Saturday, 7 June 2014

Cartoons of 1944, Part 1

Farewell, Leon. Farewell.

Leon Schlesinger decided to get out of the cartoon business in the middle of 1944. He sold his studio and quit as chairman of the Cartoon Producers Association. He blamed poor health and, indeed, he was dead 5½ years later.

I like Leon Schlesinger. He had some theatrical sense. He bowled with his staff. He made fun of himself in their goofy Christmas reels. He helped charitable causes. He let his “kids” make funny cartoons, once they found the formula. And he sure compares favourably with the corporate attitude surrounding big-money entertainment today (Well, most of the time. There was the time he docked the pay of five employees who took time off to vote in a state primary).

Even the mainstream press announced his retirement, but we have the story from the pages of The Film Daily, the New York-based trade newspaper, though it doesn’t quite tell everything. Daily Variety reported on June 22nd that Warners would take over active management of the plant on July 1st. It announced June 28, 1944 that quick decisions were made. Warners (logically) dropped Leon’s name in favour of the Warners brand but retained the series (“Merry Melodies,” “Looney Tunes” and “Bugs Bunny Specials”), the studio’s characters, and all four directors (though Bob Clampett was already scoping out opportunities in TV). And it announced the same day that former boxer and PR flack Eddie Selzer, head of Warners’ trailer department, would take charge. Schlesinger’s brother-in-law Ray Katz would still oversee operations (he remained at the studio for a year). That being accomplished, a party was thrown for him and then he and his wife immediately took off for a month-long trip to British Columbia.

What else happened in the animation world in the first half of 1944? Let The Film Daily tell you. And there are cartoon reviews of the newly-launched Little Lulu (Famous-Paramount) and Li’l Abner (Screen Gems-Columbia) series, as well as a number of cartoons I’m sure you’ve seen.

January 10, 1944
Clampett Hosts Bugs Bunny Staff
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Robert Clampett, writer and supervising director for Leon Schlesinger's "Bugs Bunny" cartoons, will play host to 100 members of the Bugs Bunny staff at a party held at the Cafe Society, Hollywood, Friday. Annual affair is usually held on New Year's Eve, but due to so many members of the staff being laid low with the flu, had to be postponed this year. Among those who attended were Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny, and Arthur Q. Bryan, voice of the hunter in the series.

January 11, 1944
Disney Reports Year Net of $431,536
Walt Disney Productions' active effort to aid the war effort is reflected in the report of the organization covering the fiscal year ended Oct. 2, 1943, issued yesterday. Report reveals that 94 per cent of the year's film footage was produced for the Army and Navy and other Governmental agencies on a non-profit basis. To fulfill the war demands, the production of entertainment shorts was sacrificed, and only 9 single-reelers were completed against the customary 18 to 20. Only one feature, "Victory Through Air Power" was released. Output was attained despite a 27% per cent loss of personnel to the armed forces. While devoting the major portion of its facilities to the production for U. S. agencies on a non-profit basis, the company had a net income of $681,536 before provisions for losses on inventory, as compared with $308,930 in 1942, and a net of $431,536 after such write-offs, as compared with a loss of $191,069 the previous year. This showing reflects the receipt of revenues from entertainment films produced in prior years and net income from licensing of its cartoon characters, newspaper comic-strips and other art work.
Of the total footage completed during the year for the Government agencies, 70 per cent was for the account of the Army and Navy and 24 per cent for other Government agencies and Army sub-contracts. Only 6 per cent of total footage was entertainment product of the company because of this concentration of war work.
Current and working assets at the close of the year amounted to $4,916,63i, while current liabilities amounted to $2,428,454, leaving an excess of current and working: assets over current liabilities of $2,488,181 as compared with $1,873,907 at the close of the preceding fiscal year.
This is an increase in net current and working assets of $614,274. Bank loans, which stood at $2,649,260 at the end of the preceding fiscal year, had been reduced to $1,442,653 as at Oct. 2, 1943. This is a reduction of $1,206,607. The release of blocked currencies in certain foreign countries contributed substantially to this reduction. Of the loans outstanding at Oct. 2, 1943, the majo- portion represented Regulation "V" loan borrowings covering costs incurred in the production of pictures for the Army and Navy.

January 12, 1944
Lantz Audience Survey To Seek Cartoon Tastes
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—A national survey of audience tastes in cartoons is being planned by Walt Lantz, whose Cartunes are distributed by Universal.
The checkup is designed to supplement regular box-office reports on his series and is intended to freshen information and data on hand. Lantz plans the most active year in his production history as he enters 1944. His schedule calls for an average of five Cartunes a month, three for Universal release and two training film cartoons for the U. S. Navy.
Next important Cartune on the Lantz schedule is "The Pied Piper of Basin Street," with Jack Teagarden playing his famed hot trumpet. This will be for his "Swing Symphony" series. Lantz also has ambitious plans for "Miss X," his newly-created glamour girl, who will first be seen in "The Greatest Man in Siam." Lantz will also focus his attention on such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Camelia Camel and Buck Beaver.

January 14, 1944
Para. Raises Curtain On First Little Lulu
Philadelphia—A special preview of the first Little Lulu cartoon, "Eggs Don't Bounce," was held at Paramount's Exchange yesterday for the executive staff of The Saturday Evening Post. Screening was followed by a buffet lunch served at the Exchange. Plans for a nation-wide promotion campaign on the Little Lulu cartoons were discussed.
Oscar Morgan, Robert M. Gillham, Stanley Chase and George Harvey fiom Paramount's home office attended as did Earl Sweigert, district manager, Ulrik F. Smith, local branch manager, George Beattie, sales manager and Bill Brooker, ad rep.

January 28, 1944
Films to Combat Illiteracy
U. S., Mexico and Disney Join in Test Project
Mexico City (By Air Mail)—A gigantic visual education project, with the object of reducing illiteracy throughout the Western hemisphere, i is slated to receive its first test in Mexico, it is revealed by the Mexican Ministry of Public Education.
In accordance with plans now being worked out by representatives of this country, the United States Government, and the Disney Studios, animated cartoons will be utilized to bring the tools of culture to the untutored masses of the Americas. There will be no admission charge to any of the showings, which are to take place in even the remote towns, villages, and ranches.
Three series of films are scheduled. One will be designed to teach audiences to read and write through the presentation of sentences expressing a message of good-will. The general theme will be "Man," which will be subdivided into as many reels as are necessary. Subjects to be covered, for example, include "Man on Earth," "Man as Opposed to a Plant or Animal," "Man Feeds," "Man Advances by his Will," and "Man Possesses Speech."
A second group of pictures will illustrate the working of various parts of the human body. Mixed with demonstrations of the functioning of the eye, digestion, circulation, skin, etc., will be observations on the development of man's spiritual, intellectual, and physical relationships.
The final series will discuss subjects of general culture, such as the creative and destructive manifestations of nature, the life of microbes and the movement of the stars. In every case, the films will have as their secondary purpose the building of bonds of friendship and understanding between North and Latin America.
Prof. Eulalia Guzman, of Mexico's Ministry of Public Education, has been selected as Disney's collaborator in the enterprise.

February 8, 1944
Animation for Jive Talk
Hollywood—Leon Schlesinger will do an animated sequence illustrating Cab Calloway's jive talk for Andrew Stone's "Sensations of 1944." The new deal stemmed from the successful introduction of an animated cartoon sequence which Schlesinger made for Stone's "Hi Diddle Diddle."

February 14, 1944
Caricolor Enters Mexican Cartoon Producing Field
Mexico City (By Air Mail)—Caricolor Films, S. A., new producing venture launched by Santiago Reachi, will be devoted entnely to the production of animated cartoons in color with native themes and native music is exclusively. The company plans to make eight such cartoons in 1944.
President of the new company is Santiago Reachi, with Edmundo J. Phelan as vice-president, Lie. Jeronimo Bujeda, treasurer; Manuel Garza Castillon, secretary. Manuel M. Moreno will be in charge of production.

February 23, 1944
"Snow White" Launched In Four-State Premiere
Cincinnati—Climaxing a four-week campaign, Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was launched yesterday by RKO Radio Pictures in a revival premiere in 60 Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky cities, with the local Grand Theater the center of activities.
Campaign included newspaper and billboard coverage, daily programs over WLW and personal appearances throughout the four states of traveling units consisting of the "voices" of Disney characters. Disney, himself, is expected to attend the Snow White Coronation Dinner tomorrow night when winners in the Snow White and cartoonist contest, of which Deems Taylor was the judge. The New York delegation will include Ned Depinet, Robert Mochrie, Nat Levy, Walter Branson, Edward Alperson, Harold Mirisch, Harry Mandel, Barret McCormick, Terry Turner and Linus Travers.
With Cincinnati spearheading the way, other cities will follow with their premieres.

February 25, 1944
"Snow White" Sets Mark
Cincinnati—Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" broke all one-day records at the Grand Theater here on Tuesday, the engagement spearheading a four-state, 60-city revival premiere staged by RKO Radio. The Grand, which has a seating of 1,451, played to 9,609 paid admissions for a gross of $3,505. Booked in the Grand here for four days, the engagement was extended to four weeks after the first day's "take" had been counted.

March 2, 1944
To the colors
JACK STEVENS, M-G-M cartoon cameraman, Hollywood.

March 3, 1944
Cartoon: "Yankee Doodle Mouse" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) Fred Quimby, producer.
Special Award To George Pal for his novel technique in producing the Puppetoon shorts.

Walt Lantz Making 16, Nine for ‘U,’ 7 for Navy
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—With 16 Cartunes in various stages of work, Walt Lantz has hit a new all-time high production mark. Nine of the subjects are for release via Universal, while seven of them are for the Navy. In the group Lantz is making for the Navy, one picture is shooting and scripts for six have been finished and will go before the cameras immediately.

Comedy Short on Rationing
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—The humorous side of rationing and kindred home from problems form the theme of Leon Schlesinger's Merrie Melodies Cartoon, "The Weakly Reporter," soon to be released. This is the narrative type of cartoon which Schlesinger has done so successfully.

March 9, 1944
Phil M. Daly column, New York
Walt Lantz has signed Webb Smith, long with Walt Disney, as a writer for Cartunes. . .

March 20, 1944
Oscar Morgan, Paramount's short subjects sales manager [said] The George Pal Madcap Models Puppetoons will have a stepped-up production budget and the Speaking of Animals series will be given story treatments. Sam Buchwald of Famous Studios, producers of the cartoon series, has acquired several new story properties such as Max, the Fo:getful Elephant, Gabriel Church-kitten and the Smoky Stover comic strip character.

March 23, 1944
Roy Disney Planing East to Talk RKO Releasing Deals
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Roy O. Disney has planed to New York to discuss releasing matters with Ned E. Depinet, president of RKO Radio.
World-wide distribution of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" will be discussed and releasing plans for the new Walt Disney feature, "The Three Caballeros" considered.

100 City Midwest Debut For RKO's "Snow White"
More than 100 cities in Iowa and Nebraska will launch Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" during the week of April 5, claimed to be the largest simultaneous showing of a picture.
Premiere is to be divided into two zones, with Des Moines spearheading the all-Iowa sponsorship by radio stations KSO and KRNT, and Omaha the focal point for a Midwest sponsorship by WOW. A big pre-opening campaign is under way.

April 25, 1944
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Production of Snafu cartoons for the Army and technical films for the Navy will cause Leon Schlesinger to hold "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" to 13 each next season as against the usual 39 All will be in Technicolor ... Walter Lantz, also making Navy subjects, will produce 13 Technicolor Cartunes for Universal 1944-45 distribution.

May 9, 1944
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• Leon Schlesinger will make five additional pix for the Navy. . .

May 18, 1944
Disney Releases Set
First four of the seventh series of Walt Disney cartoons have been announced for release as follows—"Springtime for Pluto," June 23; "First Aiders," July 31; "The Plastic Inventor," Aug. 18; "How to Play Football," Sept. 15. Last of the sixth series, "Commando Duck," will be released on June 2.

May 19, 1944
Walt Disney to Australia?
Canberra (By Air Mail)— Walt Disney may make an animated cartoon about Australia, the Minister for Information announced. Disney's representative here said that the producer would like to come to Australia, but that it might not be possible until after the war.

May 25, 1944
SCG Asks Conciliator
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood— U. S. Department of Labor has been asked by the Screen Cartoonists Guild to name a conciliator in the deadlock between the Guild and Walt Disney Productions. Guild representatives expressed opposition to an incentive bonus plan as outlined by Disney representatives.

May 26, 1944
Name SPG-Disney Conciliator
West Coast Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Commissioner Louis L. Livingston has been named by the Conciliation Division of the U.S. Department of Labor to act as conciliator in the wage dispute between the Screen Cartoonists Guild and Walt Disney Productions.

June 1, 1944
Hollywood — Studio news round-up: Walt Disney has signed Benny Goodman for "Swing Street," feature-length musical cartoon.

64 Subjects on Para. 1944-45 Shorts Line-up
The new season's program will include six Musical Parade featurettes in Technicolor to be made at Paramount's Hollywood studio; three series of eight cartoons; six George Pal Puppetoons...
The cartoon and George Pal subjects also are in Technicolor.

June 2, 1944
Lantz Asks New Cartoon Patent
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Walt Lantz is applying for a patent on a new cartoon process involving use of plastics. Named the Plastograph Process, the technique was developed in connection with subjects made for the Navy. Details are secret for the duration.

June 19, 1944
50% of Terry's Pix For Armed Forces
Fifty per cent of the footage shot by Terrytoons, Inc., at New Rochelle last year was devoted to pix made for the armed forcs and a similar ratio rules for the first six months of 1944, President Paul Terry said Friday at a studio press conference which followed a luncheon.
Terry is making 20 Technicolor shorts for 20th-Fox's 1944-45 program, and that figure may hold seasonally for the duration. Return of peace is expected to see the studio revert to the old 26 figure; cut to 20 was made to meet raw stock curtailment incident to the war.
With the exception of service training pix still made in black and white, Terrytoons has swung over permanently to Technicolor, Terry said. Change has added about 25 per cent to production budgets, the veteran shorts producer said, who, in the last 30 years, has turned out approximately 1,000 cartoon subjects.
Discussing the use of color, Terry observed that he did not expect to substitute Monopak for Technicolor, feeling that the latter more perfectly meets cartoon requirements. Nor, said the producer, did he have any plans for feature production. The cartoon's place in the feature field, Terry said he felt, was in connection with a story utilizing human actors. He pointed out that the cost of a cartoon feature approximated that of the normal Hollywood feature. Terry confirmed that he had been approached by advertising agencies with a view to making pix for television, but indicated lack of interest. As to the visual training field, the producer said he had no plans to enter it at the present time.
The Terry studio has contributed about 45 men to the armed forces, with some 25 serving in the Signal Corps. However, Terry said the plant had not faced a manpower problem, nor had it been troubled by paper or celluloid shortages. Foresight, he added, had given the studio a five-year supply of celluloid as a backlog.
Members of Terry's staff attending the industry press luncheon included Philip Scheib, musical director; Emanuel Davis, director; John Foster, story department head; John Conrad Rasinski, director; William Tytla, director; Harvey Day, sales manager; William Weiss, vice-president, and Edwin Donnelly, director.

June 21, 1944
Schlesinger Finds Post-War Planners Look to Cartoons
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Post-war planners are becoming more and more animated cartoon conscious daily, according to Leon Schlesinger who reports he has received many requests for advice and assistance in mapping plans for new avenues of education, public health, advertising, and other activities to come in into the world scene after the war.
"Health service organizations particularly are shaping plans for educating the nation on how to keep well by the use of animated cartoons," said Schlesinger. "Advertising agencies are seeing cartoons as valuable adjuncts in selling campaigns on many products." Schlesinger attributes this interest on the part of post-war planners to the "SNAFU" training films he has made for military service, but because of his heavy schedule for the Army and Navy, plus his "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" product, he is finding it impossible to do much more than offer suggestions for some long-range post-war programs at this time.

June 22, 1944
Warner Bros, to Purchase Schlesinger Cartoon Plant
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — A deal whereby Warner Bros, will purchase Leon Schlesinger's cartoon plant is in the final inking stage and Warners are scheduled to take over Schlesinger's production activities July 1, it was revealed by the cartoon producer. Reports that purchase price would be between $200,000 and $300,000 were branded as erroneous by Schlesinger, who said that the figure would merely cover the cost of work in production.
Schlesinger will retain the by-products of "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" for a term specified in sale negotiations and after a four-weeks' vacation, will return to establish offices for handling his by-products business, such as comic books and other items dealing with Bugs Bunny, Porgy Pig [sic], Daffy Duck and other cartoon creations he has made famous.
Rose Joseph, who has been publicity director for Schlesinger for eight years, will continue with him.
Warners will operate the cartoon plant as a subsidiary, but no changes in studio personnel will be made.
For three years Schlesinger has not been in the best of health and one of the factors in his decision to sell was his desire to get away from the responsibilities of his production activities. He has been making cartoons for Warners for 15 years and has been in various phases of show business for 45 years.

"Uncle Remus" to Start In Summer, Says Disney
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Walt Disney, back from an Eastern trip, disclosed that he will put a cartoon version of Joel Chandler Harris's "Uncle Remus" into production this Summer and will follow that with a second feature, based upon "The Sword in the Stone," fantasy of King Arthur's boyhood by T. H. White.

June 22, 1944
War Production Footage Sends Harman Output Up
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Hugh Harman Studio's present heavy volume of war production footage is more than 10 times the company's normal output of peacetime fare, according to statement made yesterday by Charles McGirl, studio production manager. However, reductions in training film footage costs have been effected through the studio's new methods of handling volume production, McGirl disclosed. With the exception of development of three feature-length animation subjects, the company's output for the past 24 months has been 100 per cent war production.

June 23, 1944
Cartoon Producers to Ask For Increased Rentals
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Plans for asking exhibitors for higher rentals on cartoons, due to increased production costs, will be proposed by Walt Lantz at a special meeting of the Cartoon Producers Association to be called next week. He will urge that steps be taken to make theatermen aware of the fact that costs have increased 40 per cent since 1942.
Lantz declares that despite increased costs, rentals have not risen. In addition to the 40 per cent increase, Lantz pointed out, a further increase—approximating 20 per cent is indicated for the current year.
"Authoritative surveys have proven that cartoons constitute a definite box-office drawing power," said he. "In this respect, cartoons even rate above newsreels in the short subjects field. They are as important to a film theater bill as comic strips are to newspapers."

June 28, 1944
COMMISSIONED: GEORGE R. GIROUX, JR., AAF, former Disney cartoonist, Hollywood, commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and awarded his pilot's wings.

June 30, 1944
Cartoon Producers Ass'n Plan Exhibitor Campaign West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Los Angeles — At the suggestion of Walt Lantz, who has been advocating higher rentals for cartoons, the Cartoon Producers Association will launch a campaign to impress exhibitors with importance of the cartoon and rising costs of production.
Leon Schlesinger has resigned as chairman of the organization's Board of Directors.


January 14, 1944
"The Pelican and the Snipe" (Walt Disney)
RKO 9 mins. Very Amusing
In this one Walt Disney presents two new characters that are amusing in an affecting way. They are a pelican and a peewee snipe. The latter devotes his life to looking after the safety of the pelican, who is given to flying in his sleep. A misunderstanding parts the pals, but at the end all's well after the pelican saves his devoted friend from death. A humorous commentary helps make this an excellent booking. The cartoon is in Technicolor.

"Chicken Little" (Walt Disney)
RKO 9 mins. Plenty Funny
This Walt Disney cartoon in Technicolor deals with the efforts of a fox to raid a barnyard. To gain his goal the fox employs propaganda methods advocated by Hitler in "Mein Kampf." The fox has to try a number of approaches before he succeeds in feasting upon the chickens. The cartoon is a laugh-packed commentary on Hitlerism.

"Greatest Man in Siam"
Universal 7 mins. Good
Fun to spare is to be found in this animated cartoon in Technicolor The action takes place in Siam. The chief character is a roly-poly king, a most comical fellow. He stages a contest to find a husband for his daughter. The winner is the hottest trumpeter in the kingdom. The fellow is fortunate that the princess is a jive addict. This has been well done indeed.

February 11, 1944
"What's Cookin', Doc?" (Merrie Melodies)
Warner 7 mins. Fun's Cookin'
Bugs Bunny's efforts to cop the Academy Oscar for the best acting of the year are productive of laughs galore. The screwy rabbit attends the awards dinner in the belief he's the winner. When the award goes to someone else, he tries to prove why he should have been chosen. Leon Schlesinger has produced the Technicolor cartoon excellently.

"Little Red Riding Rabbit" (Merry Melodies)
Warner 7 mins. Chuckleful
Leon Schlesinger has come up with another version of the Red Riding Hood fable. The story has been given a number of topical touches to enhance its interest and laugh content. The approach is satirical—which means that adults will get as much of a bang out of the Technicolor cartoon as the youngsters. The attraction for the wolf is a live rabbit Little Red Riding Hood is taking to Grandma. The rabbit happens to be Bugs Bunny. 'Nough said.

"Eggs Don't Bounce"
(Little Lulu)
Paramount 9 Mins. Swell Start
Little Lulu, the Marge cartoon character that is a regular feature of the Saturday Evening Post, has reached the screen at last, giving birth to a new series of vast interest to children and their mothers. The film debut of that lovable mischief-maker is an auspicious one indeed. The incidents in the film are human and believable and completely in harmony with the personality of the youngster. Lulu's problem is trying to replace a dozen eggs broken by her on the way home. Her dilemma is given expression in a fantasy sequence that is the best part of the short. The animation is excellent. The series is in Technicolor.

"Strange Innertube"(M-G-M Cartoon)
M-G-M 8 mins. Plenty Funny
Laughs are frequent as Mr. Donkey attempts to do his bit for the scrap rubber drive. His neighbors are far ahead of him in collections, with the curbstone before their houses sporting piles of the precious material. Mr. Donkey lamps a grand opportunity to add to his puny pile,—it's a half-buried tire tube which is full of life, and literally so. The long-eared hero does his best to get the animated prize out of the ground, and, at the finale, succeeds, but not until he has been subjected to tough physical punishment. Short is in Technicolor, and plenty funny in content.

"Cross Country Detours"
Warner 7 mins. Good
The travelogues are taken for a good-natured kidding in this first-rate Leon Schlesinger cartoon, which has been produced in fine Technicolor. The footage touches on some of America's wonder spots like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park and the Redwood Kingdom of California, always with a line out for a laugh. A dog set on making his way from the East to California is used in a running gag. The art work is outstanding.

February 17, 1944
"Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt" (Blue Ribbon Cartoon)
Warner 7 mins. Highly Funny
Bugs Bunny tangles with Little Hiawatha with hilarious results. The Indian is determined to snare Bugs for a bit of rabbit stew and our hero is just as determined not to be caught. The two lead each other a merry chase all over the landscape. Finally, realizing that Bugs is too smart for him, Hiawatha quits in disgust. Leon Schlesinger has given the cartoon excellent production in Technicolor.

February 18, 1944
"Tom Turk and Daffy" (Looney Tunes)
Warner 7 mins. Laugh Feast
Leon Schlesinger has turned out another ace Technicolor cartoon—one that is a genuine howl. Daffy Duck helps hide a turkey from Porky Pig. When Porky tempts him with the thought of a luscious turkey dinner, Daffy discloses the turkey's hiding place. The turkey, however, escapes and gets revenge on Daffy. Robert Cannon's animation is of a high order.

April 10, 1944
"Hullaba Lulu" (Little Lulu)
Paramount 9 mins. Highly Amusing
Welcome indeed is the second in the series of Technicolor cartoons inspired by the character that inlivens the pages of the Saturday Evening Post. A fast little item peppered with gags that will appeal hugely to the youngsters, the short records Little Lulu's adventures at the circus. The kid makes quite a pest of herself to the delight of audiences. The footage contains some nice human touches.

April 18, 1944
"Amoozin' But Confusin' "
Columbia 8 mins. So-So
Herewith Columbia presents the first of a new series of Technicolor animated cartoons featuring Li'l Abner, comic strip character. Although the lead-off subject is no better than so-so, it does indicate that the series has possibilities. The material is of the hill-billy type, a fact which will confine the short's appeal primarily to the youngsters. In his film debut Li'l Abner goes to the big city to acquire polish so that he can improve the status of his townsfolk.

"The Weakly Reporter" (Looney Tunes)
Warner 7 mins. Funny Satire
The Leon Schlesinger Technicolor animated cartoon throws the light of comedy on rationing, transportation headaches, shortages, women in war work and other matters born of the war. A burlesque of the Kaiser shipyard winds up the footage, which contains many laughs.

"Henpecked Rooster" (Noveltoons)
Paramount 8 mins. Good
There are plenty of laughs in this Technicolor cartoon about a hen-pecked rooster who strives to win domination over the missus. The husband gains the upper hand after a lot of silly but hilarious complications in which a mouse plays a part. Made by Famous Studios, the second of the new series will have no trouble making its way.

"How to Be a Sailor" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Extremely Amusing
The story of navigation is told spoofingly in this Technicolor animated cartoon. The various steps in the development of the science of handling a ship are demonstrated hilariously by the Goof to the accompaniment of a narration done in an extremely humorous vein. This one can be booked without doubt of the audience reaction.

"Say Ah, Jasper" (Madcap Models)
Paramount 8 Mins. Entertaining
Little Jasper is troubled by an aching tooth in his latest adventure. The story shows with the help of some delightful humor how the lad gets rid of the molar after a fantastic dream in which the Scarecrow, posing as a dentist, attempts to draw the tooth. The newest of the George Pal contributions is first-rate entertainment. The Technicolor is superb.

May 8, 1944
"Polly Wants a Doctor"
(Phantasy Cartoon)
Columbia 6 1/2 mins. Funny
The characters are a parrot and a goat. The fun starts when the parrot accepts a dinner invitation from the goat, forgetting that their diets have nothing in common. The goat bravely submits to the ordeal but needs a doctor at the end. This Technicolor cartoon is a highly amusing item produced by Dave Fleischer.

"Trombone Trouble" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Swell
Donald Duck this time has trouble with a trombone player. His prayer for relief is answered when Jupiter, watching Donald's suffering from a cloud with Vulcan, hurls at our hero a bolt of lightning that turns him into a superman. Donald puts the trombone pest to rout but takes up the noisy pastime himself. This Technicolor animated cartoon is supercharged with laughs.

"I Got Plenty of Mutton" (Merrie Melodies)
Warners 7 mins. Funny
Relating the adventures of a wolf who tries to attack a flock of sheep, this Technicolor cartoon contains a number of good laughs. Mr. Wolf, finding the flock is guarded by a ram, tries to lure him by disguising as a glamorous sheep, only to be foiled when the ram gets amorous.

"Donald Duck and the Gorilla" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Excellent
Donald Duck is the victim of a joke played upon him by his nephews, who disguise themselves as a gorilla. Following his discovery of the hoax, a real gorilla escaped from the zoo appears. Donald mistakes it for his nephews, but soon finds out the truth. A very funny chase ensues,with our hero being saved by their nephews. This Technicolor cartoon is chockful of laughs.

May 10, 1944
"Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips"
Warners 7 mins. Good Fun
Bugs Bunny, castaway on a Pacific isle, thinks the setting is ideal until he finds his paradise infested with Jap soldiers. How he single-handedly exterminates the enemy makes for a laugh-filled few minutes of typical Bugs antics, off-screen remarks and action in this Technicolor cartoon produced by Leon Schlesinger.

"Sweet Sioux" (Blue Ribbon Cartoons)
Warners 7 mins. Routine
A cartoon burlesque of an attack by Indians on a covered wagon is just a routine Technicolor subject. Featured ai-e a couple of gags such as the Indians circling the wagon turning into a merry-go-round, the defending prospector picking off Indians in a shooting gallery setting, etc.

"How to Play Golf" (Walt Disney)
RKO 8 mins. Highly Hilarious
This, another of Walt Disney's Technicolor cartoons featuring the Goof, is a howl. While the narrator explains how properly to play golf, the Goof attempts to demonstrate. Naturally he does everything wrong, with superb results from a comedy point of view. The technique and animation are noteworthy indeed. Mark this down as a topflight booking of its kind.

May 12, 1944
"Million Dollar Cat"
M-G-M 7 mins. Good Animated Fun
Here's an extremely funny cartoon in Technicolor about a cat that inherits a million bucks. The catch is that the cat will forfeit the fortune if it harms any living thing, not excluding a mouse. The situation is made to order for a mouse that has been feuding with the cat. The feline blows up after taking no end of insults from the mouse.

May 16, 1944
"The Butcher of Seville" (Terrytoon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Entertaining Cartoon
An amusing burlesque of grand opera in which music plays an important part. The action deals with a performance which is a stew consisting of bits of "Carmen," "Faust" and a number of other opera reliables. The plot concerns a wolf who on the advice of the devil makes away with a milkmaid's cow for conversion into beefsteak, only to be foiled by the hero. The cartoon is in Technicolor.

"The Dream Kids" (Fox and Crow)
Columbia 7 1/2 mins. Routine Cartoon
Just a routine Technicolor cartoon featuring the Fox and the Crow. This time they get mixed up in some dream sequences as the Crow attempts to invade the Fox's warm house on a cold night, resulting in some fast, if not-too-funny scenes.

May 22, 1944
In its review of "The Butcher of Seville," The Film Daily said the Terrytoon cartoon consisted of "bits of 'Carmen,' 'Faust' and a number of other opera reliables." The score was an original one written by Philip A. Scheib, musical director of Terry-toons, Inc.

May 25, 1944
"Mighty Mouse Meets Jekyll and Hyde Cat" (Terrytoon)
20th-Fox 7 mins. Passable
The infamous Dr. Jekyll's abandoned home is the scene of this Technicolor cartoon. The villain is his cat, which tries some of its former master's tricks to transform itself into a monster in a plot against a lot of helpless mice seeking shelter from a storm. The mice are saved from a horrible fate by the appearance of Mighty Mouse.

June 14, 1944
Suddenly It's Spring" (Noveltoon)
Paramount 10 mins. Excellent
A combination of sympathy, imagination, and a beautiful musical score surround Raggedy Ann's latest Technicolor effort. Featuring a song titled "The World Is Waiting For The Sunshine," Raggedy, Ann is kited into the sky, where she visits Mr. Cloudy and Mr. Zero in an attempt to get Mr. Sun to shine so that her little mistress will get well quickly.

"Contrary Condor" (Walt Disney)
RKO 8 mins. Pretty Funny
Donald Duck provides plenty of laughs in his attempt to swipe an egg from a condor's nest. When Donald emerges from his hiding place in an empty egg shell which a mother condor mistakes for an unhatched egg she accepts our fine-feathered hero as one of her own. Her attempts to get Donald to fly are extremely humorous. The Technicolor cartoon is aces.

June 19, 1944
"Lulu Gets the Birdie"
Paramount 8 mins. Fair
Little Lulu manages to get into the usual amount of trouble in this so-so cartoon as she goes bird-hunting after Mammy tells her that a "little bird" has been snitching. By the time she has finished, the birds have taken cover and the premises are a Technicolor shambles.

"Commando Duck" (Walt Disney)
RKO 7 mins. Swell
Donald Duck's experiences as a Commando assigned to go down a river in a rubber raft and destroy a Jap airfield are vastly amusing in this Technicolor cartoon. The raft, shot full of holes by the Japs, takes on so much water as to cause a flood that wipes out the Japs when the fluid is released. Audiences will react wholeheartedly to the short.

"We've On Our Way To Rio" (Popeye)
Paramount 8 mins. Entertaining
Fortified with a fine background of Brazilian music and authentic South American atmosphere, this Technicolor Popeye moves up front as one of the best to date. Olive Oyl as the star singer and Latin dancer in a Rio night club has Bluto and Popeye ga-ga for her affections. Popeye wins her by demonstrating his dancing ability in a clever and well-timed Samba routine.

"The Swooner Crooner" (Looney Tunes)
Warner 7 mins. Fairly Amusing
Here is a satirical short in Technicolor that supplies a fair amount of entertainment. A rooster prototype of Frank Sinatra disrupts the work of the hens in Porky Pig's egg factory. In an attempt to get the hens to resume production Porky engages a Bing Crosby rooster to put them in the mood. The contest between the two crooners is good for a few funny sequences.

"And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street" (Puppetoon)
Paramount 8 mins. Imaginative
Combining live action with his puppets, George Pal has produced one of the most elaborate of his series, using a miniature replica of N. Y.'s old Mulberry Street for the sets. It's the story of a little boy whose father wanted him to report all the sights he saw on the way home from school. All he actually saw was a horse and wagon on the street but his imagination is reproduced with a bandwagon, brass band, motorcycle escort and hundreds of paraders.

June 26, 1944
"Duck Soup to Nuts" (Looney Tunes)
Warner 7 mins. Funny
The antics of Daffy Duck score a hit in this Leon Schlesinger Technicolor cartoon. This time it's the screwy duck's job to convince Porky Pig, who is out hunting, that he (Daffy) can be more valuable to his adversary alive than lifeless. To prove his point he displays his bag of tricks for Porky's benefit. The short ends with Porky unimpressed.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why "Strange Innertube" ( great title pun) was changed to "Innertube Antics".