The movies ripped me off as a kid.
Saturday matinées where I grew up consisted of a Disney live-action feature and a really bad Woody Woodpecker cartoon. No wonder the only local theatre was torn down and turned into a parking lot (and remains one, more than 45 years later, as the photo to the right attests). But the 1940s were different. Kids could go to the movies and spend their afternoon enjoying a whole pile of cartoons and maybe some one or two-reel comedies.
Theatres advertised in the papers back then, nice big ads with drawings. Here are some random ads for different cartoon compilations.
This one’s from 1945. You’ve got to love the dog-looking Tom and the pig/bear in a civil defence helmet. And I don’t think there was a cartoon called “Confusions of Nutsy Squirrel,” though if Tex Avery made one called that, I’d watch it (I guess they mean the Norm McCabe-directed “Confusions of a Nutsy Spy”).
Four big cartoons and none of them are Woody Woodpecker titles. And kids got “Popeye’s Pappy” (1951), a cartoon where Popeye dresses up as a woman to lure his own father. Now that’s entertainment!
Someone better tell the Madison that “Jolly Frolics” is the name of a series, not a cartoon. At least the characters are more on-model in this one.
From August 1950. I’d go to a theatre today if they showed this line-up. “Three Bears in a Boat” starring Animal? Who know the Muppets were around back then (there was a Paramount short subject of that name in 1943; that could be it).
Not just cartoons, but Laurel and Hardy and the Stooges. Looks like the paper used studio publicity art.
“12 Big Units”? I thought they were showing cartoons, not big units.
I realised Beaky Buzzard had a Goofy-sounding voice, but apparently one theatre has mistaken the two characters in its ad for “Strife With Father.” And you all remember “Google Fishing Beer,” where Barney drinks then goes surfing the internet. Champion wasn’t a character, it was the name of the series of Paramount re-releases (just as MGM had the Gold Medal Reprints and Warners had the Blue Ribbons). The Edgar Kennedy two-reeler was the last one of the 1946-47 season. Plot: Edgar builds his own TV set to save money. Didn’t this get re-made into one of those hilarious Beary Family cartoons?
What better Christmas present than two hours of cartoons? This is from 1950, but “Jolly Little Elves” was released by Lantz in 1934 (it was his first colour cartoon). The Lum and Abner feature is from 1943.
Theatrical cartoon compilations like this proved one thing—kids will watch a show of old cartoons. It seems early television programmers made a note of that.
P.S.: In the comments, Mark Kausler noted the “Tom and Jerry Festival of Fun.” It seems to have been a durable compilation. I’ve found ads for it from 1962 to 1965. As the heydey of movie business was gone, few ads featured drawings of the characters, but here’s one that’s not very readable. It appeared on the bill with things like “Flipper” and a re-issue of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”