Saturday, 22 June 2013

Tales of Terry, Ted and Leon, 1932

Cartoons in the form of an operetta may not sound like much to us, but in 1932 it was apparently a big deal. Sound cartoons were only a few years old and, already, they needed something other than the gimmick of coordinated music and sound effects to move forward. So the Paul Terry studio came up with the operetta format. Critics at The Film Daily cheered.

The Terry studio itself was new, in a way. Terry left the Fables Studio in 1929. The following year, his cartoons (with Frank Moser) were copyrighted by Audio-Cinema, then by Terry-Moser-Coffman in 1931. Joseph Coffman disappeared from the picture and, as The Film Daily revealed, Terry and Moser set up their own firm to make Terry-Toons (It should have been telling to Moser they weren’t called Terry-Moser-Toons. Moser was shoved out in 1936).

That’s one of the revelations you’ll find leafing through the trade paper’s issues in the first six months of ’32.

The lay of the cartoon land was such: MGM was releasing cartoons by Ub Iwerks (via Pat Powers), Warners was releasing cartoons from Harman-Ising (via Leon Schlesinger), Paramount was releasing cartoons by the Fleischers, Universal was releasing cartoons from Walter Lantz, RKO was releasing Van Beuren cartoons, 20th Century Fox was releasing Terry-Toons (via Educational) and Disney was in the process of moving from Columbia to United Artists; Columbia was still releasing cartoons from the Mintz studio.

But, as you can see, Ted Eshbaugh opened a studio in Los Angeles (the address given was apparently residential) and grabbed Carl Stalling from Iwerks to compose his scores; whether Stalling simultaneously worked for Iwerks, I don’t know. You can read about Eshbaugh’s colour work on this Modern Mechanix reprint site and Paul Etcheverry has more about his cartoons here. Cal Dalton and Frank Tipper were among his animators, at least before he headed back to New York.

Even more interestingly, a studio called Fairmount Pictures released a colour cartoon. I haven’t been able to find out a thing about the studio or the cartoon that was shown; it wasn’t copyrighted. There was a Fairmount Pictures at 858 Seward in Los Angeles in 1926 but I have no idea whether it was the same company.

There’s an intriguing item about Warners expanding its cartoon department. Of course, the studio didn’t have one. It had Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising making cartoons for them and it seems odd that the pair would be hiring a new musical director and top animators. It was a little over a year later that Leon Schlesinger did just that, getting rid of Hugh and Rudy in the process. Was the item a plant by Schlesinger before contract renewal time with Harman and Ising? Perhaps it’s unfair to speculate.

Schlesinger was expanding in 1932. The Film Daily announced in a front page story on May 8th that he was going to produce a series of Westerns starring John Wayne (eight were in the initial deal). Schlesinger’s foray into live action is a mystery to me; I’ve never read why he got in and then got out almost as quickly. I’ve included a non-cartoon item about another Schlesinger venture because of the significance it later had on the cartoon studio.

The publication had a special shorts issue on March 27th which included some cartoon feature stories. And there’s a bit of an untold story about Farmer Al Falfa. He had appeared in silent films made by Paul Terry and the staff at the Fables Studio, which morphed into Van Beuren. Van Beuren wanted to resume making cartoons with him but (as Film Daily doesn’t explain), Terry claimed ownership of the character. And that’s why you’ll see Terry advertising him in coming cartoons in later news items.

I’ve posted the newspaper’s cartoon reviews following the news and Phil Daly’s editorial items. Fans will notice the names of some of the cartoons are incorrect. You can read the highlights from the second half of 1932 HERE.



January 5, 1932
Leon Schlesinger Heads New Recording Service
West Coast Bureau, THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Leon Schlesinger, president and general manager of Pacific Title & Art Studios, has formed Pacific Sound Track Service Co. in association with Bernard Brown, formerly of the Warner technical department, and Norman Spencer, for 15 years engaged in composing music and lately in scoring of pictures. Schlesinger will be general manager of the new company, with Brown as head of the technical department and Spencer heading the musical end. The organization is now in full operation.

January 10, 1932
John W. Green, Paramount staff composer, will appear with Ethel Merman in a rendition of many of his hit tunes which constitute the musical setting for a new 'Bouncing Ball" song cartoon.

January 21, 1932
New Incorporations
NEW YORK CHARTERS

Moser & Terry, motion pictures; Breed, Abbott & Morgan, 16 Broad St., New York. 200 shares common.

January 25, 1932
Warner Bros. Enlarging Cartoon Comedy Division
Warner Bros. are planning to enlarge their animated cartoon department with the addition of several of the leading animators, now employed by another cartoon company and with a musical director who is one of the pioneers in the field, The Film Daily learns.

January 26, 1932
500th Aesop Fable
Completion of "Fly Frolic." Aesop's Fable sound cartoon made by Van Beuren for RKO release, marks the 500th Fable cartoon subject produced in this series, and is considered by Van Beuren as the record for number of pictures in any single reel series, excluding newsreels. In the silent days the Fables were made at the rate of 52 a year, but now the number is 26 annually. Van Beuren also is making the new Tom and Jerry cartoons for RKO.

January 31, 1932
• • • IF YOU are laboring under the delusion that there are no New Slants in shorts . . . then we politely ask you to step this way . . . as we lead you into the workshop of Paul Terry and Frank Moser . . . specialists in Cartoonatics and take a flash at their latest Terry-Toon "Peg Leg Pete" . . . as far removed from the routine animated as the mugg in a swivel chair in Nooyawk trying to run theaters in the alfalfa belt . . . and that's Some Remove.
• • • HERE IS a tabloid opera done in the cartoon manner . . . a gorgeous burlesque on the prima donnas, male and female . . . done with a Gilbert & Sullivan flavour . . . here are the pirate crew and their cut-throat chief with his peg-leg . . . and all the assistant pirates have peg-legs, too! . . . you've got to see it to appreciate just how FUNNY that can be . . . and there is the heroine in the clutches of Pirate Pete . . . and the hero coming to the rescue . . . now what makes this DIFFERENT is the clever original operatic score . . . the heroine Sings her despair, terror and supplication . . . the pirate Sings his villainy, sneers and blood-thirstiness . . . the hero Sings his exaggerated heroics in a High Tenor . . . all done to Philip A. Scheib's original musical score that would be a credit to any big musical comedy . . . it's all Clever Absurdity done with class that puts it in the realm of High Comedy . . . and in a Cartoon!

February 3, 1932
BRENDEL AT ROXY
El Brendel will appear in person at the Roxy for a week starting this Friday. The stage production next week will be based on the Mickey Mouse cartoon characters with the Arnaut Brothers playing the parts of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

February 7, 1932
Roxy
In addition to El Brendel in person, this week's show at the Roxy is a special treat for the kids. The presentation includes four scenes based on "Mickey's Orphans," the Mickey Mouse cartoon that was held over for three weeks at this house. The characters of Mickey and Minnie as portrayed by the Arnaut Brothers, popular pantomimists. Patricia Bowman, Fred Waring's Orchestra in a novelty entitled "Dancing Melodies," and the Roxyettes also are part of the proceedings. In the Mickey scenes, the Roxyettes and ballet group are made up to represent kittens, musical notes and animated furnishings in Minnie's boudoir.

February 16, 1932
Mickey Mouse gets an average of six thousand fan letters a day, sez the Walt Disney organization.

February 19, 1932
50 Fleischer Cartoons On 1932-33 Para.
List Production of 50 cartoon shorts for Paramount release in 1932-33 is planned by Max Fleischer, his program representing the same number of subjects as provided for the current season. He will make 25 Betty Boops and 25 Song Cartoons, using prominent personalities in the latter. All will be single reel subjects.

February 21, 1922
Terrytoons has a new home now, located at 203 West 146th Street, in the heart of Harlem.

February 23, 1932
Irving Jacobs Planning Mickey Mouse Theaters
Irving Jacobs, independent theater operator, is negotiating for a Broadway house as the first of a circuit to be devoted solely to presentation of a program of Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony movie cartoons. Jacobs has arranged with Walt Disney, creator of the cartoons, for the advertising use of the characters in a series of presentations.

February 26, 1932
LEON SCHLESINGER, producer of the Warners series of screen cartoons, arrived in New York yesterday from Hollywood to confer on next year's product.

March 6, 1932
Schlesinger Repeating Two Series of Cartoons
Leon Schlesinger, producer of "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," will again make 13 of each of these animated cartoons for Warner Bros, next season.

Sweet Tie-up
Columbia Pictures has arranged a national tie-up with the Repetti Candy Co. for the distribution of a one-cent boxed-candy-stick, called Scrappy. The candy box carries the name and picture of "Scrappy" as well as the tag, Columbia Pictures Star.

March 8, 1932
Ted Eshbaugh Producing Cartoon Series in Color
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood— "The Goofy Goat," first of a series of 12 all-color sound cartoons, has made its debut. Ted Eshbaugh, young Hollywood artist and animator, is producing the series under a secret color mixing process which he developed. Carl Stallings is supervising the musical arrangements. New studios are being prepared for Eshbaugh, who has temporary headquarters at 1818-Argyle.

March 11, 1932
FORMING MICKEY CLUBS
Cleveland — Fourteen Warner houses in northern Ohio will establish Mickey Mouse Clubs, according to H. W. "Hank" Peters, representative of Walt Disney, who has been conferring with Nat Wolf, zone manager of Warner theaters. Lew Thompson, well known in the film industry, will get the clubs started.

March 15, 1932
New Universal Cartoon
In addition to continuing the "Oswald" animated cartoons, Universal will put out another series next season under the title of "Pete the Pup."

March 18, 1932
31 Cartoon Shorts on U. A. List
There will be 18 Mickey Mouse and 13 Silly Symphony animated shorts in the lineup to be distributed by United Artists starting June 1. A conference was held at the U. A. offices yesterday under the direction of Hal Home to map out special exploitation for the Walt Disney shorts.

March 22, 1932
S.M.P.E. TO HEAR ABOUT TRICK PICTURES, CARTOONS
Monthly meeting of the New York Section of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers will be held in the Westinghouse Lighting Institute, Grand Central Palace, March 23, at 8:15 P.M. Harry Bailey, of Fables Pictures, Inc., will present a paper, with illustrations, on "Animated Cartoons in the Making." Edward White will present a paper on "Trick Photography."

March 27, 1932
Many Vitaphone Tieups
Numerous exploitation possibilities exist in connection with Vitaphone shorts, and the company has made it a point to cooperate with exhibitors desiring to take advantage of these opportunities. . . .
Syndication of a comic strip based on "Looney Tunes" has been arranged through a Los Angeles newspaper syndicate. In addition there will be "Bosko" and "Honey" dolls, paint books and novelties. "Bosko" clubs also have been launched.

Issue Hand Coloring Book On "Flip the Frog" Series
Characters in the "Flip the Frog" series of animated cartoons produced by Celebrity Productions for M-G-M have now been recreated in coloring book form for children. This book which measures 10¾ x 15½ inches consists of 16 pages, many of which are in full color giving the child splendid guide for coloring the additional pictures which it contains. The publisher is the Saalfield Manufacturing Co., Akron, O. Copies are now on sale in 5 and 10 cent stores and department stores throughout the country at 10 cents each.
Exhibitors wishing to use to book as a give-away-premium are privileged to order quantities directly from the manufacturer at wholesale prices, $9 a gross or 75 cents a dozen.



AESOP FABLE ACCESSORIES NOW RECEIVING WIDE SALE
Accounts handling the sale of "Aesop's Fables" doll and toy accessories now total over 900, including the largest department and chain store outlets in the country.
Originally starting with a line of dolls patterned after the cartoon characters appearing in the films, this accessory tie-up now includes children's handkerchief books in which the characters are printed in color on the handkerchiefs and outlines of the characters are printed in black and white on another page of the book for the children to fill in the colors. There is also a novelty line for the home including hot pot holders for the kitchen, printed material for children's dresses, belts, caps, etc.

Power of Suggestion
John Foster, head of the RKO Van Beuren cartooning staff, wondered what had struck several members of his animating staff recently when an epidemic of absent-mindedness seemed to settle on the department. When it was time to start work it was found that pencils had not been sharpened, nor any of the hundred and one preparations made in order that getting down to the business of making animated cartoons could begin. The cause at first could not be learned, but finally it came to light that the artists were working on the new Tom and Jerry picture tentatively titled "Plumb Dumb," in which these two characters take the part of plumbers, and so absorbed had the artists become in their atmosphere that the absent-minded plumber gag failed to be a joke in the eyes of Foster whose business it is to see that pictures are turned out on schedule. The boys were asked to please put their atmosphere in their drawings, but not to actually live the parts.

April 3, 1932
Farmer Al Returns
Van Beuren Corp. will soon bring Farmer Al Falfa back to the limelight in the Aesop's Fables cartoon series. Farmer Al Falfa led the Fables cast of characters for more than eight years and returns to the screen after an absence of almost two years. A story is now being prepared to include this human character in the Fables animal setting which will be ready for release within a month. Farmer Al will appear prominently in future releases of this series.

April 17, 1932
Frank Marsales, musical director of the Harman-Ising Studios, which produces "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," in association with Leon Schlesinger, is a wrestling enthusiast. He is hoping the proposed "Strangler" Lewis-Jimmy Londos match will be staged in Los Angeles.

April 19, 1932
FLEISCHER TO ATTEND
Max Fleischer, producer of animated cartoons for Paramount release, has been invited to attend the company's annual sales convention in Los Angeles. He leaves with the New York delegation on May 1.

April 21, 1932
Amkino Will Release Newsreel and Shorts
Amkino will release a Russian newsreel and a series of 26 shorts including cartoons, scenics, songs and novelties, Roman Rebush, in charge of distribution, stated yesterday. Weekly newsreel releases begin May 15 and cover Russian subjects. The shorts will be in one and two reels.

April 24, 1932
RENEW WITH POWERS
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—U. B. Iwerks and Walt Disney will continue to use Powers Cinephone recording for the coming season. Iwerks produces "Flip the Frog" and Disney's "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphonies."

April 25, 1932
DISNEY MOVES OFFICE
Walt Disney is moving his New York office from 1540 Broadway to 729 Seventh Ave. today.

April 26, 1932
Harman-Ising Studios, which produces "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," in association with Leon Schlesinger, have renewed the contracts of Robert Edmunds, head of the story department, and Isadore Freleng, chief of the art department.

May 3, 1932
Harman-Ising Expand
To meet production needs, Harman-Ising Productions have found it necessary to enlarge their quarters and have just leased the entire second floor of their present location at 5653 Hollywood Blvd. Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising are the creators of "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," which they are producing in association with Leon Schlesinger.

May 5, 1932
SUIT OVER "BETTY BOOP"
Claiming that the Betty Boop cartoon character used by Max Fleischer is an imitation of her, Helen Kane has filed suit for $250,000 in Supreme Court against Fleischer and Paramount.

June 7, 1932
Fleischer to Demonstrate Principles of Projection
First public demonstration of a portable device showing the principles of motion picture projection, particularly as it applies to cartoons, is planned by Max Fleischer at Gimbel's, Philadelphia, June 25. The machine, invented by the producer of cartoon shorts for Paramount, will be shown in New York in July. Fleischer will broadcast in connection with the Philadelphia demonstration.

June 8, 1932
Radio Names to Feature Fleischer Song Cartoons
Radio names will predominate in the list of stars to be used in Max Fleischer's 18 Screen Songs short subjects for Paramount release next season. Talent will include: Arthur Jarrett, Alice Joy, Rudy Vallee, William Tracy, Ethel Merman, Lillian Roth, Mills Brothers, Irene Bordoni, Miri and the Royal Samoans, Gus Edwards, Boswell Sisters, Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Melton. Fleischer is also making 18 Betty Boops for Paramount.

June 11, 1932
Betty Boop in Song
The song entitled "Betty Boop," written in honor of Max Fleischer's pert cartoon star, and published by the Famous Music Corp. several weeks ago, is becoming quite popular on the air. Rudy Vallee has presented the number In several of his radio programs and requests for permission to broadcast it have been received from Ben Bernie and his orchestra, Connie Boswell, the Thirty Minute Men, Freddie Rich's Orchestra, and Arthur Jarrett. The song is expected to increase the popularity of Betty Boop, who recently was elevated to stardom as the result of public demand, and who will appear in eighteen one-reel productions this season.

June 20, 1932
Robert Edmunds, for several years scenario editor of the Harman-Ising studios, which, in association with Leon Schlesinger, produces "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies," has resigned and is sailing for his home in England, where he will continue in the animated cartoon field. He is regarded as one of the most capable men in the field.

June 24, 1932
WHY DOES the animated cartoon hold its popularity throughout the years while every other type of picture rises and falls in cycles? . . . this question has been mulling through our bean for a long time . . . we figured that Max Fleischer, pioneer cartoon creator and developer, could tell us . . . his answer was "If you'll stroll through the cartoon plant with me, and absorb what you see, then you'll have the answer" . . . and here is just a glimpse of what we saw
• • • AN ENTIRE floor of a big office building devoted to cartoon creation . . . 18 Betty Boops and 18 Screen Songs a year this tight program keeping a staff of 50 to 100 people busy throughout the year . . . over 30 special mechanical appliances . . . most of them invented by Mister Fleischer himself for his animated process is radically different from any other being a mechanical engineer as well as a fine creative artist . . . darned unusual combination, that . . . he has 20 individual patents of his own on various cartoon systems and devices
• • • IT TAKES nine weeks to pack a completed cartoon up in the can from the time the scenario department starts with an idea . . . this department consists of highly specialized gag men who work entirely different from gag men on a Hollywood lot . . . who plan a gag to start and break in two to three minutes with regular actors . . . in cartoons a gag must start, develop and break in an average of 5 seconds . . . they must plan an average of 30 gags for each cartoon . . . figuring an audience response to about 10 . . . then they have a sure-fire animated
• • • ONLY SEVEN minutes screen time to play with yet every cartoon requires the detailed system of a regular studio production . . . music, dialogue, costumes, story treatment, direction . . . with a very tough problem of Visualization . . . for they cannot tell till they see the finished product on the screen . . . just how the production has gone over . . . the studio director sees the actors before him the action . . . the atmosphere gets the personal reaction . . . all this is denied the cartoon creator . . . he relies on Visualization and some special sixth sense that tells him whether he's on the right track or not
• • • TAKE THE remarkable case of Betty Boop . . . Cartoon Gal who rose from a lowly extra to a dazzling star . . . the audience reactions showed the unknown extra in insignificant bits had caught on . . . so they started grooming . . . her Mister Fleischer gave her a doll-like face with those baby eyes BUT also a mature figure with oo-la-la curves and a boudoir languor in her walk if you get what we mean . . . and Betty became an overnight hit . . . something Brand New in cartoon characterization . . . they talk of Betty around the Fleischer stude as if she were Greta Garbo . . . and she is to them . . . with a million dollars wrapped up in her com-hither eyes and sexy seductiveness . . . so that's why animateds hold their perennial appeal . . . they're short scientifically and cunningly created with humor, humanness, sure-fire gags clever art work . . . psychological appeal . . . directness . . . punch . . . action . . . they furnish a diversity of Entertainment in the shortest space of time.

Cartoon Comedy Ideas Still In Abundance
By PAUL TERRY

Co-Producer with Frank Moser of "Paul Terry-Toons"
BECAUSE of the countless number of ideas that suggest themselves during the course of a year to a producer of animated cartoons, no producer can make hard-set rules on the nature of his product, without running into the danger of missing some real bets.
During the current season, we hit upon the idea of giving an operatic flavor to three of our cartoons-“Jingle Bells," "Peg Leg Pete" The Mad and King." These struck such a responsive chord with the public that we will undoubtedly include about six made along these lines in our new season's line-up—that is, provided they continue to get the same splendid reception. Farmer Alfalfa, as the only human character in the cartoons, has proved popular; therefore, several of our new subjects will include this eccentric character.
With 26 new Terry-Toons to be released during the coming season, and the tremendous scope with which we have to work, it is certainly possible to inject sufficient variety to keep the series constantly fresh.
With the abundance of material to work with, there should never be any chance for any one angle to be overdone. Therefore, we are starting the new season with open minds. The audience reaction of each release will be carefully watched in order that each new subject will reflect the public's taste.

June 30, 1932
MICKEY MOUSE TOYS FOR S. A.
South American exhibitors showing Mickey Mouse cartoons distributed by United Artists will have the benefits of tieups similar to those in the U. S., as a result of arrangements whereby 25 manufacturers of Mickey toys in this country will extend their territory to include the southern continent, it is announced by Arthur W. Kelly of U. A.


January 3, 1932
"Red Headed Baby"
(Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 5605 7 mins.
Fine Song Cartoon
This belongs to the better than average class of musical cartoon shorts. It has a holiday atmosphere, with a big room full of toys taking on animation and disporting themselves to the tune of the popular song, "Red Headed Baby." Main plot concerns a doll, the "red head," who is kidnapped by a big spider and finally rescued by her soldier sweetheart. Action and musical harmony are of excellent quality.

"Noah's Outing"
Educational 7 mins.
Fine
A Paul Terry-Toon cartoon, with Noah having his troubles getting the gang of animals together for the journey in the Ark as the big rainstorm starts before the flood. The animal antics are gagged up with a lot of clever cartoon work, and altogether this is one of the best so far of this series.

January 10, 1932
"The Last Dance"
(Aesop's Fable Cartoon)
RKO Pathe 6 mins.
Slow
There is not much entertainment in this one. Devoid of logical continuity and with very few gags, it falls flat when it comes to laughs. The animals are cleverly drawn and synchronization is up to the average. It's about Waffles, the cat, who has to wait a long, long time for his sweetie to show up at a date. Waffles is consoled by a street clock that accompanies the cat as he paces up and down, anticipating his sweetie's arrival. Other animals are brought in, but fail to add laughs. Fables would do well to get some "cute" talkers for their animals.

"The Clown"
Universal 7 mins.
Okay
An Oswald cartoon, with the hero doing his stuff in the circus as a clown. He plays the part of rescuer to his sweetie, the bareback rider, with the circus owner acting as the villain. The cartoon is pepped up with a lot of exciting thrills that will please the kids.

"Minnie the Moocher" with Cab Calloway
Paramount 8 mins.
Swell
This Max Fleischer musical cartoon is one of the best turned out so far with the cute pen-and-ink star, Betty Boop, who seems to be getting more sexy and alluring each time, and her boy friend. Bimbo. The musical portion is supplied by Cab Calloway and his orchestra, and what these boys can't do to the "Minnie the Moocher" number isn't worth mentioning. Cab and his boys are shown only for a brief moment at the opening. Then a cartoon character, a big walrus with serpentine hips, performs the gyrations to the tune of the "Minnie" song. The effect is little short of a knockout, especially to those who are familiar with Cab's stuff on the radio or stage or night club. Betty Boop's part in the action concerns her running away from home because of her bad parents. With Bimbo she goes into a cave, where spooky figures and eerie noises give them such a scare that they beat it back home.

"On the Beach"
Columbia 6 mins.
Swell
Another pip cartoon number from the Walt Disney shops. In both idea and execution, it is far above average and should have little trouble throwing almost any audience into gales of laughter. The lively action revolves around a beach picnic, where Mickey and Minnie Mouse play host to some of their animal friends. A big black octopus comes up out of the ocean and proceeds to menace them, but they fight him back in way that provides plenty of comedy kicks for the audience.

"Any Rags"
(Fleischer Cartoon)
Paramount 6 mins
Fine Animated
Betty Boop, her friend Bimbo and Koko again provide a pleasant round of cartoon merriment in this Max Fleischer subject. Bimbo plays the role of an old clothes dealer going around with his cart picking up rags. With his cries of "Any rags" he attracts the attention of Betty Boop, who joins him in his travels around the streets. The rags come to life and cut some capers, with the cart finally running away and crashing, and presto being transformed into a cottage to house the couple. For musical accompaniment there is the popular number, "Ninety-nine Out of a Hundred."

January 24, 1932
"Peg Leg Pete"
(Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins.
Great
This is something new in animated cartoons. Paul Terry and Frank Moser have made a miniature opera, on the style of a Gilbert and Sullivan show with a clever musical score by P. A. Scheib. The action takes place aboard a pirate ship. A sweet little mouse is stolen by Peg Leg and taken aboard the craft. The hero mouse finally rescues his sweetheart but not before he battles with Pete and all the other terrible looking pirates. Gags are fine and the entire picture is done in opera style. It's a dandy.

"Sweet Jennie Lee"
(Screen Song)
Paramount 6 mins.
Okay
Popular melody, southern plantation capers and animated cartoon work are effectively combined in this entertaining short. The tuneful "Sweet Jennie Lee" is the theme song of the skit, with the usual bouncing ball antics following the first rendition. At the introduction a group of Negro cotton pickers are shown at work, and then doing their song and dance stuff under the moon. A very acceptable subject of its kind.

January 31, 1932
"Peg Leg Pete"
Educational 7 mins.
Pip Cartoon
A Paul Terry-Toon cartoon that strikes a New Note at last in the animated field. It is a complete tabloid operetta done in the Gilbert and Sullivan manner with a note of real burlesque that is refreshing and very funny. The heroine is captured by Peg Leg Pete, captain of the pirate ship. All the other pirates have peg-legs. too. The lyrics tell the plot in regular opera style. The musical score was written specially for this offering by Philip A. Scheib, and it is of a quality that would do credit to a regular musical comedy. This one is miles ahead of the average routine cartoon that follows the worn-out animal antics. It has class, originality, and a high grade of comedy.

"My Baby Just Cares for Me"
(Screen Song)
Paramount 6 mins.
Okay
Although the introductory cartoon animation is just so-so, the dancing ball sequence and subsequent action make this Max Fleischer song short a fairly entertaining bit. It starts out with one of the characters sprucing up and feeding his horse, then riding it to a merry-go-round, where the animal takes its place among the carousel figures, and the singing begins. A young girl does a song and dance opening for the singing ball action, with other voices joining in the chorus, and then there is some more merry-go-round stuff.

February 7, 1932
"A Romeo Monk"
RKO 6 mins.
Good Aesop Fable
In a jungle setting, the monk principal in this animated cartoon gets all spruced out and goes on the make. But he is rebuffed in his very first attempt to make a conquest, so he turns a box and a frying pan into a radio and tunes in on a series of melodious and amusing musical numbers performed by jungle animal groups. This draws a slick hippo damsel to his side, and after some tussling with her the monk winds up with the bimbo his own size.

"Crazy Town"
(Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 6 mins.
Swell
Max Fleischer's pulchritudinous Betty Boop and her boy friend Bimbo hand out another round of enjoyable cartoon antics in this nonsensical number. It concerns a town in which everything is done backward or upside down. When folks get on a train, their destination comes to them, instead of the train moving. Fish fly in the air, zoo animals have their voices twisted, and other incidents are similarly topsy-turvy. Popular musical numbers are interspersed with the action, which contains plenty of novelty.

February 14, 1932
Tom and Jerry in "Rabid Hunting" [sic]
Average Cartoon
RKO 6 mins
In this Van Beuren animated cartoon comedy the principal characters, Tom and Jerry, go hunting for rabbits. After chasing a little animal through a long series of nonsensical antics, they bring it to earth, only to have the rascal take off his rabbit skin and reveal himself as a skunk, which quickly puts the hunters to rout. Rates as average number of its kind.

"Pagan Moon"
Vitaphone 7 mins.
Poor
A "Merrie Melodies" cartoon, that rates poor, with some animated technique that seems outdated. The hero cartoon character woos his sweetie with jazz melodies on his violin, and lands up at the bottom of the ocean where he chases his lost instrument. Here he encounters adventures with the giant fishes and an octopus. Old stuff that has been done many times before.

February 21, 1932
The Round the Towners Quartette in "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie"
Paramount 7 mins.
Swell Song Cartoon
Another of the delightful Max Fleischer screen song creations. The quartette appears first in tuxedos, then go into old-time costumes to coincide with the date of the theme song, winding up with a flashback to the present day. In between these scenes the cartoon comedy takes place, with Betty Boop and her boy friend Bimbo going out to the skating pond for a few highjinks. Cleverly conceived bits, along with the tuneful song stuff, make it a thoroughly enjoyable reel.

February 28, 1932
"Fire, Fire"
M-G-M 6 mins.
Neat Cartoon
A Flip the Frog cartoon. Consisting of fun at the local fire department in a small town. Flip and his gang turn out for a fire alarm, and go through a lot of funny antics trying to put out the blaze in a house. Flip endeavors to rescue the heroine on the top floor, and encounters a lot of difficulties that work up considerable merriment.

March 6, 1932
"Freddy the Freshman"
(Merrie Melody Animated Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins.
One of the fastest and funniest musical cartoons turned out so far by the Leon Schlesinger shop. With the current popular song number, "Freddie the Freshman," for the vocal background, the action takes place in a collegiate atmosphere with some dormitory pranks followed by a travestied football game between two aggregations of animated characters, knocking out laughs galore.

March 13, 1932
"When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along"
(Screen Song)
Paramount 7 mins.
Swell
A front line subject of its kind. It's one of the Max Fleischer screen song series, with the usual cartoon antics built around the popular old-time song. The dancing ball business is very clever and the number as a whole is a lively affair that will find gleeful acceptance anywhere.

"Ten Dollars or Ten Days"
"Ye Olde Songs"
Educational 6 mins.
Good Cartoon
A Paul Terry-Toon featuring a variety of old songs, with the cartoon hero introducing them in his stage act. Then the motif of the songs is worked out in animated action. The original musical score of Philip A. Scheib as usual lifts this above the average run of cartoon subjects.

March 20, 1932
"Beau and Arrows"
(Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins.
Just Fair
Oswald appears as a fearless wild west rider leading a caravan across the desert. Indians surround the pioneers and steal Oswald's sweetheart. Then starts a back-and-forth bombardment which is fast but not particularly funny or clever. Drawings are well handled, but new gags are lacking. Synchronization is okay.

March 27, 1932
"Crosby, Columbo and Vallee"
Vitaphone 7 mins.
Lively Cartoon
A Merrie Melodie cartoon, with the animated figures as tiny Indians. The hero chief woos the girl with a radio, from which come the crooning of the three air palpitators, Crosby, Columbo and Vallee. Makes a tuneful number, with the usual animated antics.

"Radio Girl"
Educational 7 mins.
Lively
A pleasing Paul Terry-Toon with Philip A. Scheib's special musical scoring keeping it pepped up. The cartoon hero is in love with a radio voice, and in a spectacular fire, performs a novel rescue over the air waves. Nice cartoon work, and a lively number.

"Fly Frolic"
(Aesop's Fable)
RKO 7 mins.
Not Much
This is a sort of a Jekyll and Hyde theme reversed. A horrible spider, who has captured a sweet little lady fly, takes her to his underground laboratory and there mixes and drinks a concocton that changes him into a debonnaire gentleman. An army of man-flys breaks into the spider's den and savps the frightened girl fly. The snider and his growls and foamings may scare the kids rather than amuse them.

April 3, 1932
Tom and Jerry in "Joint Wipers"
RKO 7 mins.
Good Cartoon
As a pair of plumbers, Tom and Jerry, the Van Beuren animated cartoon characters, answer a call from a top floor apartment where a pipe is leaking. They monkey around until the place becomes flooded, and the water gradually washes down the entire building, leaving only the pipe-work and bath tubs standing, like a tree with a lot of funny branches. Finally Tom and Jerry tumble down to the ground themselves with the tubs.

April 10, 1932
"What A Life"
(Flip the Frog Cartoon)
M-G-M 7 mins.
Clicks
A Flip the Frog cartoon, with the two buddies doing a sidewalk musical act, but getting in bad with the cop, who chases them into his wife's apartment. Later he discovers them there, with disastrous consequences to the two heroes. Clever animated work, and a real story sequence for a change—in cartoons. Should please the grown-ups as well as the kiddies.

April 17, 1932
"Magic Art"
Radio 7 mins.
Good Cartoon
An Aesop cartoon fable, with the funny cat having some wild experiences with his friend, who is a magician in art. He creates all kinds of animals from drawings, which lead the hero into a variety of funny and novel adventures. The cartoon work is very good, and the animated moves fast.

"Bosco's Party"
(Looney Tune)
Vitaphone 7 mins.
Good
An entertaining animated cartoon. Bosco brings a flock of his animal friends to Honey's house, where they throw her a surprise birthday party, raising a lot of lively rumpus.

"What a Knight"
(Krazy Kat Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins.
Okay
A satisfactory animated. Krazy goes to the dentist for a tooth extraction. The doc gives him gas, and Krazy goes into a dream while the tooth-yanker works on him. Krazy is in the middle of a necking party with a swell bimbo just as the dentist brings him to, so the smart kat reaches for the gas and puts himself back into the trance.

April 24, 1932
"Let's Eat"
(Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins.
Okay
A lively cartoon, with Oswald and his dog marooned in a mountain cabin, and nothing to eat. Their adventures with a fishing trip through the ice form the comic animation, winding up with a polar bear after their fish catch, and nothing to eat after all their efforts. Up to the usual entertainment value of this series.

"Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"
(Screen Song)
Paramount 6 mins.
Good
Les Reis and Artie Dunn, the radio pair, are featured in this Max Fleischer screen song with animated cartoon interpolations and the usual dancing ball routine. It is up to standard, with good vocal work and amusing ingenuity in the art work. Reis and Dunn are dressed in uniform, while the cartoon sequences deal with army camp life.

May 1, 1932
"The Bird Store"
Columbia 7 mins.
Unusual
A Silly Symphony cartoon, with all the action taking place in a bird store. The various species of birds are shown in their cages, engaging in a vocal harmony, each bird singing with lifelike fidelity to the original. The theme is that of a little bird getting loose, a cat after it, and the dismay and terror of his parents registered vocally and in animated action, along with that of all the other birds. It's a swell combination of musical accompaniment with unusual story interest for a cartoon.

"The Mad Dog"
Columbia 7 mins.
Clicks
A Mickey Mouse cartoon, which is one of the fastest-action animateds ever produced. Mickey tries to wash his dog, but the animal gets frantic with the fleas, and goes tearing through the town. The dog-catcher has him cornered, and is about ready to shoot, when Mickey saves his pal and gets back to home and safety. Just as exciting as a wooly western meller—and funnier, of course.

"Barnyard Olympics"
Columbia 7 mins.
Okay
A very ingenious Mickey Mouse cartoon, with the barnyard animals all competing in athletic games. The gags are as clever as they are comical, finishing with an obstacle race. Mickey comes in under the tape the winner by a slight margin after the villain has pulled a line of tricks to try and defeat him. As usual, this Walt Disney animated stands out for its thoroughness in working up the novelty gags, and the funny cartoon antics of the various animal performers.

May 8, 1932
“Jingles"
Dist. not set 7 mins.
Fine Color Novelty
This animated cartoon in color, produced by Fairmount Pictures and being shown currently on the bill at the Little Carnegie Playhouse, is a distinctive and highly enjoyable novelty. To the accompaniment of Mendelssohn's "Spring Song," there are shown a variety of oddly shaped bugs, butterflies, frogs and other strange creations of nature doing their spring awakening act. Besides being comical in conception, the effectiveness of the bright colors and the excellent musical synchronization make the short a wholly entertaining affair and something very different. It's a genuine novelty for any bill.

"The Betty Boop Limited"
(Talkartoon)
Paramount 7 mins.
Nifty Animated
Betty Boop, the shapely little animated cartoon creation from the Max Fleischer shops, appears this time as the leader of a troupe of animal entertainers who are bound for the South. Opening to the tune of "When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'," the action first offers some monkeyshines in connection with getting the train on its way. Then during the ride Betty puts the performers through a rehearsal, with Bettv herself singing a boop-a-doop number. Bimbo doing some juggling and others offering musical and novelty bits. All very snappy, melodious and genuinely entertaining, with the clever cartoon work jacking up the comedy in good style. An excellent subject of its kind.

"Romance"
Educational 7 mins.
Okay
The gangster films are kidded in this Paul Terry-Toon, with the hero trying to save his animated heroine from the wiles of the gangster chief and his hoodlum pang. It moves fast and funnily through a series of sensational gangster incidents with fine scoring by Philip A. Scheib adding an appropriate musical accompaniment.

May 15, 1932
"Admission Free"
(Talkartoon)
Paramount 7 mins.
Good Animated
Betty Boop and her boy friends have a penny arcade as the scene of their antics this time. Betty is the cashier who changes the customer's big coins into small ones, while Bimbo and the others are the patrons who come in and do funny things with the stereopticon, slot machines, punching bags, shooting gallery, etc. After a brief stay in the arcade, where the opportunities were far from fully realized. Bimbo takes a run out into the country where he continues his tomfoolery with squirrels and others. Betty Boop's usual baby-voiced vocalizing is part of the entertainments.

"Tuba Tooters"
(Tom and Jerry Cartoon)
RKO 7 mins.
Swell Animated
This clever animated cartoon is built around the catchy march song "Schultz Is Back Again." Schultz, a fat, red-faced German character, is met at the pier by several of his brass-band cronies. He arrives carrying a huge tuba which he plays throughout the running of the picture. Everyone in town seems to celebrate the tuba player's return, and among the crowd are Tom and Jerry, who lead the parade. The reel is filled with laughable gags, all drawn and sounded in perfect synchrony with the music. The reel starts with a swing and never lets up for a second. John Foster and George Stallings, the animators, and Gene Rodemich, the musical director, have turned out a release that compares favorably with the best.

"Spring Antics"
(Aesop's Fable)
RKO 8 mins.
Good Cartoon
This is a story of an optimistic duck which, as soon as the snow stops falling, calls the animals out to celebrate the advent of spring. There is much joy and dancing but after awhile the skies grow dull and snow returns. The final fadeout finds all the disillusioned animals chasing the optimistic duck. Animation is excellent and the svnchronization is about the best Fables has turned out. Many new gags.

June 11, 1932
"Moonlight for Two" (Merrie Melodic Cartoon)
With romance in the winter air the w. k. cartoon pair caper over the countryside, doing plenty of insane things which produce laughs Eventually they wind up at a barn dance, attended by a motley crowd of animals. The gal's irate papa arrives with a shotgun and sets up her sweetie but a red-hot stove burns him up. It's entertainment.

June 18, 1932
"The Mad King" Educational 7 mins. Very Good
A Paul Terry-Toon which is a swell kidding of the opera technique. The Mad King is the tyrant cat, who has the mouse heroine locked in the dungeon of his castle. The mouse mob, who are the common people, get together to overthrow the tyrant and his armored knights, storm the castle and hero mouse rescues the gal with glory. Original musical score and libretto give this cartoon a lot of dignity and class. Scored and conducted by Philip A. Scheib.

Ethel Merman in "You Try Somebody Else" (Screen Song)
Paramount 9 mins. Good
A Max Fleischer bouncing ball singing short. Ethel Merman, hot crooner who has already scored in shorts as well as on the radio and stage, supplies the chief vocal motivation for the theme song, which is surrounded with the usual cartoon trimmings.

June 25, 1932
"Cocky Cockroach"
Educational 7 mins. Lively
A lively animated Terry-Toon recounting the adventures of hero cockroach saving his darling from the spider villain. The cartoon is done in the heroic manner of grand opera and also melodrama, and is very amusing. The musical scoring by Philip Scheib is original for this opus, and helps to put it over with class.

3 comments:

  1. Mike Kazaleh22 June 2013 19:33

    That cartoon from Fairmont Pictures sounds like The Mendelssohn Spring Song cartoon by Cy Young (spelled "SY" on the film) filmed in "Brewster Color."

    Here's a cruddy youtube copy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgRu2CRFJYY

    ReplyDelete
  2. In 1932, Terrytoons were not being released to theaters by Fox Film, but rather directly by Educational Film Exchanges, Inc. Educational had a national system of exchanges like the major companies such as MGM and Paramount. When forced to reorganize in early 1933, at the very bottom of the Depression, the bankers at Chase required Educational to close its exchanges and release its product through another of their troubled clients, Fox.

    ReplyDelete
  3. According to the book Walt before Mickey, Robert Edmunds was actually
    deported after it was found out he jumped ship while as a seaman. Apparently he did come back to the United States in the late 1930's.

    ReplyDelete