Saturday, 20 July 2013

Let's All Make Silly Symphonies, 1934

It’s a little difficult being forward-thinking when you’re copying what’s been done before. That almost sums up the animated cartoon industry in the early part of 1934.

Walt Disney had an almost unbelievable hit with “The Three Little Pigs.” It was given the Academy Award. Theatres wouldn’t stop running it. Disney decided to do more barnyard stories featuring what it hoped would be a “Big Bad Wolf”-type hit song. And with lots of colour. Other studios followed with their own colour series of fairy tale. In the first half of 1934, Paramount (Color Classics, from Fleischer), RKO (Rainbow Parades, from Van Beuren) and M-G-M (Happy Harmonies, from Harman-Ising) all announced they were, essentially, tagging along behind Uncle Walt and Pat Powers (first of the imitators with ComiColors, from Ub Iwerks). Screens were choked with them. No wonder a new director named Tex Avery at Leon Schlesinger’s studio rebelled against these kinds of shorts only a few years later.

In leafing through the pages of The Film Daily for late 1933/early 1934, one is a little dumbstruck to realise just how huge “The Three Little Pigs” was. Depression-bit theatres eagerly programmed bills entirely of Disney cartoons. Audiences don’t seem to have been able to get enough.

There were other developments in early 1934 affecting several cartoon studios. One has to chuckle at the blarney spouted by Powers. He announced in March that all the cartoons made at the Iwerks studio would be released on a states-rights basis—not exactly the first choice of any producer—and blamed the NRA code. Powers was being disingenuous. He didn’t mention the fact that MGM, which had been releasing the Iwerks’ “Willie Whopper” cartoons, had signed a deal almost two months earlier with Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising to make cartoons. Oddly, The Film Daily doesn’t mention the deal at the time it happened. However, The Hollywood Reporter of January 26, 1934 stated that the deal “pending for several months” was being concluded. Say what you want about Powers, but his sales team got independent theatres to play the ComiColors and dutifully reported signings to the trade press, where he took out some very attractive ads.

And Van Beuren had settled on its new studio head. Who better to wipe away the smell of failure that accompanied its “Amos ‘n’ Andy” series than the man who directed the Best Cartoon in the Whole Wide World—Burt Gillett? Soon, black-and-white stars Cubby Bear and Soglow’s The Little King were replaced by, well, more flops and more new series.

Speaking of the NRA Code, some provisions respecting cartoon studios were revealed in the pages of The Film Daily. If you wonder why cartoon unions formed, this may give you a good idea.

5. Employees in the Production of Animated Motion Picture Cartoons
The maximum hour week shall not apply to employees of producers of animated motion picture cartoons in the following classifications:—
A. Animators.
B. Assistant animators.
C. Cartoon photographers.
D. Story and music department employees.
5-A. Special Rule for Cartoon Tracers and Opaquers
The working hours of tracers and opaquers shall be limited to 44 hours in any one week. If there is an emergency, they may work longer hours.

So let’s pass on news and cartoon reviews from the pages of The Film Daily for the first six months of 1934. Not every cartoon booking is mentioned and a few vague items about releases have been omitted.

January 2, 1934
ComiColor Series Sold Abroad
Deals have been closed by Charles J. Giegerich, sales manager of Celebrity Productions, with Captain Vandal of Paris for the foreign distribution of the Powers "ComiColor Cartoon" series in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Italy. Contracts were also consummated for Japan, India, Burma and Ceylon.

January 3, 1934
Phil M. Daly’s column
Literally millions of toys representing cartoon characters were sold . . . The latest to crash the merchandise fields is Soglow's "Little King," now being made by Van Beuren and distributed by RKO . . . the Royal Comic's funny form was to be seen on compacts . . . book covers . . . greeting cards . . . and, both Macy's and Bloomingdale's featured window displays of "Little King" liquor glasses.

January 5, 1934
Phil M. Daly’s column
Cartoon shorts will take another technical step forward with the release of Amos 'n' Andy in "The Wrastlin' Match" which goes into most of the RKO circuit houses starting Saturday . . . it was made by Van Beuren and brings to life the radio characters . . . the Kingfish, Brother Crawford, Madam Queen . . . and the others . . . with the actual voices of the two blackface comics carefully synchronized with the lip movements of the cartoon characters.

January 10, 1934
11th Week for "3 Pigs"
Cincinnati — Walt Disney's porcine stars go into their 11th consecutive week at the Terminal Theater here.

January 11, 1934
Ralph Wilk’s column
"The Little Red Hen," second subject in the P. A. Powers "ComiColor Cartoon" series, was completed this week by Ub Iwerks at the Animated Pictures Corp. studio. Arrangements are being made for simultaneous first showings of this new color cartoon in New York and Los Angeles.

55 Prints on "Beanstalk"
To supply metropolitan area bookings on "Jack and the Beanstalk," first of the ComiColor Cartoons produced by P. A. Powers' Celebrity Pictures, a total of 55 prints were used by Principal, it is stated. Skouras, Century, Randforce and Trans-Lux houses are now playing the cartoon short.

January 12, 1934
Coming and Going
LEON SCHLESINGER, producer of "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons, released through Vitaphone, is in town, stopping at the Hotel Astor. He will return to Hollywood in about a week.

January 14, 1934
Series of Color Shorts For New Para. Program
Paramount's 1934-35 short subject program will include a new series of color cartoons known as "Color Classics," produced by Max Fleischer. A minimum of six subjects is planned and the group may run as high as 12 pictures. Lou Diamond, in charge of short subject production, will go to the Coast late this month to confer with Emanuel Cohen, company's production head, on next year's shorts program.

January 16, 1934
Walt Disney Joins Hays Association
Walt Disney, producer of "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" animated cartoons released through United Artists, has become a member of the Hays organization.

Poor Richard Club Honors Disney
Philadelphia—Walt Disney will be honored by the Poor Richard Club tomorrow, when he is awarded that organization's gold medal for the outstanding achievement of 1933 at a banquet in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Eddie Cantor will act as Disney's proxy in receiving the medal

84% of Territory Sold
Celebrity's "ComiColor Cartoons" are now being served in 84 per cent of the U. S. territory, according to Charles J. Giegerich, sales manager.

January 23, 1934
Ralph Wilk column
"The Brave Tin Soldier," third of the P. A. Powers "ComiColor Cartoon" series, will have about 25 per cent more scenes in it than the average subject of its kind, the animators claim.

Charles Alicote column
Otto Soglow, fresh from his triumphs of impersonating his own pen creation, the "Little King," at society's Peacock ball, is now in the midst of creating gags for the sixth of his RKO Van Beuren series of animated cartoon shorts featuring the antics of the merry monarch.

Kids' Cartoon Matinee Clicks
Canton, O.—L. Ward Farrar, new manager of Loew's, sprung a surprise on downtown theaters when he announced a 10 o'clock Saturday morning cartoon show for kids. House was capacity, despite the quarter admission, highest yet here for a kid show.

January 23, 1934
Grownups Swamp Kiddie Matinees
Kiddie matinees being conducted extensively in Loew houses, with programs consisting of Walt Disney cartoon shorts, have shown surprising results in drawing out the grownups as well. Outstanding instance occurred at Loew's Parkway, Wilmington, Del., on Saturday, when 1,500 kids and adults were turned away by Manager George A. Jones. Though the show was arranged for children only, about 600 adults sought admission, but adults without children were barred. With doors scheduled to open at 10 A.M., by 8 o'clock there was a line four deep and five blocks long. There was so much crying among the kids turned away that Jones will repeat the performance this week. He also is considering a Walt Disney show for adults. Before the Parkway was taken over by Loew under Jones' management, it was a "white elephant" for years.

January 25, 1934
Ralph Wilk column
Animated Pictures Studio, producing the "Powers ComiColor" and "Willie Whopper" cartoon series, has completed the re-arrangement of its working forces according to plans agreed upon by Ub Iwerks and P. A. Powers. Under the new set-up, the force of 40 animators is divided into four separate production units, headed by two key animators and a gag man. These units are on a competitive basis for a prize that has been set up for the production of the best cartoon of the season. This competitive arrangement, it is believed, will result in maintaining the highest possible quality in both series of pictures being produced under the supervision of Ub Iwerks.

January 26, 1934
Charles Alicote column
PAUL TERRY, co-producer with Frank Moser of Educational's Terry-Toons, states that a new technique in cartoon story development will be introduced in their latest release, "The Three Bears." Unique in the cartoon, it approaches more closely than anything the "narratage" created by William K. Howard in "Power And The Glory," except that in "The Three Bears," which doesn't take itself seriously, the central character (the father bear) has a set-to with the narrator over the manner in which the narrative is being handled.

January 30, 1934
Add Four Cartoon Celebs
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Emil Offeman, general manager of Animated Pictures Corp., producing the new Powers ComiColor and Willie Whopper cartoons in color, has made four prominent additions to the production staff. They include Tom McNamara, well-known in the cartoon world and formerly with Roach's "Our Gang" comedies; Earl Hurd, who was political cartoonist on the Kansas City "Post" and later drew comics for the "Telegram"; William Wheeler, who now has a syndicated strip, "Kuriosity Kate," and Bob Stokes, formerly in charge of the Life Drawing Department of the Chouinart School of Art.

Harry Cohen Will Handle Eastern End on Cartoons
Harry Cohen, formerly assistant European general manager for Warners, has been appointed eastern representative by P. A. Powers for the M-G-M unit producing Ub Iwerks's "Willie Whopper" and "Flip the Frog" series. First of the Willie Whoppers, "Davy Jones' Locker," was shown at the Capitol last week in connection with "Eskimo."

February 10, 1934
Gets Writ on Betty Boop Dolls
Max Fleischer, maker of the Betty Boop cartoons, has been granted an injunction by Federal Judge John M. Woolsey restraining Freundlich, Inc., from manufacturing dolls based on the cartoon character.

February 13, 1934
Phil M. Daly’s column
those delightful English censors at first turned down Universal's cartoon, "Chicken Reel" . . . with the following charming comment . . . "The parentage suggestion must be deleted." . . . the reason being that a WHITE hen in the cartoon gives birth to a BLACK duckling!

ComiColor Cartoon's 100% Showing
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Los Angeles—Beginning March 3 "Jack and the Beanstalk," a Powers ComiColor Cartoon distributed by Celebrity Productions, will start a 100 per cent exhibition engagement in this area. It is booked in every West Coast Theater in Los Angeles, Glendale and Pasadena.

February 23, 1934
Audio Productions, Inc., Expanding Its Activities
To accommodate increased activity in the trick photography and animation field, Audio Productions, Inc., has moved its production headquarters from the Bronx to the Fox studios on 56th St. John Foster, formerly in charge of animation and cartoon work for Van Beuren, is in charge of animation. Alex Gansell, formerly with Visugraphic Pictures and Ufa, also has been added to the staff. Another appointment is Edwin Ludig, for 14 years with David Belasco, as musical director.

February 28, 1934
First Vitaphone Color Cartoon
"Honeymoon Hotel," first of the Vitaphone cartoon comedies in color, will be released shortly. It will be one of the Merrie Melodies series.

Ann Little Appearing in Ohio
Canton, O.—Ann Little of the Betty Boop cartoons is making personal appearances in eastern Ohio through arrangement with Max Fleischer studios and Paramount Pictures.

Phil M. Daly’s column
• • • AFTER ALL these years . . . it has occurred to one producer to capitalize a fundamental and universal human appeal . . . rooted in humanity for centuries . . . that colors every child's life . . . and lingers with 'em to old age . . . the Fairy Story . . . so we have the P. A. Powers Celebrity Productions' cartoons known as ComiColor . . . what success these new cartoon are enjoying is due not only to the clever treatment of head cartoonist Ub Iwerks . . . but to the fact that he sticks close to the actual Fairy Tale as we all learned it in childhood . . . so when we see it on the screen it is like meeting a long lost friend . . . it has an immediate appeal to grownups as well as the kids . . . Walt Disney set the vogue in colored cartoons . . . the public is educated up to 'em . . . and wants more than any one producer can supply . . . and the letters from exhibs being received at the exchanges support that conclusion.

March 1, 1934
Gene Rodemich Dead
Gene Rodemich, formerly musical director for Van Beuren and one of the youngest musical directors on the radio, died late Tuesday night at the Medical Arts Center of pneumonia. He is survived by his widow, a son and a daughter. Funeral services will be held at 11:15 A. M. tomorrow at 1883 Palmer Ave., Larchmont.

John C. Terry Dies in Florida
John C. Terry, newspaper comic strip artist, brother of Paul Terry and himself a pioneer in the production of animated cartoons, died Tuesday night in Coral Gables, Fla. Body was cremated and the remains shipped to California yesterday. His widow and three children survive.

Phil M. Daly’s column
• • • ON SUNDAY nite [March 4] Walt Disney will be interviewed over WEAF, his first time on the air.

March 6, 1934
Nine Shorts Nominated For Academy Awards
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Short subjects nominated for consideration in the awards to be made by the Academy on March 16 are as follows:
Cartoons: "Building a Building" (Disney); "Merry Old Soul" (Walter Lantz-Universal), and "Three Little Pigs" (Disney).

March 10, 1934
Hoffberg Also in Domestic Field
In addition to its export business, J. H. Hoffberg Co. is building up a domestic distribution business on features and shorts. The company has five American features, five in Spanish, and several series of Spanish and American shorts including the Fatty Layman comedies and Goofy Gus cartoons.

March 12, 1934
M-G-M Signs to Release U. A. Product in S. Africa
Distribution of United Artists releases, including Walt Disney shorts, in South Africa will be handled by M-G-M under a deal just closed between Arthur W. Kelly, vice-president in charge of foreign distribution for U. A., and M-G-M executives.

March 15, 1934
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Best Shorts .. Three Little Pigs (Disney), So This is Harris (RKO), Krakatoa (Educational).

March 20, 1934
Interstate to Give More Attention to Shorts
Dallas—Besa Belk Short, who has been publicity director of the Majestic, has been appointed short subject booker for Interstate Theaters, inaugurating an office said to be unique in the history of circuits.

March 20, 1934
Frank Sherman Dies
Frank Sherman, one of the head animators for Van Beuren cartoons, died Tuesday at his home 131 Harrison St., East Orange, N. J., from complications which set in following an injury to his knee. Funeral arrangements will be announced today.

March 28, 1934
P. A. Powers to Release Shorts Independently
Claiming that the NRA code restrictions so limit the number of shorts that major companies can arbitrarily sell with their features that a considerable reduction in shorts sales by major companies will result, P. A. Powers told Film Daily yesterday that for the 1934-35 season he will release 24 color cartoons entirely through the independent market. Powers' company, Celebrity Pictures, is now releasing the "Willie Whopper" cartoon series through M-G-M.
Next season Powers will produce 12 ComiColor Fairy Story cartoons, six musical cartoons and six cartoon thrillers.

April 5, 1934
Plans 12 Cartoons in Color
Exhibitors Pictures Corp. will produce a series of twelve cartoons in natural color, according to M. Kleinerman, president. The first one of this series, tentatively titled "The Bull Fight," will be released April 10.

April 7, 1934
Bert Gillette Joins Van Beuren
Bert Gillette, formerly a director of animation for Walt Disney, has joined the Van Beuren Corp. as head of the animated cartoon department.

All-Color for Powers Program in 1934-35
FOR the 1934-35 season Celebrity Productions will make at least 19 cartoons, all in color. Thirteen of these will be a second series of Powers ComiColor Cartoon; and six will be a first series of a new line of "Thrill" cartoons, the title of which will be announced later. The new "Powers ComiColor" series will all be adaptations of world-famous fairy tales and universally known folklore fantasies, with symphonic musical backgrounds. The subject matter for the six "Thrill" cartoons is now being especially prepared and no announcement of its nature will be made until at least two subjects have been completed. For 1934-35 all of Celebrity's product will be released on the independent market.

Powers Output on Schedule
The total of 19 cartoons from Celebrity Productions, this season have been produced or are in production in accordance with schedules. Twelve of these are on the M-G-M program, and six are being released on the independent market.
Of the Powers ComiColor series of six cartoon fairy tales in color, three have been released and three are in work for release at six-week intervals.
Seven "Willie Whopper" cartoons in black and white have already been delivered to M-G-M by Celebrity, and six more subjects are in various stages of production for current season release.

Miniature Press Sheets On Walt Disney Subjects
As an additional aid in helping showmen sell their Walt Disney "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" programs to the public on a scale similar to a feature, the United Artists publicity department is now making available separate miniature press sheets on each of the Disney short subjects.
Besides containing many exploitation suggestions, which have been tried and proven in tie-ups in New York City, each press sheet consists of an assortment of one and two column ad and publicity cuts, lobby material and an attractive array of publicity material suitable for local newspapers.
Among the other accessories offered in the Disney press sheets are sets of 8 x 10 stills, a stock one sheet, a special trailer and a colored 40 x 60 display.

Cartoons Have Kept Faith With Public
Producer of Educational's Terry-Toons

THE reason the animated cartoon has endured through two decades of motion picture production is that the producers of this type of entertainment have "kept faith with the public.” What I mean by "keeping faith with the public" is that the animated cartoon at its inception set out to provide clean, wholesome fun, suitable for the youngest minds, and it has never deviated from this plan.
In a course which followed the path of least resistance, there would be many situations which sacrificed wholesomeness for laughs. In this medium the opportunities for "crossing the borderline" are legion, but it would be fatal to animated cartoons to yield to this kind of temptation. Producers of animated cartoons must never—and need never—jeopardize the good will of parents. And, actually, I don't believe that in these many years a child has ever been cautioned against an animated cartoon by his mother.
The absolutely universal appeal of the animated cartoon proves conclusively that entertainment can be kept clean and still be entertainment; that, as a matter of fact, the bulk of the population does not want vulgarity or suggestiveness in its motion picture entertainment.
The high degree of creativeness in animated cartoons may be attributed to some extent to the fact that in steering clear of the obvious "low comedy" which often suggests itself, we have had to branch out in the development of humor. This, of course, is not easy, but its originality and freshness are the very life of the animated cartoon.

Another Disney Cartoon Getting Many Air Plugs
Leading radio orchestras have again resorted to Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies for music for the big spots on their programs. With the release of "The Grasshopper and the Ants," both the Ben Bernie program over WEAF on April 10 at 9:00 P. M. and the Jack Frost program over the same network on April 16 at 9:30 P. M. will feature songs from this latest United Artists release. Music from "The Grasshopper and the Ants" also was rendered on the Ray Perkins program yesterday.

30 Dept. Stores in Tieup On "The Big Bad Wolf"
Tieups in 30 key cities have been arranged between United Artists and leading stores on "The Big Bad Wolf," Disney cartoon sequel to "The Three Little Pigs." Window space, advertising and departmental displays are set with the following stores during the run of the short in their towns:
J. N. Adam & Co., Buffalo; L. S. Ayres & Co., Indianapolis; Block & Kuhl Co., Peoria; Boston Store, Milwaukee; J. L. Brandeis & Sons, Omaha; Brown Thomson, Inc., Hartford; The Dayton Co., Minneapolis; Fowler, Dick & Walker, Binghamton; Hahne & Co., Newark; Hochschild, Kohn & Co., Baltimore, J. L. Hudson Co., Detroit; Jordan-March Co., Boston; Lansburgh & Bro., Washington; B. Lowenstein & Bros., Memphis; Mandel Bros., Chicago; The Outlet Co., Providence; Rike-Kulmer Co., Dayton; Rollman & Sons Co., Cincinnati; Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney, St. Louis; Albert Steiger Co., Springfield, Mass.; Strawbridge & Clothier, Philadelphia; Wm. Taylor & Sons Co., Cleveland; Union Co., Inc., Columbus; Utica Clothing Co., Des Moines; John Taylor Dry Goods Co., Kansas City; A. Polsky Co., Akron; Halliburton-Abbott Co., Tulsa; Foley Dry Goods Co., Houston and A. Harris & Co., Dallas.

April 12, 1934
League of Nations Endorses Shorts for Kids
Geneva—Mickey Mouse cartoons and pictures based on the life of the ant or the bee, instead of love and underworld stories, are recommended for children by the League of Nations Committee on Child Welfare. Animated comedies, films of harmless fantasy, comics generally and authentic pictures of nature are among those favoured, according to views expressed yesterday. The committee is endeavoring to bring about a treaty to encourage producers to make more films for children.

April 17, 1934
Phil M. Daly column
• • • AND NOW our pal Mickey Mouse has gone humanitarian . . . in his own Mickey Mouse mag . . . getting the children throughout the Youessay to drink four glasses of milk daily . . . in the interests of their own health . . . the dairy farmers . . . and the National Dairies with whom the tieup is made. . .
• • • THE MAG is edited by Hal Horne . . . and is replete with interesting material . . . and gags, of course . . . which tickle the kids one shows Mickey on a weighing machine with a glass of milk in his hand . . . "Oh, boy, I'm drinking milk on a big scale!" . . . exclaims Mickey . . . or another . . . Mickey is on his knees balancing a bottle of milk on his nose while the other cartoon characters say in unison . . . "That's a well balanced food" . . . oh, well . . . we have seen grownups laff uproariously at such absurdities on the screen . . . and kids love absurdities. . .
• • • BUT THERE is no doubt that this li'l mag is bringing home to thousands of children everywhere . . . the advantages of the milk diet . . . leading stars of the various studios are cooperating with Mickey on his Milk Message . . . as well as national celebs . . . who have posed drinking milk . . . to help the good work along . . . this little mag has caught on . . . 720,000 monthly . . . going to 1,200,000 with the June issue . . . each issue is being designed to hit a particular field of child activity one recent number was dedicated to the Boy Scouts . . . with Dan Beard, national Scout Commissioner, plugging over the value of milk in an interview . . . . what a sweet tie-up this is! . . . and it can go on indefinitely.

April 20, 1934
Phil M. Daly column
• • • ON THE word of Lou Diamond . . . head of Paramount's short subject dep't . . . Max Fleischer's animated, "Popeye the Sailor," is going so big that it will make Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies as well as Betty Boop look to their laurels . . . exhibs in various sections are raving over this cartoon as if it were a smash feature . . . well, mebbe it is.

Closes Distribution Deals
Screen Attractions Corp., headed by M. Kleinerman, producing a series of 12 cartoon shorts in natural color, has signed with Masterpiece Film Attractions of Philadelphia for distribution in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia and Virginia, and with Tom Branon of Atlanta for Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.

April 21, 1934
Phil M. Daly column
• • • THE ART Workers Guild of London has paid a unique tribute to Walt Disney . . . by electing the creator of Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony an honorary member.

April 24, 1934
Shorts Bill at Paris Casino
Paris—A bill consisting entirely of Walt Disney cartoon comedies was offered recently at the Cine L'Auto, with successful results. Curtis Melnitz, United Artists advertising chief, supervised the campaign. It is the first all-Disney unit to be offered on the continent and appears to be slated for an indefinite run.

April 24, 1934
"Popeye" at the Roxy
"The Man on the Flying Trapeze," a "Popeye" cartoon distributed by Paramount, as well as Billy Costello, who is the original screen voice of "Popeye," will be on the bill opening Friday at the Roxy "Hotel Anchovy," Educational comedy starring the Three Ritz Brothers, also has been booked to supplement the feature, "Journal of a Crime."

April 25, 1934
Long Trial for Betty Boop
Trial of the suit brought by Helen Kane against Paramount and Max Fleischer studios is expected to last at least two weeks more in the New York State Supreme Court. The actress is alleging that the cartoon character, Betty Boop, caricatures her in violation of her civil rights and that it constitutes unfair competition. Louis Phillips is counsel for Paramount.

April 25, 1934
Phil M. Daly column
• • • ON THE premise that all good showmen are good advertising men . . . and being good advertising men accounts for their being good showmen . . . as Showmanship is merely another name for Salesmanship . . . and advertising being salesmanship in its most intensified form . . . Charles J. Giegerich as sales manager of Celebrity Productions has prepared a line of unique advertising matter on ComiColor Cartoons . . . in order to give good showmen worthwhile material to work with. . .
• • • IT CONSISTS of color lobby displays . . . one 22 x 28 and four 11 x 14s for each subject in the cartoon series . . . that are noteworthy because of their brilliancy of color . . . Eye Smashes in any showman's lobby . . . the color trick is achieved by using outline drawings with the colors filled in . . . this eliminates shadows usually present in still pictures ordinarily used for lobby displays . . . which result in muddy, dark or very indefinite colors . . . a small matter, you may say . . . but when you contrast the usual line with these ComiColor smashes . . . it is really startling . . . it is the kind of advertising innovation you expect on a feature . . . but here it is pushing over a cartoon series in a most impressive manner . . . so we are glad to nominate Mister Giegerich to our exclusive circle of gents who are Breaking Away from the Routine Methods of Yesterday.

May 7, 1934
Helen Kane Loses Suit
Helen Kane lost her $250,000 suit against Paramount and Max Fleischer on Saturday, when Supreme Court Justice E. J. McGoldrick held that she had failed to prove the defendants wrongfully appropriated her singing and acting style in the Betty Boop cartoons.

May 10, 1934
Disney Awarded Medal
For his service to art in the production of animated cartoons, Walt Disney this week was presented with a gold medal by the American Art Dealers' Ass'n.

May 14, 1934
Disney House in Paris
Paris—Cinema L'Auto will hereafter devote its programs exclusively to showing Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoon comedies.

Cartoons Becoming Increasingly Important
ANIMATED cartoons are as necessary to any well-balanced motion picture program as the feature picture itself. This fact has been determined by the increase in bookings recorded during the past several months and further cementing the fact that many theater circuits have recently installed special bookers to preview and book short subjects, with particular interest centered on animated cartoons. Since their inception the animated cartoons have done more to promote healthy box-office receipts than any other type of screen fare. This has been primarily due to the wide variety of subjects available and the fact that in practically every release cleanliness has been one of the important factors in the story. The importance of animated cartoons particularly during the coming season, will be greater than at any time in their history, for exhibitors have been apprised of their value by patrons with due regularity, and in many instances, have found that a program without a cartoon did not have the appeal it would have had, had it featured one. Cleanliness, too, in the product, has done a great deal to increase interest in cartoons. In fact, it was brought out at the M. P. T. O. A. Convention held in Los Angeles that motion picture entertainment must be cleaned up. We have been apprised direct, by some of the largest exhibitors in the country on the quality of "Willie Whopper" and "ComiColor" cartoons, that aside from entertainment of a very high grade, the pictures were exceptionally clean.
U. B. Iwerks

May 15, 1934
Ralph Wilk column
Scott Bradley, who recently joined Harman-Ising Pictures, Inc., as musical director, has conducted at the KNX and KHJ stations, Los Angeles, and came to the Coast from Houston, Tex. He has written scores for several pictures and also wrote a cantata, "Thanatopsis."

May 19, 1934
Hiram Brown, Jr., Quits Van Beuren
Hiram Brown, Jr. has resigned as business manager of the cartoon department of the Van Beuren Corp.

May 31, 1934
14 M-G-M Color Cartoons Under Harman-Ising Deal
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Thirteen one-reelers and one two-reeler are included in the group of color cartoons being made by Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising for the new M-G-M shorts program. The two-reeler, first animated of this length, is now in work. It employs Tschaikowsky's "Nutcracker Suite" for its musical theme. First of the one-reelers will be "The Discontented Canary."

A revival of interest in color is predicted by Technicolor, which, states it now has more contracts than at any time since 1929. In addition to the deal with Walt Disney on Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse cartoons, Technicolor has signed for several other cartoon series and also has deals with Warner, M-G-M, RKO, Paramount and Columbia. The new three-color process is now being used, with cost cut to about 5 cents a foot against 8 and 10 cents some time ago.

Ralph Wilk column
Walt Disney will introduce two new characters in his next Silly Symphony, “The Wise Little Hen,” for U. A. release. They are Peter Pig and Donald Duck.

Scrappy Cartoon Tie-Up
Louis-Bacmo-Postman Glove Co., Gloversville, N. Y., has been granted by Columbia an exclusive license for the rights to use "Scrappy," the animated cartoon character, on its line of children's gloves.

June 7, 1934
Gets Shorts for Ohio
Majestic Pictures of Ohio has acquired distribution rights to three series of shorts which M. Kleinerman is producing. The first shorts in each series, a cartoon, poem and illustrated song, have been delivered.

June 11, 1934
Disney Expanding
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—A two-story building is now being erected at the Walt Disney studios to give more space for Disney's increased personnel. The building will provide 12,000 square feet of space and with its equipment will represent an investment of $65,000. It will be opened in September. Two hundred people are now employed by Disney, whose original personnel numbered 40.

Ralph Wilk column
"Greetins. The Squaw and me are trowing a feed for youse Satuday nite, June 9th, at the Colony club. Rent a tux as some of the hoi paloi are using dem. Feed bag at 8. Phone and tell the squaw you'll be dare." Thus read the invitation to the party Mr. and Mrs. Leon Schlesinger gave in honor of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

June 12, 1934
20,000 colored drawings will be required for the two-reel animated cartoon in color being made by Harman-Ising for M-G-M.

Ralph Wilk’s column
Representatives of Harman-Ising Productions, now making two series of cartoons for release through M-G-M, deny published reports that their organization is being financed by Walt Disney.

June 21, 1934
Gillett Joins Van Beuren As Cartoon Studio Head
Chicago — Burt Gillett, formerly associated with Walt Disney and director of "3 Little Pigs," has been appointed head of the Van Beuren cartoon studio, Amedee J. Van Beuren announced yesterday at the RKO convention. Gillett will make 13 one-reel subjects in two series known as Burt Gillett's Toodle Tales [sic] and Burt Gillett's Rainbow Parade.

Disney Turns to Satire
With the production, of "Who Killed Cock Robin?" his latest Silly Symphony. Walt Disney turns from comedy to satire. Until now a producer of animation of famous fables and musical masterpieces, he is invading the field of mystery stories by a fitting start with this daddy of them all.

Process Poster Added to Mickey Mouse Accessory
SUPPLEMENTING the strong array of effective exploitation accessories gotten out on each Mickey Mouse subject, United Artists has added another attractive novelty to the material now available on these productions. Starting with "Gulliver Mickey," all future Walt Disney Mickey Mouse films will carry a 40 x 60 special stock 7-color screen process poster of Mickey Mouse, which can be used on all Mickey Mouse subjects by just changing the title and the scene stills. Many exhibitors have found this 40 x 60 exceptionally effective for outer lobby displays, and others have also used them in merchant window displays.
—United Artists.

June 23, 1934
Phil M. Daly column
• • • IT SEEMS that in dear ole England the audiences very seldom applaud a feature pix . . . leave alone a short . . . but at a theater in Huddersfield they showed Walt Disney's "Mickey's Gala Premiere" . . . and blimey if the bally customers didn't cheer and whistle and stamp their hoofs for several minutes . . . the main feature had started . . . the management had to stop the reel and re-run Mickey Mouse . . . it sounds like a lotta jolly hoosh . . . but it really happened, old dear . . . ripping, eh what?

June 25, 1934
Double the number of short subjects made in Technicolor last season will be in the 1934-35 production line-ups, Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus said before leaving New York for the coast. He declined to enumerate the features that will use the color process but stated that five cartoon makers have already contracted for Technicolor. Two other cartoon companies are negotiating for the service.
Contracts for Technicolor in cartoons have been signed by United Artists, Columbia, Universal, Warner and M-G-M, Kalmus stated. An agreement has been reached with Paramount but the contracts have not actually been signed. Van Beuren cartoons may also be made in Technicolor. Fox is the only company which has not opened negotiations for the process, Kalmus said. Kalmus leaves for the coast tonight and will return in August.

June 26, 1934
Stereoscopic Effect for Cartoons
A new device which gives animated cartoons a stereoscopic effect is announced by Max Fleischer, Paramount's cartoon producer, who says he has perfected the process after 18 months of effort. Fleischer says animation has advanced more in the last year than in the previous 14 years put together.

June 28, 1934
"Scrappy" on Handbags
"Scrappy," Columbia's cartoon character, will appear on children's leather handbags under a tieup arranged with Max Roth Leather Goods Corp.

June 29, 1934
Hoffberg Opens Paris Office
J. H. Hoffberg Co. has opened 3 sales office in Paris, with Joseph P. Lamy in charge. Hoffberg has acquired from Morris Kleinerman the European distribution of four series of colored cartoons and colored novelties.


January 3, 1934
"Sitting on a Backyard Fence" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Snappy
A fast and funny animated comedy produced by Leon Schlesinger. Action occurs in a backyard and deals mostly with cats and their night-time meanderings, with four of them involved in a romantic affair that has a funny finish. A lively musical accompaniment adds to the short's entertainment value.

January 8, 1934
Krazy Kat in "Whacks Museum"
Columbia 7 mins. Fair Animated
This one ranks just so-so among animated cartoon comedies. Action takes place in a wax museum, where of course the exhibits come to life and engage in various antics. Nothing very exciting is developed, however, and action is a bit slow until it is pepped up by a fire sequence in which some of the ugly figures are melted down into more shapely and attractive exhibits. Some of the figures are famous film stars, such as Jimmy Durante, Mae West, Joe E. Brown and others.

January 9, 1934
Amos 'n' Andy in "The Rasslin’ Match"
RKO 10 mins. Cartoon-Voice Combination
This cartoon brings a new technique to the screen insofar as the actual voices of Amos and Andy have been synchronized with the drawn characters. It has been fairly well accomplished and should prove a good laugh number, especially for the followers of the two radio comedians. "The Kingfish" and "Bullneck Mooseface" are the only other characters included in the film. The story is taken from the radio episode where Andy and "Bullneck Mooseface" meet on the canvas and wrestle for the championship of "sumphin'".

January 10, 1934
Scrappy in "Hollywood Babies"
Columbia 7 mins. Good Cartoon
A rather cute and at the same time very comical idea is back of this animated subject turned out by the Charles B. Mintz forces. Scrappy and his helper, trying to make a picture, go around to the homes of the various stars and round up the latter's baby counterparts for the cast. Among them are a baby Durante, a baby Cantor, and ditto for Joe E. Brown, Will Rogers, Laurel-Hardy, Greta Garbo, Marie Dressier, Ben Turpin, Charlie Chaplin, Four Marx Brothers, etc. Dancing around with their adult heads but baby bodies, they make quite an amusing sight.

January 11, 1934
In Venice" (Terry-Toon)
Educational 6 mins. Fair Animated
An average number of cartoon comedies go. Action takes place in Venice, where the characters in their gondolas keep time with an operatic music background, going to welcome the return of Balboa. A big car escorted by police races to the scene and Will Rogers in caricature decorates Balboa. During the ceremony a call for help is heard in the water and the little hero goes to the rescue of his sweetheart, who is pulled to the bottom by a devil-fish after which the scene centers around the hero rescuing the girl.

The Little King in "Jest of Honor" (Soglow Cartoon)
RKO 8 mins. Not So Good
This animated portrayal of the strip cartoon character loses considerable humor in its transposition to the screen. It lacks gags and pep. This story concerns the King, who is discovered riding a surf board in the wake of the royal yacht. He dives overboard for a rendezvous with a mermaid. Later, in port, he is welcomed by a roaring populace and introduced by the mayor. His disrespect to that civic official forces the King to escape back to the yacht and while en route is hailed by the mermaid who presents him with six little baby mermaids.

January 19, 1934
"Mickey Shanghaied" (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 8 mins. A Nifty
Another sure-fire release filled with gags and packed with laughs. Mickey and Minnie are in the clutches of grizzly Capt. Peg-leg Pete. While a motley crew swabs the decks, the blood-thirsty skipper gloats with glee as Mickey and Minnie try to struggle free from their bindings. Finally Mickey breaks away, releases Minnie and then the chase begins. It takes Minnie to the top of the mast, while Mickey fires the ship's cannon at the crew and skipper. It's fast, and plenty funny.

"The China Shop" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 10 mins. Swell
Excellent entertainment. colorful, restful, pleasing and humorous. Story concerns the old keeper of a china shop, who locks up for the night, believing that all his precious china pieces are safe. After he has gone, all the objects come to life and have a merry party which is spoiled by a villainous centaur who steals a beautiful dancing lady. The battle that follows breaks up most of the chinaware. In the morning the old store keeper finds a way out of his troubles by marking the broken china pieces "antiques" and doubling the prices on all.

Oswald in "The Candy House"
Universal 9 mins. Exceptional
This is an exceptional achievement, worthy of ranking with the best animated cartoons. In rhyme and with pleasant lilting music, the tale of Hansel and Gretel and their cruel stepmother is unfolded. Amusing, suspenseful and ending happily, this one will win the plaudits of all who cheered the "Three Little Pigs."

January 22, 1934
Popeye the Sailor in "Sock-a-Bye"
Paramount 6 mins. Swell Cartoon
In this animated subject Popeye is looking after his adopted baby, pushing the sleeping child around in a carriage, and he destroys everything he comes across that makes any noise likely to wake the kid, who sleeps on while skyscrapers fall but finally wakes at the drop of a safety pin.

February 1, 1934
Krazy Kat in "The Curio Shop"
Columbia 6 mins. Fair Animated
Krazy and his girl friend visit a curio shop where the characters on a Chinese tapestry come to life and enact a little love drama. It tells about a little Chinese girl whose stern father wants to marry her off to a decrepit husband, whereupon the girl rebels and beats its, with father in pursuit and her young hero coming to the rescue.

Mickey Mouse in "Camping Out"
United Artists 7 mins. A Pip
The ingenuity back of this latest animated comedy is enough to make anybody marvel at how it is possible for the Walt Disney bunch to keep thinking up so many good ideas for making people laugh. Action revolves around a camping party headed by Mickey and including all of his familiar pals. Their visit is resented by the mosquitoes, who proceed to organize their forces and attack the "city slickers." The various ways in which Mickey's gang meets the attacks will keep any audience roaring. None of these comedies has been funnier than this one.

February 8, 1934
Rip Van Winkle" (Terry Toon)
Educational 7 mins. Fair Cartoon
This one shows Farmer Al Falfa as Old Rip, sleeping under a shady tree with his faithful pup at his feet. Mrs. Rip comes out of the house and starts nagging the old man. The film dissolves to Rip's dream that he is high in the Catskills making merry with the mythical dwarfs. At the finish he wakes up to find his wife still nagging. Phil Sheib has written a clever musical score for the short but the gags are few and the action is only fair.

February 10, 1934
The Little Red Hen" (ComiColor Cartoons)
Pat Powers 7 mins. Lively Cartoon
The second in Celebrity's series colored shorts features a little red hen in a barnyard drama. It is vaguely reminiscent of the technique of "Three Little Pigs," with the hen calling upon the pig, the duck and the rat to help her in planting, and reaping the wheat crop for her little brood of chicks so she can make some bread. The three barnyard pals always have excuses when it comes to doing any work, but they are right there to help the little hen eat the loaf of bread. Then the heroine gives them the ha-ha as she retires to her coop and locks the door. Lively and interesting.

"Davy Jones' Locker" (Willie Whopper Cartoon)
M-G-M 7 mins. First-Rate
This Ub Iwerks creation is a highly entertaining bit of fantasy, very attractively colored. Willie Whopper and his girl friend are out fishing on the bounding main. They hook a monster who drags them down through the deeps to Davy Jones' locker. Their adventures in escaping from Davy's clutches are very diverting. Animation is splendid.

February 14, 1934
"The Grasshopper And The Ants" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 8 mins. Steady Delight
This latest Walt Disney opus is a steady delight. Color incident and tunefulness are first-rate and the appeal is universal. The fable related is that of the fiddling grasshopper who laughs at the busy ants while they toil in the summer. His philosophy is summed up in the tune "The World Owes Me A Living." He induces one of the ants to join him in idleness, but the ant quits him when the Queen Bee happens by. Winter comes and the grasshopper, unable to find food, turns blue and is finally taken in by the ants and saved from starvation.

Cubby the Bear in "Croon Crazy" (Aesop Fable)
RKO 7 mins. Good
Forced to pinch hit at the mike when several scheduled radio performers fail to show up, Cubby proceeds to give imitations of various stars, accompanied by novelty interpolations. Amusing, tuneful and lively.

February 28, 1934
"Holland Days" (Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins. Fair Animated
In a Holland locale, main action of this cartoon comedy revolves around the making of cheese, performed with the customary burlesque methods. Then the big cylinders are loaded on a ship and dispatched to a foreign port. While the captain is ashore, a flock of mice descend on the cargo and make merry until the cap returns, whereupon a battle takes place.

"The Owl and the Pussycat" (Paul Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins. Lively
The cartoon adventures of a domestic cat who leaves the farmer to go off with a roustabout tomcat. Meanwhile the mice run riot over his house, and when the cat returns with a nice large family, she is welcomed back with open arms. There is a neat and tuneful score in popular rhyme that tells the story in colourful words. Scored by Philip A. Scheib.

March 3, 1934
"Pettin' in the Park" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Okay
This one opens with plenty pettin' in the park by birds and beasts and also a fat cop and his servant girl sweetie. After a few good gags it moves to a championship swimming match to be contested in by all the water fowl in the colony. The race is cleverly handled and contains quite a few laughs.

Mickey Mouse in "Giantland"
United Artists 8 mins. Swell
Fertile in invention and full of amusing situations, Mickey's adventures with a giant after climbing Jack's famous Beanstalk is an ace addition to the series. Especially amusing are Mickey's antics in the giant's mouth where he is pelted by peas, nearly drowned by water, almost crushed in mastication. Mickey's escape from this cell, his chase by the giant and the flight down the beanstalk wind up this very entertaining subject.

Mickey Mouse in "Playful Pluto"
United Artists 8 mins. Good
Very fast-moving, this subject makes up in variety and speedy succession of incidents for a slight lapse from the very high inventiveness of the series. Mickey is frolicking with his dog Pluto in the yard when a cyclone comes along. There follows some fun with a garden hose in which Pluto gets entangled, a chase into the house, Pluto's pursuit of a flea and the hilarious highspot, Pluto's adventures with some flypaper.

"Jolly Good Fellows" [Felons] Radio 7 mins. Neat Cartoon
A Soglow cartoon of the Little King, who decided to visit the royal prison. He gets himself in wrong when he starts to kibitz in a checker game played by two tough inmates. This starts a jail break, and then the excitement almost tears the jail apart, with the army, navy and air fleets called in to subdue the prisoners. Carries the original Soglow touch, and has plenty of originality in treatment.

"The Toy Shoppe" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Good
Here Oswald is a toy maker. When he closes up for the night the toys awake. Jack-in-the-box's attempt to take away the little dutch doll from the dutch boy with others joining to frustrate him makes a thread of entertaining narrative for the animation.

"County Fair" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 6 mins. Good
On his way to the fair, Oswald picks up a child just thrown out of the house by his father. Child develops into fiend making trouble for Oswald and all at the fair in an amusing series of incidents.

March 14, 1934
Krazy Kat in "Tom Thumb"
Columbia 7 mins. Fair Cartoon
Woodland antics of a rather familiar vein comprise the contents of this animated cartoon. Krazy and his girl sro for a stroll in the forest, where various kinds of animals and bugs are cavorting. A big villain sneaks up and snatches Krazy's girl, whereupon there is the usual chase until a rescue is effected.

March 21, 1934
"Funny Little Bunnies" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 8 mins. Great
This is a likely entry for the best short of 1934. While it might appear that its vogue would be more or less limited to the Easter season because its purely imaginative substance deals with the manufacture and decoration of Easter eggs and bunnies by a colorful rabbit crew, the splendor and variety of the coloring, and the highly diverting action lift it far above any seasonal appeal. Musical, accompaniment is pleasing.

"Rip Van Winkle" (Terry-Toon)
Educational-Fox 6 mins. Good Animated
Taking the fable of Rip Van Winkle, the Terry-Moser animating studio has concocted a generally diverting cartoon comedy. Rip and his dog take it on the run when Rip's wife abuses him. In the woods they come across a horde of dwarfs, who put on a lively show, winding up with Rip being awakened by raps from his wife's rolling pin, which eventually bounces back on her for a knockout.

March 23, 1934
"Kings Up" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Good Animated
Tuneful and excellent vocalization combined with diverting action make this a good animated. Subject is done in costume with Oswald a troubadour who seeks to sing for the queen. In the windup he marries her after aiding the queen to get rid of the Black Duke who coveted her cash and was a villain in general.

March 23, 1934
Borrah Minnevitch and His Harmonica Rascals in "Lazy Bones" (Screen Song)
Paramount 10 mins. Enjoyable
The harmonica melodies of Borrah Minnevitch and his gang, plus some vocalizing by Reis and Dunn, serve very nicely to augment this screen song cartoon based on the popular song, "Lazy Bones." Animated action deals with an old plug racing horse with a yen for lying in bed. The critter wins a race when its owner puts the nag's bed in the middle of the track where the horse can see it as the runners are coming down the home stretch.

March 30, 1934
"How's Chops" [Crops] (Cubby the Bear Cartoon)
RKO Radio 8 mins. Good
A bright idea, cleverly worked out, makes this animated cartoon good entertainment. Cubby and Cuddles, reading of mysterious holocaust that has swept the earth bare of crops, descend underground thru a tree trunk and proceed to make watermelons, corn, peanuts and other vegetables and force them above ground. Possum, who had been gathering in the produce as fast as it appeared, is hit by a "pineapple" as he flees in a truck, the vegetables fly in the air, then root in the ground and once again the earth is blooming.

"Wolf! Wolf!" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 8 mins. Good
Occupied with woodchopping in the forest, Oswald responds several times to the call of "Wolf!" shouted by two little lambs he is guarding. Then Oswald doesn't respond until the wolf has lured the lambs into his hut and is about to take stew of them. Oswald effects a rescue. Pleasant vocalization and amusing lyrics are featured.

"Betty In Blunderland" (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Good Animated
Betty Boop, occupied in working out a jigsaw puzzle, wanders off into a tangent along the lines of Alice in Wonderland. She encounters grotesque counterparts of the familiar story and then is carried off by a dragon, with a friendly animal chasing to her rescue. Action leads to a lively finale, ending in Betty waking up at her jigsaw puzzle.

April 7, 1934
"Scrappy's Auto Show" (Scrappy Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Fair
After taking a look at an auto show, Scrappy and his pal construct a home-made machine and take it to the showrooms, where it performs various antics and cops the plaudits. Nothing much to it in the way of cleverness, but makes fair entertainment of its kind.

"The Brave Tin Soldier" (ComiColor Cartoon)
Celebrity 7 mins. Clever
The third in the P. A. Powers series of colored cartoons and it rates as good if not better than the two which preceded it. Here is the famous nursery classic of the tin soldier and the toymaker who sent the poor soldier out into the world with one leg missing. Then the cartoon takes up the romantic adventures of the tin soldier with the dancing doll. It is well executed technically and filled with fine comedy touches, and something you seldom get in cartoons—a touch of pathos over the plight of the one-legged soldier trying to be romantic with his lady love. A fine musical score, with the theme of "The Wooden Soldiers."

April 25, 1934
Oswald in "The Gingerbread Boy"
Universal 7 mins. Mild Cartoon
Just a mildly amusing animated comedy based on a fairy tale. A childless old woman bakes herself a gingerbread boy, which comes to life and starts to cut up. A menacing black cast chases it around, but the wily imp outwits the feline.

April 30, 1934
"Beauty and the Beast" (Merrie Melodie)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Fine Color Cartoon
Done in Cinecolor, this is a real treat for youngsters and grown-ups. It introduces Little Mary and the Sandman of the classic fairy tale. She sleeps in her nursery, and floats off to slumberland where she meets all the Mother Goose playmates, while the little wooden soldier falls in love with her. Delightfully handled, bringing in a lot of fairy tale characters as she reads from her story book. The children will go for this one in a big way. Neat musical score by Norman Spencer, with music by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

May 2, 1934
Scrappy in "Aw, Nurse"
Columbia 7 mins. Lively Cartoon
Scrappy plays the role of an expectant father. After rushing the mother cat to the hospital, Scrappy and his pal suffer great suspense until the nurse comes out and tells them "It's a boy," whereupon Scrappy faints from exhaustion. But instead of a boy, the cat has delivered a whole truckload of kittens, who proceed to turn the hospital upside down. Fast-moving and quite funny all the way.

"Tune Up and Sing" with Lanny Ross (Screen Song)
Paramount 7 mins. Good
Lanny Ross in a few bits of singing, plus a lively sequence of animation, make this bouncing-ball subject a thoroughly enjoyable short of its kind. Opening with a gypsy character fiddling her way through the woods, there follows a rendition of "Gypsy Fiddles Were Playing" and another number by Ross, then a fast cartoon finish.

May 18, 1934
"Goldielocks and the Three Bears" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 8 mins. A Good One
This is the famous fable-story in animation and it has been well handled. Finding the porridge too hot, Ma, Pa and the little baby bear go out for a stroll. While they are away, Goldielocks enters the Bears' home and eats the food. The animals return and find the little girl in the baby's bed. A chase follows with the little girl landing safely in Oswald's arms.

"Annie Moved Away" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Swell
This is written around the song "Annie Doesn't Live Here Any More." The music is played throughout and most of the action is in time with the tune. Oswald calls Annie on the phone and is told to come up. But before he reaches her house, a big bad villain has spirited her away. Everybody in the neighborhood tells Oswald that Annie doesn't live here any more. It ends with a chase and, with the help of a stray dog, the bad man is captured and Annie saved.

May 29, 1934
Popeye the Sailor in "Shoein' Hosses"
Paramount 7 mins. A Howl
Popeye is funnier than ever in this animated cartoon. Olive Oyl runs a blaksmith shop with Wimpy as her helper. But Wimp proves no good and is fired, so Olive advertises for a new man. Popeye and a giant strong man both go after the job, and to prove which is stronger they engage in a competition of strength, resulting in a wrecking of the place.

The Little King in "Art for Art's Sake"
Radio 6 mins. Neat Cartoon
A Soglow cartoon, with the King starting off on a sight-seeing bus. Nobody recognizes him. He has a lot of fun with a fat girl seated alongside. They enter a museum to view the collections and the King gets himself into all sorts of trouble with the fat girl, who vainly tries to get her hands on him to have him punished for annoying her. Finally, they visit the royal palace. To the fat girl's horror, she discovers that the little runt she has been trying to catch is the king himself.

June 2, 1934
"Mild Cargo" (Cubby Cartoon)
Radio 7 mins. Snappy Comic
Cubby does a burlesque on "Wild Cargo," going to the jungle to bring the wild animals back alive. He has all sorts of exciting adventures capturing the various jungle beasts. His main worry is a gorilla that insists on being captured in order to get away from a nagging wife. Cubby doesn't want him but the gorilla finally tricks Cubby into capturing him. Good novelty treatment and very snappy.

June 5, 1934
"The Lion's Friend" (Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins. Clever Cartoon
A mouse is the hero, and saves the lion from capture by the black hunter in a most ingenious manner, for which the lion is duly grateful. The story is told by the school teacher to all the other animal scholars. The mouse and the lion are seen in picture frames above the teacher’s desk, and they come to life to take over the action as the teacher tells the story. Nice animated technique.

June 6, 1934
Mickey Mouse in "Mickey's Steamroller"
United Artists 9 mins. Fair
The usual Disney fertility and comic and novel ideas is not prominent in this one. Mickey, a steam-roller driver, spots Minnie wheeling her two little nephews. He stops to flirt with her. The two kids clamber aboard and pull the throttle. There follows a wild chase in which the machine encounters various obstacles, winding up divertingly with a spectacular crash.

"The Wise Little Hen" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 9 mins.
Attractively colored and pleasantly diverting, this subject is n[word missing] up to the high Disney standard. It serves to introduce two new characters, Peter Pig and Donald Duck. They are alternately beseeched by the wise little hen to help her plant and harvest her corn. Both plead stomach aches on the two occasions dancing away gleefully as soon as they think the hen's back is turned. When it comes time to eat the muffins, cornbread and other delicacies the hen has prepared, Peter Pig and Donald Duck rush to accept the hen's invitation and are presented with a bottle of castor oil.

June 21, 1934
"The Queen of Hearts" (ComiColor Cartoon)
P. A. Powers 7 mins. Very Good
The world-famous fairy tale, "The Queen of Hearts," furnishes the theme for this delightful and clever cartoon done in Cinecolor. This is the best of the series to date, both in comedy appeal and technical treatment. The playing cards are on a table, and the Joker brings the King, Queen, Jack and Six of Hearts to life—with the dictum that they return to the pasteboards at the stroke of twelve. Then ensues a rapid fire comedy-drama, as the Queen makes the King his tarts and the Jack of Hearts steals them. In the midst of the ensuing battle, the clock strikes, and they all scurry back to become pasteboard images once more. Darn clever, these cartoonists of ComiColor.

June 23, 1934
"Mickey's Steam Roller"
United Artists 7 mins. Lively
A Walt Disney cartoon of the popular Mickey Mouse, who is seen as the operator of a steam roller. He encounters Minnie out strolling with two kids in a perambulator. Mickey takes Minnie aboard his steam roller, and ties the carriage with the kids on the rear. It winds up with the kids in possession of the giant wagon and careening down the avenue as Mickey desperately tries to catch up and save them from disaster. Plenty of action in this cartoon.


  1. Amos 'n Andy were a terrible choice for Van Beuren, and "...with the actual voices of the two blackface comics carefully synchronized with the lip movements of the cartoon characters" was the least of their failures.
    There's some nice loose-limbed animation of the cats in Siting' on a Backyard Fence that seems atypical of Warner in this period.

  2. Thank you sharing, Yowp! There's a whole bunch of valuable animation history in this one post alone. Very long, but worth reading. I'll probably take another look tomorrow morning.