Saturday, 10 May 2014

Cartoons of 1943, Part 1

War production and laugh-at-the-enemy cartoons may not have dominated the world of animation in the first half of 1943, but they certainly played a significant role. All one has to do is look at the animated shorts nominated for an Oscar—the winning “Der Fuhrer’s Face” (Disney), “All Out For V” (Terry), “Blitz Wolf” (MGM) and “Tulips Will Grow” (George Pal) were among the six up for the award. Three were anti-Nazi, the other took aim at the Japanese.

The war had another effect—employees of studios ended up in uniform. Arguably, the biggest name was Rudy Ising, who left MGM and never went back. Ising’s type of cartoon—cute and helpless little animals intricately moving on screen—was passé. Even the man Ising was imitating—Walt Disney—had almost given up those kinds of shorts in favour of the raucously angry Donald Duck, the clumsy-but-confident Goofy and the curious, slow-thinking Pluto. The real cartoon star of the time, at least in the estimation of anonymous reviewers in The Film Daily, was Bugs Bunny. Praise was heaped on him in edition after edition in the first six months of ’43. Oddly, the same reviewers dismissed the Famous Studios’ Superman cartoons as unrealistic, as if a talking rabbit whipping out confetti and yelling “Happy New Year” (in July) was grounded in fact.

However, Superman’s employment at Famous would be brief. When Paramount announced the 1943-44 shorts line-up, the Man of Steel’s name was absent. Instead, Paramount decided to begin a series of Little Lulu cartoons instead. Columbia bought the rights to a comic character as well—Li’l Abner. And at Warner Bros., the studio took advantage of the Schlesinger studio’s workload of war-related material for the government with a cheap solution. It decided to re-release old cartoons. The work was already done. Soon every studio would be doing the same thing.

So let’s look at the reviews and the sparce news. There’s a lovely bit of promotion for Bob Clampett; you have to wonder if he planted the story. And you’ll observe a short review of “Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs” from a time before it accumulated so much baggage that it’s now almost impossible to discuss it rationally.

January 4, 1943
Famous Branch to Open
Famous Studios, which turns out Paramount's "Popeye" and "Superman" cartoons, will open a branch at 24 W. 45th St. today.

January 13, 1943
Schlesinger to Launch Training Film Schedule
Leon Schlesinger, producer of the "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" for Warners, on his return to the Coast next week after spending six weeks in the East, will place under way an extensive schedule of animated training films for Army Signal Corps, Navy and Treasury Department use. He will also make a fourth group of shorts for the WPB. Latter is intended for general theater showing.

Disney Reports Year's Loss of $191,069.50
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Income account of Walt Disney Productions for the fiscal year ended Oct. 3, 1942 shows a profit after all charges but before provision for losses on inventories of $308,930.50 as compared with a corresponding profit of $210,702.94 in the preceding fiscal year. After providing $500,000 for loss on company's inventories, the loss for year amounted to $191,069.50 as compared with a loss of $789,297.06 after similarly providing a $1,000,000 reserve in the preceding fiscal year.

Disney's "Fantasia" Wins Laurels in Cuban Poll
Havana (By Air Mail—Passed by Censor)—Walt Disney's "Fantasia," distributed by RKO, emerged as 1942's best pic in the annual poll staged by the Association of Motion Picture and Theater Writers.

January 15, 1943
Donald Duck Tax Short Goes to Exhibs. Feb. 4
"The Spirit Of '43," the Walt Disney 6-minute film starring Donald Duck, produced for the Treasury, will be released by the WAC to as many theaters as possible before March 15. After this date, it will complete the run in the remaining houses.
On Feb. 4, National Screen Service exchanges will begin circulating the 677 Technicolor prints of the short throughout the nation. A special one-sheet is in preparation, free to exhibitors playing the film.
The short was seen by the program committee of the Theaters Division, of which R. B. Wilby is chairman, and received an enthusiastic OK. It is anticipated that this film, of enormous importance in this critical year, will receive maximum exhibition in the theaters pledged to play WAC film.

January 20, 1943
Expect Famous Studios In Miami to Suspend
Miami — Because of the small number of employes now at work in the Famous Studios, formerly Fleischer, it is believed here that the studio will be closed completely shortly. Half the staff and other production facilities have been moved to New York where Paramount's cartoon subjects are being made.
Production on a small scale is still going on at Famous, but reliable sources contend that all pictures, including animated cartoons, can be made at less cost elsewhere than in the Miami area.
Colonnade Studio in Coral Gables closed up several months ago.

January 26, 1943
OWI-WAC Shorts Schedule For Feb. Announced
Washington Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Washington—Lowell Mellett, OWI motion picture chief, yesterday announced the schedule of OWI-WAC shorts for the month of February. The Disney short, "Spirit of '43" made for the U. S. Treasury, will be released Feb. 4. while "Troop Train," "Since Pearl Harbor" and "Arsenal of Might" will follow on the 11th, 18th and 25th.

RKO Sets Back Release Dates on Two Pictures
... Walt Disney's "Saludos Amigos" has been set back to Feb. 19. It will make its Broadway premiere at the Globe on Feb. 12 for an indefinite run. [no reason given]

To the Colors!
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood—Two more Disney studio employees, JOAN ORBISON and ELLEN ANNAN, have followed in the footsteps of Ruth Plumleigh, former publicity department worker, in joining the ranks of the WAVES.

February 1, 1943
Coming and Going
WALT DISNEY, accompanied by JOE GRANT and DICK HUEMER, two of his writers, left for the East on Friday for Washington conferences on future cartoon production for the Government.

February 2, 1943
Walt Disney to Lampoon Hitler's Racial Theory
Walt Disney, who arrived in New York from the Coast yesterday, plans a pic which will explode the Hitlerian theory of racial superiority. Producer, who was accompanied by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, staff writers, will go to Cambridge to confer with Dr. Ernest Hooton, Harvard professor of anthropology.
Disney also has in mind a fantastic bit about what life might develop into on this earth under totalitarianism. The world will be shown in 2040 as a geometrically regimented state.

February 4, 1943
To the Colors!
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—RUDOLF ISING, M-G-M cartoon producer, who was half of the Harman-Ising duo for 10 years, enters the Army Air Force, with the rank of Major. Because of his technical background Ising will devote his efforts to the production of animated training films.

February 8, 1943
Treasury Relies on Walt Disney Tax Short To Drive Home Fact Returns Must be Filed
Education of the American people to the fact that Federal income tax returns must be filed and first payment of taxes made on March 15, regardless of which of the proposed "plans" is adopted, will gain tremendous momentum if the nation's exhibitors advertise as weil as play the Disney film, "The Spirit of '43."
This is the comment of Savington Crampton, Treasury Department official, in New York for discussions on the film, which is being released under WAC auspices.
Si Fabian, chairman of the theaters division of the WAC, accordingly has wired exhibitor chairmen, requesting that all theaters "build up" the film by billing it in regular theater ads and posting the one-sheets already supplied.

February 15, 1943
Alstock Going to Coast To Inspect Welles' S. A. Pic
Francis Alstock, film chief of the CIAA, and Karl MacDonald, his aide, will leave here for Hollywood tomorrow or Wednesday for a short stay. Chief among the items on their agenda is a study of the Orson Welles footage from Latin America. Welles is believed to be about ready to show his film to Twentieth Century-Fox, and it is probable that he will do so within two weeks.
The CIAA film men are also expected to go over several films now in production at Walt Disney's studio—among them the sketches for the film based on Prof. Albert Hooton's "Apes, Morons and Men."

February 19, 1943
Release Donald Duck Pic Made in Mexico Next June
Washington Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Washington—Next June has been set for the release of the feature-length Donald Duck film to be laid in Mexico, made for the CIAA by Walt Disney.

February 23, 1943
Shoot Point Rationing Reel Sequence in Capital
Washington Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Washington—The second of two newsreel sequences on point rationing was shot here last week-end, with a talk by Prentiss Brown, OPA administrator featured. The cameramen also got a brief address from OPA Director James Byrnes. The material will be released to the five newsreels this week for individual editing.
Release of the six-minute cartoon on the same subject made by Leon Schlesinger for OPA is scheduled for this Thursday.

March 5, 1943
Cartoon: "Der Fuehrer's Face." (RKO Radio-Walt Disney).

March 11, 1943
Labor-Management Com. At Leon Schlesinger Studio
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—A labor-management committee, consisting of five employes and five company representatives, has been established at the Leon Schlesinger studio.
The committee is studying plant operations in an effort to complete work without being forced to train new technicians, which in some cases requires several years. Schlesinger has the final say on the committee's actions, but no suggestions will be submitted to him until the entire committee has been agreed upon them.

Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • GEORGE PAL has just signed a contract to make three one-reelers for training personnel of the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, on the subject of "Aids to Navigation" .... Pix, to be made in Technicolor under technical supervision of Commander Farwell, will be to "help prevent loss of ships by stranding" .... Commenting on the tab productions, Farwell said: "For this type of training film, there is no better medium than George Pal's Puppetoons, because of the three-dimensional technique."

March 19, 1943
Metro Cartoons For Latin America
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—M-G-M will make a series of cartoons featuring stories familiar to Latin-American countries. First subject will be "Panchito y el Lobo," or, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Spanish main titles will be used in all instances, with American sub-titles since each subject is for release in the United States as well as in Latin-American countries.
Executive Producer Fred Quimby will supervise series.

April 5, 1943
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Producer-Director Andrew Stone has signed Leon Schlesinger, film cartoon creator, to prepare special animated sequences which will begin and end the story of "High Diddle Diddle," the Frederick Jackson screenplay set to go before cameras Apr. 19.

April 7, 1943
Disney Adds 20 to Staff
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Because of the pressure of production, Walt Disney studio has increased its inking and painting department by 14 per cent, adding 20 new members and bringing the employment figure up to the highest level in several years.

April 8, 1943
Coming and Going
JOHN W. CUTTING, WILLIAM COTTRELL and MARY BLAIR of the Walt Disney studios are in Havana seeking material for a film about Cuba.

April 13, 1943
Pal Increases Staff 100%
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—George Pal's new Signal Corps contract in addition to that with the Navy will bring a 100 per cent personnel jump at the Puppetoon Studios.

April 20, 1943
To The Colors
* ARMY * — NATHANIEL ELLIOTT, M-G-M cartoonist, Hollywood

April 21, 1943
War Demands Force Cut in Schlesinger Cartoon Sked
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Because of a heavy schedule of Army and Navy films and loss of personnel because of the war, Leon Schlesinger has decided to reduce his 1943-44 cartoon schedule to 13 “Merrie Melodies” and 13 “Looney Tunes.”
For the last four years Schlesinger has held the record for making more cartoons than any other producer. His current program called for 26 “Merrie Melodies” and 13 “Looney Tunes,” six of the latter in Technicolor for the first time. Both series, beginning with the new program, will be made entirely in color.

April 23, 1943
Para. Adding Three New Shorts Series
Paramount has increased by 15 per cent its budget for its 1943-44 short subject program which will include 64 subjects, Oscar Morgan, general sales manager of short subjects and Paramount Newsreel, announced yesterday. Color will highlight the program, only two series to be in black and white.
Three new series, all in Technicolor, have been added to the program. They include two new cartoon subjects—"Little Lulu," eight in number, based on Marge's well known character appearing in the Saturday Evening Post; a Noveltoon series of eight and six two-reel musicals. All cartoons will be in color. There will be eight Popeye subjects and six George Pal Puppetoons.

April 26, 1943
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Latest sensation in meatless circles is the titling of the Columbia-Dave Fleischer first all-fish color cartoon.—"Who Marinated the Herring"

April 27, 1943
To The Colors
* ARMY * — BOB STOKELY, Disney Studio, Hollywood.
WALTER MEYER-RADON, Disney camera dept., Hollywood.
HENRY SYVERSON, Disney animation dept., Hollywood.
RALPH CHADWICK, Disney assistant director, Hollywood.
* NAVY * — STAN SPOHN, Disney artist, Hollywood.

May 3, 1943
Coming and Going
LEON SCHLESINGER left the Coast Friday for New York and Washington, taking with him a print of "Deep Sea Diving," Naval training film.

May 10, 1943
Reeling 'Round - - WASHINGTON
HUGH HARMON in town last week talking cartoons with Francis Alstock, of the CIAA office. And predicting, through [Russell] Stewart [of the Washington Times-Herald], a tremendous upsurge in the animated market right after the war. . . .

May 11, 1943
Disney Studio Sets Record For Six Months' Production
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — By photographing 100,245 feet of film in the past six months, Walt Disney has broken the production record of his studio. Late Disney productions completed include "Water Friend or Enemy" for the Office of the Co-ordinator of Inter-American Affairs; two sequences of "Rules of the Nautical Road" for the Navy; the "Fog" division of "Aerology" for the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and "Fall Out, Fall In," a Donald Duck for RKO.

May 20, 1943
U. K. 'Snow White' Re-issue To Meet 'Escapist' Demand
Walt Disney plans to re-issue "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in England next Fall in answer to the demand for "escapist" pictures, Reginald Armour, Disney's European managing director, said yesterday. Armour arrived from England on Monday.
"Snow White" still holds the record gross for a Disney subject in England where it grossed $1,600,000. Armour said he expected "Bambi" to rank second to "Snow White" in gross business. The single reeler "Der Fuehrer's Face" is one of the most popular shorts now showing in England, Armour said, and will out-gross "Three Little Pigs" which formerly held the record.
Armour confirmed all stories about the big theater business in England, declaring that the houses are packed at all times. He said the British people were definitely "fed up" on war themes and were demanding only light dramas or out-and-out escapist comedies.
Armour will be here about six week and will then return to London.

May 21, 1943
Fleischer Studios To be Army School
Miami—The U. S. Army, through a Federal court order, has been granted immediate possession of the Fleischer studios. The Army will have temporary use of the buildings until June 30, 1944, with a right to renew during the period of the emergency. Property will be used for a military training unit school. The balance of the cartoon staff will be transferred to New York.

May 24, 1943
To the Colors
AL SPAR, Dave Fleischer's general manager, Hollywood.

May 26, 1943
Open Sealed Verdict Today in 'Snow White' Voice Suit
A sealed verdict was returned yesterday by a jury in New York Supreme Court in the $200,000 damage action of Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White, and Harry Stockwell, the voice of Prince Charming in the Walt Disney film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The defendants, Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., and RCA Victor, were charged with violation of an oral agreement which assertedly called for the use of the plaintiffs' voices only in the film. Miss Caselotti and Stockwell charged that RCA was permitted by Disney to make records of the songs and dialogue from the film.
The verdict will be opened this morning.

May 27, 1943
Jury Disagrees in Voice Action Against Disney
New York Supreme Court Justice Felix C. Benvenga yesterday opened a sealed verdict which was returned by a jury on Tuesday in the action of Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell againset Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., and RCA Victor, charging breach of a contract and seeking damages of $200,000 and $100,000, respectively. The court announced that the jury had disagreed. The case, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs, will be retried early in June.
Miss Caselotti was the voice of Snow White and Stockwell that of Prince Charming in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." They charged that Disney allowed RCA Victor to make recordings of the dialogue and songs in the film.

May 28, 1943
Warners Weighs Re-issue Of 13 Schlesinger Shorts
Decision is expected soon on a proposal to re-issue a group of 13 select “Merrie Melodies” cartoons to augment the 1943-1944 production schedule of the Leon Schlesinger organization, producers of the shorts, it was learned yesterday from Norman Moray, short subjects sales head of Warner Bros., distributors of the Schlesinger product.
The re-issues would take the place of 13 subjects cut from Schlesinger's new program because of the reduction of raw stock. The cartoons being considered for revival are understood to be "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt," "Of Fox and Hounds," "My Little Buckaroo," "Isle of Pingo Pongo," "A Feud There Was," "Cross Country Detour," "The Fighting 69½," "A Wild Hare," "The Bear's Tale," "The Early Worm Gets the Bird," "Sweet Sioux," "Wacky Wildlife," "The Cat Came Back."

June 4, 1943
Disney's "Air Power" Set for Globe Bow
Walt Disney's "Victory Through Air Power" will have its New York premiere at the Globe Theater following the engagement of "Mr. Big." Picture is based on Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky's best seller of the same name. It is being released by United Artists.

June 8, 1943
PAUL WORTH, general manager of Dave Fleischer's cartoon organization.

June 10, 1943
Phil M. Daly column, New York
Arsenal of Animation:
• • • OF decided consequence to Mister Exhibitor, whether he be a circuit solon or the proprietor of only one small cinema emporium, are the current happenings on several floors of 25 and 35 West 45th Street .... At those dual addresses, an ace Arsenal of Animation is in high gear, turning out entertainment ammunition of high calibre for the annual box-office battle which we all call the New Season .... Said arsenal is Famous Studios, Inc., biz offspring of parental Paramount .... Relatively recently, you'll recall, the artistic operations and equipment essential thereto were moved up here from Miami, with an eye to all-out creation of cartoon shorts,—three series of eight, namely "Little Lulu," "Popeye," and "Noveltoons," each and every one in Technicolor.
• • • THIS, you'll agree, is a war of motion .... And a war of motion pictures .... What the latter contain is a determining jailor in keeping up morale .... Now, nothing we know of can sustain the spirit quite as well as laughs .... So, the aforementioned series of shorts are aimed at evoking laughter, and plenty of it .... Not a stroke of an animator's pen, nor the click of a camera, is being taken by Famous Studios, anent the Paramount subjects, for any purpose other than humor .... "Little Lulu," comedy sensation of the Satevepost, is right now being groomed as a comedy sensation of Filmland .... Phil M. this week had occasion, in company with Sam Buchwald himself, general manager of Famous Studios, to personally witness the screen-metamorphosis of "Little Lulu," via preparatory stories, sketches, and gags .... This gal, brain child of Marge (who lives on a farm not far from Philadelphia, and has some sort of a diacritical mark over the last letter of her name), will be, we unreservedly predict, America's animated sweetheart .... Brother Dictionary Webster defines animation as "slate of being lively, brisk, or full of spirit and vigor" .... Little Lulu is all that at the hands of Buchwald & Co..... A lulu, verily!
• • • AS for Popeye, his 1943 vehicles are certain to put more "spinach" into theater tills than will go down his own gluttonous gullet .... The famous vegetarian strongman-sailor, under Famous aegis, is going to be taken in one cartoon to Good Neighbor Brazil, where by the way, his popularity bulges like that nation's eastern coastline .... Another aside is that this is Popeye's 11th year as a movie star .... And 11 is a lucky number, whether you roll the bones, or you don't,—and who doesn't? .... Where Popeye is favored by fortune (as showmen will be with his upcoming string of shorts) is that 1943-44 finds him freed from black-and-white, with self and settings prescribed by the greatest of all pigment physicians, Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus .... Popeye in the last decade has grossed $5,000,000.
• • • FINALLY, but by no means least, we turn to the Noveltoons series, which rounds out the Famous stint for Papa Paramount .... Beloved characters such as "Raggedy Ann" and "Hunky and Spunky" will appear therein, along with all sorts of new and novel "faces" .... Ideas are legion for these subjects o'er in the Buchwald arsenal .... Personnel of the plant will shortly hit the more'n 200 mark .... No report of present and future Famous activities would be complete without mention of the forward glances which the organization is giving to non-theatrical pix, entirely out of competition with the commercial ones fashioned for our own exhibition field.

June 21, 1943
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS .... It looks as if Mae Questel, whose voice was that of Betty Boop in the Paramount cartoons, will portray Miss Duffy in the Skirball-Spitz picture based on the "Duffy" radio show. . .

June 25, 1943
Headline News Inspire 10 of Columbia's New Pix
The 90 single reelers on the program include four Li'l Abner color cartoon specials, four Fox and Crow special color cartoons and 82 novelty, musical and comedy reels comprising Color Rhapsody cartoons, Phantasies, Film Vodvil, Community Sings, World of Sports, Screen Snapshots, Panoramics and Columbia Tours.

June 28, 1943
Clampett Celebrates 12th Year at Schlesinger Studio
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood— Robert Clampett is celebrating the start of his twelfth year with Leon Schlesinger. He is currently supervising the production of 12 cartoons now in work. These include five Bugs Bunnys, two Technicolor Duffy Ducks, "Birdy and the Beast," starring the little baby talking bird, which Clampett introduced in the Abbott and Costello Pussy-Cat Picture; and four big musicals "Blue Danube" and "Tales of the Vienna Woods" with Bugs Bunny, and score by 60-piece orchestra, "Tin Pan Alley Cats" and all black face swingeroo, and the first Russian cartoon yet made, "The Gremlin from the Kremlin."


January 4, 1943
"Der Fuehrer's Face"
RKO Radio-Disney 8 mins. Excellent Reel
Of all the created short subjects in industry annals, this one comes to the screen with perhaps the greatest pre-sold assets for theaters, inasmuch as it is the reel which gave birth to, and features throughout, the super-popular song of the same title. In its other aspects, too, the short is noteworthy, for Disney and his staff have poured into it rich humor, expert animation, and the resplendent Technicolor. The music, lyrics and action are so intimately blended that it takes on a dual character,—that of an illustrated song, and a song which illustrates hilarious satirical drawings-in-motion. The antics of the German band as it marches and counter-marches to the song's strains are bound to explode amusement and mirth wherever shown. There are many deft and timely touches in the footage, with Herr Hitler at the wind-up getting the tomato right in his Fuehrer-face.

January 7, 1943
"Case of the Missing Hare" (Merrie Melody)
Warner 7 Mins. Excellent
Here is another hilarious chapter in the life of Bugs Bunny, the Leo Schlesinger [sic] creation that keeps growing in comic strength with every new release. This time it is a magician who gets the business from the brash Bugs. The hocus-pocus man doesn't realize what he's in for when the rabbit comes to the stage in response to a call for someone to act as his assistant. Bugs crosses up the magician time and again until the poor guy is driven crazy. The fun is fast and loud. The short is in Technicolor.

January 19, 1943
"Air Raid Warden" (Walter Lantz Cartune)
Universal 7 mins. Fair
A fair amount of entertainment is contained in this Technicolor cartoon, which has to do with Andy Panda's experiences as an air-raid warden. His biggest headache comes when a goat gobbles up first his siren and then an auto headlight that keeps glowing right through the critter's hide. In trying to extinguish the light he is led on a mad chase all over the place, almost being killed in performing his duty.

"How to Fish" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Good
Here's that Goofy guy again. While an off-screen narrator explains the art of fishing, the clumsy Goofy does the demonstrating — with disastrous results, you may be sure. He tries all the devices used by the fisherman but gets nowhere with any of them — that is, nowhere except into the water. Goofy's antics are plenty funny. The Technicolor is tops.

"Ding Dog Daddy" (Merrie Melody)
Warner 7 Mins. Amusing
A lot of cleverness has gone into the making of "Ding Dog Daddy," a Technicolor cartoon from the Leon Schlesinger atelier. The footage tells the story of a goofy hound that falls in love with an iron dog that stands on the lawn of an estate. A watch-dog interferes with the romance but cannot dim the goofy one's ardor. Tragedy enters the picture when the iron dog is taken away and converted into a shell in a munitions plant.

"Confusions of a Nutzy Spy" (Looney Tune)
Warner 7 mins. Good
Porky Pig is a constable gunning for a spy bent on committing sabotage. The spy proves a tricky customer who keeps outwitting Porky in spite of the fact the latter has a bloodhound assisting him. The villain leads our hero a merry chase hither and yon. A time bomb that threatens to go off at any minute gives Porky plenty of worry. The short, which is in Technicolor, has a bang-up finish. This Leon Schlesinger item has many chuckles in it.

"Pluto at the Zoo" (Walt Disney)
RKO 8 mins. Excellent
When Pluto sees how well the animals at the zoo are fed, he decides to promote himself a free meal. It doesn't take him long to realize it's going to be no easy job. He has a run-in with some of the most vicious animals in the place and comes perilously close to losing his life. He is mighty happy at the end when he retrieves his old bone and exits from the zoo. The cartoon, done in Technicolor, is fast and extremely funny.

January 21, 1943
"Bellboy Donald" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Good
Here we have Donald Duck in the role of bellboy. The job is no sinecure for him, thanks to the pranks played upon him by a young bundle of mischief. Donald has to stand the abuse because of the hotel's motto that "the guest is always right." When he is fired, he finds himself free to get even with his tormentor. He takes advantage of the opportunity with a vengeance. There are many chuckles in this Technicolor cartoon.

"Jasper and the Choo-Choo" (Madcap Models)
Paramount 7 1/2 mins. Funny
Jasper gets a nickel from his mother and the scarecrow and the crow conspire to relieve him of it. They inveigle the kid into a crap game, using loaded dice. The dice rebel at the dirty business and take a form that scares the scarecrow out of taking Jasper's money. Their experience with the enraged dice convinces everyone that it doesn't pay to be dishonest. The Technicolor subject has been capitally done. It is good for a lot of laughs.

"Barnyard WAAC" (Terry –Toon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Fairly Funny
Excitement and confusion hit the barnyard when all the animals and the fowl decide to go all-out for defense. The rooster stands by disapprovingly as the hens go off to become WAACS. All his endeavors to bring them back are of no avail. No wonder he doesn't like the idea —he is left to run things at home alone. There are a number of laughs in the cartoon, which is in Technicolor.

"Destruction, Inc." (Superman)
Paramount 8 1/2 mins. Rather Flat
Strictly for the most infantile mentalities. There really isn't much to this latest Superman release. This time our hero foils an enemy plot to blow up a munitions plant. The guy has to work doubly fast because also at stake is the life of a girl reporter who has been caught snooping on the saboteurs. Again the incidents are utterly beyond credibility and on the foolish side.

"My Favorite Duck" (Looney Tune)
Warner 7 Mins. Good
Porky Pig again is the butt of the smartalecky Daffy Duck's humor in this Technicolor cartoon. The antics have to do with the pig's attempt to set up camp away from the hustle and bustle of civilization. The duck comes upon the scene and hinders the fellow at every turn. The tormentor takes advantage of the fact it is closed season on ducks, but when the season opens the pig takes after the duck ready for his revenge. While this Leon Schlesinger cartoon is far from a scream, it has enough laughs to deserve booking.

January 27, 1943
"The Spirit of '43"
WAC 6 Mins. Excellent
The art of Walt Disney again has been put to fine use in behalf of the war effort. In this short, produced for the Treasury Department, Disney has enlisted the services of Donald Duck to impress upon the people of the nation the importance of paying their taxes. Donald is a war worker well supplied with dough. He is torn between the urge to spend and the urge to save to pay his income taxes. Those urges take the forms of a duck called Scotty and another named Zootie. The two contend for Donald's attention. After debating with himself on what disposal to make of his money Donald decides to save for taxes to beat the Axis. The film puts over its message in highly humorous fashion.

January 28, 1943
"Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" (Merrie Melody)
Warner 7 mins. Amusing
Set this one down as a rather amusing satire on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." All the characters in the latter are replaced by darkies. The satire sounds a timely note by placing the seven dwarfs in the Army. Coal Black has a deuce of a time keeping out of the clutches of the Enemy Queen, a terrifying villainness. The dwarfs come to the rescue in a way that makes for numerous laughs. The cartoon was produced by Leon Schlesinger in Technicolor.

"Barney Bear's Victory Garden"
M-G-M 8 mins. Fairly Funny
Barney Bear, moved by patriotism, sets out to plant a victory garden and runs into no end of difficulties. A mole that insists on devouring every growing thing in the garden supplies his chief headache. In his efforts to destroy the critter Barney makes a shambles of the garden. Some of the incidents in the Technicolor cartoon are quite amusing.

"Slay It With Flowers" (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 6 Mins. Fair
The Fox and the Crow are at it again in this Technicolor cartoon. This time the Fox is trying to plant a victory garden. The Crow eats up the seeds as fast as the Fox plants them. When the latter tricks the invader into eating a hot pepper seed, the fight is really on. The two keep at it until the Crow learns he's been interfering with the planting of a victory garden. That makes him pretty much ashamed of himself, and at the end the two enemies have become friends. This one is good for a few laughs.

March 3, 1943
"Donald's Tire Trouble" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 Mins. Excellent
A blowout gives Donald Duck a world of trouble in this Technicolor short. His efforts to repair the damage get him into one hilarious complication after another. Everything he tries goes wrong. The strain is too much for him. In the end he goes looney when, believing he has patched the leak, all four tires collapse. He has no choice but to roll away on the rims. Audiences will be certain to get a howl out of this. Anyone who has had a car will appreciate Donald's plight.

"Point Rationing of Foods"
OWI-WAC 6 Mins. A "Must" For Theaters
Produced in animated form reel sets forth (1) reasons for point rationing, (2) how the system works, (3) use of the official table of point values and ration coupons, and (4) wise procedure in coupons' conservation, etc. The entire scope of the rationing fundamentals is given with great clarity, and if ever the instructional value of motion pictures is driven home, it is in this instance. The animation is tremendously effective, and audience interest is bound to be held by virtue of the clever humorous touches occurring throughout.
This picture was made for and contributed to the OPA by the Screen Cartoonists Guild, Local 852, the Leon Schlesinger Unit. Members of the Unit directed, laid out, animated and photographed the cartoon on their own time, at night and on week-ends.

March 8, 1943
"The Tortoise Wins by a Hare" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 Mins. A Howl
Here's that Bugs Bunny again—carrying on in his usual brash way to fill with loud laughter those theaters wise enough to book the Technicolor cartoon, which will boost the popularity of what has come to be Leon Schlesinger's ace character. The short concerns a race between Bugs and a tortoise. Imagine our hero's feelings when the tortoise cons the race. Believing the change will help him. Bugs dons a shell like that of the tortoise. The other hares, mistaking Bugs for his rival, try to keep him from winning a second race.

"Pigs in a Polka" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 Mins. Musical Treat
The main attraction here is not so much what meets the eye as what greets the ear. This is not to say that the animation is not first-rate and amusing. It just so happens that the music of Brahms runs throughout the film, providing a lovely accompaniment to the action, which concerns a battle of wits between the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The wolf, naturally, loses out. The cartoon, a Technicolor item, is an excellent wedding of humor and music. Musical Director Carl W. Stalling merits a nod.

"Sufferin" Cats"
M-G-M 8 Mins. Passable
In this Technicolor cartoon two cats compete for possession of a mouse. Their failure to get anywhere with the mouse, which makes fools of them, forces them into an alliance against their common enemy. However, even their joint efforts prove unavailing. The smart mouse leads them a merry chase, getting the best of them at every turn. This makes a fair booking.

March 31, 1943
"Bah Wilderness"
M-G-M 7 Mins. Okay
Barney Bear experiments with the outdoor life and finds it isn't all it's cracked up to be. The cartoon, which is in Technicolor, concentrates on his efforts to get a night's sleep despite annoyances from the animals of the forest. He has one unfortunate experience after another with the critters. It takes a terrific rainstorm to free him of the pests.

"To Duck or Not to Duck" (Looney Tune)
Warner 7 Mins. Swell
Leon Schlesinger has turned out another ace Technicolor cartoon featuring the characters Daffy Duck and the goofy hunter. The action places the two in the squared ring to fight it out on an even basis when Daffy Duck questions the hunter's sportsmanship in trying to kill him in cold blood. In the ring the duck puts up a dirty fight but gets the worst of it in the end when the hunter resorts to similar tactics in self-defense.

"Kindly Scram" (Phantasy Cartoon)
Columbia 6 mins. Scram
The laughs in this Dave Fleischer cartoon are extremely limited. The action has to do with a bill poster's difficulties with a vicious bull. The picture of a beautiful cow on the poster seems to have something to do with all the fuss. Little cleverness or imagination has gone into the fabrication of the short. The kids may be able to find some hilarity in it.

"The Mummy Strikes" (Superman)
Paramount 8 Mins. Okay for Kids
The kids will probably find this latest Superman dainty to their liking. The short, in Technicolor, has enough action to hold their interest. The story has to do with the mystery surrounding the murder of a scientist connected with an Egyptian museum. Some of the mummies come to life and assault those trying to solve the crime. It is Superman who comes to the rescue in true heroic style. Like the others in the series, the current entry is too fantastic for grown-ups.

"Pluto and the Armadillo"
RKO 7 mins. Excellent
Herein Walt Disney introduces a new character — a cute armadillo called Tatou which is fit to take its place with the other Disney creations. Pluto meets the little fellow in a South American jungle while on a plane trip with Mickey Mouse. Pluto and Tatou become fast pals. There is charm as well as laughter in the Technicolor cartoon.

April 2, 1943
"Bravo, Mr. Strauss" (Madcap Models)
Paramount 7 mins. Good
For his latest subject George Pal takes us to Vienna, where he lets a statue of the Strauss of "The Blue Danube" fame come to life. After leading the army of occupation to its death in the waters of the river to the strains of his immortal song, the composed restores Vienna to its old glory, then goes back to being a statue. The film, in Technicolor, is a pleasant booking.

April 12, 1943
"Dumb-Hounded" (M-G-M Cartoon)
M-G-M 8 mins. Gales of Laughs
Put this down as one of the really belly-laugh-packed subjects of the year. In it is introduced Droopy, an old hound of exquisitely dry humor, whose voice is patently that of the character, Wallace Wimple, of the famed Fibber McGee & Molly program. Droopy hounds down a killer who has escaped from prison, and how he does it is riotous. A "must" for all stands exhibiting tab attractions.

April 13, 1943
"Willoughby's Magic Hat" (Phantasy Cartoon)
Columbia 6 1/2 Mins. Fair
This is the story of a hat woven from the hair shorn from Samson's head by Delilah. It seems possession of the hat gives one tremendous physical powers which even Superman would envy. The hat falls into the possession of a puny little fellow, who magically acquires the power to save a lovely damsel from a fearful mechanical monster. There's a fair amount of amusement in this one, which was made by Dave Fleischer.

April 21, 1943
"Egg Cracker Suite"
Universal 7 mins. Grade A Easter Egg
Here's a Technicolor cartoon that should make a good Easter booking for the kiddies. Pleasant and nicely peppered with laughs, the short concerns a lot of bunnies who work at the production of Easter eggs. The little fellows have to use a lot of ingenuity in procuring their eggs and decorating them, all of which serves to hold the interest.

"The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" (Madcap Model Series)
Paramount 9 mins. Top Flight Entertainment
Not only is this the best offering to date by George Pal, but one of the most delightful shorts of this or any other year. Filmed in glorious Technicolor (which vastly enhances its charm and effectiveness), the reel recounts a tale of the mythical kingdom of Didd, whose monarch is thwarted in exacting reverence from one of his young subjects, because the latter cannot remove his hat without another instantly appearing. The ruler tries devious ways of getting the lad bareheaded,—but in vain. Finally, by swapping his crown for the 500th hat of young Bartholomew Cubbins, the king finds his baffling problem solved. Proceedings are based upon a popular children's book by the famous humorist, Dr. Seuss. Adults as well as youngsters will revel in this grandly entertaining reel.

"Super Rabbit" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 mins. Excellent
In his latest appearance the irrepressible Bugs Bunny does a take-off on Superman and other superdupers and proves a wow at it. Again he reveals himself as a 14-carrot comedian. Bugs acquires the power to do herculean deeds by eating a special carrot devised by a scientist. He uses his new-found strength to end the activities of a villain carrying on a campaign of extermination against the rabbits. The Leon Schlesinger cartoon is in Technicolor.

"Fifth-Column Mouse" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 Mins. All Right
This tale of a Quisling mouse has enough laughs in it to make it an acceptable booking. The mouse turn traitor in return for having his life spared by a villainous cat trying to enslave a colony of mice. The mice refuse to listen to the traitor, who they dispose of along with the cat. The Leon Schlesinger cartoon is in Technicolor.

April 27, 1943
"Flop Goss the Weasel" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 Mins. Good
Many humorous moments are to be found in this Technicolor cartoon, which has to do with the efforts of a foxy weasel to make a meal of a new-born chick. The chick makes the mistake of thinking the weasel is its mother. The weasel makes the most of the error, but finally the chick finds its real mother. Leon Schlesinger produced.

April 29, 1943
"Jungle Drums" (Superman Cartoon)
Paramount 8 Mins. Imagination Taxation
Here's the latest of the Technicolor-hued Superman epics, with the mighty man hurtling down from a plane to rescue the captive Lois,—prisoner of a Nazi, jungle-based band of agents and wild natives who are plotting to destroy an American convoy. As Lois is being tortured by fire before a weird, gigantic pillar, the saving hero, in tights and cape snatches her from death, makes short shrift of her tormentors, and saves Uncle Sam's ships from destruction. It's all wild, woolly, and, in two words, in credible!

"Hop and Go" (Looney Tune)
Warner 7 Mins. Amusing
The laughs in this Leon Schlesinger cartoon revolve around the efforts of a goofy kangaroo to prove his prowess as world's hopping champion. He is teased into activity by two doubting Scottish rabbits. The rabbits' attempts to discredit him drives the kangaroo to put everything into a leap to end all leaps. The kangaroo winds up badly battered.

May 3, 1943
"The Boy and the Wolf"
M-G-M 9 mins. Good
The fable of the boy who cried wolf is retold in extremely amusing fashion in this Technicolor cartoon, the setting is Mexican. The boy, an amusing little devil, fools his dog several times. When the wolf really comes, to prey on his sheep the kid has a tough time convincing the hound of his peril. The dog is a very funny character. The subject has been well done.

May 13, 1943
"Patriotic Pooches" (TerryToon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Fair
The dogs go off to war in this Technicolor cartoon. The action revolves around a pup who begs to be allowed to do his bit for his country. The little fellow gets into a lot of amusing situations that will give rise to many laughs where the kids are concerned.

May 14, 1943
"Shipyard Symphony" (TerryToon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Musically Okay
The scene is a shipyard where all the workers are animals. An American eagle conducts them in a symphony composed of the sounds made by the animals in the course of their work. The cartoon, which is in Technicolor, is entertaining primarily because of its musical content.

"He Dood It Again" (TerryToon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Okay for the Kids
Super Mouse does his stuff again in the manner of Superman. His opponent is a vicious cat terrorizing the mouse population. The rodents are on the verge of being destroyed by the villain when Super Mouse steps in and routs the enemy. The Technicolor cartoon is strictly kid stuff.

"Barnyard Blackout" (TerryToon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Okay
A rooster gets a lesson on air-raid procedure from Gandy the Goose and a cat. He is taught in amusing fashion what can happen when blackout rules are violated. Gandy is good for plenty of laughs. The cartoon is in Technicolor. Call it a better than fair booking.

"Private Pluto" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Swell
Abundant hilarity is stirred up by Pluto as an Army private assigned to guard a pillbox against saboteurs. Chipmunks that have made their home in the pillbox give him a world of trouble. The little critters pull one trick after another on him, making a perfect sap of him. The footage, which is in Technicolor, is a first-rate booking.

May 18, 1943
"Fall Out—Fall In" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Very Funny
This Technicolor cartoon has Donald Duck on the march as an Army recruit. The fellow has a tough time keeping up with the others. The endless march takes Donald through various climes and many lands. At the close of the film he is in a boiling desert still on the march. His efforts to get some rest will bring howls of laughter from the audience.

May 28, 1943
"Jasper's Music Lesson" (Madcap Models)
Paramount 8 Mins. Rates Well
Superb diversion is contained in the newest George Pal offering, which is in jive tempo that will win plenty of attention from the younger crowd. The characters again are Little Jasper, the scarecrow and the crow. The latter two disrupt Jasper's attempt to practice the classics by teaching him the virtues of hot music. They end their tampering with the classics when Jasper's ma shoos them away. The short, which is in Technicolor, sports some good musical effects.

"Duty and the Beast" (Phantasy Cartoon)
Columbia 6 mins. All Right
The satirical treatment has been applied to the hunting dog in this Dave Fleischer cartoon in Technicolor. The dog in this instance is a softie who helps the quarry rather than the hunter. The film winds up with the hunter out of the way and the animal celebrating. There is a commentary that adds to the amusement.

"The Last Round-Up" (Terrytoon)
20th-Fox 7 Mins. All Right
Funny moments are numerous in this Terrytoon in Technicolor. The characters are Private Gandy Goose and Sergeant Cat. They too are blown close to Hitler's hideout by the premature explosion of a shell. They find Hitler (a pig) and Mussolini (a monkey) in conference. They immediately go into action against the two dictators, giving them a hell of a time.

"A Jolly Good Furlough" (Popeye)
Paramount 7 Mins. Fair
In his latest appearance Popeye is a merchant seaman home from the Pacific on a furlough. Things happen to him on the home front that shatter all his visions of peace and rest. When he gets an extension of his furlough he is hardly the happiest man in the world. At the finale he is headed fast for the Pacific theater of war, there to spend the rest of his furlough. The laughs in this cartoon are limited.

"The Underground World" (Superman)
Paramount 8 1/2 mins Okay for the Babes
The latest Superman is just as fantastic as its predecessors in the series of Technicolor cartoons. The scene of action this time is a cavern where dwells a fearsome breed of men with bat-like characteristics Our hero is there to help clear up the mystery of the disappearance of the explorer who discovered the place. Superman saves two investigators from a horrible death and demolishes the cavern.

"Plenty Below Zero" (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 1/2 mins. Very Good
The characters are a crow and a fox. The crow, who is spending the Winter up North, sees rescue from starvation when the fox heaves into sight with a knapsack bulging with food. Crow and fox fight over the food, which both lose in the end. The Dave Fleischer item, done in Technicolor, is a classy cartoon packed with laughs.

June 9, 1943
"The Wise-Quacking Duck" (Looney Tune)
Warner 7 mins. Swell
Introducing another howling success starring Daffy Duck, whose work in the Leon Schlesinger Technicolor cartoons is improving at amazing rate. The butt of Daffy's antics this time is a meek individual who is anxious to get the duck into the oven. Audiences will have a grand time following the battle of wits between the duck and the man. Daffy lands in the oven for a moment but succeeds in escaping to visit further punishment on his enemy.

June 10, 1943
"The Dizzy Acrobat"
Universal 7 mins. Passable
Woody Woodpecker's latest adventure has to do with his effort to crash the gate at the circus. The fellow uses every trick to fool the attendants. How he manages to see the show and even take part in it is pictured in Technicolor with a fair show of humor. The kids will be pleased with the cartoon.

June 11, 1943
"Greetings, Bait" (Merrie Melodie)
Warner 7 mins. Good
Quite funny, this Leon Schlesinger Technicolor cartoon. The chief character is a worm doing an imitation of Jerry Colonna. This worm's job is to trick fish into grabbing the hook of the fisherman employing his services. Several times the worm almost gets hooked himself. This is a swell little number.

June 17, 1943
"The Aristo Cat" (Merrie Melodies Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Pleasing One-Reeler
Producer Leon Schlesinger gives this frothy yarn by Ted Pierce a full dress suit of Technicolor, thereby making it pleasing both to the eye and entertainment heart. Reel will go well with both adults and kids. It shows a cat,—pet of a wealthy owner—, who is brought up in such luxury that it doesn't even know a mouse when it sees one. The feline is left in charge of the butler, who, finally bolts out of the house and household for good, because the animal plays jokes on him,—painful practical ones. When tabby meets up with a couple of mice, one tells him that a bulldog is the genus rodent. The pooch gives him a terrific beating, well deserved. There is some very clever musical accompaniment to this single-reeler.

"Mass Mouse Meeting"
Columbia 6 mins. Lukewarm
Entertainment is rather slim in this retelling of the story of the mice's belling of their enemy, the cat. The efforts of the mouse chosen to hang the bell on the cat will gain no more than a limited number of laughs from the kids. Little freshness has been brought to the subject. Dave Fleischer produced the cartoon.

"Red Hot Riding Hood"
M-G-M 8 mins. All Right
The old fairy tale has been thoroughly modernized, gaining plenty of laughs in the process. Grandma is made to run a nightclub where the singing star is the up-to-date counterpart of Little Red Riding Hood. To be sure the wolf is still there, but he's of the Hollywood type. He goes after our heroine without success, being hooked at the end by Grandma. Put this one down as a swell Technicolor cartoon.

June 28, 1943
"Jackwabbit and the Beanstalk" (Merrie Melodies Cartoon)
Warners 7 Mins. Action and Mirth
Enjoying the fantastic locale and atmosphere of the "Jack and the Beanstalk" fairy tale, this Technicolor cartoon stars the obstreperous Bugs Bunny. There is plenty of horseplay coupled with bright action and mirth-provoking dialogue as Bugs badgers the giant dwelling in his sky kingdom. Latter is clearly on the dumb side, making him an easy target for the rabbit's pranks. Finale finds the colossus hurtled headlong to earth. Offering is on a par with the better Leon Schlesinger tab productions. Following which Bugs Bunny has among cartoon fans makes the pic a desirable addition to stands' programs.

"Tree For Two" (Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 mins. Better Than Average
Producer Dave Fleischer continues herewith the amusing Fox and Crow series in Technicolor. Reynard this time is in the role of a tree surgeon, who, spotting a decaying monarch of the forest, decides to repair it. The hollow trunk with numerous exits is used by the Crow as his home, and the latter refuses to be dispossessed. There are some mirthful situations and lively dialogue between the principals. In the end, the tree is more of a wreck than ever. Reel is better than average cartoon subject and will please lots of people, old and young.


  1. Interesting to see "W'ere On Our Way To Rio" basically pre-promoted a year before it came out as Paramount's entry in the 'Good Neighbor Policy' competition that also led to Disney's "Saludos Amigos" (as well as the above mentioned though far-less-memorable MGM short).

  2. ....and 25 West 45 Street would be "Famous Studios" headquarters until it closed in December 1967.

  3. Actually Paramount Animation Studios moved to another west side location in the 1960s…