Saturday, 28 April 2012

Random Cartoon News, 1945

Old editions of entertainment trade publications are wonderful sources of forgotten information so it’s a shame few of them are available on-line. You’ve seen this blog quote from Billboard, which is available for free and searchable through Google Books. Another long-established media publication on-line is Boxoffice which, unfortunately, doesn’t have a searchable archives. But it’s worthwhile to leaf through it for something to do and make little discoveries by accident (I wish I could find the story again about Bob Clampett going into business with Don Messick about 1956).

The October 13, 1945 edition has, besides the usual release schedule of short subjects, some brief notes about cartoons. The Walter Lantz Studio seems to have planted items in Boxoffice when necessary, but other cartoon producers in the ‘40s did, too. Disney even bought advertising space. So while Uncle Walt was plugging a re-release of ‘Pinocchio’ in a two-pager on October 13th, there were a few cartoon items I found interesting.

HENRY BINDER, recently released from the navy animation unit after three years of service, joins Screen Gems as assistant general manager.

As a sequel to "Peace on Earth," cartoon preachment against war which was released in 1939, "The Truce Hurts,” will go into immediate production. To be produced by FRED QUIMBY and co-directed by WILLIAM HANNA and JOSEPH BARBERA, film is aimed at setting an example for world peace.

Edgar Bergen and his pair of almost human props, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, have been signed by Walt Disney to appear in a newcomer to Disney's rapidly-expanding production slate. Disney concluded a deal with Bergen and his two partners to star in a screen version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." The picture will be done in a combination of live-action and cartoon techniques. Luana Patten, the seven-year-old child discovery Disney is featuring in "Uncle Remus" will, according to present plans, be teamed with Charlie and Mortimer.

The Binder blurb is notable in that Henry Binder was Leon Schlesinger’s right-hand man. Leon gave his brother-in-law, Ray Katz, a nice, cushy executive job in the studio. Leon sold out in 1944 to Warner Bros. and retired from producing. Eddie Selzer was brought in to run the studio by Warners and Katz either jumped, or was pushed, to the Columbia studio. The impression I’d been left with was Binder was fired from Warners but, if that was the case, it was a mere technicality, as the Boxoffice story shows he went from Schlesinger in 1942 to the Navy in Washington D.C. and then to Columbia. Katz and Binder’s fate after they left Columbia within a couple of years is unknown.

The Disney feature with Bergen and McCarthy was scaled down and became part of ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ (released 1947). It could have made a nice stand-alone feature but Disney’s money troubles pretty much made that an impossibility.

M-G-M released a cartoon called “The Truce Hurts,” (1948) but it bears little resemblance to Hugh Harman’s drama. It was a Tom and Jerry comedy, where the cat, mouse and Butch the dog sign a peace treaty only to tear it up by cartoon’s end after a fight over a steak. It can hardly be called a sequel. One wonders how the original concept got so corrupted.

At least it didn’t suffer the fate of the next cartoon the studio announced, in the October 20th edition. And, no, I don’t know where the name “Wally” came from.

"Our Vine Street Has Tender Wolves," Technicolor cartoon travesty starring animation stars, Red Hot Riding Hood and Wally Wolf, will be directed by TEX AVERY for FRED QUIMBY, producer.

A number of Avery’s pictures were assigned production numbers then abandoned, but it doesn’t even look like this one got that far. It’ll have to go down as another Avery cartoon-that-might-have-been, alive only in the pages of old trade publications. And blogs.

No comments:

Post a Comment