes to the hills for a life of lazy loafing. Bugs turns his dreams into nightmares, which convinces Elmer that he has acted too hastily, and once more he joins the fold. A very clever and pleasing cartoon which has all the ear-marks of a seller.

November 13, 1946
"The Island Fling"
Para. 7 Mins. Good
Popeye and Olive Oyl are shipwrecked on the island where Bluto and his man Friday are holding forth. Mr. B. makes many a pass at Olive but is always interrupted by Popeye, who is rather irked by the whole situation. Bluto succeeds in trapping Popeye in an underground passage on the pretext of a buried treasure. With his trusty can of spinach, our hero finds the treasure, makes his way out of the hole, rescues Olive and makes mud-pies out of Bluto. Quite lively and amusing.

"Wacky Worm"
Warners 7 Mins. Fair
A worm, who resembles and has a voice like Jerry Colonna, is trying to elude an eager crow. The crow tracks him to a pile of apples but cannot decide which one he is hiding in. He finally eats the whole pile, only to have the worm escape. Rather slow, it has a few bright spots.

"You're an Education"
Warners 7 Mins. Novel
The leaflets in a travel agency come to life and break into song. All is rosy till the thief of Bagdad steals a diamond and a baby from Wales starts to cry. Havoc is created with Sherlock Holmes, the Canadian Royal Mounted and the Foreign Legion in pursuit of the thief. Should provide a novel twist on any bill.

"The Fistic Mystic"
Paramount 6 Mins. Good Laughs
Olive Oyl is attracted by a mystic, while she and Popeye are wandering through an oriental bazaar. The swami, trying to make time with Olive, disposes of Popeye by using his hypnotic powers on him. Olive gets a little fed with the swami, who is really Bluto, and about this time he decides to use her in his act—the sawing-a-woman-in-half one. Popeye drags out his spinach, breaks the spell, releases Olive and goes after Bluto who is escaping on his magic carpet. He disposes of this oriental octupus in short order, and he and Olive sail happily past the Statue of Liberty. Well done with quite a few good laughs.

"Bath Day"
RKO 7 Mins. Figaro and Minnie
Minnie is determined to give Figaro, Walt Disney's lovable kitten, a bath. She finally does and ties him up with a red ribbon. When he goes out in the alley, Lucifer and the other cats make fun of him. Figaro takes on Lucifer, who is knocked cold by a few ashcans that have been caused to fall by Figaro's nervous vibrations. Figaro is mighty pleased with himself till Minnie sees how dirty he's gotten and decides to give him another dunking. As usual, this W. D. product is very good and will sell well on any bill.

November 18, 1946
"Rhapsody Rabbit"
Warners 7 Mins. Bugs at His Best
Bugs Bunny goes "long-hare" in this one, which is definitely one of his best. He gives a piano recital and everything is going quite smoothly till a mouse, holed in the piano, decides he wants to play, too. A sure-fire hit, it has lots to offer for audience appeal.

"Mouse Menace"
Warners 7 Mins. Lots of Laughs
A pesky mouse troubles Porky Pig so much that he hires various cats to kill the mouse. They all fail. He then invents a mechanical robot cat which almost succeeds till the mouse plants a stick of dynamite in his mouth and blows up the whole house. Porky moves into the dog house, only to find the mouse got there first. Fast moving and funny, it will appeal to all.

"Roughly Squeaking"
Warners 7 Mins. Man or Mouse?
Two smart mice convince a cat that he's a lion and that instead of chasing them he should be chasing a moose, the dog. They have a harder time convincing the dog that he's a moose, in fact he doesn't go for the story at all. This makes for a hilarious time while the cat is shuttled back and forth between the dog and the mice. Good for many, many laughs.

Friday, 15 August 2014

What Was That, Mighty Mouse?

How’s this for a “what the...” gag in a Terrytoon?

Mighty Mouse pulls two guns (isn’t that bizarre enough already?) on two cats. Suddenly, a compartment opens up in one gun and a jack-in-the-box head pops out.



Milton Knight, who knows about these sorts of things, points out this is a piece of Carlo Vinci work. The gag is actually pretty funny but director Eddie Donnelly mis-directs it. The drawing with the top of the gun opening is on two frames, the head is on one frame, and then Donnelly cuts to the close-up. It’s too fast to register; the close-up comes out of nowhere and looks like another cartoon has been spliced into the reel.

There’s some fine animation by Vinci earlier in the picture of a dancing seductress mouse that can stack up against anyone’s work. It’s beautifully timed.

Thanks to Milt Knight for posting the cartoon. Oh, if you’re wondering, Mighty Mouse beats up the cats.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Running From MacPoodle

The escaping wolf runs toward the camera in “Northwest Hounded Police” (released 1946). The picture turns black as the wolf’s nose envelopes the camera.



A few frames later, the black turns into the wolf’s prison stripes as he runs away from the camera.



Walter Clinton, Ed Love, Ray Abrams and Preston Blair animated this for Tex Avery.