Monday, 29 August 2016

Invasion of Terrytown

Green cats with bat wings and feet that turn into wheels invade Terrytown, populated only with mice. Who can save the innocent rodents? The name “Terrytown” should give it away.

There are a few neat gags in Goons From the Moon (1950), like when Mighty Mouse (in song) urges the animator to hurry up and draw him so he can save the day. I like this scene that’s a throwback to the early ‘30s, when inanimate objects came to life. The mouse spots the asteroid or whatever it is the cats are on as it approaches Earth. The through-the-telescope take is pretty standard issue, but I like how the telescope jumps and runs away in fear.



Who animated the scene? Beats me. Terrytoons never credited animators until Gene Deitch arrived several years later.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Comedian and the Agent

Stars don’t have lives like you and me. They’re little corporations. They have all kinds of people working for them in a professional capacity—agents, business managers, personal secretaries, public relations types.

Jack Benny had a number of agents. I haven’t really looked to see who handled what, but for many years he not only employed his brother-in-law by marriage, Myrt Blum, he was represented by Arthur Lyons. The pair-up began in the vaudeville days and continued toward the end of the 1940s when Jack approached MCA to set up a corporate tax deal just as it had done with Amos ‘n’ Andy. MCA agreed, provided Lyons was out of the picture. Lyons was bought out. When he died of a heart attack in 1963, Lyons was lauded in Variety as a product of another time, leaving the impression he was an earthy guy a few steps removed from the Garment District, as opposed to the fast-talking, insincere hype-ster of Madison Avenue.

Radio Guide devoted a great deal of space in its edition of December 19, 1936 to Arthur Lyons, Benny and their relationship. Here it is, including the pictures that accompanied the story.

The GREATEST FRIENDSHIP IN RADIO
THEY'VE BEEN PARTNERS FOR YEARS—BUT THEY'VE NEVER HAD A CONTRACT! AND THEY'RE MORE THAN PARTNERS—THEY'RE PALS!

BY DOROTHY SPENSLEY
GETTING Jack Benny to talk about himself is easy. Easy, like roller-skating up Mount Everest in a roaring blizzard. The man to talk to about Jack Benny is Arthur Lyons, his personal representative. He knows more about the humor king that Jack (born Benjamin Kubelsky) does himself.
A chat with Jack is pleasant, but sterile. He is so modest that it's devastating. Ask him about his success and he grins, rolls the ever-present cigar in his mouth, and murmurs something about it being "a long, hard grind." He has definite ideas about the kind of radio humor he purveys—it must be "high class and low down," he says—but he'd rather tell you what a truly superlative artist Georgie Jessel is. "Much better than I am at impromptu speeches," Benny says. And he means it!
Sure, it's fun to talk to a celebrity who is self-effacing, unspoiled by success, but if you want to get a peek at the real Jack Benny, the man who has been wowing the airwaves for plus three years now on his exuberant dessert program, who has a corner on the gentle business of toppling personal appearance records, whose stage and screen work brings whoops of joy, then you want to see Arthur Lyons.
Short, sturdy, compact Arthur Lyons is not Jack Benny's agent. Get that straight at the outset. He's something more than a mere "agent" or "manager." Lyons is a "personal representative." He explains carefully that he is not out for grabbing money for his clients (he has something like two hundred top-notch artists in all the artistic fields). He is building lasting careers for them. He'd just as soon turn down $22,500 a week for Benny as not. In fact, he has. A sponsor offered that much for Funmaker Benny's services. Jack didn't care that it was turned down. His honest opinion is that no man, artist or otherwise, is worth that much money a week. That gives you an idea of them.
EIGHTEEN years ago Benny was doing a "dumb" act. In show business, it's a vaudeville turn that has no talking. Jack, a skilled violinist, had been teamed with a fellow named Woods. Benny and Woods. He was then doing a solo skit. As for statistics, we don't need to tell you that Jack is a Waukegan, Illinois, boy who has made good. History tells, too, that Jack's poppa was a haberdasher; first name Mayer. His mother's name is Emma. He has a sister, married, living in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Jack had a friend named Phil Baker. Yes, the same. They were pals, playing the same circuit, but never the same bill. Know why? Phil played an accordion, then as now. Jack, with his violin, was a rival act. Vaudeville bookers never put two "dumb" acts on the same bill. In those distant days, when war clouds were coloring the eastern horizon, they were "curtain ringer-uppers." If either one ever played "No. 2" on a bill, he thought he was a big-shot. Professional rivalry there was between the two young fellows, but never personal rivalry—they were the best of friends.
ARTHUR LYONS, at that time, was trying to re-enter the show business. He had been out of it for several years, dabbling with the drug business (junior drug clerk) for Druggist Louis Schenk. Louis was Joe and Nick Schenk's brother. Lyons had been a part of show business for a few years (he had acted and produced) and it was in his blood. He had run away from his birthplace in Minsk, Russia, and gone to the Orient. In Pekin he got his first sample of theatrical life, and liked it. It wasn't much of a job, but it was show business. In the international colony's theater in Pekin, where so many foreign tongues are spoken, it was necessary for a boy to parade across the stage carrying an announcement in various languages of the next number. He was that boy.
Saving enough money, Lyons travelled steerage to New York from the Orient. It took him two or more months to make the trip. But he didn't mind. He had plenty of time before he joined up with show business in Manhattan. He was then ten years old! He was eight when he ran away from Minsk. He was seventeen when he first met Jack Benny. Lyons is now thirty-five, and a success. One year he and his firm, Lyons, McCormick and S. Lyons, Arthur's brother, did six million dollars worth of "actor business," as he calls it, netting six hundred thousand dollars for his organization.
He has been president and chairman of the Council of the International Theatrical Artists' Association; president of the Agents' Association of Actors' Equity; always an important figure in the advancement of his profession. If Benny, his old pal, is today an important figure, so is Arthur Lyons, although not as much spotlighted. Their success has been shared through the years. As one climbed, the other climbed with him. Their careers are so closely bound together that it is hard to tell where the guiding talents of Lyons stop and the artistic talents of Benny begin. Their abilities are perfectly fused. One complements the other.
OF COURSE, if Jack didn't have the superlative talent that he has, if he didn't know timing, voice inflection, all the things that make the master humorist, Lyons would have nothing to exploit. But if Jack did not have the omniscient Lyons to "groom" him, to guide his professional destinies, counsel him, chances are that he might still be making the $1800 a year that he was making when Lyons met him. Today, Jack is in the upper brackets, and very much so.
The scene shifts to nearly two decades ago. One day Phil Baker, then and now a Lyons client, brought to Arthur his friend, Benny. Jack was playing the Keith-Orpheum Circuit, a two-a-day, and Lyons was booking for Loew and Fox, three-a-day circuits. Lyons knew he couldn't better Jack's circumstances by making him play one extra performance a day in booking him on his circuits, but that didn't prevent the three from becoming friends. For several years they lived together, sharing a six-dollar room (two dollars apiece) at the Forest Hotel on 45th Street; at the National Vaudeville Club, or the San Rafael Hotel.
One day Jack told Arthur that he wanted him to handle his professional career. He felt that he had gone as far as he could sawing at violin strings in his present capacity. Lyons thought a minute. That was fifteen years ago. He's been thinking along those smart lines ever since. "Jack, we're going to get you a band," he said. "We're going to get you the best and biggest band that there ever was, and you are going to stand in front of it with your violin, but you're not going to play, you're going to talk. That will be our excuse, because you know how to handle a violin, for the most expensive band in theatrical history."
JACK had discovered, by that time, that his purring -voiced monologue had possibilities. Contrary to published reports that Jack's Navy Relief Society appearances, during his stretch as one of Uncle Sam's sea dogs, had showed him that he could wise-crack, Jack's first experience with the spoken word on the stage came when he was a part of the long -forgotten New York Winter Garden show. Charles King, then an ace singer, had an act with Jack wherein he kidded Jack into talking. "Why don't you say something?" he'd cue, and Jack would put aside his violin and talk. This was a Lyons idea, too.
They assembled the band. Using circus parlance, it was the "costliest aggregation of musical artists ever assembled into a jazz orchestra." Joe Venuti, now with his own band, was first violinist. Jack and Arthur made no profits; salaries for the band took them all. But it did just what the boys wanted. It established Jack as a personality. They kept the band one year, then dropped it. Jack was lifted from a "curtain raiser" to dignity. He could stand alone as a theatrical artist.
From that moment on, Jack Benny was a "prestige name" in show business. First a vaudeville headliner, a talented master of ceremonies, he became an integral part of musical shows, night-club entertainment, Earl Carroll's Vanities, a Sam Harris farce, films (Hollywood Revue of 1929, Chasing Rainbows, Trans-Atlantic Merry-Go-Round, Broadway Melody of 1936, The Big Broadcast of 1937, plus others). Five years ago Benny and radio discovered their natural affinity for each other.
AS FAR back as the glorified band era of Benny's career, Lyons has been grooming Jack for just the sort of success he is now enjoying. A dignified, respected position in the theatrical world. Jack Benny's name stands for decency, integrity. Integrity is the main plank in the Lyons platform for Benny. Lyons (and Benny, too) is proud of the fact that whenever an important office comes up in theatrical circles, a benefit, or something, almost without exception Jack is the first to be asked to head it. The theater world appreciates that quality in Jack. As for Benny, his biggest pride, just about, is his membership in the Friars' Club. It was Jack, incidentally, who reached into his pocket and saved the club from dissolution when its debts overwhelmed it. Jack didn't tell me, of course. He wouldn't.
If Jack has any fault, it is his generosity. Every month his auditor finds cheeks that are unaccounted for. "What does this mean?" he'll inquire of Benny. "Oh, tha-at," says Jack, wriggling a little uncomfortably. "Oh, yeah that's the fellow who did a tumbling act in a bill I played fourteen years ago. Met him on the street the other day. He's been having a tough time. It's just a little check I made out to tide him over the rough spots."
It is only by accident that these gratuities are noticed. Somebody whom Jack has helped tells someone else. The Lyons office does not believe in publicizing them. Jack cringes at the very thought of mentioning them. About the only thing that can bring Jack's blood to the boiling point is mention of his charities and his more than comfortable income. The recent unauthorized mention in a national magazine of Jack's plump bank-roll made Jack furious. His thought is "What about the man in the street?" Why do I want to shove my good luck in his face?"
JACK is definitely class-conscious. He even sees insurance agents. He said to me once: "I have to see them. They're trying to make a living, aren't they? If I won't see them, and no one else will, how can they sell anything?" He accepts his large salary because it enables him to distribute much more happiness, and to relieve more need, than he could without money.
If Jack is noted for his integrity, he is also noted for his overwhelming modesty. It [If] he were playing three months straight at the Palace Theater, which would be a record, Jack would probably say, off-handedly, if you asked him how he was doing, "Oh, all ri-ght," giving the impression that he was three leaps ahead of The Wolf.
Lyons, who keeps close tab on Benny's tours, tells of an experience, two years ago, in Chicago, that exemplifies Jack's overwhelming modesty. Jack calls Lyons, or Lyons calls Jack—they always talk together on the phone at least once a day, whether Jack is in Hollywood or Manhattan.
During the Winter of 1934, Lyons booked Jack into the Chicago Theater. When the week came for Jack to play the house, up blew the biggest blizzard the city had seen for years. Lyons cursed himself for booking Jack in the dead of a middle -western Winter. If he had waited until toward Spring, bad weather wouldn't confound the grosses. The blizzard was a honey. Snow knee-deep, wind howling along the canyons of State Street, blasting in from Lake Michigan a few blocks over. Who was bothering about a theatrical attraction when it was dangerous to step from your door? Lyons thought he might as well learn the worst. He phoned, from Los Angeles, to the Chicago's manager.
HOW are things?" answered the manager. "It's a sight. People in line since five o'clock this morning, standing in snow up to their knees. We've got fires burning to keep 'em from freezing. The newsreel men are busy photographing the mobs and the blizzard. We hard to open the theater doors at eight o'clock this morning, instead of eleven-thirty, as we usually do. They'd have frozen to death if we hadn't."
Lyons waited for Jack's first appearance before he phoned Benny. "How is it going, Jack?" he asked, confident of Benny's answer. He knew that his client was "knocking them over." Back came Benny's voice, small and discouraged, over the hundreds of miles of wires: "We've got tough competition, Arthur," he answered. "The worst blizzard in years. It's going to be hard."
"But I've just talked to the manager, Jack, said Lyons. "You're breaking good-weather records! You're doing sensational business. Let me talk to the manager again." The manager answered in a moment: "There are three thousand people standing in the snow to see him," he gloated. The Chicago Theater seats five thousand. Jack made $64,000 for the theater during the blizzard week. He returned, with another blizzard, on a second engagement three weeks later and the boxoffice took in $60,000.
Did Jack think that he was sensational? He did not. Oh, he was getting along, that’s all. He soft-pedals all mention of success. Won't admit it to his nearest friend. He has stricken the word from his vocabulary; that I know to be a fact. At least, when it applies to himself. What can you do with a guy like that? A regular Clarence Buddington Kelland hero. Lyons has been trying for years to make Jack argue with him. Just recently he succeeded.
LYONS was delighted when Jack began to argue out managerial problems with him. He has even arrived at the point where Jack will actually read through the film scripts submitted for his approval instead of skimming halfway through the script and nodding his approval. Jack's success, particularly in the current "Big Broadcast of 1937," is due to his representative's insistence that Benny sit in on the story and the selection of his director. Lyons, the omniscient, knows that any good director that Benny approves is not going to bother with a bad story, so there is double protection that Benny will get the kind of screen material he needs. When he finishes "College Holiday," Jack will shoulder the burden of an all -romantic role co-starred with comedienne Carole Lombard in "Tightwad." It puts him in the class of the important romantic male stars like Bill Powell, Fred MacMurray, and others.
Jack's great success lies in his knowledge of timing, says Lyons. He instinctively knows whether to read a line "up" for a laugh or to read it down." You've noticed his reading in his radio broadcasts. Some lines Jack gives a marked "down" inflection. Others he slides "up." But always in that creamy, poised, purring voice, with its boudoir overtones. Jack also has the ability, at a moment's glance, to see whether written copy has genuine humor. He writes some of his own copy. At the moment, he is training a number of young writers to supply him with radio material. His after -dinner speeches, which are excellent, are all written by himself. Then he brings them in to let Arthur see them.
THE most unusual feature of this Damon-Pythias friendship is that there has never been a written contract between the two. It's all verbal and sealed with a handshake. In show business, where competition is frequently cruel and unethical, this is a miracle. Only once was the professional association of Benny and Lyons broken. For two years Benny was handled by another organization. The personal friendship continued, but the two years were unhappy for the two men. Benny is now back in the Lyons fold without a written contract. Jack wishes, sometimes, that he had it down in writing. It would give him a secure feeling against some of the Hollywood wolves. But Arthur shakes his head. "It burns 'em up more this way, Jack," he says.
AS FOR the "boudoir overtones" in his voice, Jack is strictly a one -woman man. And Mary Livingstone, whom he married on January 12, 1927, is The Woman. If she has any rival, it is a little charmer of two, named Joan Naomi, the Benny's adopted daughter. If Joan said so, Jack would gladly toss up his career. Fortunately for us, Joan is just learning to talk, and she wouldn't demand that of her daddy, anyway. She doesn't demand anything of Jack, but gets far more that way. When Jack returned from a recent New York trip he brought Joan Naomi twenty-four new dresses, selected with care.
Mary Livingstone (born Sayde Marks) is as generous as Jack. She loves to buy things. Her pleasure is as much in their selection as in their presentation. Knowing her for so many years, Lyons says she has genuine literary talent, and, if she would set herself to writing, could make a name for herself. Lyons considers the Bennys an ideally happy married couple.
MARY has a brilliant wit. Jack adores people who make him laugh. He worships Mary, therefore. "Nat" Burns, known as George Burns, of the inimitable Burns and Allen, has that laugh -making ability. He can make Jack scream with laughter. They are the best of friends. Moreover, even their wives are good friends! George Jessel is another humorist at whom Jack cackles. "Cackles" is the word for it He has a chortle that rings out, and establishes him in any crowd.
The story of the friendship of Jack Benny and Arthur Lyons could spin on for pages. Lyons is full of anecdotes about his friend. Not only anecdotes, but genuine affection, the kind that springs from the heart and—yes, the soul. In a business where today's friend may be tomorrow's bitterest enemy, the deepness, the sincerity, the honesty of their friendship is something that can be described only as inspiring. The most inspiring part of the friendship is that it will undoubtedly last as long as they live.
Jack Benny may be heard Sundays over an NBC network at 7 p.m. EST (6 CST; 5 MST; 4 PST); and later for the West Coast at 8:30 p.m. PST (9:30 MST).

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cartoons of 1957, Part 2

Crowd funding for cartoons? That’s so 1957!

Yes, it’s true. That year, a company did ask people to give it money so it could make animated cartoons for television. It got the money, too, though the idea wasn’t without a bit of controversy.

It’s a shame that after all the effort, the cartoon series that came out of it wasn’t very good and is only remembered today by lovers of really bad cartoons. The series was Spunky and Tadpole.

1957 saw another made-for-TV series hit the air, and it had far more reaching effects. Hanna-Barbera began operations in July that year, worked out a deal with the Screen Gems TV arm of Columbia Pictures, and by December had Ruff and Reddy beaming into homes on Saturday mornings. From that modest start (the show included a live host and some old Columbia theatricals as well) came the breakthrough that showed the world animated cartoons could be made on a TV budget. That begat the Hanna-Barbera empire which shoved filmed shows off Saturday mornings in favour of new cartoons.

Television, not theatres, was the location of most stories about cartoons by the end of 1957. True, Disney was (re-)releasing or announcing animated features and UPA was inching toward its Arabian Nights feature, but the real story was the continued success of syndicators selling TV stations across the U.S. on theatrical cartoons that theatres didn’t want any more.

So let’s take a jaunt through the pages of Variety. You can read more about Spunky and Tadpole in this old blog post. The trade paper reviewed the Woody Woodpecker Show. It also reviewed a book about Walt Disney. And it reported on a frightfully dull union dispute. We’ve skipped some of the stories about TV stations lining up to buy Popeye and Bugs Bunny, and 650-plus stories about Disney as they had little to do with cartoons. We’ve included a note about a stage musical about a cartoon character that came to life. It bombed after reaching Broadway. There’s also talk of Willie Wonderful cartoons, but they were actually puppet shows; trade papers tended to refer to puppetry as “cartoons” for some reason.

July 3, 1957
Allen Swift handled the voice roles in "Gaston Le Crayon," new Terrytoons cartoon slated for 20th-Fox theatrical distribution, and also a Nestea commercial for Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample.

July 8, 1957
George Sidney, Columbia exec producer, and William Hanna and Joe Barbera, ex-MGM toppers, have formed a cartoonery, H. B. Enterprises, Inc.
Firm has plans for eventual theatrical cartoon features, but will do teleblurb and industrial animation work at present. Sidney is prexy, Hanna and Barbera veepees. Quarters are at Kling studios.
New outfit has no connection with George Sidney Productions, through which he makes pix for Columbia release. Hanna and Barbera were first associated with Sidney in making of MGM's "Anchors Aweigh." Pair also made Metro's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons.

July 10, 1957
Leo Salkin, formerly with Walt Disney and now managing director of the London office of UPA films, has authored "Story-Telling Home Movies: How To Make Them" for McGraw-Hill publication next December.

July 12, 1957
Acad of Animated Arts, which has run into heavy organizational weather with indie animation firms and Screen Cartoonists Guild, has invited 25 local cartooning firms and SCG officers to meeting in Burbank Tuesday. John Holmes exec director of AAA, is expected to assure the indies that organization is dominated by neither major studios nor labor. Meet follows disclosure by DAILY VARIETY earlier this week that IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 had advanced the Academy $8,000 to get started.
Since then, Local 839 biz agent Don Hillary has resigned from AAA's council of administration Also, it's known that local IA execs have met with Holmes and have assurance that loan will be repaid.

July 15, 1957
Screen Cartoonists Guild is proceeding with plans for fifth annual film festival, according to union prexy Fred Madison, who disclosed this year's fest will be held Sept. 28 at Ambassador Hotel. Fred Charrow has been named chairman of event, which covers field of teleblurbs, industrial, educational and entertainment animated films.
Fest is supported by 25 signatories to Guild pact. No awards are given, but union and participating firms make up reel of best entries, for exhibition. Last year, for first time, foreign entries were permitted.

July 17, 1957
Chicago, July 16.
WGN-TV, beating the local NBC station to the punch, grabbed off Associated Artists Productions, package of 337 Warner Bros. cartoons last week and forced WNBQ again to revise its noontime strategy.
The NBC o&o had received permission from New York a few weeks ago to drop the "Tex and Jinx" show, which reaches Chicago at noon, in favor of a moppet strip. Station has planned to build one around the WB cartoons. Having lost the package, WNBQ is retaining "Tex and Jinx" temporarily until it can device a new show to compete with WGN-TV's high-rated "Lunchtime Little Theatre" and WBKB's "Uncle Johnny Coons."

Harry Foster Welch, original film Popeye, appeared Saturday (13) in a promotional stand for Assosiated Artists at Bamberger's department store in Newark—to push the cartoons on tv . . .

July 24, 1957
Hollywood, July 23.
Protest on manner of organization of newly-formed Academy of Animated Arts was registered from NY, by IATSE Screen Cartoonists Local 841. In letter to AAA exec director John M. Holmes, Pepe Ruiz, union's biz agent, urged the Acad "to organize on a national basis, recognizing all geographic locations, all forms of animation, all types of studios and all unions in the Industry."
Ruiz' letter commented: "You cannot fairly claim to speak for the animated cartoon industry. You are undoubtedly aware that a substantial proportion of animated cartoons are produced outside California . . . It is our conviction that an Academy cannot command public acceptance and respect unless it is created and motivated by every segment of the industry it represents."
Meanwhile, the dove of peace hovered over the embattled newly-formed Academy of Animated Arts, following a meeting with dissident indie cartoonery producers and unofficial reps of Screen Cartoonists Guild last week.
"Complete reorganization" of the Acad was promised by AAA officers, as well as repayment "as soon as possible" 'to the IATSE of a $3,000 loan from the IA's Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists. Ray Patin, one of the dissident producers, stated that his group was "still listening" to the Acad, on the basis of starting all over again.
Meanwhile, matter of SCG support came up at regular membership meeting last night. AAA exec director John Holmes dispatched a letter to the Guild, promising full participation rights on all levels.
Lawrence Kilty, SCG biz agent, emphasized that he intended meeting strictly as an ur official observer. He declared that the Guild will retain an "open mind" about the Acad, if organizational mistakes are corrected. "We're critical of the method of formation, in which a large part of the industry was left out," he told VARIETY.
Besides Holmes, AAA reps attending Tuesday Meeting were Herbert Klynn of UPA, AAA v.p.; secretary Wilson D. Burness; and attorney Woodrow S. Wilson. Klynn admitted organizational errors, mainly because of short period in which the new Acad was set up. He also invited indie producer and SCG participation in the upper echelons of the Acad and promised that the AAA would completely "disassociate" itself from any suggestion of IA or major studio "domination."

Bordighera, July 23.
The third Festival of Film Humor, which is being given a lavish play this year, opens July 21 in this Riviera resort town near the French border. A slate of seven features from various countries has been announced, while the U. S. will be present via a series of cartoons, mostly from the Walt Disney and UPA Studios.
Two Italo-mades will have their world preems at Bordighera; Titanus' "Nonna Sabella" and Vides' "Rascel Fifi," while Great Britain is sending "Three Men in a Boat," directed by Ken Anakin. Soviet Russia ' s entry is "Faithful Friends"; Germany has "Captain from Koepenick"; Spain is entering "Felices Pascuas"; France is showing "Les Hussards."
In addition to these and the short subjects, a program of comic classics will be screened in cooperation with the Italian Film Archives. Prizes (Gold Olive Branches) will be awarded in all comic categories at the festival's conclusion (July 27). Organizers expect a large number of celebs and stars to attend.

July 31, 1957
National Telefilm Associates, distributors of the "Betty Boop" cartoon series, has just completed arrangements for the telecasting of the programs in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Monte Carlo.

Animator Jean Washam, formerly with Walt Disney and Warners cartooneries, shifts over from Shamus Culhane Productions to Song Ads Inc.

August 1, 1957
Complaint charging that the hike in initiation fee for the IA Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 is "excessive" was issued yesterday by the L.A. office of the National Labor Relations Board. Move, under Taft-Hartley Law, is not only precedental in the motion picture industry, but is first time such an action has been filed by the NLRB in any industry.
Hearings will be held Aug. 15 at board offices here, with Ken Schwartz to act as attorney for NLRB. If Board wins, union will probably be instructed to cancel fee hike.
Original complaint by Animated Film Producers Assn., filed last year, pointed out that initiation fee had long been pegged at $50. However, in July, 1956, Local 839 had voted a hike to $250, which producers' group charged was "excessive."
Matter was kicked back to Washington by NLRB, and complaint was issued yesterday on two counts. First agreed that hike was "excessive." Second charged that it was discriminatory against new members coming into the industry, in that beginning scales are too low to stand a $250 tap. Thus, NLRB feels, effect is to limit membership of union.

August 2, 1957
Reportedly the first time it's been done on tv, a BevHills brokerage house offer of stock in a telefilm cartoon venture, made during past two weeks on KTTV, has been completely subscribed to tune of $125,000.
Principals in experiment are Beverly Hills Productions, cartoon firm headed by Edward Janis, with Corinne Calvet and husband Jeffrey Stone as veepees, and Howard Bierman as secretary-treasurer, and brokerage house of H. Carroll & Co.
Reports attorney Ralph Frank, of law firm of LeMaire & Frank, repping Carroll firm, on the tv stock sale: "We've had fantastic results. To sell a similar issue (by more conventional means) in three months wouldn't be unusual."
Calif. State Commissioner of Corporations has issued Carroll firm a permit to sell the shares. Since this is an offer only in this state, to bonafide residents. SEC jurisdiction has been almost entirely eliminated.
Actually, offer on KTTV was only an offer to send a prospectus. However, Frank states, California law holds that this is really a stock offer.
Carroll firm already has contracted for a schedule of further spots on Tom Duggan's KCOP show and KTTV, and finds itself in pleasant position of continuing with stock already completely subscribed. However, since it's likely that about 10% of subscribers won't redeem pledges (a normal depreciation, Frank holds), Duggan spots will probably be used to clean up $125,000 offer.
Spots were started last week, and by early this week, $82,000 was subscribed. Rest of issue was subscribed by yesterday, at $1 par and same cash value. In one case, a client came to Carroll office as result of teleblurbs, with $1,000 in hand. He left after reading prospectus, with $3,000 order.
Actually, $125,000 offer represents 50% of available stock. Other 50% still resides In BevHills Productions firm.
Janis, formerly with 20th-Fox, has plans to package five-minute color cartoons, approximately 50 in number, for a daily telepix strip. However, he was unavailable for comment on actual production start.
But successful result of BevHills Productions issue has aroused enthusiasm of Carroll house in further use of tv spots to sell stock, in both entertainment and other ventures. Already on the drawing boards are plans to sell stock in "one or two" feature pictures, and firm has been approached to finance a Broadway show in a similar manner.

August 6, 1957
LA. Better Biz Bureau Scrutinizing Telefilmery's TV Pitch For Prod’n Coin
. . . New stock promotion is for Beverly Hills Productions, a California corporation founded to produce "an animated film series . . . suitable for presentation in both motion picture theatres and television stations throughout the world . . . In full color." The stock is being sold via spot announcements on two local television stations, KTTV and KCOP...and its backers jubilantly reported that the entire $125,000 issue was pledged within two weeks. Pitch is being continued, however, since stockbrokers normally figure that at learnt 10% of the pledgee won’t be redeemed. The Better Business Bureau told DAILY VARIETY that it regretted that neither of the stations involved bothered to check the offer. Stations should have seen and studied details in the brochure issued by Beverly Hills Productions, BBB added, along with the disclosure that it is trying to develop information on the firm and its principals.
Preeident of Beverly Hills Productions is Edward Janis, 35, one time staff cartoonist for 20thFox who "entered the television field in 1953." DAILY VARIETY has found no record of any credit for Janis in the tv field during the last four years and Attorney Ralph Frank, representing the firm, said he "didn't think" Janis had any. Actress Corinne Calvet and her husband, actor Jeff Stone, are vice-presidents of the firm, the only members of the outfit's top quintet whose names are familiar to show business. Secretary is Howard Bierman, a commercial artist and the treasurer is Emil Gillman, who last year sold his share of a family furniture business and "entered the television industry, utilizing his business knowledge and administration (sic) ability in the production of telefilms." DAILY VARIETY has found no credits for Gillman, either.
Cost sheet offered by the firm lists rent of office and studio at $30 per cartoon film. The firm intends to make five-minute shorts which, according to the trade, require about two weeks to complete.
Probing the Economics
Similar inconsistencies are noticeable in the payroll costs estimmated in the stock brochure. Firm estimates $100 per film each for director, writer, narrator, voice, background artists, inkers and painters, and $200 per film for animators—and reports that it can turn out each five-minute color cartoon for $1,850. Salaries quoted are, in the main, below minimum scales, at a time when, the Screen Cartoonists Guild reports, there is a labor shortage in the trade and most people are drawing more than scale pay for their work. As to the total cost, one veteran teleblurb producer estimates that using slide animation (the cheapest form), a five-minute cartoon would cost at least $3,000 in color—at the going commercial rates; for full animation the cost would be around $18,000. Another reported that for limited animation, the cheapest possible price is around $1,000 per minute; full animation, $5,000-$6,000 per minute.

August 7, 1957
Rome, Aug. 6.
Reports from Prague indicate that CBS has purchased over 100 Czech puppet and animated cartoon shorts for use on stateside television. Pact is reported to have been signed during the recent Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
At the same time, Czechoslovakia is said to have sold 16 feature films to Egypt, currently pushing curtain product, while 70 other short subjects of various types have been sold to Denmark for use on television in that country.

August 14, 1957
New distribution company, Willy Wonderful Productions Inc., was established by a former Guild Films sales executive to sell a batch of "Willy Wonderful" cartoons, made by Eddie Bracken, to television. Robert C. DeVinny, who ankled as Guild's midwest sales manager last month, bought 65 quarter-hours from Bracken and is reassembling them into 195 four and five-minute cartoon shorts.
DeVinny, prexy of WWP, will temporarily headquarter in Chicago and move to New York within the next 60 days. Deal adds 195 animated units to the 3,298 now on the video market.

Australia—Eric Porter is producing animated cartoons for the U. S. market.

August 16, 1957
National Labor Relations Board hearings on alleged "excessive and discriminatory" initiation fee set by IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, were set over yesterday until Aug. 28. Chief NLRB trial examiner Wallace Royster allowed continuance, to permit AFL-CIO to intervene if it desires. Attorney William B. Irvin, repping defendants, requested extra time, contending matter is of importance to entire labor movement. He argued that all parties with an interest in the case should be given a chance to determine what action should be taken.
NLRB has charged that the initiation fee hike, from $50 to $250 voted last year, is a violation the Taft-Hartley Act in that it tends to restrict membership in the union.
NLRB attorneys Kenneth M. Schwartz and George H. O'Brien are prosecuting case for government, and James J. Ryan is repping the Animated Film Producers Assn., the initial complainant.

August 20, 1957
Los Angeles firstrun film biz this frame is heading for a rich $284,800, strength coming from both new bills and a few extended runs. Reissue of "Bambi" coupled with "Apache Warrior" leads the field, with a big $35,200 slated at Hillstreet, Iris, Uptown and Loyola and a boffo overall total of $180,000 estimated from 20 hardtops and three drive-ins in local area.
[Note: at this time Disney also had in release the animal documentary Perri, billed with a reissue of The Truth About Mother Goose and Niok].

August 28, 1957
The acquisition of distribution rights to Flamingo Films' properties by a new telefilm sales company, headed by Herman Rush, formerly sales v.p. of Official Films, and Ira Gottlieb, Flamingo Films sales manager, has transpired. The new company is called Flamingo Telefilm Sales....
The new firm's syndicated sales catalog will include: "The Country Show," recently renewed by Pillsbury Mills in 30 markets for a third year; "Cowboy-G-Men," "The Beulah Show," "Top Secret," "Superman" cartoons, telecomics, and a feature library.

London, Aug. 27. Sam Eckman Jr., longtime head of Metro in Britain, is joining, the board of Halas & Batchelor, the company operating the largest animated studio in Europe. Appointment takes effect Sept. 1.
Halas & Batchelor plan to switch next year from cartoons to live action features and plan to make two to three pix a year. They'll also turn out around three animated shorts for theatrical release, as well as their contract work producing cartoon commercials for tv, etc.

September 4, 1957
Television Arts Productions, producer of the animation series "Crusader Rabbit," has been purchased by Shull Bonsall from Alex Anderson and Jay Ward. Deal transfers ownership of 190 film shorts and 260 new color subjects now in production. New owner also acquired all merchandising rights. Five and 15-minute shorts are sold to both television and theatres.

September 9, 1957
Fifteen full-length color films will be released within the next 18 months by Walt Disney's Buena Vista Distribution Co., according to Leo F. Samuels, general sales manager....
Among pix are ... "Sleeping Beauty," all-cartoon feature...and two reissues — "Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs" and "Peter Pan."

September 11, 1957
CBS-TV is moving its "Face the Nation" to an early-afternoon Sunday slot starting Sept. 22 and is expanding the show to 45 minutes. As of that date, "Nation" moves into the 1 to 1:45 p.m. time and stays put until Dec. 15, when the pro football season ends. "Nation" is currently slotted at 5 to 5:30. Day of the shift, incidentally, "Face the Nation" will feature the winner of the German elections.
Displaced in the "Nation" shift is the "Heckle & Jeckle" cartoon show, out of CBS' Terrytoons backlog. That will probably return in midwinter. As for the extra 15 minutes for "Nation," CBS is moving into local station time for the expansion.

September 26, 1957
(Jack Hellman column)
TELETYPE . . . UP TO A YEAR AGO YOU PROBABLY NEVER heard of Shull Bonsall and for a very good reason: he's been a builder and in the press metal stamping business. He has been attracted to the cartoon game, likes it and you may be hearing more from him. He has certain ideas about cartoons that are new and even revolutionary to the old line of thinking. In less than a year he’ll turn out 260 five-minute episodes of "Crusader Rabbit." By applying hard business methods to cartoon production and introducing to the business "cost accounting," he can turn out a cartoon cheaper than any of the factories because, he explains, "We use radio technique on the sound track (no after-dubbing), we lean to pastels (chalk treatment) and we make 800 drawings whereas Disney would make 4,000." Bonsall will make a theatrical one-reeler of "Rabbit" at a cost of not more than $8,000. Other cartoonists, he said, would spend upwards of $85,000 for the same subject. By selling "Crusader" as a library service instead of syndication with its high distribution costs, he can come out on the profit. How one man can pick up so much information in such a short time in a business that was completely foreign to him a year ago is one of the vagaries of the ink-and-paint business.

October 2, 1957
Following a company claim that it had the biggest two weeks In its sales history, AAP Inc. hit another hot streak in the sale of features and cartoons to television. Twelve new sales were made by the distrib in the last seven days. This follows 22 sales in the two previous weeks.
In the last week, WCDA, Albany," bought the "Popeye" cartoons. WPTZ-TV, Plattsburg, N. Y., bought an AAP western package. WABC-TV, ABC-TV Gotham flag, bought an unspecified number of features, which, it is believed, the station will add to its "Shock" package from Screen Gems. WHCT, Hartford, bought a large batch of features.
In the midwest, WKRC-TV, Cincinnati; WTVN-TV, Columbus; CKLW-TV, Detroit, all bought AAP features, taken from the Warner library. WOC-TV, Davenport, bought both the Warner cartoons and the "Popeye" package. On the Coast, KTRX-TV, Kennewick, Washington, and KFSD-TV, San Diego, bought full-lengthers. Remainder of the buys were in the south, mostly for features, though many from groups predating the Warner library stuff.

CBS-TV and its Terrytoons subsidiary have completed a 14-minute institutional film depicting television's place in the American economy. Film, which approaches the subject in lay fashion, will be shown to businessmen nationally and locally, latter through CBS-TV affiliates, in a bid for a greater share of business' advertising dollar.
Film, an animated color production, represents Terrytoons’ first attempt at an industrial pic. Subsidiary is doing theatrical cartoons and tv commercials and programs. The pic, titled "In Depth," is a solid and workmanlike job which gets its message across clearly, yet is entertaining and visually delightful. Gene Deitch, Terrytoons' creative supervisor, was producer, with George Bristol, CBS-TV director of presentations, in on the writing end. In the way of new research material, the film included results of a survey (commissioned by CBS) by the Market Planning Corp. among 1,200 self-service dealers asking which ad medium helped them the most in selling nationally advertising brands on a self-service basis.
Among grocers, 78% preferred tv; among druggists, 89%, among hardware dealers, 68%, among variety stores, 75% and on a total basis, 79% felt tv was the greatest pre-selling aid. Asked to imagine themselves in the role of a national advertiser and to divide $1,000,000 among the major media, the weighted average apportioned $508,000 to television, newspapers came next with only $198,000. Druggists were highest on tv, apportioning $550,000 to the medium.

October 9, 1957
WOODY WOODPECKER
Producer: Walter Lantz Productions
Director: Jack Daniels
30 Mins.; Thurs., 5 p.m.
KELLOGG CO.
ABC-TV (film)
There aren't very many people in the television industry who would gainsay that ABC-TV has been very lucky these past few weeks in establishing itself in the afternoon. From some almost totally surprising program sources, the network has, to its own amazement, arrived as a rating giant in many of the pre-dark tv hours—and with programs that hardly stack up iir the main as novel or costly. One of the few shows that is costly and of sufficiently different dimension to be singled out is the new "Woody Woodpecker" telefilm produced by Walter Lantz for ABC-TV, through Universal International. It's also one of the few shows, apart from the 5:30 to 6 "Mickey Mouse Club," that appears to cost some dough.
ABC has a goodly number of reruns at 5 p.m., which are sponsored by Kellogg, with a little help from other bankrollers. A handful of new shows are to be mixed in with the old "Supermans," "Buccaneers," "Sir Launcelots" and "Wild Bill Hickoks," but sponsor Kellogg is conserving the coin because the Battle Creek boys figure they can do it without a heckuva lot of money or inspiration, and, judging by the "Superman" ratings of last week, it looks as though they are probably right. That's four days a week, and on Thursday, in Lantz time, there is no doubt that Kellogg will have the strongest show in its cross-the-board lineup.
As for "Woodpecker," Lantz has tied some of his original theatre animations of the engaging bird (that had never before been shown on tv) to some new tv product by the Hollywoodite. There is hardly a doubt that it was modelled after successful '"Disneyland" format on the same network Wednesday nights. Not that the daytime Lantz show has as broad a base in material, but cartooner Lantz (a la Walt Disney himself) acts as the show host. He has other Walt Disney production tricks too: from cleverly telling the story of how his principal character was "born," to sitting in his office, at his posh desk, and using real props to enhance his narrative. He's a pleasant man, but hardly a polished performer, though since when do kids need the kind of polish adults demand in adults?
"Woodpecker" on Thursday (3), in a series of shorts, made a perfect assault on the moppet viewership and was a great lead-in for "MMC." It should help ABC sell nationally the part of the Thursday "Mouse" half-hour that is now being co-opped, if it is contractually not too late. "Woody" cartoon characters are cute, funny and well-drawn. Stanza has quality and offers the juves a lively, harmless Thursday half-hour. Art.

Chicago, Oct. 8.
After winning a first prize at the Fourth International Advertising Film Festival in Cannes, with an animated commercial for Liquid Chiffon, Foote, Cone & Belding now plans to effect strong product identification with Mr. Oops, the central cartoon figure in the commercial, by using him in other media. Starting with January issues of Woman's Dav, Everywoman, Family Circle and Western Family, Mr. Oops becomes the advertising trademark for Armour's Liquid Chiffon. Animated blurb won first place in the tv commercial category at Cannes over 114 other entries and was the only American film to win a prize in the entire international festival. Cascade Pictures in Hollywood produced it for FC&B.
It's used regularly on Patti Page's "Big Record" and occasionally on the Arthur Godfrey show, both on CBS-TV. Same film won a blue ribbon earlier this year in Chi Federated Advertising Club competition.

October 10, 1957
With filing of National Labor Relations Board petition by IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, to rep workers at TV Spots, Inc., open warfare in long-smoldering battle between IA union and indie Screen Cartoonists Guild broke out anew yesterday.
Indie producers in animation field already pacted by SCG have been threatened with a secondary boycott by the IA. Lawrence Kilty, biz agent of the Guild, heatedly charged yesterday. They have been told that unless they sign with Local 839, IA theatre projectionists will not show product, labs, cameramen and editors will refuse to handle footage, he accused.
These charges were flatly denied by Don Hillary, biz agent of Local 839. NLRB filing for employes at TV Spots was result of petition requesting change, filed by workers there, he declared.
Shull Bonsall, prexy of TV Spots, also denied that he had heard threats from the IA. However, other indie producers privately admitted to DAILY VARIETY that such threats have been issued in past, especially after IA Local broke off from parent SCG union in 1951.
SCG's Kilty flatly repeated charges that the IA campaign has been intensified in recent months and filing at TV Spots marks beginning of open warfare by IA. He admits he has no direct evidence, since the producers are reluctant to buck the IA openly, he states. Also, despite the threats, no overt action has been taken yet by the IA in current campaign, he adds.
(It's interesting to note that in October, 1956, an official in IA Cameraman's Local 669 commented that "where we have basic IA agreements with employers and studios, where they agree to employ IA people, we will insist that they live up to these agreements." Significantly, most SCG pactees use IA personnel in all actual cartooning work.)
Meanwhile, in another significant move, Local 839 yesterday signed up Top-Cel, Inc., a teleblurb outfit hitherto unorganized. Traditional dividing line in Hollywood has given SCG most tv work; IA most "entertainment" (i.e., theatrical) cartooning. But for past couple of years, Local 839 has been signing up more and more telefilm firms.

October 14, 1957
(Jack Hellman column)
Some young genius can make a name for himself at CBS if he has the answer to how the web can salvage some of its investment in the cartoon series, "Gerald McBoing-Boing." It’s been shelved and the loss may run well past a million.

October 15, 1957
STANDARD OIL ANNI SHOW
(Sun., 9-10:80 p.m., KRCA-NBC)
(Reviewed in Live Color)
...There was a generous sprinkling of top-grade talent but once they delivered their birthday greetings and the "company" moved in with Eddie Mayehoff in a monologic spoof on the Standard boys and a 12-minute animated cartoon tracing the history of energy, the tempo slackened and interest lagged....
Ronald Seale [sic], British caricaturist, made a brief appearance to set the stage for his cartoon on energy [Energetically Yours, cel to the right] and he could have been dispensed with, too, but Standard was entitled to that much consideration for the nearly $750,000 the show cost in time and talent.

October 16, 1957
One of the largest sales made by AAP Inc., since first assuming the tv rights to the Warner backlog, was closed last week with CKLW-TV, Detroit. Station paid $2,000,000 to the distrib for the entire 740-some-odd Warner features and cartoons and the "Popeye" cartoons.
The "Popeye" deal was closed with the Detroiter a few weeks ago, but comes under the $2,000,000 price tag. Meanwhile, AAP made lesser deals last week with two other stations—WCBS-TV, N. Y., and WJAR-TV, Providence. Both stations, having bought Warner product earlier, returned for limited additional packages.

The showing of kinescoped recordings of the World Series games over JOAX-TV (Nippon Television Co.) marked the results of the first sale of the newly-formed Pacific Television Corp., exclusive distributors in Japan of NBC filmed and kine product....
[Company director Kazuhiko] Fujita also said that his company had been queried by NBC re the making of animated cartoons in Japan for U. S. use.

October 20, 1957
Plagiarism suit asking $100,000 in damages was filed in Superior Court yesterday by writing team of Seymour Berns and Tom Baron, against Bracken Productions, KLAC-TV, Scott-DuMont & Lowman Agency, and Martin Gordon, writer. Legal firm of Kopald & Mark filed for writers.
Plaintiffs charged pirating of their original idea, "The Adventures of Willy Wonderful," a puppet telepix series produced by Bracken Productions and beamed over KLAC-TV. They assert that idea and script had been submitted to Gordon, when he was an account executive for Factor Advertising Agency, for a certain sponsor. When this fell through, they claim Gordon took scripts with him when he left Factor organization, and the next they heard of idea was when "Willy Wonderful" program, with Gordon credited as writer, started appearing on KLAC-TV.

October 25, 1957
Conflict among Hollywood cartooning unions intensified yesterday, with indie Screen Cartoonists Guild filing unfair labor charges against TV Spots Inc., charging that teleblurb firm's management intimidated its employes to bring about an election between SCG and IATSE Local 839, Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists.
Lawrence Kilty, biz manager of SCG, also dispatched a wire to IA prexy Richard Walsh in NY, calling attention to recent IA adherence to AFL-CIO "no raiding" pact, and charging that IA moves at TV Spots constituted "an organized raid." Kilty asked Walsh to show his good faith by calling off Local 839.
As result of SCG charges against TV Spots, filed with National Labor Relations Board, agency has called off hearings on an election there, asked by Local 839, until charges are investigated.
Latest move is part of running fight which has developed in cartooning industry locally. Traditionally, since Local 839 split off from the indie union several years back, IA has held sway in entertainment field (i.e., theatrical cartoons), while SCG has repped workers in tv, including teleblurbs. However, in recent months IA union has been entering teleblurb field increasingly, and filing a couple of weeks back to rep some seven employes at TV Spots was latest move in that direction.

October 30, 1957
Anime, makers of animated films for television, claims to have developed a mechanical device which speeds up the creation of animation and cuts the costs by as much as 75% according to Josh Meyer, prexy of the firm.
The outfit has abandoned the UPA flip-card method and employs a trick-wire idea for the showing of its films. In this way, according to firm execs, production time is cut in half and a film can be made in six to eight weeks instead of the usual 16.
Television stations are being offered animated cartoons of top record hits in two separate packages. Stations can purchase Anime animation as a weekly 15-minute once a week program or they can by two songs a week which they can use as a fill.
Mitch Leigh, executive producer of the firm stated that the 15-minute programs animating the top pop records has been pre-tested in Toronto where, on CBLT-TV, against three competing channels, it drew a rating of 44.4%.

Despite Philly's habitual preference for musical fare, "Rumple" is getting only a mild reception. The tuner arrived last Monday (21) at the Shubert and the advance was nothing sensational. Critical reception was tepid.....
Rumple, Shubert (MC) (1st wk) ($6; 1,870; $63,000) (Eddie Foy Jr.). Musical fantasy tryout about a cartoon character coming to life to plague the artists still in tuning up state; over $33,200 and continues.
[Note: the musical opened on Nov. 6 on Broadway and closed after 45 performances].

November 5, 1957
Rosary will be recited tomorrow, 7:30 p.m., St. Charles Church, North Hollywood, followed by requiem mass Thurs., 10 a.m., at the same church, for Norman Ferguson, 58, animation director in charge of production at Shamus-Culhane Productions. He formerly had been with Walt Disney for 20 years.
Survivors include widow, two daughters, son.

November 6, 1957
NBC-TV has purchased a new cartoon show, "Ruff and Ready," [sic] which it intends to slot on Saturday mornings starting in the winter. Segment, out of the Screen Gems stable, comprises a series of made-for-tv cartoons, mixed with some theatrical oldies out of the Columbia library.
Show takes its title from the new animated series, which consists of four-minute cliffhangers about a dog and a cat, with the first series of 13 depicting them in an adventure in outer space, a la Sputnik II. Plan is to use two of the new cartoon and two oldies per half-hour show. "Ruff & Ready" cartoons are being filmed by Fred Hanna [sic] and Joe Barbera, who used to do the “Tom & Jerry” shorts at Metro.

New York, Nov. 5.—The pay-as-you-see-tv potential in old theatrical pix has taken its first solid toll on the cinematic pool available to free broadcasters, with Associated Artists Productions putting its unsold Warner pix in about 35 larger markets in a "deep freeze" for at least a year.
One of the principal reasons for AAP's wait and see move is to attempt to assay possible earnings for the old pix in a feevee setup, whether wired or aerial....
In addition to the WB features, WB cartoons and Popeye cartoons also are affected by decision.

November 12, 1957
Capitalizing on the Sputnik publicity, Walter Lantz is juggling his release schedule to put "Misguided Missile," a Woody Woodpecker cartoon directed by Paul Smith, into release immediately.

November 13, 1957
National Telefilm Associates is near conclusion of a deal for the purchase of the majority stock interest in Associated Artists Productions, the Eliot Hyman company which owns the negative rights to the Warner Bros. library, as well as other properties. NTA reportedly is purchasing the holdings in AAP of Louis Chesler, Canadian financier and his group.
The deal, reportedly involving about $6,000,000 in cash, represents the first major merger of telepix companies in about a year, the last being Screen Gems' takeover of the Hygo-Unity library. The NTA-AAP agreement is expected to be reduced to writing today (Wed.) or tomorrow.
Apparently, NTA nosed out United Artists in the negotiations, for the latter company had also been dickering with AAP for a majority interest buy-out.... Besides the 1,200 Warner features, AAP has the Paramount "Popeye" cartoon library, Warner "Looney Tunes" shorts, and other cinematics from both foreign and American sources. Since its purchase in July, 1956 of the Warner library—the sole negative rights buy in all the major studio deals—AAP has realized close to $30,000,000 in gross sales to tv stations.

November 19, 1957
Deal has been consummated for a Columbia Pictures release of UPA's first feature-length cartoon feature, "Magoo's Arabian Night."
Film goes before the cameras Dec. 15 in widescreen and Technicolor. Stephen Bosustow will produce, Pete Burness direct.

November 20, 1957
Sputnik, Muttnik and President Eisenhower's messages on "Science and Security" have created a new interest by stations throughout the country for factual films on scientific subjects. Nothing which was done by Trans-Lux to sell the Encyclopaedia Britannica Film library has had the impact of Sputnik I, according to sales topper Richard Carlton. Since the event, and in response to a Trans-Lux telegram to stations throughout the country, the distrib organization has been on the receiving end of an unprecedented number of requests for films dealing with all phases of science.
In the free public service programming field, Assn. Films is offering a half-hour "Space and Time" package to stations. The package consists of two films, "The Corporal Story," dealing with an Army rocket-powered missile, and "Your Safety First," an animated cartoon conception of travel in the year 2000.

November 25, 1957
THE STORY OF WALT DISNEY
(Holt; 247pp.; $3.95)
Walt Disney's daughter — who should know — has painted a faithful and often absorbing blow-by-blow picture of her father in this intimate biog of the man who developed film animation to the high degree of perfection it occupies today. Working with (as told to) Pete Martin, who previously authored biogs on Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, she has come up with a pretty human portrait which reveals Disney probably has had more ups and downs — particularly downs — than the majority of big-time producers, frequently didn't know where his next cent — even after he became a name — was coming from and is a man of fierce loyalties.
Book gives an even keener insight than the majority of life stories, due to writer's close relationship and on-the-spot observation through the years when Disney and his brother, Roy, were going through some of their greatest trials. Frequent mention is made of the elder brother, prexy of the Disney firm and partnered with Walt since latter’s arrival in Hollywood in 1923, and who always has exerted a beneficial influence over the film-maker. Carrying almost a Horatio Alger theme, tome is a straightforward account of one man's rise to success through a succession of heartrending disappointments and hardships.
When Disney first landed in Hollywood from Kansas City, where he was engaged in commercial and novelty screen cartoon production, he had no idea of continuing with a pencil . . . What he wanted was to become a director, thinking that the ultimate already had been reached in cartoonery by such producers as Paul Terry. In Kansas City, where as a boy, too, he had had a paper route prior to going to France with the Red Cross during World War I, he had devised his own system of animation. This, now, was to prove the springboard for his cartoon career when, after finding no director jobs available, he turned again to his pencil for eating money. Alexander Pantages, operator of the Pantages vaude circuit, gave him his first chance via a series of animated jokes for the screen.
Through a literal labyrinth of hurdles, story traces Disney's rise through financial difficulties, raids on his art staff, business double-crosses, etc. How he created his various cartoon characters, as well as meeting the challenge of talking pictures, sound and color are also described. It is a complete, readable portrait of Disney down to the present and his entry into television and realization of his dream, Disneyland. Whit

November 27, 1957
NBC bought 52 cartoons in the series called "Ruff And Ready" from H-B Enterprises for showing on Saturday mornings. It was part of a package negotiated by Screen Gems and will include Columbia one-reel comedies.
SG has also ordered from H-B 78 cartoons titled "Super Snooper" and "Yogi Bear." H-B was formed last spring by George Sidney, prexy, and animators Joe Barbara and William Hanna. Company has also been active in the commercial tv field.

Walt Disney Productions is suing Bourne Music for the return of a flock of valuable film music copyrights, according to an action filed in N. Y. Federal Court last week. Disney's complaint charges that the Bourne firm acquired the Disney music copyrights through "misrepresentation." It further alleges that Bourne's royalty statements to Disney were "false and inaccurate," to the tune of $75,000 to $150,000, since the contracts were entered into in 1933.
Disney claims that the Bourne firm in 1933 induced him to transfer the pic music copyrights to that publisher. Bourne reps claimed, according to the complaint, that they had great experience in the publication and exploitation of music outside of the film field. Disney then assigned the copyrights of tunes in his short subjects to Bourne, including the song, "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf."
Subsequently, Disney, under the contract, delivered the scores from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Dumbo" and numerous shorts. Under the pact, Bourne had the right to publish, exploit, collect fees and royalties in the U. S. and overseas in return for payment of a royalty to Disney. Since the tunes in the Disney films were written by composers and lyricists who were employees "for hire," the copyrights were the exclusive property of Disney before their transfer to Bourne.
Disney charges that beginning in 1934 and for a period thereafter, Bourne's royalty statements to him were "untrue, unjust and fraudulent." The complaint charges that Disney learned of the "false statements" on Oct. 1 of this year. Saul H. Bourne, founder and owner of Bourne Music, died in New York Oct. 13. His widow, Mrs. Bonnie Bourne, now operates the firm.
Disney is asking that a special master be appointed to make an accounting of royalties allegedly due him; that all contracts between himself and Bourne be declared null and void; that Bourne transfer all rights to the disputed copyrights to Disney; and that Bourne be enjoined and restrained from dealing in the copyrights, pending outcome of the legal action.

December 4, 1957
After nine years as arrangers and copyists rep at AFM Local 47, Jimmie De Michele is back in the field of commercial music. First job probably will be to compose, arrange and conduct for a series of 52 tele cartoons.

Margaret and Paul Schneider yesterday were set by Stephen Bosustow, prexy of UPA, to supervise work on script of "Magoo's Arabian Night," company's feature-length cartoon which is slated to start Dec. 15.
Bosustow will produce and Pete Burness direct.

Walt Disney bought "The 101 Dalmations," book by Dodie Smith, as his next cartoon feature.

December 9, 1957
Jack Kinney and Hal Adelquist, ex-Disney employes who have forged their own teleblurb outfit, have inked new one-year pact with IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839.
Outfit is currently engaged in subcontracting work for Disney.

December 11, 1957
San Francisco, Dec. 10.
KPIX, the Westinghouse tv'er here, became the first station in the U.S. to purchase the Australian-produced color cartoons, "Waltzing Matilda" and "Christmas Bells." Importation of the Aussie celluloid helps alleviate pressure in this country for new animated product for video.
There are only these two cartoons in the first deal, but KPIX has made a deal with International Television Services to take options on 50 others to be completed later Down Under. Rowl Greenhalgh produced the cartoons, with full orchestration and chorus by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

December 16, 1957
Corinne Calvet and Jeff Stone, the pic couple who were v.p.'s of Beverly Hills Productions cartoonery, over the weekend resigned their posts and informed Calif. Commissioner of Corporations they did so because they were denied info on the firm's financial dealings.
Beverly Hills Productions recently came under fire, Including investigation by the Better Business Bureau and the L.A. Police Bunco Squad, following DAILY VARIETY story disclosing inconsistencies in group's brochure accompanying public sale of stock. Via pitches, mainly over tv, group sold nearly $100,000 in stock to the public. Labor and other estimated costs listed in brochure were considerably below established scales in the cartooning field. Consensus of expert opinion from reputable firms in field was that Beverly Hills Productions couldn't deliver proposed color cartoon strips at prices quoted.
In their letter to the Corporations Commissioner, Miss Calvet and Stone admitted they knew that their names would be used in stock solicitations. However, "... we feel it imperative that our names not be used for any purpose which may in any way affect our reputation. At the time, we permitted the use of our names because representations were made to us that the corporation's purposes ... warranted our support, and we were guaranteed we would be active in the company's affairs, so we would be aware of how monies collected as a result of stock sales would be used ..."
Letter asserts that when the couple requested such info last week, firm's directorate not only refused it, but voted them out of office.

December 17, 1957
Peter Gordon set yesterday to dub voices for a UPA cartoon, "Honorable Blossom," and for role in a "Studio 57" vidpic, "A Source of Irritation."
[Note: the Catalog of Copyright Entries lists BANNER OF TERUAKI, m[usic] UPA Pictures, Inc., employer for hire of Tak Shindo, copyright October 25, 1957. It was Jimmy Murakami’s first short film. “I took it home and burned it,” he recollected, because he couldn’t get anyone at UPA to shoot the drawings. You can go here for more on this film].

December 24, 1957
New York, Dec. 23—Now that Lou Chesler and his associates are out of the picture at Associated Artists Productions (barring reversal in court of the current National Telefilm Associates suit), AAP is proceeding with "long-range" plans in tv and theatrical production. One of first items on docket is production of more "Popeye" cartoons, initially for theatrical release, then on tv.
Before Chesler and supporters M. Mac Schwebel and Max Goldbar sold out their 51% in AAP to United Artists dummy corporation, one of the chief issues between them and AAP prexy Eliot Hyman was whether to recapture feature film sales profits, or plow them back into Ray Stark's production plans.
AAP is trying to close option with King Features for “Popeye”rights.

December 25, 1957
A legal hassle still haunts the United Artists deal for controlling stock interest in Associated Artists Productions, the Eliot Hyman helmed feature and cartoon distrib organization owning the Warner Bros. backlog.
National Telefilm Associates is going ahead with its court action, seeking performance of its deal with the Chesler group for a stock buyout. Louis Chesler, resigned board chairman of AAP, bowed out of the NTA deal, contending the UA offer was better for all AAP Stockholders. The breach-of-contract claim is part of an overall NTA suit against UA, Hyman and others. The suit was triggered in New York Supreme Court when AAP minority stockholders sought a permanent injunction blocking the NTA-Chesler deal, now rejected.
The UA agreement for 700,000 shares of AAP stock was made via a UA subsid, Gotham Television Film Corp. The selling group was composed of 12 individuals and corporations, the major ones being Chesler, his family and one of the Canadian financier's corporations, Donnell & Mudge, Ltd., a Canadian film distribution organization; and J. H. Greenberg, a Canadian lawyer. Others in the selling group included Maxwell Goldbar, who resigned as exec v.p. of AAP, B. Solway, E. D. Wright, L. J. Fogler, Ken Kelman and E. T. Lynch.
The purchase price for the stock was $12 per share, consisting of $6 in cash and an undertaking for a $6 sinking fund 6% debenture. UA said steps are being taken by which other AAP shareholders would be offered the same $12 per share.
In wake of the agreement, M. Mac Schwebel, associated with the Chesler group, also resigned as v.p. of AAP.
It's still too early to tell how the future of AAP will shape up under UA's control, but it's considered likely that UA may utilize the AAP distribution organization for its features, while employing United Artists Television, a subsid, for its telefilm operation. Hyman, in any event, continues as AAP prexy, with the probability that UA shortly will name some of its associates to the AAP board.
As to a merger of UA and AAP, that won't take place until UA has the required amount of stock to effect such a change, that is two-thirds of the 1,039,000 AAP shares outstanding. Even if the required two-thirds is procured, UA may elect to keep AAP's identity and working organization.

December 31, 1957
Washington, Dec. 30.—The $250 initiation fee instituted by Screen Cartoonists Local 839 in 1956 is "excessive and discriminatory," an examiner of National Labor Relations Board today ruled. Fee was increased from $50.
Examiner recommends to NLRB that the Local be required to refund all payments on the amount to new members and either reduce initiation fee, or surrender its union shop contracts with Warner Bros., Loew's, UPA, Walter Lantz and Walt Disney.
The case does not involve the Screen Cartoonists Guild, which also raised its initiation fee from $50 to $250 in April, 1957. However, the inference is that an appeal to NLRB from the Screen Cartoonists Guild initiation fee would probably have the same result.
Appeal to NLRB against Local 839 was brought by the Animated Film Producers Association, comprising WB, Loew's, UPA, Lantz and Disney. Association charged upped fee was an "unfair" labor practice.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Inside Gags On the Way To a Fire

A couple of inside references in Frank Tashlin’s Porky the Fireman. The cartoon plugs its own series in one shot.



And in another scene, you can find references to director Friz Freleng and writer Tubby Millar (he wrote this particular cartoon).



Elmer Plummer? Griff Jay? I’m not sure who’s responsible for the backgrounds in the later ‘30s black-and-white Warners cartoons.

J.S. Zamecnik’s “Traffic” is featured prominently through the cartoon, including the opening scenes involving the fire truck.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Brooklyn's Star, Marvin Kaplan

Is Marvin Kaplan funny?

The answer to the question can be found in Adam’s Rib (1949), where Kaplan plays a court reporter reading back testimony without any regards to emphasis or punctuation. The part couldn’t have been played any better.

The answer can also be found in the broad antics of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as he and the wonderful Arnold Stang fail to spare their gas station from the rampaging Jonathan Winters.

And the answer can be found in several other places, especially if you’re a fan of Marvin Kaplan.

Animation historian Jerry Beck has passed along word that Mr. Kaplan has passed away. He was 89.

Early in his long career in Hollywood, back home he was the local boy who made good. In the Brooklyn papers, ads for his movie appearances never failed to mention his hometown. The Daily Eagle even profiled him not once but twice in less than three weeks.

Here are the stories, the first (unbylined) from April 2, 1950 and the second from April 19th. The pictures came from the Eagle as well; note the young Nancy Walker at the far right of the last photos (which, unfortunately, has a photo from the other side of the paper bleeding through).
New Brooklyn Comedy Find In ‘Reformer and Redhead’
Marvin Kaplan, less than two years ago, was studying education at Brooklyn College while teaching on the side at Midwood High School, which is directly across the street from the college.
Today, he is being acclaimed a new comedy "find" by Hollywood.
After small roles in "Adam's Rib"and "Key to the City" he was cast by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in an important role with June Allyson and Dick Powell in "The Reformer and the Redhead," scheduled to open at the Capitol on April 8.
Before this new romantic comedy was previewed on the West Coast the name Marvin Kaplan was familiar to his landlady, his agent and a few personal friends, but nobody else in Hollywood knew of his existence. After the showing he was a celebrity.
That's what is known as overnight fame in the film colony.
More than 90 percent of the cards turned in by the preview audience commented on the young actor and expressed a desire to see him in more films, Hollywood is seeing to it that they will.
Actually, Kaplan never had any intention of becoming an actor when he went West. After graduation from Brooklyn College he decided to work for his master's degree at the University of Southern California. He was studying the drama with the intention of becoming a playwright.
Through friends at the university he became interested in the Circle Theater, an experimental group which puts on plays at a small actors' laboratory in Hollywood. He took a small role in a performance of Moliere's "The Doctor In Spite of Himself."
'Found' by K. Hepburn
If it hadn't been that Katharine Hepburn chanced to visit the theater one night, he might never have gotten into pictures. Miss Hepburn, impressed with his comedy style, suggested him to M-G-M for a role in “Adam's Rib.” The other two film assignments followed in short order.
Kaplan is continuing with his studies at U. S. C. and intends to let nothing interfere with his ambition to write plays. A short, stocky, studious looking young man who wears horn-rimmed spectacles, he looks more like the common conception of a playwright rather than an actor.
But Hollywood knows from experience that looks can be deceiving. Film executives recognize him as an actor with a unique comedy style.
Kaplan was born in Brooklyn, where his father, Dr. I.E. Kaplan has been a prominent physician for a number of years. He attended Public School 16, Junior High School 15 and was graduated from Eastern District High School in 1943.
He made his first appearance as an actor when at Brooklyn College. The play was Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" and Kaplan portrayed the rear end of—the horse.
As anyone can see, his career has progressed considerably since then.
Screenings
By JANE CORBY

You’ve seen ''The Reformer and the Redhead" at the Capitol Theater. You haven’t? Well! Have you got a treat coming up! Anyhow, if you've seen it you already know what a hit that young Brooklyn fellow, Marvin Kaplan is making in it, and if you haven’t, you might as well be tipped off now that it would be a good idea to catch this newest Brooklyn comedian as soon as you can.
Marvin, now 23, is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Isidor E. Kaplan of 537 Bedford Ave. He’s at home for a short rest, following some minor surgery at Wickersham Hospital. Marvin was surprised when Sammy Kaye (So You Want to Lead a Band) and Nancy Walker, headliners in the Capitol stage show playing with 'The Reformer,' came to visit him at the hospital, bearing forsythia and a scroll, making him a member of the F.F.B. (First Families of Brooklyn). This is not the first time Marvin has been pleasantly surprised.
“I was surprised when I got a part in ‘Adam’s Rib.’ (His first picture). I wasn’t even looking for a role in the movies,” he remarked.
Studying Playwriting
He was, in fact, minding his own business, finished up his credits for a Master’s Degree in playwriting at the University of California, and working with a little theater group for the experience, because how can you write plays if you’ve never got the feel of being behind the footlights? His little group had been playing Moliere for 12 weeks, and he had a dumb role, that of Lucas in “The Doctor in Spite of Himself.”
“One night we had about 10 people in the house, things weren't going so good, everybody was kind of down. That was the night Katharine Hepburn dropped in. “After the show she talked to all of us. She asked my name and where I came from and said she liked my performance. I thought that was nice of her, but that was all. Next day I got a call from M-G-M.
“‘Your agent, Katharine Hepburn, thinks you ought to have a part in “Adam's Rib,” ’ they told me. (Miss Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starred in this comedy, which made the rounds several months ago).
Marvin got the job, playing the court stenographer in the picture, and, now being a film actor willy-nilly, got himself an agent and began accepting roles. He played a small part in “Francis,” among others. His current part in “The Reformer and the Redhead” is his biggest role to date. He plays an assistant in a law office, who gets $25 a week and is always asking for a raise.
“They asked me if $25 was a reasonable figure for a clerk,” said Marvin. “I said it was. After all, when I worked as law clerk for my sister’s firm, I didn’t get anything.”
Marvin’s sister, the former Eleanor Kaplan, had her own law office before she married Abraham Pecker, Brooklyn businessman. Rene, another sister, is still in school.
Brooklyn College Graduate
People keep asking Marvin if he's acting when he's playing comedy, or just being natural. He says he's just being natural, but it’s natural for an actor to act, off stage and on.
He is looking forward to having to learn a lot of things he has passed up so far.
“You have to know how to do everything in the movies,” he explained. “They asked me if I ever rode a horse. I told them yes, for about 20 minutes in a Brooklyn riding academy.”
He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and of Eastern District High School. His mother has a drawer-full of medals and awards he won in his school days.
His movie career notwithstanding, Marvin still thinks of himself as a playwright. The screen career pleases him, but he admits to being baffled by it. “Why, I never even had a screen test,” he said. “Probably I wouldn’t pass it.”

First Bad Man Meets First Self-Defending Woman

“He stole our prettiest gals, too,” says narrator Tex Ritter about the title character of The First Bad Man (released in 1955). The Stone Age desperado scoops up the women in a saloon and takes his pick. However, she can take care of herself.



Ed Benedict, who designed the Flintstones a few years later, designed the characters in this Tex Avery cartoon. Walt Clinton, Ray Patterson, Mike Lah and Grant Simmons are the credited animators.