Saturday, 31 August 2013

1935 is a Darb

Could 1935 have been the worst year in animated cartoon history? Well, before the ‘60s, I mean. Everyone was trying to imitiate cutsie Disney cartoons. On top of that, Leon Schlesinger was making Buddy cartoons. Fortunately, old vaudeville promoter Schlesinger knew his shorts needed laughs and fortuitously brought in Tex Avery, whose first cartoon was out by year’s end. Cheery insects and little animal weaklings, begone!

Below, you’ll read about the jump by studios to three-strip Technicolor, a few obscure studios, the rise of Molly Moo-Cow, how to sell Scrappy, Pat Powers’ (unfulfilled) delusions of feature grandeur without Ub Iwerks, the Betty Boop series somehow morphing into one about a (cute) little doggie, and Uncle Walt’s (at least it’s Disney’s byline) feelings on animated cartoons. There are reviews of at least one foreign short and one of the Barney Google cartoons released by Columbia and which were apparently destroyed by order of King Features. The Orth-Whitehead operation is a puzzle; a biography I read on Orth from the early ‘50s states he joined American Biograph in 1912, worked on “Birth of a Nation,” helped develop a TV scanner in 1936 and then produced westerns for television syndication. Audio Productions made commercial and public service cartoons; one of the latter used to be on-line.

And you’ll see reviews calling a cartoon a “darb.” A new word on me.

July 5, 1935
Celebrity Productions, the P. A. Powers company which has been making the ComiColor Cartoons in color, is definitely set to enter feature production for 1935-36 with a program of six action melodramas. Pictures will be released in the independent market. A third series of the ComiColor cartoons also will be made.

July 12, 1935
Gunther Lessing stated that the sales on Walt Disney's black and white cartoons have doubled since Disney joined U. A., while sales on color cartoons have tripled.

July 16, 1935
Paramus, N. J.—Construction of the first unit of the Kromocolor plant here, for the processing and printing of color films under a secret chemical formula that develops the latent color in ordinary black and white negative, is expected to be completed in September. . . .
Kromocolor also will have a cartoon department where animated color cartoons will be produced. The company now has contracts to make a "Mutt and Jeff" series. Hollywood business also will be sought, and the company expects to turn out color films for the educational and advertising fields.

PAUL TERRY and Frank Moser yesterday selected "The June Bride" as the title for their next Paul Terry-Toon cartoon, thoughts of romance being brought into the office by their own business manager, William Weiss, returning from a honeymoon.
The whole Terry-Toon staff took a week's vacation last week. On Monday evening, without previous announcement, Weiss telephoned Terry and invited him "to a wedding" at Harrison, N. Y., where Weiss married Rita Romaner of Far Rockaway.

July 19, 1935
Audio Making British Ad Film
"Gulliver in Greenford," a black and white animated cartoon is being produced by Audio Productions for J. Lyon & Co., of London. The picture, dealing with the mythical adventures of Gulliver, is designed to exploit Lyon's Green Label Tea. H. L. Roberts is directing the animation and the musical score is by Edwin E. Ludig.

July 22, 1935
Walt Disney Has Faith In Future of Cartoon
WE have faith in the future of the animated cartoon as a part of the motion picture industry, and we refuse to build our pictures for the present, but with enthusiasm aim for the future. We want to raise our own standard of production, not only in color, but in story, animation technique, music, effects and all other divisions of our animated cartoon creation.
Through color and animation and the ability of an animator to visualize and portray character, we attempt to achieve greater personality in our "actors." We deal in pure fantasy, for no motion picture star plays a role in our productions, but the "Big Bad Wolf" is always the "Big Bad Wolf." Toby Tortoise, for example, is not called upon to act as anyone but himself.
Through consistent study of action and motion in the application of our findings, we are attempting to portray the illusion that our characters live. We want our audiences to feel that our characters are people they want to remember—personalities with whom they have had amusing experiences. This is the goal we are setting for ourselves—this, and the creation of a better product with each release, so that in competing with ourselves we are constantly improving our service to the audiences of the world.
All our stories now are built for color and our entire production staff is active in its study. Classes are held during the day in the studio at which all of us benefit by general discussion and expert advice on this important angle. The dramatic use of color, line and form are all carefully valued. Reproductions of the old masters, the modern illustrators, commercial posters, advertising displays, all classes and divisions of art are carefully studied not only for color but composition. With each picture we produce we are experimenting.
—Walt Disney.

August 7, 1935
Miracle Mickey
Murray Bay, Que.—The discarded crutches are in the office of John O. Evans, manager of the Manoir Theater, to prove this story. At the showing of a Mickey Mouse cartoon to an audience that included a number of patients from the Murray Bay Convalescent Home, one of the invalids, who had entered the theater on crutches, laughed so heartily at the antics of the famous mouse star that he forgot all about his affliction, and when the performance was over he walked out of the theater leaving the crutches behind him.

August 8, 1935
Triple Version Cartoons
The new series of Bert Gillette's "Rainbow Parade" cartoons, to be filmed by RKO-Van Beuren Corp. in the new three-color component Technicolor, will be made in French and Spanish as well as English versions. Other versions will be added later.

August 15, 1935
"Popeye" on the Radio
"Popeye the Sailor" and other characters in the Max Fleischer cartoon go on the air over WEAF starting Sept. 10 when sketches based on the Paramount short subject begin a 30-weeks' booking. Deal was arranged with Wheatena by the A. & S. Lyons office.

August 19, 1935
Harman-Ising Finish Program
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Harman-Ising Studios, producing the "Happy Harmonies" cartoons for M-G-M, last week completed the current season's program. Four of the 1935-36 shorts are now in work. Among the new subjects, which will be in Technicolor, are "Busy Little Bees," "Santa Claus Kitten" and "My Old Kentucky Home."

August 23, 1935
The voice of John Gurney, well-known operatic basso who appeared at the Lewisohn Stadium this season, will be heard in the forthcoming "Rainbow Parade" cartoon produced by the Van Beuren Corp. in the new three color Technicolor, for RKO release. Gurney will sing an original song in the picture, tentatively titled "Butterflies".

August 27, 1935
Report Record Bookings for Mickey Mouse Week
All-time records for booking of Walt Disney cartoons in more than 60 important cities have been set by theaters lining up product to be played on the seventh birthday of Mickey Mouse beginning the week of Sept. 28, according to United Artists. Leading circuits and independent theaters figure in the bookings, it was stated yesterday.

August 29, 1935
Making 26 Cartoons
Moranz Associates, Inc., with which George Orth and Chas. G. Whitehead are associated, has completed the first of a new series of 26 animated cartoons to be called "Celebrities on Parade," each of which will feature a number of personages. The first subject shows President Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Al Smith, Henry Ford and others. Narration is by Andre Baruch of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Moranz Associates has also completed seven of a series of 13 cartoons in color, Whitehead said.

September 3, 1935
Glett Given New Post
Charles L. Glett has just been appointed production manager of Audio Productions, Inc., according to the announcement of W. A. Bach, president. The appointment of Glett to this position is the result of greatly increased production activity of this company and both the Trick Photography and Optical Department, headed by Alex Gansell, and the Cartoon Animation Department, in charge of H. L. Roberts, will be under his jurisdiction.

September 5, 1935
Van Buren Completes Last 1934-35 Picture
The last picture of Van Beuren's 1934-35 season has been completed at the Van Beuren Studio and production is going ahead rapidly on the new season's product. "Bird Scouts", production No. 13 in the "Rainbow Parade" series of animated color cartoons was the last picture to be made on the old program. The first cartoon on the new program in three-color Technicolor will be "Minnie-Moo-Cow And the Indians", the camera work on which will start next week.

Cartoons to Plug Mickey
Under a tieup effected by United Artists and King Features Syndicate, 114 newspapers in the United States and Canada will celebrate the seventh anniversary of Mickey Mouse by devoting a special comic strip exclusively to the Walt Disney birthday observance on Sept. 28.

September 7, 1935
More Space for Cartoon Dept.
New space for the cartoon animation department of Audio Productions, has been taken in the Fox Building at 56th St. and 10th Ave.

September 10, 1935
The gold medal of the Italian Confederation of Professional Men and Artists for the best animated cartoon went to Walt Disney's "Band Concert."

Cartoon Course in Schools
The "Scrappy" cartoon course "How To Make A Cartoon, by Scrappy," will become a part of the regular curriculum of 5,000 public schools throughout the United States, beginning with this term. The course, based on the animated cartoon produced by Columbia, has met with the approval of prominent educators.

September 13, 1935
Coming And Going
W. A. BACH, president of Audio Productions, is aboard the Manhattan en route to London where he will present to J. Lyons & Co. the finished animated cartoon, "Gulliver in Greenford". Bach also will confer with Reginald Barker of Associated British Film Distributors which handles the "Musical Moods" over there.

September 14, 1935
New Cartoon Series In Third Dimension
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—The first of a series of cartoons to be made by Edward Nassour Prods. goes into work on Monday. A third dimension method, an innovation in the cartoon field, will be used. The method gives scope and perspective and brings vividness and life to the characters, it is claimed.

October 3, 1935
Hoffberg Acquires Color Shorts
J. H. Hoffberg Co. has added to its 1935-36 schedule a series of color cartoons which will be produced by C. L. Whitehead and George Orth in Magna Color, process controlled by Consolidated Film Industries. The first seven subjects of the series have already been completed.

October 4, 1935
New Color for Van Beuren Cartoons
Van Beuren Corp. studio in New York has completed the first of its animated cartoons using the new three-component Technicolor process such as was used in "Becky Sharp." Title of the short is "Molly Moo-Cow and the Indians." A second cartoon in the new color is now under way and others will follow. They are for RKO release.

Foreign Flashes
Stockholm—"Barn-Bam," first cartoon to be made in Sweden, has been completed by Robert Hogfeld.

October 5, 1935
Another "Mickey" for Soviets
Amkino has purchased "The Band Master," Mickey Mouse cartoon in Technicolor, from United Artists for exhibition in the Soviet Union. Amkino may purchase others of the Walt Disney subjects.

October 7, 1935
Phil M. Daly column
• • • THE BEST novelty broadside of the month . . . the award is made hands down to that excellent piece of literature turned out on the Safety Colored Cartoon . . . "Once Upon a Time" produced by Audio Productions for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. . . . as you open up the three folds, these catchlines greet you . . . "Stop !—it's different" "Look !—it's in Color" . . . "Listen !—it's free" . . . this clever cartoon in Technicolor fits in with the Safety Drive movement . . . and exhibitors everywhere can secure booking dates for the asking . . . along with lobby cards, ad mats . . . this clever broadside done in beautiful color treatment was de-designed by G. R. O'Neill . . . with a full line of other accessories seldom put out on a short subject.

October 14, 1935
300 Soviet Cartoons
Moscow—Soviet production plans for the 1935-36 season include about 300 cartoons in addition to more than 300 feature pictures. About $200,000,000 is expected to be spent on film productions.

October 14, 1935
ASIDE to Walt Disney: If you don't want to alienate a lot of your kid fans and a lot of the grownups who go along with them to the movies, better curtail the hobgoblins, demons, villains and other harum-scarum characters that are again getting too prominent in Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons and causing nightmares for many youngsters.
P. S.: And if Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Leon Schlesinger, Ub Iwerks, Paul Terry, Frank Moser and Max Fleischer should happen to read this, it won't hurt.

October 14, 1935
Cartoon Third Dimension Perfected by Fleischer
Max Fleischer, producer of "Popeye" and "Betty Boop" cartoons for Paramount, announces he has perfected a third dimension process for cartoons. He expects to apply the new development to "Sinbad", two-reel color film now in preparation.

October 14, 1935
Signs New Cartoon Characters
Two cartoon characters have been added to the "Rainbow Parade" Technicolor cartoon series produced by the Van Beuren Corp. for RKO Radio release. Contracts were closed by Amedee J. Van Beuren with Fontaine Fox, creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoon strip, and also with the estate of Pat Sullivan for the right to include "Felix the Cat" in the Van Beuren animated cartoon series.

Mickey Mouse Gets Top Exploitation
THE celebration of Mickey Mouse's Seventh Birthday was held at Loew's Midland theatre, Kansas City, with an outstanding exploitation campaign that reached the proportions accorded a feature attraction. Arranged under the supervision of John McManus, assisted by James Major, Mickey Mouse got columns of free space in all local newspapers. Special stories on Walt Disney and the Silly Symphonies appeared in the "Journal-Post" and other local dailies. A week in advance of the show all theater ads carried special mention regarding the Mickey Mouse celebration. Two weeks in advance the lobby of the theater was decorated with banners and colored cut-outs. Special displays of all the Mickey Mouse characters were placed about the inner lobby with a huge birthday cake, arranged in a tie-up with the Campbell Baking Company. For a street ballyhoo, the Campbell Company got out a huge sound truck to exploit their product as well as Mickey's Birthday with special pennants and banners. Records of Mickey's latest hits were used on the truck which visited all local grocery stores and stopped at principal streets throughout the city. Radio broadcasts also played a big part in celebrating Mickey's anniversary at the Midland. Radio Station WHB gave Mickey five mentions during the week; station KMBC plugged the attraction on the "Magazine of the Air" program and station W9XBY featured hits from Mickey's latest production on their "Theater Organ" program. A special trailer announcing the gala program for Mickey Mouse's Seventh Birthday was used two weeks in advance of the opening.
—Loew's Midland, Kansas City.

Window Display Helps Sell "Scrappy"
SALE of the new Scrappy line of paint, crayon, chalk, and clay modelling sets, manufactured by the Scrappy Toy Sales Company, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York, leaped considerably with the installation of large window displays in street floor windows at Broadway and 20th Street, of Schranz and Bieber, one of the largest wholesale toy distributing companies in the East. The display features Edith Fellows, popular juvenile star of Columbia's current motion picture success, "She Married Her Boss". Miss Fellows is seen posing with the Scrappy paint sets in one of the displays. The other display contains six photographs illustrating how the Scrappy animated cartoons are made in Hollywood.
—Columbia Pictures.

October 23, 1935
Popeye Kid Parties
As a special Saturday matinee feature for juvenile trade, RKO theaters this season will hold "Popeye Picture Parties" at which cartoon comedies and novelties for the kids will be added to the program. Last year the RKO houses conducted Kiddie Kartoon Klubs, which brought good results. The Popeye parties start Saturday in several Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester houses, with Brooklyn and Queens to follow a week later.

November 8, 1935
Each Disney Cartoon A New Experiment
WE treat each picture as an experiment. Our studio is a campus on which a school is built. All of the rooms in the school are laboratories, and each person in production a cartoon chemist, interested not in the individual bit he supplies in relation to himself, but interested in that bit in relation to the construction of a complete unit.
Each unit, or production, has many stages of experimentation. Story construction, scene technique—animation — sound and color. Throughout these stages we ask ourselves, how can we make it "better" than "good." We all go to school at our studio and learn together how to apply our fundamentals of draughtsmanship, how to better analyze action, how to wisely and sensibly use color. These thoughts are just a part of our daily attempts to constantly improve our service to the international theatergoer.
This is our goal, which we do not claim to have achieved, but one we are striving for consistently. Our product for each new season must be better than the last, or we are failing to progress. Frankly, we are not investing our time and what talents we may have with the idea of letting up" which would surely and finally mean failure. The wheels of progress run on and on and we want to pull—not push!
—Walt Disney.

November 11, 1935
New Scrappy Licensee
Latest of the national manufacturers to become Scrappy licensees is the Puritan Stationery Co., Philadelphia, which will manufacture an extensive new line of juvenile stationery, using the names and likenesses of Scrappy, Margy and Yippy, the characters featured in the Columbia animated cartoon series.

November 15, 1935
Tish Tash, who draws a syndicated cartoon for the Los Angeles "Times," has been signed as a gag man by the Hal Roach studios. He has been assigned to the Charley Chase unit.

November 18, 1935
Have Made 1,500,000 Drawings
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—With start of their Christmas cartoon, Harman-Ising have completed enough drawings for every man, woman and child in the city of Los Angeles. They have made 1,500,000 drawings in the last eight years. The new musical, three-color Technicolor short subject, "Alias St. Nick," being produced for M-G-M by the creators of "Happy Harmonies" cartoons, is to be one of the most ambitious ever made.

November 23, 1935
Extend "Popeye" Broadcasts
Wheatena has extended its radio deal with Max Fleischer for 13 more broadcasts of "Popeye the Sailor," based on his Paramount cartoon series. Arthur Lyons of A. & S. Lyons arranged the agreement covering broadcasts over WEAF.

December 3, 1935
Museum Gets Disney Process
Material showing the step-by-step creation of Walt Disney cartoons has been acquired from Disney by the Museum of Modern Art Film Library among the latest additions to its historical collection. The LeRoy Collection of films also has been obtained through courtesy of the widow of Jean A. LeRoy, movie pioneer. A group of films ranging from Theda Bara in "A Fool There Was" to "Cavalcade" also has been presented to the museum by S. R. Kent, president of 20th Century-Fox, and another group of cartoon comedies by Walt Disney.

December 6, 1935
Here & There
London—Walt Disney's birthday eve was celebrated here with Mickey Mouse and his playmates serving as the subject of a lecture attended by a large audience of society notables, public officials, newspaper writers and others at a benefit affair in Grosvenor House. Francis Meynell, United Artists publicity chief for England and Europe, spoke on "The Making of a Walt Disney Cartoon." Following Meynell's talk, a group of five Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony films was screened.

December 7, 1935
Showing Anti-War Short
As a special added attraction, "Why," an animated cartoon against war, will be shown on the program with "Kameradschaft," tomorrow evening at 6:30 and 9 o'clock at the New School for Social Research, when the New Film Alliance will present the German director, G. W. Pabst, who will talk about the making of his film, "Kameradschaft."

December 10, 1935
Plan Single-Reelers in Color
George Orth and Charles Whitehead have formed O. & W. Cine Enterprises to make 12 single reel color cartoons in New York. Six have already been completed. The company has also liquidated the Lyman Howe laboratory at Wilkes-Barre.

December 12, 1935
Reds Call Mickey Capitalist
Moscow—Soviet critics regard Mickey Mouse as a capitalist, and his antics are construed as social satire, according to the reactions at the first showing of Walt Disney's cartoons here. "Disney is showing us the people of the capitalist world under the masks of pigs, mice and penguins," said one newspaper critic. Big crowds are turning out to see the American movies.

Form Franchise Dep't For Columbia Tie-Ups
Increasing demand for commercial tie-ups on the cartoon characters Scrappy, Margy, Oopy and Yippy, and on Grace Moore fashions has resulted in the establishment by Columbia of the Columbia Franchise Department, headed by Eli Gottlieb as merchandise counselor. Marvin Springer continues in the capacity of franchise salesman. A feature of the new department will be a merchandising service, designed to assist the licensee in promoting the sale of his product, for which service Rohama Siegel has been transferred from the publicity and advertising proper.

December 13, 1935
"Scrappy" Novelties for Xmas
A line of plastic novelties, including Christmas tree ornaments, toy and household dishes, lamps, and other items, all featuring "Scrappy," movie cartoon character, is being produced by the General Electric's Plastics Department, Lynn, Mass., through arrangement with Columbia. The tree ornaments are now in production and 600,000 will be distributed to retail chain stores shortly before the holiday season. They mark the initial entry of G-E plastic products into the field of novelties having an animated-cartoon tie-up.

December 17, 1935
Popeye in Person at Roxy
Popeye the Sailor, in person, novelty act, will be presented for the first time on Broadway as the headline feature of the new stage show starting Friday at the Roxy theater. "Summertime," newest in the series of Celebrity's ComiColor cartoons, will be shown on the same bill, with Republic's "$1,000 a Minute" the feature film.

December 24, 1935
Ten Million Housewives Offered "Scrappy" Game
MORE than 10,000,000 housewives are being offered the popular "Scrappy" Ring Toss Game, manufactured by the Transogram Co., as part of Colgate-Palomolive-Peet Company's nation-wide sales drive for its kitchen and laundry soaps. Circulars describing the game are being distributed to that number of homes by uniformed Western Union messengers throughout the country. The Scrappy Ring Toss Game is manufactured by the Transogram Co. under a license from Columbia Pictures Corp., creators and distributors of the popular Scrappy animated cartoons.


July 1, 1935
"Buddy in Africa" (Looney Tune)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Good Animated
Taking a trip through the African continent, Buddy figures in a series of animated cartoon antics that provide lively amusement for the length of a short reel. Much in the same line as other Leon Schlesinger animated subjects, it fills its purpose nicely.

Popeye the Sailor in "Be Kind to Animals"
Paramount 7 mins. Lively Animated
Plenty of comedy and action in this one, along with a bit of a moral. The antics revolve around the efforts of Popeye and Olive Oyl to save a truck horse from mistreatment at the hands of a cruel driver. It winds up with the big brute being hitched to the wagon, with the horse in the seat and using the whip on him. Will click nicely.

"Dancing on the Moon"
(Color Classics)
Paramount 7 mins. Fair Color Cartoon
Good idea in back of this one, but worked out with only fairly successful results. A rocket ship takes off from the earth to the moon, carrying a load of animal couples, who neck and dance for a while on the celestial sphere, then return to earth and on disembarking are presented with babies by a flock of storks. One of the couples got separated at the take-off, so the husband went to the moon alone, and on his return he gets no baby, whereupon wifie beats him up. Musical accompaniment is supplied by the "Dancing on the "Moon" song.

July 11, 1935
"Mickey's Service Station" (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 7 mins. Fast and Funny
More than the usual amount of action, plus plenty of good gags, class this one among the liveliest of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse concoctions. Mickey, with his dog Pluto and the comical Donald Duck, are running a service station. A tough bozo comes along and gives them just 10 minutes to fix the squeak in his lizzie. To find the squeak, they have to tear the car all apart, finally throwing it together willy nilly just as the owner returns. When he hops in and tries to start the buggy, funny things begin to happen.

July 12, 1935
"Sinbad the Sailor" (ComiColor Cartoon)
Celebrity 8 mins. Good Animated
A well-made cartoon comedy, with lots of laughs, nice muscial arrangement and some good singing. Action depicts Sinbad the Sailor aboard his pirate ship and having an encounter with another vessel, whose captain has a pet parrot that figures largely in the proceedings. Fights, suspense over a chest of gold and other incidents help keep the action going at a lively clip.

July 13, 1935
"Dizzy Divers" (Popeye Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Nifty Animated
Generously packed with comical action, this cartoon comedy is well up to the average maintained by Popeye. Bluto, his husky rival, grabs and runs off with Popeye's map of buried treasure, whereupon the sailor goes after him and there is an undersea battle in which Popeye eventually comes out winner with the aid of his trusty swig of spinach.

"Three Lazy Mice" (Color Cartune)
Universal 7 mins. Clever
This is the nursery rhyme of the Three Blind Mice adapted to the cartoon technique and done with nice color composition. It is in the Kingdom of Mouseland, and the King issues an edict that every mouse subject must henceforth work for his cheese. The three lazy mice who want to play and sing and dance all the time, hit on what they think is a clever way to avoid work. They put on dark goggles and claim to be blind, so the King excuses them from work. But they wander outside the Mouse Kingdom, and encounter a big ugly cat, who proves a nightmare to them. After exciting adventures they escape their arch enemy, and are glad to go to work washing dishes in the King's kitchen. Very cleverly conceived.

July 16, 1935
"At Your Service" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Lively
In this animated we see Oswald running a garage and filling station. But his kid nephew comes along and starts to be of help when a distinguished old gentleman drives up in his expensive limousine and orders servicing. The kid goes to work in his own original way, and by the time he finishes the car is a complete wreck, and so is Oswald and the customer. Done in a light and amusing way that will please.

July 22, 1935
"A Language All My Own" (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. So-So
There's not much to this Betty Boop animated cartoon, either in the way of idea or execution, to give it any kind of distinction. Merely shows Betty doing her act before a theater audience, then hopping into her plane and jumping to Japan, where she repeats the performance, the impression conveyed being that her boop-a-doop stuff is understandable in any country.

July 30, 1935
"Stop That Noise" (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Okay Animated
An average good animated cartoon. Driven frantic by the noises of the city, especially the rumble of the elevated trains, Betty beats it out to the country where the farmyard animals, bugs, etc., make such a clatter of their own that she is glad to rush back to the comparative peace of the big town.

August 7, 1935
"A Merry Old Soul" (Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Ingenious
This colored cartoon from the workshop of Leon Schlesinger goes ingeniously mechanical. We see Old King Cole marrying the lady who lives in a shoe according to the fabled rhyme of childhood. He finds himself loaded down with her gang of babies from some previous marriage, and the poor old king has to stay home and play nurse. He solves his problem of taking care of the brood by rigging up a mechanical device which puts the kids on a mechanical runway, and the various nursery steps of washing, drying, powdering, etc., are taken care of with speed and fun.

"Puppet Murder Case" (Scrappy Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Diverting
Amusingly animated and with lots of action, this subject unfolds the tale of the kid who gets kicked around as he tries to sneak into a puppet show and then is accused of shooting down a group of female puppets in revenge. The story is somewhat tangled in the telling, otherwise it might be even funnier.

August 8, 1935
“Scrappy's Big Moment” (Scrappy Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Fair
This subject is splendidly animated, but doesn't come through as a sock one-reeler because not enough attention is paid to lending more plausibility to the story. Scrappy and his pal manage to whip a giant in a prizefight and then they awake to find it is all a dream. There is considerable entertainment in the reel.

August 12, 1935
“A Little Soap and Water” (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Amusing Animated
A satisfactory amount of enjoyment of its kind is provided by this Betty Boop animated cartoon. Action revolves around the efforts of Betty to give her little dog a bath. The canine is unwilling, however, and makes his getaway from the tub of suds. After Betty finally accomplishes the job, the white doggie hops around and pulls a bucket of coal down on top of himself. Basic idea is cute and the animation is lively.

“The Hunting Season” (Rainbow Parade Cartoon)
RKO Radio 7 mins. Animal Antics
Color cartoon showing the woodland and farm animals disporting themselves happily, with a great friendship developing between the cow and two ducks. A hunter arrives in the woods, and starts popping at the ducks. The cow rescues them, and organizing his pals, they make a raid on the hunter's damp and steal all his guns. With these they come back and rout the hunter, winding up with a barrage of pumpkins and then a hive of bees completes the hunter's defeat.

August 14, 1935
“Swat the Fly” (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Lively
Revolving around the efforts of Betty Boop and her little pup to catch a frisky fly that is proving quite an annoyance to both of them, this animated cartoon is well filled with liveliness and laughs. In trying to do away with the winged pest, Betty just about wrecks her entire kitchen—and still the fly gets away.

August 23, 1935
“Buddy Steps Out” (Looney Tune Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Good Animated
A generally entertaining hodge-podge of animated antics. Buddy steps out for an evening with his girl friend. In his absence, various inanimate figures around the room, including the pictures in frames, characters on boxes, and Buddy's canary participate in various fooleries, all of which come to a standstill on the return of Buddy.

August 30, 1935
“You Gotta Be a Football Hero” (Popeye Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Good Animated
A generally amusing cartoon comedy, well packed with action and laugh gags. With Olive Oyl rooting for the rival team, which is made up of Bluto's giants, old Popeye gets into the game and almost single-handed brings victory to his side. Theme follows the popular song of the same title, with accompanying music from the song.

September 6, 1935
“Scottie Finds A Home” (Rainbow Parade Color Cartoon)
RKO Radio 8 mins. Very Good
Very clever color cartoon, with a little boy cat in his grandma's home wishing he had a doggie for a playmate. He discovers a Scotch terrier, but grandma throws it out. Then a tramp invades the home and starts to order granny to cook a meal for him, and throws the little boy into the cake can. Then Scottie returns and succeeds in raising such a riot that the tramp villain is glad to escape. So Scottie finds a warm welcome from grannie. This one will click big with the kids.

September 10, 1935
“Poor Little Me” (Happy Harmonies)
M-G-M 10 mins. Excellent
Harman-Ising have turned out a neatly conceived and highly entertaining animated cartoon in this Technicolor subject. It has plenty of action and a good comedy vein. A little member of the skunk family is disconsolate because none of the other animals will play with him. Then along comes a cute bunny who has a cold and can't smell, so the pair have a gay time together, until they are chased home by a villainous bear.

September 11, 1935
“Summertime” (Comi-Color Cartoon)
Celebrity Productions 7 mins. Excellent
Very gorgeous and delightful color cartoon done with poetic fantasy and fine comedy sense. It shows the coming of spring a little too soon, with all the woodland animals disporting themselves gleefully as Old Man Winter is driven away. But he returns suddenly and turns everything into shivery ice and sleet, and drives the poor animals into their hideouts. But Pan, the little woodland god is on hand, and marshals a battalion of lightning bugs to attack Old Man Winter and they put on so much heat that he is destroyed, and the woodlands burst forth into all the gay panoply of Summertime. It will click in any type of theater.

“The Three Bears” (Comi-Color Cartoon)
Celebrity Productions 7 mins. Clever
Done with fine color technique, with a little girl invading the home of the Three Bears in their absence. She finds the house equipped in triplicate with almost everything to accommodate the daddy bear, the ma and the baby bear. The little intruder upsets everything, and then the Three Bears return, and discover her hiding in the bed of the baby bear. The riot starts, with the Three Bears pursuing the youngster through the woods to a tree, where they are routed by three skunks who come to the rescue.

September 16, 1935
“Judge for a Day” (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Nice Animated
A neat little idea, and one that will evoke plenty of audience response, has been utilized in this cartoon comedy. It illustrates what Betty Boop would do to the public pests, such as careless backslappers, mud splashers, men who blow smoke in people's eyes, and those who leave chewing gum around for other folks to step on. Betty's method of punishing these culprits is to put them on exhibition in the park, where they are at the mercy of contraptions that give them a dose of their own medicine. Makes nice entertainment, with a moral thrown in.

“"Into Your Dance” (Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Good Animated
With the "Go Into Your Dance" number as a theme background, and a showboat as the setting, this animated cartoon in color is good entertainment of its kind. There is a Captain Benny who introduces the showboat entertainers, with the program including an Amateur Night that is particularly funny.

September 20, 1935
“A Cartoonist's Nightmare” (Looney Tune Series)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Very Good
A good idea, effectively worked out, gives this animated cartoon a generous quota of laughs. It shows an overworked animator falling asleep and dreaming that the villains of his pictures pounce upon him and throw him down a deep well, from which he is eventually saved by the little hero.

October 1, 1935
“Pluto's Judgment Day” (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 7 mins. One of the Best
This ranks away up among the best of the Mickey Mouse creations turned out by the Walt Disney studios. From idea conception to the details of execution, it shows a vast amount of ingenuity and painstaking effort. Action deals with a nightmare experienced by Pluto, Mickey's dog, in which he goes through a lot of punishment for his bad deeds to little cats.

“The Band Concert” (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 7 mins. Swell
Released earlier in the year but missed until now, here's another top-notch Mickey Mouse color cartoon, packed with action and fun, plus a background of cleverly utilized music. Mickey, conducting a band concert, is beset with interference by Donald Duck, who keeps throwing the band off by playing a different tune on his piccolo. Then a tornado comes up, making a wreck out of Mickey's band, but leaving the Duck as sprightly as ever.

“Scrappy's Trailer” (Scrappy Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Very Amusing
Scrappy's wanderings in an auto trailer, an astonishing contraption which houses a cow, tree, backyard, lawn and fences, all of which can be drawn back in again, makes for very diverting entertainment. The trailer's mad careenings and, of course, a chase, are managed excellently.

October 2, 1935
“Bird Scouts” (Rainbow Parade Series)
RKO (Van Beuren) 7 mins. Dandy Color Cartoon
Containing plenty of gags and action, this cartoon comedy in color, made by Burt Gillett, fills its purpose very nicely. It shows the Bird Scouts in camp, with the bugler going back to sleep after arousing the others. For his laziness, he is put in a cage jail up in a tree, while the others go to drill. Seeing a hungry cat coming after them, the jailed bugler warns his pals and they turn tables on the cat, who gets a good ducking and then becomes their playful friend.

“The Hunting Season” (Rainbow Parade Series)
RKO (Van Beuren) 7 mins. Nice Animated
Another entertaining color cartoon from Burt Gillett. It shows how the various animals of the forest and the barnyard, on being molested by a hunter, turn around and do the same thing to him, getting hold of his guns and making it hot for the old boy until he departs and leaves the creatures to their peaceful pursuits.

October 7, 1935
“The Calico Dragon” (Happy Harmonies)
M-G-M 8 mins. Good Animated
A generally delightful concoction from the Harman-Ising studios. It is in Technicolor, and considerable work went into the designing of the color end. Motivating action is about a little girl's dream in which a trio of her toys, a boy, a horse and a dog, go after a fierce dragon about which the girl has been reading in her fairy book. The humorous adventure comes to a climax with the trio waking up to find themselves battling with the patch quilt on the girl's bed.

October 9, 1935
Popeye the Sailor in “King of the Mardi Gras”
Paramount 7 mins. Nifty Cartoon
A very lively animated subject that will register anywhere. Popeye is an attraction at the Mardi Gras, where the big Bluto is billed as the champion in strength and otherwise. Popeye kids the champ into a scrap, from which the sailor emerges victorious with the aid of his trusty spinach. A roller-coaster chase provides some of the principal excitement and laughs.

“Water Babies” (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 7 mins. Nice
Cute and lively, this Walt Disney subject in Technicolor will prove very pleasing to young and old. It shows a bunch of water lillies unfolding to reveal cunning little babies, who proceed to disport in the water and the forest, with the birds, turtles and other animals as their playmates. At sundown the bluebells toll and the babies hurry back to their lily homes, which fold up around them again.

October 18, 1935
“Neighbors” (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 mins. Lively Animated Cartoon
Containing a little moral lesson as well as lots of fast-moving comedy, this animated cartoon in color will please them in any house. It shows a couple of roosters engaged in neighborly friendship until an old buzzard tells each one that the other is not really a friend, thus causing a battle royal to the finish, with the victims realizing then that they should not have listened to the venomous gossip.

“Hollywood Capers” (Looney Tunes)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Novelty Cartoon
Leon Schlesinger's cartoon production featuring the mischievous kid, Beans. The hero wangles his way into a Hollywood studio, and starts to disrupt the works. He accidentally puts a mechanical robot into action, and the robot finishes the ruin that Beans has started. Finally Beans overcomes the mechanized terror and becomes a hero. Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Charles Jones. Music by Norman Spencer.

“The Little Dutch Plate” (Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Clever Cartoon
A clever cartoon fantasy with the mellerdrama villain and-the-mortgage motif. The little Dutch salt shaker comes to life as does the girl on the Dutch chinaware who lives in the windmill. Their romance progresses till Mr. Vinegar, in his bottle also comes to life and plays the villain trying to close the mortgage on the heroine's windmill. The hero almost saves the girl for himself, but disaster hits him in a surprise climax. Animated by Jack Carr and Robert Clampett. Original music by Norman Spencer, with the lyrics sung by the cartoon characters.

“The Old Plantation” (Happy Harmonies Series)
M-G-M 7 mins. Fair Cartoon
This creation of the Harman-Ising studios represents a lot of work, but its contents and action are a bit jumbled, resulting in just fair entertainment of its kind. It's a fast-moving mixture of southern darky singing, cotton picking, Simon Legree melodramatics, etc., performed by a flock of toy characters, and done in Technicolor.

October 21, 1935
“Terched in the Haid” (Barney Google Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Lively
This Charles Mintz cartoon in color is full of goofy laughs and moves fast. Barney visits his mountaineer pal who is loafing under a tree while his wife does all the work and tends the family of six kids. Barney suggests to the youngsters that they quit loafing and get some education so that they can help Ma. But Ma resents the suggestion, and so do the kids, and Barney has to take it on the lam with Spark Plug.

October 22, 1935
“Hey Diddle Diddle” (Paul Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins. Lively Cartoon
A compilation of the good old nursery rhymes, showing the Old Lady who lived in a shoe, the characters in "Hey Diddle Diddle"—the cow, the cat and the fiddle, the dish and the spoon—Jack and Jill, and many more nursery favorites. Mary's lamb is left out of school in the Old Woman's shoe, and inside the old lady as the schoolma'am is putting the class through a modern idea of education, with plenty of syncopation and harmony. Mary's lamb announces the arrival of the three prim ladies of the School Board, but they go for the hot-cha education, too, and it winds up with all hands doing a tap dance.

October 22, 1935
“Balloon Land” (ComiColor)
Celebrity 7 mins. Very Entertaining
Novel, colorful, diverting and filled with action, this animated cartoon in color makes good entertainment. The scene is balloon land where all the inhabitants and the surroundings are air-inflated and vulnerable to puncture. A hot chase of a boy and a girl by the pin cushion man, whose darts deflate the objects they strike, furnishes the basis for the lively animation.

November 1, 1935
“Mickey's Fire Brigade” (Mickey Mouse series)
United Artists 8 mins. Topnotch
This is one of the liveliest and funniest of the Walt Disney cartoon creations. Done in Technicolor, it shows Mickey's fire department gang in action when called to a fire. Pluto and Donald Duck are Mickey's chief aides, and much hilarious fun arises from the unwillingness of a bashful cow, who is taking a bath in the burning house, to heed the fire alarm or cooperate with her rescuers when they arrive.

November 4, 1935
“The Lady in Red” (Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Okay
Animated cartoon in Technicolor, with the "Lady in Red" song number from "In Caliente" furnishing the idea. A satisfactory number of its kind.

“A Happy Family” (Krazy Kat Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Fair
The fun starts when Uncle visits Krazy Kat, but when he arrives he brings with him the whole family with a pile of youngsters, and they settle down for a long stay. The kids make life pretty miserable for Kat, winding up by burning the house down. Produced by Charles Mintz.

November 21, 1935
“Musical Memories” (Color Classics)
Paramount 7 mins. Nice Animated in Color
Presenting a group of oldtime songs, with appropriate scenic accompaniment, this color cartoon contains an entertaining concoction of melody, sentiment and comedy. The "memories" unfurl as an old couple sit before the fireplace and go through their album, recalling earlier days.

November 29, 1935
“Ye Olde Toy Shoppe” (Terry-Toon)
Educational 6 mins. Very Diverting
Splendidly animated and with several catchy tunes interpolated, this short shows the awakening of the toys in the toy shoppe after the owner closes for the night. They watch a revue performance in a miniature toy theater and when a villainous spider tries to carry off a pretty maid from the stage all join in the lively chase and fight which ensues.

“Billboard Frolics” (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. A Darb
These Merrie Melodies are getting better all the time. This one can compare with anything in the field of colored cartoons, and rank high. Very original conception, playing on the theme of national advertised products as shown on billboards. Of course the trade marked names are burlesqued. The billboard characters come to life, and take an active part in the comedy-drama of the little chick that hasn't scratched yet as it tries to escape from Gangster Cat. The original musical accompaniment is done to song in which the characters are the chorus. Leon Schlesinger, the producer, can [rest of sentence not published].

December 4, 1935
“Flowers for Madame” (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Lively
Nice offering in color cartoon with a flower motif. The flowers of the field and forest have a carnival, with floats and everything. A fire starts, and the flames become embodiments of little devils that chase the poor flowers toward destruction, but they are finally saved by the heroic efforts of several of their pals of the woods. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

December 10, 1935
“Bon Bon Parade” [sic] (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 8 mins. Splendid
A gorgeous cartoon in Technicolor as good as anything in its field, and better than most. It is the story of a little boy who makes a wish that he could always live in Candy Town. His wish is granted, and he finds himself seated beside the king of Candyland as the parade of candies goes by. The ingenuity employed in the candy characterizations is unusual, even for the cartoon technique where this ingenuity finds so much expression. Charles Mintz produced it, and it's a darb.

December 12, 1935
“The Bon Ton Parade” (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 mins. Swell Cartoon
An unusually lively, tuneful and generally entertaining animated subject in Technicolor. Plenty of ideas and effort went into the production, which depicts the adventures of a ragged urchin in a candy dreamland, where characters made of candy come to life and stage a variety of historical and holiday bits, including a touch of Christmas.

“Henry, the Funniest Living American” (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Okay
The Henry in this case is a comical little boy who wanders around Betty Boop's pet show and matches his talents with the various animals therein. When a flock of the pets break loose and refuse to return at Betty's call, the sprinkling of some seeds on Henry's head brings them flying back. Rather mild but fairly entertaining.

“Alias Saint Nick” (Happy Harmonies)
M-G-M 7 mins. Good Color Animated
This lively little Technicolor cartoon from the Harman-Ising workshops was made specially for the holiday trade and will click nicely on any bill. It shows Mother Mouse reading a Christmas story to her gathering of little mice, one of whom is skeptical about there being a Santa Claus. When a villainous cat, disguised as Old Nick with a bag of toys, invades the mice's quarters with the idea of making a juicy meal out of them, the non-believer in Santa discovers the disguise and exposes the cat, with a lively kickout resulting.

December 13, 1935
“Joy of Living”
Metropolis 11 mins. New Animation Technique
This English animated drawing by Anthony Gross and Hector Hoppin is a study in the poetry of motion, of rhythm, and is as far removed as possible from the comic appeal of American cartoons. Two slender girls, clad in flowing robes, going along a walk by the sea, display their joy in the mere fact of being alive by the airiest, most graceful of dancing. The laws of gravitation are repealed for them, and they bounce and fly, curvet and cavort, like butterflies in a wind. One of them kicks off a slipper and it lands before the door of a young man who gives chase on a bicycle and is caught up into the spirit of rhythm that pervades the entire drawing. The chase interrupted by a water interlude, ends in the signal room of a railroad station where switches are pulled indiscrimnately, by the trio, sending the scurrying trains into a rhythm of motion that the laws of mechanics never dreamed of. A new and charming style in animation—and one that has much to be said for it. Story, background are sacrificed to grace, litheness, charm and the poetry of motion.

December 17, 1935
“Gold Diggers of '49” (Looney Tune)
Vitaphone 7 Mins. Okay Animated
While it contains nothing out of the ordinary in the animated cartoon line, this Leon Schlessinger short is a fairly entertaining concoction about a young gold prospector who puts life into a little western community.

December 24, 1935
“Simple Simon” (ComiColor Cartoon)
Celebrity 8 mins. Good
Speeded along with plenty of diverting action, this modern version of Simple Simon and the pieman makes for good entertainment. Simple Simon samples a pieman's wares and when he cannot pay for what he has eaten, the pieman gives chase. This leads to a merry hullabaloo as Simon, trailed by his companion, a duck, dash through the fair for a series of amusing adventures with the pieman in pursuit.

“Humpty Dumpty” (ComiColor Cartoon)
Celebrity 8 mins. Good
Considerable humor and novelty makes this agreeable entertainment. Humpty Dumpty moves to battle a villainous egg who is carrying off his girl. In the fracas the girl is pushed into a pan of boiling water and emerges hard-boiled. She scorns Humpty-Dumpty and begins to maul the villain. Then Humpty falls into the boiling water and becomes hard-boiled. He then licks the villain and wins back his equally hard-boiled sweetheart.

Popeye the Sailor in “Choose Your Weppins”
Paramount 7 mins. Very Amusing Animated
Filled with typical Popeye antics, lively and funny, this cartoon is a neat item of its kind. An escaped prisoner, handy at knife throwing, enters Popeye's pawn shop and engages in a duel with the sailor. The villain seems to be getting the best of it until Olive Oyl throws Popeye a can of spinach, which turns the tables for him.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Maurice Noble's Africa

Chuck Jones never lost the penchant he had when he began as a director in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s for cutish characters and stylised designs. For a number of years through the mid and late ‘40s, Jones seems to have concentrated more on humour and gags, but then his cartoons got all designy again.

“Boyhood Daze” (released in 1957) features little boy Ralph Phillips (the cute element) and the work of Maurice Noble (the design element). Since Phillips is living in a fantasy world, the abstractness works pretty well. Here are some of Noble’s background designs in the jungle sequence, painted by Phil De Guard.

The stylised natives (writer Mike Maltese has dubbed the tribe the “Daquiris”) run away with only their feet moving. The masked bodies are lumped together in a drawing on one cel.

And Jones’ roaring tiger has stylised movement, with the open mouth simply popping from pose to pose.

Ken Harris, Dick Thompson and Abe Levitow receive animation credits here. Mel Blanc doesn’t get a voice credit, but you can hear him supply native grunts. Other voices are provided by Dick Beals, Daws Butler and Marian Richman.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Random Red Shots

Praise has been heaped on Preston Blair in many animation books, magazines and web sites for his masterful work in bringing Red to life in various cartoons. We’ve never posted some of the frames here, though. So let’s rectify that. These are from “The Shooting of Dan McGoo.”

The lyrics talk of a soldier or marine. Red acts out the parts.

The balletic leg movements and the intricate finger and hand movements are truly worth studying. And Tex Avery’s a smart enough director to give viewers a visual contrast by cutting away to the wolf and his impossible reactions. Avery has the spotlight following Red on stage which must have taken an awful lot of planning.

Ed Love and Ray Abrams are the other credited animators.