Saturday, 16 January 2016

Cartoons of 1952, Part 1

UPA was in trouble not long after gaining respect of critics for the Oscar-winning “Gerald McBoing Boing” and cartoon fans for its Mr. Magoo series. It was beholden to Columbia Pictures, which not only released its shorts but was its financial lifeline with a 20% stake in the company. Columbia looked to take over UPA in 1952, but the deal fell through.

UPA aspired to Art with a Capital ‘A.’ Outside of the Magoo cartoons, it wanted to impress the world with its designs and its story selection; whimsy and maturity were seemingly the studio’s watchwords. Increasingly, it cooked up tedium or preciousness smothered in art esoterica. Somebody at UPA loved James Thurber and, with one exception, attempts to put the author’s works in animated form on the big screen were struck down by Columbia as being too “highbrow.” (Columbia’s tastes weren’t great, either. By the end of the decade, it found Hanna-Barbera’s B-Lister Loopy De Loop perfectly acceptable).

Other troubles gripped UPA as well. Writer Phil Eastman was asked to leave the studio as the paranoid witch hunt of the McCarthy Era marched forward. Eastman’s writing partner, Bill Scott, became guilty by association and was fired as well. They found new homes with Walter Lantz, who was trying to remain afloat by grabbing a piece of the commercial/industrial business, though Keith Scott, the author of The Moose That Roared, says Scott never mentioned the Lantz job to him.

The animation story that seemed to be getting the most play in the trades in the first half of 1952 revolved around those pesky Reds as well. It was union vs union in an acrimonious battle over control of Hollywood’s animators, with claims the Screen Cartoonists Guild (Scott and Eastman were on the executive) was rife with Communists. Dissident members tried to get IATSE certified as their bargaining agent. The tale is told in detail in Tom Sito’s book Drawing the Lines and it took up a bit of space in Daily Variety (in a far tamer narrative) as 1952 wore on.

Other than that, the pages of the trade paper are pretty silent with respect to animated shorts. Read the stories we’ve found below. Note that Fred Quimby was still inventing cartoon names out of thin air and that someone felt the artwork of Paul Terry’s studio was worth exhibiting.

January 2, 1952
Careful Quimby
Fred Quimby, Metro shorts chief, has launched production on two new Technicolor cartoon subjects dealing with the subject of safety, “Tom's Traffic Troubles” and “Mouse In the House.”

January 8, 1952
Hollywood Inside
SOMETIMES A GAG can have strange repercussions. In the case of the MGM Technicolor cartoon "The Magical Maestro," producer Fred Quimby found it necessary, after a few playdates, to place a card in every film can telling the projectionists about a gag in the reel so they would not stop the picture to see what was the matter with the film. The card reads: "Notice to projectionists: Approximately 850 feet from the start of the film a hair appears at the bottom of the screen. Later, the singer reaches for the hair and removes it. This is a gag in the picture, not something in the aperture of your projector!"

January 9, 1952
Masland Starts on 'Tales' With Verne's 'Leagues'
ABC-TV's "Tales of Tomorrow" will take a tale of yesterday, Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," to kick off the Masland co-sponsorship of the science fiction series. Thomas Mitchell will be starred in the classic, which will be dramatized in two installments, Jan. 25 and Feb. 1.
Interestingly, while ''Leagues" will be done with a combination of animation and live action by Walt Disney in Hollywood, producers of "Tomorrow" feel that they can achieve all the undersea effects live on TV.
Jacques Kreisler (watchbands) is currently sponsoring the George Foley-Dick Gordon package on alternate weeks, with Masland carpets buying in as a skip-week backer effective Jan. 25.

January 11, 1952
Disney 1951 Net, Sans 'Alice', Dips To 429G
Walt Disney Productions showed a consolidated net profit of $429,840 for the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, 1951, prexy Roy O. Disney announced yesterday in his annual report to stockholders. This was equivalent to 65 cents per share, after payment on preferred dividends, on the 652,840 shares of common stock outstanding.
New figure compares with a profit of $717,542 during the pre-ceding year, equal to $1.06 per common share. Profit for 1951 before Federal taxes amounted to $686,840.
Disney reported that company's gross income for 1951 fiscal year was $6,287,589, as against $7,293,849 for 1950 fiscal year. In explaining the gross droppage during the year just closed, exec stated that the 1951 grogs figure reflected only slightly the returns from company's highest-cost feature, "Alice In Wonderland," released in July. First cash returns from this were received only one week before end of the fiscal year, he said.
During the preceding year, he pointed out, gross income benefited heavily from returns chalked up by "Cinderella," which was released in February, 1950.
Statement disclosed that out-standing debentures were reduced by $40,110, totalling $660,210 on Sept. 29, last. This repped a reduction of $703,990 from the original $1,364,200 obligation in 1945.
It was also stated that a long-term serial loan, originally amounting to $1,000,000 in 1948, was reduced by $279,224 during the year and amounted to $57,085 at the year-end. This balance was paid off in December, 1951, when revenues from publications, which constituted the sole security for the loan, exceeded expectations.
Increase in current bank loans of $423,197 was much less than had been anticipated. Disney re-ported. This was primarily due, he said, to excellent results from "Cinderella" and the release of iced funds in France.
Disney declared that the principal source of feature film revenues in 1952 will be "Alice" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," latter to start full-scale reissue in February.
"This cartoon feature, first re-leased in 1937 and reissued in 1944, has consistently been our greatest money-maker," Disney stated. "We confidently anticipate substantial revenue from it during 1952 and 1958."
It was announced that in addition to features now in production, cartoon firm will continue to release 18 short subjects annually.

January 18, 1952
Hollywood Inside
ALTHOUGH NLRB BALLOTS for designation of either IATSE or Screen Cartoonists Guild as official bargaining agent for cartoonists employed by the five companies in the Screen Cartoon Producers Association were mailed out to 456 eligible voters, 339 had been returned by last night. Final count will be made at NLRB offices Jan. 21.
If the IA wins the election, a new Local for cartoonists will be established. This would leave SCG with about 200 members working for small independents and in the TV field, with contracts to continue in effect till expiration. Companies whose employes are voting include Disney, Walter Lantz, United Productions of America and the cartoon units of Warners and Metro.

January 22, 1952
IATSE Wins Jurisdiction In Cartoonists Election
The IATSE yesterday won jurisdiction in the NLRB election to designate a bargaining agent for cartoonists working for the five member companies of the Screen Cartoon Producers Association. Of the 428 ballots cast, 276 were for IA, 119 for Screen Cartoonists Guild and 12 for "no union." In addition, IA challenged 11 votes and SCG 10, but results cannot be affected.
The NLRB election was held in the cartoon plants of Metro, Warners, Disney, Walter Lantz and United Productions of America, where SCG has been bargaining rep for a number of years. It will take several days for NLRB to complete details for IA certification, but the IA will move immediately to set up an affiliated local for the cartoonists.
The campaign was bitter, with SCG charging the IA with union racketeering, while the SCG was branded by the IATSE as "the last Communist-dominated union" in the studio field.

January 25, 1952
New IATSE Cartoonists Local Preps Pact Demands; 200 Remain In Rival Guild
New IATSE Local being set up for cartoonists will be designated as 839, and formal presentation of charter for the craft will be made at a Feb. 1 meeting. This was decided at a Wednesday night session of IA officials and charter members of the group who campaigned for designation of IA as bargaining agent instead of Screen Cartoonists Guild in the recent NLRB election.
Committees appointed to sign up members in the five major film cartoon studios involved — Metro, Warners, Disney, Walter Lantz and United Productions of America — expect to complete tasks prior to initial general membership meeting next month. Following that, negotiators of the new Local will huddle with the five companies on a new basic contract and wage scales. The SCG contracts expired last October, and no negotiations were possible because of the NLRB proceedings since that date.
Despite its loss of more than 400 members employed by the five cartoon studios to the IA, Screen Cartoonists Guild plans to continue operations with its remaining 200 members, business agent William Littlejohn stated last night. He pointed out that SCG still had verbal and written agreements with a number of TV and commercial cartoon producers. General membership meeting of SCG has been called for next Wednesday night at the Troupers Club.

January 31, 1952
IA Cartoonists Get Charter Tomorrow
Roy M. Brewer, Hollywood international rep for IATSE will formally bestow charter of the new IA Cartoonists' local 839, tomorrow night. Charter members will accept the document and interim officers will be selected.
Committee are distributing membership blanks to the 472-odd employes of the five major cartoon film producers who voted in recent NLRB election to designate IA as bargaining agent in place of Screen Cartoonists Guild.
Screen Cartoonists Guild will continue operations under its greatly reduced membership (now around 200) despite loss of 472 erstwhile members to IATSE. SCG holds contracts with 22 small indie cartoon firms, mostly making spot commercials for TV.

February 1, 1952
United Productions of America, animated film company which turned out cartoon sequences for 20th-Fox's "The Girl Next Door," contracted yesterday for a similar chore on studio's "Dream Boat." UPA will develop series of TV comic commercials for the Clifton Webb-Ginger Rogers starrer which lampoons video.

February 4, 1952
Elect Don Hillary Pro Tern Prez of IA Cartoonists Local
Charter for the new Cartoonists Local 839, IATSE, was formally presented to group of charter members of the union at dinner meeting held at the Carolina Pines Friday night. IA Hollywood international rep Roy M. Brewer handed over the document, following which temporary officers were selected to serve until the members can vote for a permanent slate.
Interim officers include Don Hillary, president; Ruth Covert, veepee; Jean Erwin, financial secretary; Ken Southworth, recording secretary, and Bill Schipek, treasurer. Session was attended by business agents of the IA studio locals, international veepee Carl Cooper and Ralph Clare of the Teamsters local.
Initial membership meeting is slated to be held late this month, following which the members will nominate candidates for permanent officers and vote on approval of the bylaws by mail ballot. The charter member group went on record in favor of holding quarterly meetings, and to set dues on a three-month instead of monthly basis. For the first quarter, in order to get a line on operating expenses of the new organization, dues have been scaled at $10, $13, and $16 for the three divisions of membership.
In recent NLRB election, cartoonists employed by Metro, Warners, Disney, Walter Lantz and United Productions of America selected the IA as bargaining agent in place of the Screen Cartoonists Guild.

Music Notes
After 15 years as a composer and musical conductor for the Metro cartoon department, Scott Bradley is now set to be seen on the screen instead of just being heard behind it. He'll portray John Philip Sousa in studio's "The One Piece Bathing Suit."

February 6, 1952
Disney Character Mdsing. Still Up, But Others In Pix Hit by TV Inroads
With the exception of the cartoon characters controlled by Walt Disney, the licensing and merchandising of the animated characters owned by other film companies has declined noticeably. Reason for the decline, according to insiders, is twofold: lack of proper exploitation and the inroads of video merchandising characters. Popularity of western and futuristic heroes, with former getting double impact of tele and theatrical films, and TV's own characters such as Howdy Doody has cut into licensing take of the film cartoons characters.
Continued success of the Disney stable is attributed to the vigorous exploitation and merchandising policy of the organization. Currently Disney is the only outfit that maintains its own merchandising staff. Warners and Metro formerly handled the licensing activities in their own shops, but have since farmed out the duties to outside organizations on a percentage basis. Jack Jurov organization of Hollywood looks after the Warner cartoon characters, and Hollywood Enterprises, Inc. oversees Metro licensing. Film companies neither had the time nor the staff to properly promote the characters, since manufacturers holding licenses demanded aid in packaging, advertising and exploitation. Disney outfit was the only one set up to effectively follow through. Disneyites even have been able to hold their own in the face of tele competition.
More than 100 products are tied In with Disney creations. The veterans, "Mickey Mouse" and "Donald Duck," are still the organization's merchandising "bread and butter." In addition, Disney's lisencing is hypoed by his feature pic characters such as "Snow White," "Cinderella" and "Alice in Wonderland." With "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" set for showing the third time around, outfit has signed up with manufacturers again for a group of new "Snow White" products. Disney outfit has entered the food field too. It receives royalties from baking companies distributing Donald Duck bread and from a firm that puts a line of Donald Duck frozen food products.

February 8, 1952
64 Par Shorts Next Yr.
New York, Feb. 7. — A total of 64 short subjects, the same number as last year, will be released by Paramount during the 1952-53 season.
Lineup includes 34 cartoons, all in Technicolor.

Screen Cartoonists Giving Tyre a Hearing
Milton S. Tyre, attorney for the Screen Cartoonists Guild, is slated to explain his recent appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington to SCG members at meeting to be held at the guild offices Tuesday night. This permission was granted by the organization's exec board at session Wednesday night. Following Tyre's talk, it is expected that the members will take a vote on his dismissal.
Bill Little John, business rep for the guild for, the past four years, admitted last night that he had presented his resignation to the board, but will remain on a day-to-day basis until the present program of re-organization and completion of contract negotiations with teevee cartoon film producers are effected.

February 12, 1952
Oscar Derby Entrants
"Lambert, The Sheepish Lion," Walt Disney, RKO release. Walt Disney, producer.
"Rooty Toot Toot," United Productions of America, Columbia release. Stephen Bosustow, executive producer.
"Two Mouseketeers," Metro. Fred Quimby, producer.

February 14, 1952
Cartoonists Guild Lops Ally In Economy Wave
Regular monthly retainer fee of Milton B. Tyre as attorney for the Screen Cartoonists Guild has been abolished by vote of members of the organization. However, he will be on call to handle specific legal matters when required. Because of the loss of nearly 500 members employed in the five major cartoon film producing plants to IATSE, SCG operational expenses must be sharply reduced, it was stated.
SCG will continue with its approximately 200 remaining members, most of whom are employed in the TV cartoon field, and present slate of officers headed by proxy Bill Scott will continue in office until annual election in June, unless some elect to resign. Guild has already started contract negotiations with Sutherland Studios. Raphael Wolf and Paul Fennell, and discussions with other telepix producers will be launched shortly. Because many cartoonists operate on a free-lance basis, they will be forced to carry cards in both SCG and the new IATSE Cartoonists Local 839.

February 20, 1952
UPA Finds Jas. Thurber Fantasies Too 'Highbrow' For Feature-Cartooning
New York, Feb. 19.—Difficulty in raising coin to make a full-length cartoon feature out of several James Thurber yarns has forced United Productions of America to relinquish its option on stories. John Hubley, supervising director and veepee of UPA, here on a 10-day visit, said that backers are shying away because of the highbrow tag associated with Thurber's works.
The feeling is, he said, that the stories would not have sufficient popular appeal to recoup the $500,000 outlay which he estimates it would cost to make the picture. Columbia, which finances and releases UPA cartoons, waa approached and nixed the idea.
Stanley Kramer, who has complete autonomy at Columbia Pix regarding story choices, showed interest in the project, but eventually dropped out. Hubley declared that Columbia is still interested putting up coin for a full-length cartoon feature, if a more popular story were presented. UPA's deal with Columbia is on a non-exclusive basis and if company can obtain financing from other source it can proceed on its own.
Although UPA has not turned out any feature-length cartoons as yet, it has furnished sequences for two upcoming major productions which combine live and cartoon characters. It has provided animated sequences for Kramer’s "The Fourposter," film version of current Broadway hit, and for 20th-Fox's "The Girl Next Door, Dan Dailey starrer about a comic strip artist.
While here, Hubley will close deal with CBS for a commercial cartoon making a pitch for the work.

February 26, 1952
On Air Waves
"Peril Pinkerton," animated feature cartoon, will be preemed on the Roscoe Ates show on KECA-TV March 7. Property is being offered by Illustrate, Inc., as across-the-board juve program, with approximately $10,000 price tag on national basis.

February 28, 1952
NY Screen Cartoonists Guild Joins IATSE
The Screen Cartoonists Guild in NY has voted to join the IATSE and formal application has been accepted by the latter organization. This was disclosed last night by Roy M. Brewer, Hollywood International rep for IA, at meeting of interim committee for the currently organizing Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839, IATSE. Latter is being set up for Hollywood cartoonists who recently voted for IA as bargaining agent in NLRB election covering the five major cartoon film producers.
Around 200 members of the NY SCG are engaged in producing animations for the TV and commercial film fields. Don Hillary, temporary prexy of Local 839, stated last night "it is most gratifying to be joined in our affiliation in the IA by the NY group." He stated that many local cartoonists, not covered by the NLRB election, have applied for membership in the new local. The interim committee has voted to request membership in the AFL Film Council. Last night's session was to complete plans for the first general membership meeting of Local 839 which will be held March 7 at Larchmont Hall. Brewer will officiate and formally induct the 400-odd applicants into the fold. Permanent officers will be selected later via mail ballot.

Industrial Film Prod'n Booms For Sutherland
In an expansion of industrial film activities, John Sutherland Productions is prepping a 45-minute feature for National Carbon Co., and a 30-minute feature for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co. Carbon Co. picture will be filmed in color, on subject of industrial public relations, and is for use by its sponsor both on TV and before groups. Kaiser film will be in 16m Kodachrome, and combo live-action and animation.
Sutherland is now doing final editing on an animated film turned out in Technicolor for the NY Stock Exchange, tagged "What Makes Us Tick."
Two additional Technicolor animation shorts also are being started for program which Metro in the past has released. First is “Dear Uncle,” dealing with taxes, and second, "The Devil and John Q," on inflation. Three previous shorts in this series received awards from Freedom's Foundation in Valley Forge, for achievements showing the American way of life. Trio included "Make Mine Freedom," which won the award in 1949; "Albert in Blunderland," 1950 winner; and "Why Play Leapfrog," 1951 winner.

March 5, 1952
KMPC Disc Jock Finds 'That's All' Fateful Tag
"That's All, Folks." To Dick Whittinghill, KMPC disc jockey, it was just another closing line from a record to use as a sign-on", but to Warners cartoon department it was just another way of saying, "You've played that platter for the last time."
Threat of a suit was levelled at the jock if he persisted in using Mel Blanc's stuttering lyrics, from the theme song of "Looney Tunes recorded by Capitol, which pays royalty to Warners.
Warners contends that the offending line was tagged onto a commercial, and ergo, used not for entertainment purposes but to sell the advertised product. It is a common practice among deejays to play only portions of a record, generally tied in with spot commercial, fore and aft.
Whittinghill allowed he was in the clear when Capitol sent over the record, free, to be played until the shellac wears thin. No issue will be made of the WB crackdown by KMPC.
Warners charges Whittinghill has been playing only the "That’s All, Folks" half-groove from the disc, and using it to commercialize, not entertain. It is presumed Warners feels the complete disc must be played to classify as entertainment.
Capitol, in making the series of Blanc biscuits pays WB a royalty slice for the use of material directly derived from film studio’s "Looney Tunes" character and vocal antics. It is the first time such use of a disc has been contested in this way.

March 11, 1952
50G Explosion Rips United Prod'ns Studio
Gas explosion at United Productions of America, cartoon studio, over the weekend caused estimated damage of $50,000. No injuries were reported.

March 12, 1952
Inside Stuff—Pictures
N. Y.'s Museum of Modern Art this week is featuring screenings of Paul Terry cartoons as part of its regular film showings. Nine examples o£ his work will be on display, billed as "The Cartoons of Paul Terry." The pioneer's latest, "Flatfoot Fledgling," to be released shortly, is his 1,000th cartoon. He operates with a staff of 85 persons in New Rochelle, N. Y. Commenting on the film animator, Richard Griffith, curator of the Museum's film library, said that "though his cartoons are world famous, he (Terry) himself has been little publicized, even in the film industry with which he has been so closely identified for so many years."

Richard F. Walsh, prexy of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, this week is weighing a petition from the Screen Cartoonists Guild of N. Y. for affiliation with the show biz union. Cartoonists, unaffiliated for the past year, were associated with the Brotherhood of Painters, AFL, for nine years. According to Pepe Ruiz, biz agent of the SCG, cartoonists felt that affiliation with the IA outfit would best suit the needs of the membership, and as a result the artists voted to seek a charter from the Walsh organization.
About 300 members of the N. Y. group are engaged in producing animations for TV and commercial film fields. John Gentilella, of Famous Studios, heads the guild.

March 13, 1952
Walter Lantz Signs 3 More Cartoonists
Walter Lantz, to prep augmented commercial film activity and his program of Woody Woodpecker cartoons for UI release, has inked three new writer-artists, Phil Eastman, Bill Scott and Homer Brighton [Brightman].

March 19, 1952
DuMont's Distrib Rights On Cartoon Fairy Tales
DuMont's film sales department has acquired distribution rights to a series of 15-minute animated cartoons presenting modern versions of fairy tales. Vidpix were turned out by Harry S. Goodman productions.
DuMont has also acquired syndication rights to a series of half-hour vidpix pilots, which it plans to distribute as a package. Each of the films in this series was turned out by an indie producer with the hopes of interesting a sponsor or backer to bankroll an entire series. DuMont film coordinator Donald A. Stewart announced, meanwhile, that KING, Seattle, and WQSU-TV, New Orleans, have purchased the web-syndicated "Pathe Hy-Lights," series of quarter-hour shows featuring columnist Hy Gardner.

Vinrob's Tune Cartoons
Vinrob Enterprises will shortly produce a series of three-minute musical cartoons for packaging into a 15-minute vidpix series.
Outfit is headed by Jack Beekman and Vincent Andrews, personal and business manager, respectively of singer Kay Armen.
Soundtracks, using pop songs, will feature Miss Armen, Jimmy Carroll, John Gart, Harry Frohman and other vocalists and instrumentalists.

Col to Get First Distrib Bid on De Rochemont 'Farm'
Columbia Pictures will get first look for distrib rights at "The Animal Farm," Louis de Rochemont full-length cartoon feature currently in production in London in association with Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films, Ltd. Although de Rochemont outfit is not committed to Col for "Farm," it will offer pic first to Col in light of its tie with the company on other deals. Col will distribute de Rochemont's '"Walk East on Beacon" and another upcoming pic.
Meanwhile, Lothar Wolff, de Rochemont aide and associate producer of "Beacon," left last week for England to check the progress being made on "Farm." According to Borden Mace, prexy of the RDDR Corp., the de Rochemont organization, two or three reels of the film will be brought back to the U. S. to show distribs for the purpose of arranging a deal.
Pic, based on the late George Orwell's social satire, is being financed with frozen pounds earned by the producer's "Lost Boundaries." Work on the project was begun last March when Orwell's widow, now Mrs. Sonia Blair, gave an option to de Rochemont with the proviso that she would have the okay on the script, to assure the preservation, of the spirit and intent of Orwell's book.

Walter Lantz closed a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish a series of yarns based on the Woody Woodpecker cartoon character, starting with "Woody Woodpecker at the Circus."

March 20, 1952
Cartoonists Local Formulating By-Laws
General membership meeting of Motion Picture Cartoonists, Local 839, IATSE was held last night for induction of about 60 new members following initial session Friday night when more than 400 were given the IA oath.
By-laws of the new local are now being formulated by a special committee, and the negotiating committee meets Friday night to discuss and prepare demands for hiked wage scales and conditions for a new contract with the major cartoon producers.

March 21, 1952
Oscar Parade Promenade
. . .Lucille Ball, only the flame of her bright red-gold hair to brighten her stark white outfit, matched [Danny] Kaye for chuckles and drew a sincere "thank you Lucy" from Fred Quimby when he accepted from her the award for turning out the best cartoon, "Two Mousketeers."

April 7, 1952
MGM Pairs 'Rain' With Oscar-Winning Short
Metro has paired "The Two Mouseketeers," its 1951 Academy Award cartoon, with "Singin' In the Rain" for national release. This bill has been set in excess of 100 engagements during the next three weeks.

April 9, 1952
New York, April 8. — Possibility of United Productions of America, the cartoon outfit which releases through Columbia, becoming a wholly-controlled subsidiary of latter is seen, if deal now under consideration goes through.
Under the new arrangement, UPA would function in much the same manner as does the Stanley Kramer unit on the Columbia lot. If Columbia decides to finalize deal, it has until next Tuesday to buy sufficient UPA, on which it has first call, to give it about a 40% control.
Main source of UPA's financing has been Columbia for past several years, and it has been closely tied in with Columbia in cartoon show production and with Columbia’s subsid, Screen Gems, in the production on animated spots for video. In fact, UPA maintains a NY studio exclusively for Screen Gems' work. Its NY office has been known as Screen Gems Division of UPA.
Although most of UPA's work has been for Columbia or Gems, company has made animated pictures for outside commercial firms and even has done an animated sequence for an upcoming 20th-Fox picture, starring Dan Dailey.
UPA Needs Coin For Feature
UPA has been interested for some time in entering the feature length cartoon field, but has been frustrated in its endeavor by lack of financing. For some time it has had an option on a series of stories by James Thurber, but has been unable to proceed on this project because of lack of coin. Columbia turned down the Thurber yarns as too "highbrow" for a full-lengther, but is willing to undertake a feature-length cartoon on what it might consider more popular fare. Meanwhile, in connection with latter, Steve Bosustow, UPA prexy, held a two-day confab in NY this week with Leo Jaffe, pursestrings exec for Columbia, concerning the production of a full-length feature. Subject of talk, it was said, included possibility of converting the stage success, "Finian's Rainbow to a full-length animated feature or a combination live-action-cartoon production.
Under deal, Columbia would contribute the major portion of the financing and would supervise the releasing. Subject is being extensively discussed at current confabs in Hollywood of company head office and studio execs on forthcoming product and other matters.
Screen Gems Shifting West
Tied up with UPA's contemplated entry into Columbia's official family are several other considerations involving Columbia's video subsid, Screen Gems. Latter, which has been reported entering TV production on a large-scale, has been seeking increased office studio facilities.
SG is reportedly weighing the shift of all its production activities to Coast and maintaining only a sales office in the East. Ralph Cohn, Gems' topper, is expected to take part in the studio confab, leading to supposition that Gems and UPA biz will be on the agenda.
If SG decides to close down production in NY, it's expected that UPA will follow suit. One view in that Ed Cullen, UPA sales chief, would become overall SG sales topper.

'WAC' Lenses at Disney, Studio's First Outsider
Hollywood, April 8.
For the first time in history an outside company will invade the Walt Disney studio to make a picture. This week Independent Artists Pictures, Inc., headed by Rosalind Russell and Frederick Brisson, will move in for pre-production work on "Never Wave at a WAC," starring Miss Russell.
Unit will occupy one entire wing of the Animation building. RKO will release the film, which starts June 16 with location shots at the WAC Induction Center, Fort Lee, Va.

April 10, 1952
United Productions of America will remain in the hands of present stockholders, cartoonery's proxy Stephen Bosustow said yesterday in shrugging off reports of a deal under which UPA would become a subsidiary of Columbia. Bosustow added that although Columbia owns 20% of the stock in UPA, the cartoon firm has an option to buy back that block of stock in June if it desires.
Bosustow said the firm has under consideration several offers to finance a full-length cartoon feature. "We were approached after winning the Academy Award last year for 'Gerald McBoing-Boing'," Bosustow declared, "and we are discussing these propositions with two financial syndicates and one major releasing company — as well as with Columbia. We are making a thorough exploration of every offer which has been made us."
Bosustow labeled as "completely false" an indication that his firm was in need of financing. He said UPA's annual business is now approximately $1,000,000 annually and that the firm is turning out entertainment cartoons for Columbia release, television commercial cartoons.
"Last year," said Bosustow, "we entered into a deal with Columbia to organize UPA-Screen Gems in NY for the purpose of producing TV commercials. This in no sense made even that branch of our company a subsidiary of Columbia. UPA merely gave Screen Gems a sales franchise for its TV commercial product when that- arrangement was made last year.
"The majority of stock of UPA is owned by myself and other UPA personnel. Columbia purchased the remaining 20% last year from Edward L. Gershman, when he was discharged as sales representative for UPA. However, UPA has an option to buy that 20% of stock back this June. "Meanwhile, of course, we are discussing the possibilities of feature production with Columbia executives just as we are with other concerns which have proposed feature financing to us."

April 14, 1952
KPRC-TV, Houston, booked Jerry Fairbanks' "Crusader Rabbit," cartoon film series, for a 13-week minimum run.

April 29, 1952
Lippert To Distribute French Cartoon In U.S.
Robert L. Lippert has acquired a French-made feature cartoon which he will release in this country through his own distribution firm. Lensed in Technicolor, film carries a modern-day Tom Thumb premise. With a title yet to be set, Lippert will reedit film for the American market.

May 1, 1952
Merle Coffman, impersonator at beach "Bamboo Room," will be voice of a baby duck in new Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Just Ducky," at Metro.

May 2, 1952
Cartoonists Asking Major Wage Hike
New contract negotiations between Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839, IATSE, and the five major cartoon companies got underway yesterday with submission of union demands, which include a sizeable wage hike. Representatives of both sides meet today at 3 p.m.
While joint announcement of the initial meeting did not disclose details of the union's demands, it is known the new IA local will push to bring wage scales up to a more equitable level. Pen - and - inkers have had no increases since 1949, although other unions have been substantially upped to meet the rising cost-of-living index.
Roy M. Brewer, International A for the IA, headed the union group, while Bonar Dyer, Disney labor relations head, acted for Disney, Warners, Walter Lantz Productions, MGM and United Productions of America. IA recently won representation rights for the nearly 500 employes of the five companies from the independent Screen Cartoonists Guild.

Walt Disney's ‘Peter Pan’ RKO '53 Release
New York, May 1.—Walt Disney has okayed his new cartoon feature, "Peter Pan," for an RKO release. Print is expected to be ready for distribution before the end of 1952. It will go out in 1953 release.

May 5, 1952
Major Cartoonists To Submit Proposals
The five major cartoon studios making up the Animated Film Producers Association will submit their counter proposals to contract demands of the new IA Local 839 at a meeting Wednesday.
The union and management representatives met Friday afternoon in their second huddle for a general review of IA contract demands and then adjourned until the Wednesday meet to give studios time to prepare counter proposals.
Studios participating in the negotiations are: Walt Disney, Warners, MGM, Walter Lantz and United Productions of America, Inc.

May 14, 1952
Washington, D.C., May 13.— Film version of the perennial man-bites-dog story has been achieved in Bethesda, Md., nearby town. The Hiser Theatre, in its newspaper advertising and mailing pieces, has billed a short subject over the feature attraction. Short so honored is United Productions of America's seven-minute cartoon, "Rooty Toot Toot."
Full-length feature, "Return of the Texan," received only plus mention on the bottom third of the ad space.

Cartoonists, Producers Resume Talks Friday
Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, IATSE, and Animated Film Producers Association are slated to resume contract negotiations Friday at 10 a.m. Reps of both sides huddled yesterday and, in a joint statement by Roy M. Brewer and Bonar Dyer, declared they are rapidly approaching agreement on all points at issue, excepting wages, which have not yet been discussed.

May 15, 1952
Son, seven pounds, 13 ounces, James Paul, born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital last week-end to Mrs. Paula Faris. Father is James E. Faris, a Metro cartoon film editor.

May 21, 1952
Sheilah Graham column
If you know how to cartoon a prince who doesn't prance, Walt Disney's your man. He's auditioning handsome young gentlemen to model Prince Charming for "Sleeping Beauty," but even the most rugged he-men hop and skip in cartoon animation . . . Walt has a Sleeping Beauty under wraps. She's blonde Mary Costa, 20, unknown, can sing and dance like mad. But she's asking a fortune, especially since other studios are wooing —to photo — not cartoon.

May 22, 1952
Cartoon Producers Will Answer Union Demands June 2
Animated Film Producers Association will take under consideration wage proposals made yesterday by Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, IATSE, and give an answer to the demands at the next negotiations meet, scheduled for June 2.
Association and the union got down to wages yesterday for the first time in the negotiations, with employers submitting a wage offer which was countered by the union. Cartoon studios represented by the Association are Disney, Warners, MGM, Lantz and United Productions and Bonar Dyer chairs the employer group. Roy M. Brewer heads up union negotiators.

May 27, 1952
Warners Boosting Shorts Prod'n 50% In Upcoming Year
Warners will boost its regular short subjects program by approximately 50% during 1952-53, with the production of upwards of 75 one- and two-reel subjects. In addition, company will continue to turn out 30 cartoons annually, giving studio a total of from 105 to 110 subjects on an overall basis. Previously, Warners has made only about 51 regular shorts annually, exclusive of cartoons.

May 28, 1952
Dicker Cartoon Pay
Hollywood, May 27.
Wage proposals of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists. Local 839, IATSE, are under study by the Animated Film Producers Assn., which has promised an. answer at the next negotiation meeting next week. It's the first time that the negotiators have touched on the subject of wages.
Cartoon studios represented by the association are Disney, Warners, Metro, Lantz and United Productions. Group chaired by Bonar Dyer had submitted a wage proposal which was countered by the union.

Heck Allen, Metro cartoon story man, has just had two novels accepted. Houghton-Mifflin will publish "War Bonnet," penned under name of Clay Fisher, and Random House will put out "To Follow A Flag," carrying Will Henry nom de plume.

June 4, 1952
Disney's Shorts For U.S. Used As Global Educator
Washington, June 3.
Early in World War II the then-coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Nelson Rockefeller, commissioned Walt Disney to make a series of short, animated cartoons on good health and protection against disease. There were 14 of the pictures, running from eight to 10 minutes in length, and teaching lessons simple enough to be understood by completely uneducated peasants and Indians in South America.
Today, 10 years after the first of them was produced, the films are still in use. And instead of being limited to back-country Latin American countries, their audience has become worldwide.
The Disney series, in whole or part, is being shown in 46 of the 48 states, plus Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico; 20 Latin American countries and 33 other nations and colonies around the world.
Israel, for instance, bought prints of three of the subjects as teaching films and on one occasion showed them in a public square in Tel Aviv to an audience of more than 6,000. Their soundtracks are in 38 languages.
CIAA has changed over the years and has become a non-profit, public corporation called the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. The Institute, working as part of the Point 4 program, is self-sustaining and has sold upwards of 3,200 prints of the films in recent years. Last year, for example, it sold 705, over half of them in the U. S.
In addition to the IIAA distribution, the State Department's public affairs division has made up 5,000 color prints which are included in the material carried on the trucks lugging portable projectors up and down the highways of the world to tell the American story.
The army has distributed the pictures in Japan, Korea and Germany, and there is no telling how many prints are being used behind the Iron Curtain today. Some copies are understood to be in use in Communist areas.
In the U. S., the pictures are generally shown in schools to teach good health and good eating habits.
Some sources here believe that the pictures may rate as the most important and perhaps most widely seen of anything Disney has ever done.

CBS Radio Goes 'Boing Boing' In Semi-Abstract Promotion Pic Pitch
CBS Radio spent upwards of $40,000 on "More Than Meets the Eye," the first business-documentary film to use animated, semi-abstract art, which the web released on the Coast Monday (2) and will start screening in Gotham tomorrow (Thurs.) at the Museum of Modern Art. Significantly, it's released at a time when the web is under fire for "projecting a rate cut."
The 15-minate radio – promoting pic, produced jointly by United Productions of America (which made the Oscar-winning "Gerald McBoing-Boing short) and CBS, makes four points, according to CBS ad-sales promotion director:
(1) To visualize the intangibles of radio, its power and effectiveness which may have been taken for granted over the years;
(2) To outline the vast dimensions of radio, with 105.000,000 sets, 23,000,000 auto sets, 34,000,000 sets outside the living room, 10,000.000 new sets bought last year, and the great amount of time spent with AM;
(3) To show where radio fits into the general rdvertiser's marketing needs and principles; and
(4) To show where CBS stands in network radio, with its "bigger average audiences at lower costs due to more top programs."
Adrian Murphy, CBS. Radio proxy, said the film is part of a "long-term program to present radio's values graphically in a changing world of entertainment."
The film is basically an illustrated sound track. The latter was created first, and the images fitted to the sound. Its creation presented a tough problem, because it was brought in against a six-week deadline with the audio prepared in New York and the animation done on the Coast.
UPA sent a man to N. Y. where a story board was evolved. Heavy use was made of telephone, telegraph and air express to keep things moving at both ends of the 3,000-mile span.
Pic could be brought in for only $40,000, it's understood, because Columbia, using its own technicians and facilities, made the sound track itself. Bob Trout, of CBS Radio news, did the narration. Special music was written by Wladimir Selinsky, musical director of "Lux Theatre," with Gordon Auchincloss directing the entire sound track.

June 20, 1952
$20,000,000 DISNEY 3-YEAR SLATE
Producer Challenging TV Threat With Largest Prod'n Outlay Of His Career
Walt Disney issued his own challenge to television yesterday when he announced that he is earmarking more than $20,000,000 for production on a program extending through 1955. Announcement was made at a sales convention at his studio, and on the eve of his departure for England to launch "When Knighthood Was In Flower" as a live-action Technicolor film in August. Coin will be expended for three all-cartoon features, two all-live-action features, a minimum of six true life adventure featurettes and 18 shorts a year. These, he stated, are definitely scheduled, but may be augmented by others within the coming year.
All-animated features will include "Peter Pan," to be released nationally about February of next year, which cost nearly $4,000,000; "The Lady And The Tramp," set for 1954 release and to cost around $2,000,000 or more; and "Sleeping Beauty." Latter will be turned out as a musical-romance, and will go out in 1955. All-live-action features will include "Knighthood," starring Richard Todd and Glynis Johns, with a budget now set at $2,000,000; and "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea." "Knighthood" will go into release early next Summer, and "Leagues" in 1954. Jules Verne epic will run in cost between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000, according to present plans.
Producer plans to step up his true life adventure series, he said, and already has a pair nearing completion, "Prowlers of the Everglades" and "Bear Country." Stage for other films in this series will be set from the Equator to the Arctic, on every continent.
In the shorts department, Disney will continue the exploits on film of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy and other characters. Several specials also will be made, including Ellis Parker Butler's classic, "Pigs Is Pigs."
In announcing what will be the costliest program of his career, Disney told sales delegates, "There is no use hiding our heads in the sand. Television is giving motion picture producers much to think about.
"Television is finding its levels as entertainment, and like radio can be made a valuable adjunct for the promotion of motion pictures. If and when we decide to enter the television field, we will take full advantage of its potential to create a new motion picture theatre audience and to encourage to the fullest box office patronage for our forthcoming features.
"Video has done at least one thing which will ultimately redound to the benefit of the motion picture business. It is shortening the day of the so-called B picture.
"I am completely confident that the average man and woman, not only in this country but throughout the world, will always rate good films as their best entertainment.
"We have plenty of evidence that good pictures will always do big business. To make good pictures you have to spend money— and plenty of it — but I have every faith in the drawing power of top pictures and in the men who exhibit them."

June 25, 1952
UPA Cartoonery Will Buy Back 20% Stock at Col; May Seek Better % Deal
United Productions of America, cartoonery which releases through Columbia, has indicated its intention to exercise its option and will re-purchase by the end of 1952 20% of the stock which Columbia acquired from Edward Gershman, former UPA sales topper.
Whether reacquisition of stock will alter the current operating deal between Columbia and cartoon outfit still is a matter of conjecture. UPA has been striving for some time to improve its percentage arrangement with Columbia, which reportedly has been profiting handsomely from its release of UPA shorts while latter concern is said to be just about breaking even.
Currently, Col and UPA are in the third year of a reported five-year deal, with percentage terms apparently subject to yearly renewal. Cartoonery is also closely allied with Screen Gems, Col's vidpix subsid. Deal with latter, a five-year one with annual options, provides for UPA to make animated TV commercials of up to two-minute duration for the Col affiliate. Video outfit operates a studio in New York and is known as the Screen Gems division of UPA. Although closely tied with Col, UPA also has right to enter other deals. As part of its overall operation, it produces animated pix for commercial and educational outfits. In addition, it has also occasionally provided a cartoon sequence for a filmery other than Col.
Cartoonery has frequently received nibbles from other studios for its cartoons, a factor it can conceivably use in future dickering with Col. Furthermore, its product has received critical acclaim and often commands a higher rental price than the usual run of animated shorts. For example, UPA's "Rooty Toot Toot," in a first rental 16-week deal with the Astor Theatre, N. Y., received $200 for the first four weeks and $175, $150 and $125 for the following four-week periods. For some time, UPA has wanted to make a full-length-cartoon feature, a project blocked by lack of financing. Outfit has been talking with Col and other interested parties, but no deal has been set yet. Stephen Barsustow [sic], UPA prexy, is currently in Europe and is due back on July 17, when he will resume negotiations with Col execs on the full-length feature idea. Outfit has several stories ideas lined up, but hasn't been able to reach an agreement with Col on the most suitable one. Company estimates that it will take between $500,000 to $750,000 to make a full-lengther.

June 26, 1952
Possibility of strike action against the five major cartoon studios was indicated yesterday contract as negotiations seemly reached a stalemate over wage demands sought by Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE.
In a carefully worded statement that avoided the use of the word "strike," union announced it has no intention of retreating from its insistence that the least it will accept is the IATSE formula of 10% or 24 cents an hour, whichever greater, retroactive to the expiration date of the old pact.
Statement also revealed that local 839 already has gone before the Hollywood AFL Film Council and has received a "unanimous vote of support" to back cartoonists in whatever future action becomes necessary. If the situation becomes crucial this could mean not only a work stoppage on cartoons but the blocking of shipment on those already in exchanges. The IATSE has backroom workers in exchanges while OEIU controls office workers and bookers.
Representatives of Disney, Warners, Walter Lantz, MGM and United Productions of America presented their counterproposals to the union Monday. That they were unacceptable to the union was made clear by the statement.
Bonar Dyer, Disney exec and chairman of the negotiating committee for the studios, when advised of the union statement yesterday declared he had "no comment to make" as both sides had agreed at the start, of the negotiations that anything pertaining to them would be through a joint statement mutually agreed on.

June 27, 1952
Lippert to Release 'Giant Killer' Oct. 17

Release date of October 17 has been set by Robert L. Lippert for "Johnny the Giant Killer," full-length Technicolor animation pic formerly tagged "Johnny Lion Heart."
Film, produced in France and processed at the Technicolor plant in London, has been specially edited and given an English soundtrack for U.S. release.

1 comment:

  1. I notice the Jolly Frolics title cards have both the SCG and IATSE "bugs" in the lower right.