Cartoon fans lament that Blue Ribbons have replaced original title cards on Schlesinger/Warner Bros. shorts and Fleischer cartoons exist without the Paramount footage at the opening. Happiness abounds when discoveries are made of the titles that once appeared at the start of MGM cartoons.
Yet nothing is said about the generic drawings that took the place of the originals that opened cartoons released by the Columbia Screen Gems studio. Where is the outcry?
There isn’t one because the term “Columbia Favorite” seen on one of these reissue title cards is a contradiction in term for most old-time cartoon lovers.
So which of these Columbia characters are your favourites? Can you even name them?
Actually, my favourite Columbia is represented here. On the bottom left corner you’ll notice the dog and cat from “Flora” (1948). Gerald Mohr does a great job narrating a story where the words have a different context than what’s appearing on the screen. In the other corner are the duck and hunter from “Wacky Quacky” (1947). There’s a gag I really like where the hunter rests up from the chase while the duck runs around, then resumes the chase on his own while the duck catches his breath. Just above the ersatz Elmer Fudd are the moose, turkey and native from “Topsy Turkey” (1948). I think. To the left of the Indian is one of the stars of “Lo, the Poor Buffal” (1948). Your guess is as good as mine who the pig and rooster (is the rooster wearing spurs?) are, as well as the mouse in the basket at the bottom. Any Columbia experts out there? Please weigh in on the IDs.
Columbia’s Screen Gems studio seems to have been in constant upheaval and the cartoons it made in the last few years before it closed are awkward to describe. They’re pretending to be Warner Bros. and Tex Avery cartoons (even down to character design) but don’t quite make it. Some gags just come out of nowhere, like a kangaroo eating the main characters in “Kongo-Roo” (1946) who have shrunk themselves to bug size through willpower.
Mike Barrier has found a story announcing in the closure in Variety of May 28, 1947. Cartoons in the can continued to be released until 1949 until a ten-year marriage with UPA.
Here’s one that probably owes the most to other studios. A cat that looks like Sylvester engages in festivities that you may recognise from elsewhere (like the multiple door gag that Tex Avery liked to use). And because it’s a “Columbia Favorite,” you wouldn’t know Sid Marcus directed this cartoon because the credits have been taken off.