Sunday, 13 January 2013

Eli’s Not Coming, Bosko Is

Newspaper cartoonist Milt Gross made two forays into the animation business, and you likely only know about one of them. Fans of MGM cartoons know that New Yorker Gross was hired to supervise the studio’s cartoon division in May of 1938, only to clash with short subject head Fred Quimby and a bunch of animators from the West Coast. He was gone by September after putting out two cartoons with his name on them.

But Gross got involved in an earlier studio back home in New York in 1930. It was one of several that popped up that year, though if it made any cartoons, I’ve never heard about them. His partner was Eli Brucker, who later animated for the Fleischer studio. The revelation is found in The Film Daily, a New York-based trade paper which contained news and reviews.

1930 was a transitional year for the animation industry. Studios that had never bothered to distribute cartoons in the silent days were now keen to do so, thanks to the popularity of Mickey Mouse. That resulted in the birth of several cartoon studios as well as Bosko and Flip the Frog. As well, Mickey’s dad, Walt Disney, shucked off the yoke of Pat Powers and hooked up with the ambitious Columbia Pictures. And Charlie Mintz realised what feature film producers had realised—California was now the home of filmdom’s capital, not New York, so he put up a For Rent sign on his studio, packed his animators on a train and sent them west.

Let’s go through the pages of The Film Daily for first six months of 1930. I’ve posted the news stories and snippets from columns first, below them are the reviews of cartoons. Most got raves, which is more than the publication gave to other short subjects. The ads accompanying this post come from the paper as well. April 6th was their Short Subject Edition and includes a couple of interesting brief articles by cartoon producers. The most interesting ad may be a full-page one for a series that never got made: “Fanny the Mule,” which was supposed to be a Walter Lantz series for Universal.

January 14, 1930
"The Kat's Meow," latest release of the Krazy Kat series, recently had a theme song written especially for this cartoon. The lyrics are by Jimmy Bronis and the music by Joe DeNat, musical director of the Winkler studios.

January 21, 1930
Fleischer Completing First Spanish Cartoon
What is believed to be the first all Spanish Screen Song, "La Paloma," now is being completed at the Fleischer studio. New York. The subject has been made exclusively for foreign territory and will be distributed by Paramount, according to Max Fleischer.

January 23, 1930
Carl Edourde Joins New Mintz Recording Co.
Carl Edourde, who has been musical director of the N. Y. Strand for the past eight years and has prepared musical scores for Aesop Fables, Disney Cartoons, and others, has become associated with M. J. Mintz’s Affiliated Sound Recording, Inc.

January 24, 1930
CARTOON PROCESS TO BE PATENTED BY VAN BEUREN
The Van Beuren Corp., producers of Aesop's Sound Fables, is having patented a new process of cartoon animation and synchronization. By means of the new development, it is claimed, it will now be possible to present on the screen as many as 100 different cartoon characters at the same time each working in perfect synchrony with the accompanying musical score. The process is the development of John Foster, Mannie Davis, Harry Bailey and Jack Ward. The company has plans under way for making pictures by this process.

January 26, 1930
AUDIO CINEMA MAKING SOUND SHORTS PROGRAM
An ambitious production schedule is now under way at the studio of Audio Cinema, Inc., of which Joe W. Coffman is president and F. Lyle Goldman, secretary and treasurer.
Charles Coburn, who created the role of "Old Bill" in Bruce Bairnsfather's "The Better 'Ole," is bringing that character to the talking screen in a series of two reel comedies written by Bairnsfather who, together with Coffman, is directing the series.
A series of comedy-drama sketches by Wiliiam Dudley Pelley are also being made with Pelley and Coffman acting as co-directors. These sketches feature the adventures of a rural comedy sheriff, "Amos Crumpett," which character figures in most of the 26 feature pictures authored by Pelley, including "Drag."
The Paul Terry and Frank Moser cartoons termed "Terry-toons," are all synchronized at the Audio-Cinema studio under Phillip Sheib, staff musical director, working in close cooperation with Terry and Moser.
Audio Cinema, Inc., has been in operation since last September at Long Island City using the Western Electric system of recording. The company consultants for Bell Laboratories, Eastman Kodak Co. and Consolidated Film Industries. Their studio is extensively used by M-G-M and Universal for test purposes.

February 6, 1930
Educational Secures Sound Cartoon Series
Negotiations have been completed by Educational and Audio-Cinema, Inc. whereby a new series of animated sound cartoons, called "Terry-Toons," will be released every two weeks beginning Feb. 23 by Educational.
The new series of cartoons are being made by Paul Terry, originator of the Aesop's Fables, and Frank Moser. Philip A. Scheib, former musical director for the Springer Circuit, is in charge of music. Joseph W. Coffman and F. Lyle Goldman, executives of Audio-Cinema, are working with the production units at the company's Long Island studio where the plant is equipped with Western Electric apparatus.
With the acquisition of the "Terry-Toon" series, Educational now is releasing eight sound series. Included in the group are: Mack Sennett, Coronet, Lloyd Hamilton, Jack White, Lupino Lane, Mermaid and Tuxedo Talking Comedies. The first subject scheduled for release Feb. 23 on the Terry-Toon series is called "Caviar."

February 9, 1930
Winkler Cartoon Staff is Moving to California
Transfer of activities of Winkler Film Corp., makers of Krazy Kat cartoons, from New York to the Coast is planned by Charles B. Mintz, president of the firm. Among those leaving Saturday are the chief animators: Ben Harrison, Manny Gould, Artie Davis, Al Rose, Harry Lieblich and Joe DeNat, musical director.

February 14, 1930
CARTOON SERIES JUMP COLUMBIA SHORTS TO 134
A deal has been closed by Columbia whereby that company now will release a series of 30 Mickey Mouse cartoons in certain territories of the country. With the addition of this new group the company now is releasing 134 short subjects, consisting of 26 Columbia Victor Gems; 26 Talking Screen Snapshots; 13 Disney Silly Symphonies; 13 Krazy Kat Cartoons and 26 Photocolor subjects. The new series of cartoons will be released at the rate of one a week.

February 19, 1930
The Aesop Sound Fable unit of Pathe-Van Beuren Pictures, has finished the synchronization of its two latest Pathe pictures, "Sky Skippers" and "Singing Saps." These shorts were recorded by the RCA system, under the musical direction of Carl Edouarde.

February 21, 1930
UB IWERKS TO PRODUCE CARTOONS IN COLOR, SOUND
A new series of 12 cartoons in sound and color are in preparation by UB Iwerks, cartoonists, under the auspices of Celebrity Productions. The series of sketches will be known as "Flip the Frog" and will be released at the rate of one a month beginning on or about Mar. 1. In addition to the color cartoons they also will be offered in black and white. UB Iwerks was formerly associated with Walt Disney on the "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" series.

February 23, 1930
Jack Ward, comedian and dancer for the past 20 years on the Keith and Loew vaudeville circuits with Northlane & Ward and later with Ward & Weber, has been signed for an indefinite engagement with the Aesop Fable dept of the Van Beuren Corp.

March 9, 1930
Big Demand for Film on How Talkers Are Made
Electrical Research Products, Inc., is receiving many requests for "Finding His Voice," 1,000 foot talking picture that tells how sound pictures are made. The film is done in cartoon comedy style, illustrating the talk of three characters as they go through a black and white ink-drawn studio and see how sound enters the camera and then into a theater, in the projection room and behind the screen to see how it is reproduced in the theater. The film is supplied to all houses equipped with Western Electric apparatus. Charles Barrell wrote the scenario and Max Fleischer created the charcter, while Frank Goldman did the drawings.

March 10, 1930
COLUMBIA TAKES OVER "MOUSE" WORLD RIGHTS
West Coast Bureau, THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Columbia has taken over the world rights to the remaining 15 "Mickey Mouse" subjects in the current series, according to Roy Disney, business manager of Walt Disney Productions. Existing contracts held by exhibitors for these cartoon subjects will be carried out by Columbia, Disney states.

March 18, 1930
Color Cartoon in "U" Film
An animated cartoon sequence in color illustrating how Paul Whiteman became king of jazz will serve as a prologue to "King of Jazz," in which Universal is starring the band leader.

March 20, 1930
BRUCKER TO PRODUCE COLOR CARTOON SERIES
A series of animated cartoons in color will be produced by Elias Brucker in association with Photocolor. Milt Gross will write the scenarios. Brucker has a five-year contract with Gross and Thomas A. Johnstone for the production of these shorts, the first of which will go into work within two weeks in the East.

March 21, 1930
S. R. Luby to Work with Brucker on Cartoons
S. Roy Luby, formerly production manager of Inkwell Studios, is to be associated with Elias A. Brucker in the production of the Milt Gross animated cartoons to be made in conjunction with Photocolor Corp.

April 6, 1930
MICKEY MOUSE CLUBS TO BOOST MATINEE BUSINESS
"Mickey Mouse Clubs," such as the one formed by Harry Woodin of the Dome, Ocean Park, are boosting matinee attendance for houses playing these Columbia Disney cartoons.
To start the club, Woodin made tie-ups with several merchants whereby they became official Mickey Mouse stores, distributing application cards for membership. These cards admitted the children to the first matinee for 5c instead of the regular 10c price. Stores appealing to children cooperated in this and carried announcements of the club in their advertising.
The club now holds regular weekly meetings in the theater, which open with one of the cartoons and after club formalities, a serial and a western or a feature are shown.

Color and Wide Screen in Cartoon Field
By WALT DISNEY,

Producer, "Mickey Mouse"
I believe that the inclusion of color in cartoon comedies offers great possibilities for pictorial effects, but would add very little so far as comedy is concerned.
There are many problems in sound yet to be worked out, and I should like to see this tangle perfected before considering color. After all, in a cartoon comedy it is laughs and personality that count. Color alone will not sustain public interest unless the cartoon itself is exceptionally clever and unique—a good, clever black and white cartoon should hold its own for some time to come.
As for the wide screen, its possibilities and advantages are unlimited for the feature picture, but as yet, I can see no special advantage for its use in the production of cartoon comedies.

Animated Cartoons Rise to New Heights
By CHARLES B. MINTZ,

Producer of "Krazy Kat"
The animated cartoon has undergone a metamorphosis. From having been just a lowly filler or a chaser, this 600 feet of concentrated film fun has become an almost indispensable part of the program in the finer theaters today. The only theater, since the advent of sound, that doesn't exhibit an animated cartoon now is the theater that can't get one!
The animated cartoon has particularly adapted itself to music and sound and, in some instances, even to talk and song. The study of the cartoon, which has gone from the stage of a novelty to a sure-fire comedy, has given us undreamed-of opportunities for making an audience laugh.
Of course, the work and, therefore, the cost of production has increased threefold. Where we formerly were able to make an animated cartoon subject in two weeks with 12 artists working, we must now keep stepping in order to turn out that same length picture in four weeks with 18 artists at work.

“Flip's” Debut
"Flip the Frog," the new cartoon creation produced personally by UB. Iwerks for distribution through Celebrity, is due to make its debut in April. The series will consist of 12 synchronized sound cartoons, to be released at the rate of one a month. "Fiddlesticks" is the title of the first subject.

Photocolor Is Making Three Series of Shorts
In addition to the "Sensations" for release by Columbia, Photocolor is making a series known as "Presentations" and a cartoon series, all with sound on both film and disc.

British Firm Will Make Sound Cartoon Shorts
London—John Maxwell, of British International Pictures, is negotiating with the Noble Bros., artists, to make a series of cartoons on the style of Mickey and Felix. The shorts will be made at the Elstree studios and will be synchronized with noises familiar to the animals.

April 9, 1930
Columbia Now Has All Rights to Two Cartoons
In addition to acquiring the foreign distribution rights to Disney "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphonies," Columbia also has taking over the entire domestic distribution of both cartoons, thereby giving the company the world rights to the shorts. Although Columbia already had been handling the domestic distribution of "Silly Symphonies," it had been releasing the "Mickey Mouse" cartoons in only 13 territories.

April 13, 1930
B. I. P. Cartoon Shorts
London—British International Pictures will shortly start production of a series of animal cartoons at the Elstree studios. The shorts will be synchronized.

April 18, 1930
W. RAY JOHNSTON PLANS 20 TALKER PRODUCTIONS
Twenty talkers are planned for 1930-31 by companies headed by W. Ray Johnston. Eight melodramas will be made by Continental Talking Pictures, 12 Westerns by Syndicate Pictures and an undetermined number of shorts by Raytone Talking Pictures. Short product planned so far includes four serials and 18 reissues of Alice cartoons by Walt Disney.

April 20, 1930
Musical Cartoon Series Being Made by Vitaphone
A series of musical cartoons, 12 or more in number, under the title of “Looney Tunes,” is being made as Vitaphone Varieties, George E. Quigley announces. Each will be based on a Warner musical hit. The first is "Sinkin' in the Bathtub," a takeoff on the Winnie Lightner song. Leon Schlesinger is producing the series, with cartoons by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising, and music by Frank Marsales and Isadore Freleng.



April 22, 1930
Film Exchange Buys Cartoon World Rights
World rights to the series of 26 "Bonzo" synchronized cartoons have been bought by the Film Exchange, Inc., it is announced by R. Manheimer. The exchange also is negotiating for other product and will continue in the independent market.

May 2, 1930
Ted Toddy, exploiteer, has built up a snappy press book for the one-reel cartoons of "Bonzo," the funny puppy, exploiting like a feature.

May 4, 1930
Talking shop is second nature to the Hill family with Emma cutting features at Paramount, Edna a film, cutter at Audio Cinema and Margaret in the foreign dept. of M-G-M. Edna's husband, Charles Wolfe, also edits the Aesop Fables for Van Beuren.

May 6, 1930
CHAS. MINTZ TO PRODUCE CARTOON SERIES FOR RKO
Charles Mintz, of Winkler Pictures has contracted to produce a series of 26 cartoons, under the title of "Toby the Tar," [sic] for RKO.

"Flip" Gets Welcome
A unique sales record has been set by "Flip the Frog," new synchronized cartoon creation of "UB" Iwerks, according to Charlie Giegerich, general manager of Celebrity, who says all European rights for the series were sold within 10 days after the first announcement of the series was made in the trade press.

May 7, 1930
Color Cartoon Finished
West Coast Bureau, THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Celebrity's first all0color sound cartoon, "Fiddlesticks," an initial subject in the "Flip the Frog" series being produced by "Ub" Iwerks, has been completed. Harris-color was used, with recording by Cinephone.

May 8, 1930
NOTICE
By virtue of a public sale held before Referee Harold P. Coffin. The Fleischer Studios, Inc., are now the sole owners of all patents, copyrights and trade-marks formerly owned by Out-Of-The-Inkwell Films, Inc. FLEISCHER STUDIOS, INC. Max Fleischer, Pres.

May 9, 1930
Audio Cinema studios here have just completed four cartoon trailers for the Aetna Life Insurance Co., to be used by their agents throughout the country. "He Auto Know Better" illustrates the value of liability insurance, "Father's Day at Home" plays up accident insurance, "The Family's Night Out" shows that one should be insured against burglary and "A Desert Dilemma" illustrates the value of an Aetna card in cast of collision.

May 11, 1930
NEW SYNCHRONIZING IDEA TO BE USED BY C.B. MINTZ
A new patented method of pre-synchronizing is to be put into operation on the Coast by Charles B. Mintz, who leaves Wednesday for Hollywood to confer with artists in connection with the "Toby the Pup" and "Krazy Kat" sound cartoons being made by the Winkler Film. Next year's schedule includes 12 "Toby the Pup" cartoons, produced by Dick Huemer and Sid Marcus, for distribution by RKO, and 13 "Krazy Kat" subjects, produced by Ben Harrison and Manny Gould, for Columbia. Joe DeNat will do the musical score for both series.

May 13, 1930
Walt Lantz, cartoon creator of Oswald the Rabbit, has gone and married Doris Hollister we always knew Walter would lantz a nice girl some day.

May 18, 1930
Putting Sound to Series of Twenty "Life" Cartoons
James H. Harper and Merle Johnson announce they are synchronizing a series of 20 animated cartoons made by "Life" four years ago for release through Educational. J. E. Trop, vice-president of Majestic Pictures, will distribute them independently. Three of the cartoons, which are burlesqued on melodrama, have already been completed at the Consolidated Recording Corp. They are called "Red Hot Rails," "Peaceful City" and "Local Talent." Harper and Johnson have also finished a synchronized one-reel novelty called "Winging South With Lindbergh."

May 19, 1930
FLEISCHER TO SHOW PRE-SYNCRONIZING
Max Fleischer goes to Washington tomorrow to appear before the patents commissioner and demonstrate his pre-synchronizing process for cartoons. With the device, on which Fleischer applied for a patent a year and a half ago, effects are recorded first and the drawings then are made in synchronization.

May 20, 1930
Valleeing Cartoons
Rudy Vallee is going in for song cartooning. Max Fleischer plans to make "The Stein Song" for Paramount with the crooner doing his popular stuff.

May 22, 1930
12 ONE-REEL NOVELTIES PLANNED BY MAY-HALL
A series of 12 one-reel all talking and musical novelties, known as "Prehistoric Silly-ettes," will be produced in the East by Virginia May and Alex Hall. The subjects, first of which is due in about three weeks, will be partly in cartoon and partly acted by stage and screen talent. Miss May and Hall are now completing "Independence Day" for James A. FitzPatrick's holiday series.

June 1, 1930
Reilly Cartoons Under Way
The second and third releases of Frank C. Reilly's animated cartoon called "The Penguin Family" are now in production. The first issue is scheduled for release this month.

June 16, 1930
Universal’s New Production Policy
By CARL LAEMMLE

President, Universal Pictures Corp.
...The always popular Oswald Cartoons will, of course, be continued. There will be 13 of these. In addition, we shall release a new series, "Fanny the Mule," of which there will be 13...

REVIEWS

January 5, 1930
"Wild Waves"
Celebrity Productions
Time, 7 mins.
Mickey as Life Saver
"Mickey Mouse" is at his best as a life saver in this Walt Disney cartoon, which is made additionally funny by the antics of singing seals, dancing penguins, baritone sea lions and other amazing creations of the moving cartoon kingdom. Actually great.

"The Haunted House"
Celebrity Productions
Time, 7 mins.
Fine Comic
The "creeper" idea, as the title implies, injected into a "Mickey Mouse" comic, with the usual storm, lightning ghosts, dancing skeletons, etc. Also a flash simulation of Al Jolson, produced by a black-and-white character silhouette, with a simultaneous cry of "Mammy," that is a knockout.

Oswald in "Ozzie of the Circus"
Good Circus Cartoon
A synchronized cartoon in which Oswald runs the gamut of amusing antics in a circus setting. Plenty of odd tricks by the strangely-shaped animals. Fills the bill very nicely. Seven minutes.

"Springtime"
Columbia
Time, 6 mins.
Good Cartoon
A Disney cartoon on the theme of the Mendelssohn music. Frogs, birds, trees, flowers, etc., are made to cavort in harmony with the famous melody and its variations. A good comic of its kind.

January 12, 1930
"Canned Music"
Columbia
Time, 8 mins
. Krazy Kat Musical War
Starting out with Krazy Kat trying to quiet a couple of crying brats with various musical efforts, this cartoon affair ends in a parade by the band instruments, which bombard Krazy with bullets in the form of notes. Krazy catches them and returns the fire, wiping out the whole band. Great stuff. The ingenuity of these cartoon books is amazing.

"Ship Ahoy"
Pathe
Time, 7 mins.
Aesop Fable
Cartoon creation with an ocean locale, holding well to the average in the matter of ingenuity and entertainment value. A clicker of its kind.

January 26, 1930
"Afraid to Go Home in the Dark"
Paramount
Time, 7 mins.
Amusing Song Cartoon
A Max Fleischer song cartoon based on the popular song of some two decades ago. Has been given the usual ingenious treatment and will provide several minutes of pleasant amusement for any class of folks.

February 9, 1930
"Singing Saps"
Pathe
Time, 7 mins.
Aesop Fable
An entertaining little gem intended to prove that "faint heart ne'er won fair lady." Chock-full of fun from beginning to end. For an animated cartoon it proves itself not a little exciting. A wise addition to any program.

February 16, 1930
Oswald in "Broadway Folly"
Universal
Time, 7 mins.
Good Animated Fun
This time Oswald does some fancy stepping in a cabaret. In steps the villainous bear, who gives him no end of trouble. The bear's little girl, very much like the daughter in "Ten Nights in a Barroom," goes looking for dad in the hope of reclaiming him from demon rum. Oswald again shows himself as an accomplished musician in this one.

February 23, 1930
"Sky Skippers"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
Aesop Fable
Air-minded animal cartoon showing the various beasts and fowl doing their antics in the air. All kinds of contraptions are used as gliders to bring out the airy effect. Synchronization is well done. Fun for everyone.

"Caviar"
Educational
Time, 10 mins.
Snappy Cartoon
As the first of the Paul Terry-Toons, done by Paul Terry and Frank Moser and licensed under the Bray-Hurd Process, this comedy cartoon is promising. Russian locale is used for the lively antics of the talented mouse, his girl friend and the various other animal creations.

March 9, 1930
"Good Old School Days"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
Aesop Fable
That "a powdered nose is no guarantee of a clean neck" forms the basis of this Aesop Fable. The scene is a country school. When the teacher asks one of her charges to present his composition, the fellow responds with a song-and-dance number. The other pupils follows suit, with the result that the vibrations cause the schoolhouse to collapse. Highly amusing filler.

"Foolish Follies"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
Aesop Fable
A vaudeville show is the subject of this Aesop Fable. All manner of animals do their stuff on the stage, and all goes well until Miss Hippo slips in the course of an adagio dance, breaks through the stage, cuts a hole through the earth with her enormous weight and emerges to find herself in China. Serves to illustrate that "the whole world is a stage covered with banana peels."

March 30, 1930
Oswald in "Tramping Tramps"
Universal
Time, 6 mins.
Fine Animated Cartoon
This Oswald cartoon is on the same high plane as those that have gone before. Unquestionably it is a filler of remarkably fine caliber, revealing no small measure of ingenuity. We now find Oswald turned tramp—not an ordinary tramp, but one with a decided musical flare. He's such a good musician in fact that he gets a pie from a housewife as a token of gratitude for his splendid playing on a variety of instruments.

April 6, 1930
"Dixie Days"
Pathe
Time, 7 mins.
Good Animated
This animated cartoon is a travesty on the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" theme. And it is uncommonly well done, too. All the characters at whom we gnashed our teeth or over whom we wept copious tears are paraded before us. Some really amusing moments result.

"Pretzels"
Educational
Time, 7 min.
Plenty of Animation
A highly diverting short in spite of the fact that it follows the same line of procedure as innumerate other animated cartoons. There seems to be a touch of class in this Terry-Toon that is rarely met wa[] in entertainment of this kind. The story is simply that of the struggle between villain and hero for possesion of the pretty heroine. The musical angle is stressed, some of the music being unusually of good quality.

"Spanish Onions"
Educational
Time, 10 mins.
A Bully One
Cartoon of the various animals at the bull arena where the hero conquers the bull to full satisfaction of his fair lady. Sidney Franklin, who has garnered so much publicity as Brooklyn's matador, is mimicked by one of the cats, but, however, he is vanquished in this short. The adventurous cat has a certain way of making the belligerent bull retreat and it is on one of these journeys that the horny animal is brought to his end. A humorous piece with all the curious noises of the creatures synchronized to the satisfaction of all.



"Bowery Bimbos"
Universal
Time, 10 mins.
Good Animated
This one is among the best of the Oswald series. It is a clever and extremely amusing little number. Oswald appears as a gay Bowery copper. He has the occasion to rescue a sweetie from the clutches of a notorious gangster. The manner in which he does it provides no end of amusement.

April 20, 1930
Oswald in "The Hash Shop"
Universal
Time, 6 mins.
Good Cartoon
Oswald this time makes his appearance as a waiter in a restaurant where all the diners demand service in a hurry. The little fellow doesn't know whom to serve first. He runs up against some tough customers who become violent when he proves a trifle slow in filling their orders. All in all "The Hash Shop" is a filler certain of providing considerable entertainment.

"Western Whoopee"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
Fine Aesop Fable
This Aesop Fable ought to make a most attractive little filler. In fact, it is one of the best of the series put out to date. It relates the story in animated cartoon form of the bad man who comes to grief at the hands of the Western hero. The whole thing is contrived with extraordinary ingenuity.

May 4, 1930
"Indian Pudding"
Educational
Time, 7 mins.
Novelty Cartoon
One of the new series of Paul Terry-Toons. This is a funny burlesque on the wild and wooly west, with the hero the mouse cowboy who has his troubles with the bad Indian. The sound effects are comical and the cartooning done in the best modern manner. Incidental music helps to put it over.

"The Prisoner's Song"
Paramount
Time, 8 mins.
Pip Song Cartoon
Max Fleischer has done an ace job in making a song cartoon based on "The Prisoner's Song." The comical travesty on jail routine is fitted very neatly to the popular ballad. Good for plenty of laughs.

May 11, 1930
“Sinking in the Bathtub”
Vitaphone 4147
Time, 8 mins.
Lively Cartoon
One of the liveliest and most tuneful cartoon comedies to come along in a great while. It belongs to the "Looney Tunes" group and presents a series of []rtings in a bathtub and out in the meadow. A real pippin.

Oswald in "Prison Panic"
Universal
Time, 6 mins.
Mild Animation
The latest of the Oswald series of animated cartoons is hardly up to the standard of its predecessors. It seems flat and lacking in the rhythmic quality characteristic of the others. Oswald is seen as the warden of a jail. When a desperate prisoner escapes, he is hard put to it trying to recapture him. Finally he does succeed in getting his hands on the fellow.

"The Haunted Ship"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
Aesop Fable Gem
Set this down as one of the finest, if not the finest, Aesop Fable to be turned out by the Van Beuren people. It is a splendidly conceived bit of entertainment, imaginative, capably recorded, musically pleasing. A neat piece of work any way you look at it. The story concerns the experiences of two characters who, flung into the ocean when their airship is destroyed, find themselves on a sunken ship inhabited by strange denizens of the sea. One of them eases his terror by playing a piano, setting all the creatures occupying the vessel a-dancing and a-singing.

"Father's Day at Home"
Audio Cinema
Time, 5 mins.
A Mirthful Moral
Opening scene of this cartoon comedy shows father curled up in a chair enjoying his pipe and newspaper secure in the fact that he is safe from such accidents as he has been reading about. His peace is disturbed by an insurance solicitor who tries to sell him an accident policy but is sent away. Wifey calls him to help fix the roof and, while perched on the top of the ladder, he takes a steep fall, landing in the water barrel. Insurance solicitor has been hanging around and signs him up while the need of such protection is apparent. This industrial short is produced for Aetna Insurance Co. and provides good entertainment.

June 1, 1930
"He Auto Know Better"
Audio Cinema
Time, 5 mins.
Amusing Industrial
This cartoon comedy, another of the series prepared for Aetna Insurance Co., shows the adventures of a family who set out for an automobile jaunt. Everything goes along great until the car meets up with another jitney with the result that both are wrecked. There is an amusing courtroom scene in which the head of the family is ordered to pay heavy damages. Hi6 friends rush up to sympathize with him until he pulls out an insurance card showing that he is fully covered and has nothing to worry about.

"Hawaiian Pineapple"
Educational
Time, 7 mins.
Animated Music
"Hawaiian Pineapple," a Terry-Toon, is another of those animated cartoons in which music preponderates. This time it's a Hawaiian melody in an appropriate setting. The music works such an enchantment that even the palm trees sway this way and that. Some of the animation is extremely clever. O. K.

[Note: “Oom Pah Pah,” an Aesop Fable and Krazy Kat’s “Spookeasy” were reviewed but the reviews are clipped out of the edition referenced in this post]

June 8, 1930
"A Desert Dilemma"
Audio Cinema
Time, 5 mins.
Amusing Industrial
This cartoon comedy is one of a series prepared for Aetna Insurance Co. It deals with the experiences of a family who set out to cross the continent in a flivver. In the middle of the desert they collide with another car in fantastic fashion, with the result that the sheriff of a nearby town attaches the car. Just when the family is bemoaning their in ability to complete the journey, father remembers that he is covered by insurance and produces card which immediately releases the car so that the party may proceed in high spirits.

Mickey Mouse in "Fiddling Around"
Columbia
Time, 7 mins.
Good Cartoon
As a violin virtuoso, Mickey Mouse has plenty of trouble with broken strings and a tough audience that includes one guy who keeps giving him the horse laugh. But Mickey's acrobatic manipulation of his instrument, with which he promotes plenty of comedy as well as music, puts him over for an encore. A very good comedy of its kind.

"Noah Knew His Ark"
Pathe
Time, 7 mins.
Aesop Fable
Credit this Aesop sound Fable with possessing much entertainment value. It shows some clever touches, is musically all right, and is vastly amusing. A sort of travesty on the tale of the Ark. this animated cartoon gives you Noah in the person of an old sea captain. When the deluge comes, the animals board the bark to the strain of music. All goes well until two skunks come into their midst. The animals, to escape the odiferous fellows, plunge into the waters, leaving the Ark in the possession of the skunks.

Oswald in "Hell's Heels"
Universal
Time, 6 mins.
Oswald Does a Steal
"Hell's Heels" presents Oswald in the role of a musical bandit. With two other bad men he dynamites a bank in a desert town. In his flight from the law he runs into a lost child in the desert. The kid forces Oswald to take him back to his dad, who turns out to be the sheriff from whom Oswald has been fleeing. The end finds tin' bandit headed across the desert. While "Hell's Heels" repeats many of the musical gags that have become favorites with animated cartoon creators, the music it contains is rather pleasing.

June 15, 1930
"Swiss Cheese"
Educational
Time, 7 mins.
Nifty Cartoon
A Paul Terry-Toon that is fitted beautifully to a novelty musical score. This lends atmosphere to the funny antics of the cartoon characters and the numbers fit in nicely with the theme. Philip A. Scheib did the scoring, which is way above the average in the cartoon field. The cartoon work is very clever, and some new technique is introduced by Frank Moser and Paul Terry that lifts this cut of the ruck of the average affiliated subject.

'An Old Flame'
Columbia
Time, 6 mins.
Just Fair
One in the Krazy Kat cartoon series, with the routine handling of the animated stuff. The "plot" involves a fire, with Hero Cat doing his stuff to the accompaniment of rhythmic movements on the part of the other characters, timed to fit in with the incidental music. Nothing new, and just a filler for those who like their cartoon subjects even though they are repetitious.

June 22, 1930
"A Bugville Romance"
Pathe
Time, 6 mins.
It's the Bugs
A fine Aesop Fable with a pleasant musical theme. This time it is the insect kingdom that succumbs to the lure of music. Bugs dance, fall in love, and one couple even ends in marriage. Contains a beautiful sense of rhythm and is cleverly drawn. Especially fine summer entertainment.

"The Cactus Kid"
Columbia
Time, 6 mins.
Knockout Cartoon
Another of the first-grade cartoon comedies turned out by Walt Disney, and it's a pippin of the front rank. Sound effects are blended into the pen-and-ink creations in such a way that the result is sure-fire for laughs, to say nothing of the unique and unusual nature of the performance.


If you haven’t seen the Bonzo series, here’s one cartoon from it, courtesy of Tom Stathes.


7 comments:

  1. Disney' comment about color and what makes successful films -- "After all, in a cartoon comedy it is laughs and personality that count" -- could have been updated to the last 15 years with the term "CGI" replacing "color" as the new technology, and it would have been just as true. It also explains why Walt grasped how to succeed where others failed.

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  2. Walt was pretty damned perceptive. He used colour to its best advantage where it augmented what was on screen; the story would still work on "Flowers and Trees" even in black and white (wasn't it originally supposed to be B&W?). And, of course, Disney was smart enough to tie up three-strip Technicolor use for three years.

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  3. Yowp, your collection and compilation of this material redefines the word "helpful." Thanks so much.

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  4. David, unfortunately I don't have access to the Hollywood Reporter, which has a West Coast focus and would probably have much more on the Warners and Iwerks studios than what you'll find in the Film Daily.
    These things always raise more questions. What happened to the Brucker studio? Did he and Gross make any cartoons? Who is Frank C. Reilly? Why didn't Lantz make the Fanny series, even after Carl Laemmle announced it? Who is animator Harry Lieblich? Always questions.

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  5. 1/16/13
    RobGems.ca wrote:
    Interesting line-up of cartoons released in that month of January- to June,1930. Ironically, the "Aesop Fable" titled "Western Whoopie" was indicted by Walt Disney in court for containing a rip-off boy & girl mouse that looked too similar to Walt's own Mickey & Minnie! There were two such cartoons by this studio (Van Buren),with the second release being a winter skating episode titled "A Close Call" featuring the same mouse duo. Walt Disney got fed up with this copying, and sent a second injunction to Van Buren Studios stating never to again make anymore cartoons featuring a boy & girl mouse resembling Mickey & Minnie.

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  6. Thank you for posting this! It's great to see these reviews in a broad context of various cartoons - and the Educational / Terry write-up is especially informative!

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  7. What a line up! I've always wanted to learn more about the conception of Disney and the earlier cartoons!

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