Saturday, 20 February 2016

Cartoons of 1953, Part 1

3-D and Martians to the rescue!

That’s what major movie producers hoped, judging by trade publications in early 1953.

Companies advertised 3-D glasses. Warner Bros. took out full-page ads for House of Wax, its 3-D extravaganza. But uncertainly over the format caused Warners to shut down the Bob McKimson unit in its cartoon studio in March, then announce a six-month stoppage of virtually all cartoon production starting in June.

Walter Lantz, Max Fleischer, Hugh Harman and even J.R. Bray were chatting up 3-D in the first half of 1953. Harman had other things on his mind. He hoped to take advantage of the growing business on television for old theatrical cartoons by licensing some of the shorts he and Rudy Ising produced from 1934 to 1937. But MGM, which had released the shorts way-back-when, claimed ownership. The courts were asked to rule. Meanwhile, another messy lawsuit saw Jay Ward and Alex Anderson asked the courts to rule that they were still the rightful owners of Crusader Rabbit cartoons they produced for Jerry Fairbanks, who arranged for them to air on NBC.

More and more old theatricals started finding their way onto TV, including Felix the Cat cartoons from the late ‘20s and the non-ComiColor shorts made by Ub Iwerks.

In other developments, Disney released Peter Pan, and MGM closed one of its two cartoon units in March, leaving most of Tex Avery’s staff looking for new jobs.

Let’s leaf through the pages of Variety and check out some animation stories and a few feature reviews.

January 12, 1953
Col, UPA To Collab On ‘Slapstick’ Saga
"Slapstick," a combination live action and cartoon feature depicting the history of American slapstick comedy, is being planned as a joint effort of Columbia and United Productions of America, creator of the Gerald McBoing-Boing cartoons. Project is an original idea of Jerry Wald's, who has started discussions with Stephen Bosustow, head of UPA, relative to working out a story line and the various transitions from live to animated action. No starting date has been set as yet for the production, which goes on Columbia's 1953-54 sked.

January 13, 1953
Lantz Donates Film Strip To Red Cross
Walter Lantz is prepping a one and one-half minute "Woody Woodpecker Miniature" for presentation to the American Red Cross, as a gift from himself and his staff, for use in making appeals for blood donors.
Red Cross will have full distribution rights, with short-short to be shown in theatres in Technicolor and black-and-white on television. Project was worked out recently by cartoon producer and his wife, Gray Lady chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter, in Washington with E. Roland Harriman, National Red Cross prexy.

January 14, 1953
Peter Pan
(SONGS-COLOR)
Topflight Disney interpretation of the James M. Barrie childhood fantasy; excellent b.o.
Hollywood, Jan. 13. RKO release of Walt Disney production. Features the voices of Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske, Candy Candido, Tom Conway. Directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson. Adapted from play by Sir James M. Barrie; directing animators, Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Wolfgang Reitherman, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery, Les Clark, Norm Ferguson; story, Ted Sears, Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright; color and styling, Mary Blair, Claude Coats, John Hench, Don Da Gradi; layout, Mac Stewart, Tom Codrick, A. Kendall O'Connor, Charles Philippi, Hugh Hennesy, Ken Anderson, Al Zinnen, Lance Nolley, Thor Putnam, Don Griffith; backgrounds, Ray Huffine, Art Riley, Al Dempster, Eyvind Earle, Ralph Hulett, Thelma Witmer, Dick Anthony, Brice Mack; character animators, Hal King, Cliff Nordberg, Hal Ambro, Don Lusk, Ken O'Brien, Marvin Woodward, Art Stevens, Eric Cleworth, Fred Moore, Bob Carlson, Harvey Toombs, Judge Whitaker, Bill Justice, Hugh Fraser, Jerry Hathcock, Clair Weeks; effects animators, George Rowley, Blaine Gibson, Josh Meador, Dan MacManus; musical score, Oliver Wallace; songs, Sammy Fain, Sammy Cahn, Oliver Wallace, Frank Churchill, Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, Ted Sears; orchestration, Edward Plumb; vocal arrangements, Jud Conlon. Previewed Jan. 9, '53. Running time, 76 MINS.
James M. Barrie's childhood fantasy, "Peter Pan," many times legit-staged, and previously filmed with live actors, comes to the screen under the sure hands of Walt Disney as a feature cartoon of enchanting quality for those old enough to look upon the original as a venerable classic, and for the youngsters who will be getting their first glimpse of it. Excellent grosses are to be expected.
The picture also brings to life, for the first time, the character of Tinker Bell, that golddust-sprinkling sprite of Never Land who, in her decidedly feminine nature as depicted by Disney artists, is certain to capture audience fancy as much, probably more, than any of the Barrie characters. To put the fairy tale on film ill cartoon form, there was wise casting of the voices to fit the fantasy, a welcome elimination of the more frighteningly horrific facets of the original and a delightful sense of humor and farce to speed it along its 75-minute course. The music score is fine, highlighting the constant buzz of action and comedy, but the songs, while fitting, are less impressive than usually encountered in such a Disney presentation. The Barrie plot deals familiarly with a little boy (Peter Pan) who refused to grow up, preferring to remain a pixie in Never Land, and a little girl (Wendy) under paternal orders to pass from the childhood fantasy stage into young ladyhood. Before she does, however, she has one more night of childhood and, with Peter, Tinker Bell, and her two young brothers, John and Michael, pays a visit to the land of chimerical fantasy wherein dwell the comically-dreadful Captain Hook; the toadying Smee, who fawningly tends the pirate; the basso-voiced Indian chief; the popeyed, tick-tocking crocodile; the beautiful mermaids and the lost boys who, in lieu of clothes, wear animal skins and live a playful, motherless existence.
The night on the magical isle is filled with adventurous derring-do, Captain Hook's very best skullduggery, sentiment and delightful dangers, ending with the pirate put down by Peter Pan's heroics and fleeing, screaming, towards the horizon, hungrily pursued by the crocodile which, having eaten Hook's left hand, has an appetite for the remainder of the villain.
Gone are feminine curves that have predominated in previous interpretations of Peter Pan, and it is a change for the better. The voice of young Bobby Driscoll, and cartoon animation in his likeness, sell the character. Equally good are the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Wendy; Hans Conried as the villainous Hook and the exasperated father, Mr. Darling; Bill Thompson as the fawning Smee; Heather Angel as Mrs. Darling; Paul Collins and Tommy Luske, as the two small brothers, and Candy Candido as the Indian chief. Tom Conway dulcetly intones the narrated story bridges.
Directors of the cartoon adventure-fantasy were Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi and Wilfred Jackson. The multiple other functions, such as directing animators, story, color and styling, layout, backgrounds, character animation and effects animation, are beautifully carried out by assorted Disney talents. Oliver Wallace contributed the good musical score, orchestrated by Edward Plumb. Song contributors were Sammy Fain, Sammy Cahn, Oliver Wallace, Frank Churchill, Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler and Ted Sears. Among the tunes are "What Makes the Red Man Red," "The Elegant Captain Hook," "You Can Fly-You Can Fly-You Can Fly," "Your Mother and Mine," "A Pirate's Life," "Tee Dum, Tee Dee" and "Never Smile at a Crocodile." The Disney flair for colors to match his ventures into fantasy is vividly captured in Technicolor. Brog.

Television Chatter
New York
Publicist Frances E. Kaye has formed Tele-Sketch for the production of animated cartoons for TV commercials.

January 23, 1953
Chatter
Tom and Jerry, Metro characters, will be heroized in book Whitman Publishing Co. is putting out . . .

January 26, 1953
Loew's Sues To Halt Flow Of Ising Cartoons To TV
Loew's, Inc., filed a $500,000 legal action in Superior Court over the weekend to halt the television beaming of old Harmon-ising cartoons originally made for Metro in 1934-35-36. Suit set the $500,000 figure on a breach of contract complaint and also asked the court to determine damages under an infringement of copyright claim and asked for an injunction to halt further showings.
Brief contends that the cartoon firm made 18 shorts for Metro during the three-year period and the studio controlled all rights.
Through some undisclosed means, the cartoons were turned over to Cornell Films which in turn gave the rights to Sterling Television Co., Inc. One of the shorts was shown twice, once on KTTV and once on KTLA. No other instances were cited.
Plaintiff named Harmon-Ising, Rudolf Ising, Hugh Harmon, Sterling, Cornell, KTTV and Paramount Television Productions, Inc. (KTLA) as defendants.

January 28, 1953
Sheilah Graham column
And Warners' "Duck A’ Muck" [sic] is best cartoon, in our opinion, since "Gerald McBoing-Boing." ... Love the billing the Nine O'Clock Players gave Bob Jackson — "with Disney Studios, where he draws, writes and speaks"

January 30, 1953
Freberg Busy As a —
Stan Freberg will do the voice of the beaver in Walt Disney's feature length animation cartoon, "Lady and the Tramp," to be released in 1954.

February 10, 1953
NOMINATIONS FOR 25TH OSCAR DERBY
BEST CARTOON
"Johann Mouse," MGM, Fred Quimby, producer.
"Little Johnny Jet," MGM, Fred Quimby, producer.
"Madeline," United Productions of America, Columbia, Stephen Bosustow, producer.
"Pink and Blue Blues," United Productions of America, Columbia, Stephen Bosustow, producer.
"Romance of Transportation," National Film Board of Canada (Canadian), Tom Daly, producer.

February 11, 1953
UPA, Col Resuming Talks On Cartoon Of Feature-Length
Stephen Bosustow, prexy of United Productions of America, cartoonery closely allied with Columbia, is en route to NY to resume homeoffice talks relating to the production of a full-length feature.
UPA and Col, which releases UPA cartoon shorts and controls the pursestrings, have weighed the matter for some time but haven't been able to get together on a story property.
Bosustow has been pitching a full-length animated feature based on James Thurber's "Battle of the Sexes," to which UPA has the rights. UPA has developed a treatment of the Thurber work, with plans to make the film under the title of "Male Vs. Woman." Col reportedly has been reluctant to okay the project, feeling the Thurber yarns may be too highbrow for general audience acceptance. However, Col is said to have offered an alternative, approving the idea of a full-length cartoon but favoring a more popular subject—such as feature-length version of its UPA's "Mr. McGoo" [sic] one-reel series.

February 18, 1953
French Cartoon Film Suit Won by Producers
Paris, Feb. 17.
Trial over the Gallic animated pic, "The Shepherdess And The Chimneysweep," has ended here with the court proclaiming that the pic can be distributed with one third of receipts kept in escrow to protect the rights of the authors who brought complaint. Trial, which has been dragging for months, started when authors Jacques Prevert and Paul Grimault brought charges against Andre Sarrut, the producer, claiming he finished the film in an unsatisfactory manner and thus infringed on the moral of the author.
Prevert, the author, and Grimault, the director-animator, had a falling out with Sarrut, and stopped work with pic half finished. It was completed by Sarrut, and won a prize at the Venice Film Festival.

February 25, 1953
Max Fleischer Applies For Patents on New Classless 3-D Camera
Max Fleischer, veteran producer of cartoons, has applied for patents on a new camera which, he claimed this week, will achieve 3-D pix that can be shown with standard equipment and do not require the use of any viewing glasses. He's keeping the details under wraps other than divulging that the camera has a single lens and employs a single film strip.
Fleischer stated his invention represents a new concept of photography. The new camera operation, he claimed, "will not only capture the atmospheric quality so essential to perception' of depth but will prove to be a marked advance in the art of motion picture photography."
Fleischer further .said that his method is suitable for color or black-&-white and, additionally, can be used in television with either live or film shows. Vet filmite said he'll have to study the legalistics involved before deciding on whether to license his patents to TV in addition to film-makers. Construction of the camera, Fleischer related, is now in the hands, of engineers employed by the Jam Handy Organization, nontheatrical pic outfit, for which he is technical adviser. In his patent application, the producer said that to obtain ,the 3-D results he designed the invention to "fall in line with all the present standard methods of producing, processing, projecting and viewing motion pictures . . . confining the required change to the design of the camera itself.

March 2, 1953
"Three Little Pups" was added over weekend by Fred Quimby at Metro to his completed list of Technicolor cartoons.

March 3, 1953 (Motion Picture News)
Harman Says Technical Difficulties Of 3-D Cartoons Have Been Solved
The technical details of producing animated cartoons in three dimensions have been worked out by Hugh Harman, veteran cartoon producer and head of Harman-Ising, Inc. Harman said here that his organization was preparing its first 3-D subject and that he was in New York from Hollywood to discuss distribution.
In 1931 and 1932, Harman said, his company made tests of 3-D cartoons and that they were successful. However, production of the subjects appeared to be impractical at the time. The technical differences in producing tri-dimensional cartoons and live action are slight, but basically the technique is the same, requiring two film strips. Stories for the forthcoming three dimension cartoons are now in preparation, said Harman.
Harman said that all companies were thinking about 3-D cartoon production. He said his company was not concerned about further tests as he "knows it will work."
It is reported that Paramount is taking steps to enter the 3-D cartoon field. Paramount's cartoons are made in New York by Famous Studios and it is understood that active operations will start when the necessary cameras are obtained.

March 16, 1953
Sheilah Graham column
Gene Kelly will do the last episode of "Invitation To The Dance" as a cartoon — and he'll do it here because Hollywood technicians are better.

March 18, 1953
Bray, Fleischer Team
John R. Bray and Max Fleischer, pioneers in the field of animated cartoons and technical drawings, have formed the Bray-Fleischer Division of Bray Studios, New York. The two vets began their careers in the art department of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and subsequently worked together in the development of the animation arts.
Bray and Fleischer, in the new tieup, will concentrate on new techniques in 3-D film cartoons for the theatrical and industrial fields. Bray Studios, of which Bray is founder and president, will continue its production of educational films for schools.

March 20, 1953
Winners of Academy Awards
Short Subjects (Cartoon)
"JOHANN MOUSE," Metro. Fred Quimby.

March 25, 1953
Disney Sweeps Off The Shelf
Reissuing 90 Old Cartoons; See Move As Prelude To TV
New York, March 24.—In what's probably the greatest reissue splurge in the outfit's history, Walt Disney Productions, beginning next month, will offer exhibs a total of 90 short cartoons. Briefies, to be distributed by RKO, will be sold in packages of six, each group to run about 45 minutes and designed to run as a second feature in double-bill theatres or as a supplement in single-feature spots.
In past, exhibs, on their own, booked a collection of the back-number cartoons and sold them under a "Disney Festival" banner. Under the new setup, RKO is giving the shorts feature-type accessories.
Immediate speculation in the trade is that the Disney reissue binge may be a prelude to a later sale of dated Disney product to television. Angle is that the full theatre revenue potential will be reached by the upcoming re-distribution and thereafter the only additional income would be from tele.
Disney repeatedly in past has disavowed any plans to sell any of his plx regardless of their age, to TV. However, with color telecasting now coming into view, deals with the new medium are seen more likely since the Disney product is so ideal for presentations in color.


Jersey Exhibs Complain Of Disney 'Pan' Policy
New York, March 24.—RKO, as distributor, and Walt Disney, as producer of "Peter Pan," were on the receiving end of exhib blasts today on two counts—one involving sales policy on "Pan" and the other regarding the pic's 16m sale to schools in areas where the 35m "Pan" version is being shown in theatres.
Burned at what it terms "con-nscatory deals" on "Pan," board of Allied Theatre Owners of New Jersey declared the RKO-Disney policy "has made exhibitors wonder if it's worthwhile supporting Disney in the purchase of his regular cartoons." Citing a letter addressed to schools, signed by Phil Hodes, RKO branch manager, Allied charges Disney subjects are being offered that are not available to exhibs. In addition, exhib org says 16m customers have been notified prices for the narrow-gauge product have been lowered. "In view of Disney's deal for exhibitors," the Jersey outfit states, "it's curious to note he favors non-theatrical accounts as against the men who have made it possible for him to turn out cartoons."
Shifting the barrage to RKO, the exhib group complains filmery is offering 16m accounts the same pix being pitched to theatres as reissue combos. Citing RKO's financial difficulties, Allied statement says exhibs are pondering If the policies of Disney and Sam Goldwyn are to be taken as that of RKO. Reference to Goldwyn was based on producer's statement that If exhibs did not like the terms on "Hans Christian Andersen," they didn't have to buy it.
Jersey unit indicates it will rigidly adhere to the policy established by National Allied to seek remedies through whatever channels necessary.

OFFICIAL IN DEAL FOR OLD SILENTS, CARTOONS
Official Films last week tied up two film packages, a group of about 100 "Felix the Cat", cartoons and a large catalog of top silent pix. Official is currently releasing 30 of the cartoons in combination with the 55 other animated pix in its library, with the remainder to be syndicated later in the year. Deal is pending under which a packaging outfit would lease a group of the silent films and add a piano-commentary soundtrack and then peddle the package. If that doesn't jell, Official will provide the soundtrack itself and syndicate them on its own. Package is said to include old Charlie Chaplin, "Our Gang" and Keystone comedy pix.
"Felix" films are owned by Pat O'Sullivan [sic] topper of Felix the Cat Productions, which made the cartoons originally for tele. Owner of the silent films wasn't disclosed.

April 1, 1953
Mpls. Scribe Gives Space Gratis To NCA Pan ‘Beef’ But Paid Ad Snafued
Minneapolis, March 31.
Aiming specifically at "Peter Pan" during its current RKO-Orpheum engagement here, North Central Allied obtained gratis publicity twice in Will Jones' Morning Tribune column mentioning the picture and theatre. Otherwise, however, it had to settle for a Morning Tribune paid display ad which, generalizing, omitted its desired attack on the Disney offering and the RKO showhouse, and simply purported to reveal the alleged harm being done to neighbourhood and small town theatres by the current policy of pre-releasing pictures at advanced admissions.
In effect, the newspaper refused to accept the original ad submitted by NCA. That ad called "Peter Pan" a "cartoon;" branded the RKO-Orpheum admission prices "unfair;" declared that if the public patronizes "Peter Pan" other companies will be encouraged to boost admissions on pictures; and effect would be to put many small neighborhood theatres out of business. It also claimed "there is absolutely no justification for this huge price increase," and carried the heading, "Why Pay These Prices to See 'Peter Pan'?"
Newspaper advertising department "suggested" changes in the ad's copy that eliminated almost all of the aforegoing and resulted in a much watered-down general statement of the NCA position regarding pre-releases. NCA accepted the "suggestions," and the three column 10-inch ads ran two days after "Peter Pan" opened at the Orpheum.
Cutting ‘Pan’ Terms?
As result of continued blasts at RKO and Walt Disney for terms demanded on "Peter Pan," exhibs report that the distrib and the producer have shown an indication to come down in their terms in certain situations.
It's reported that RKO has agreed to accept a 35% rental for subsequent runs. Company's original asking price was as high as 70%.

April 3, 1953
Harman, Ising Dispute Loew's Cartoon Claims
Cartoon producers Rudolf Ising and Hugh Harman filed a cross-complaint in Federal Court yesterday to the contract complaint brought two months ago by Loew's, Inc., to halt television release of 37 Harman-Ising cartoons made in the mid-Thirties. Original Loew's suit also named KTTV, Inc., Paramount Television Productions, Inc., Sterling Television Company and Cornell Films Company as defendants.
Cross-complalnt declared that the cartoon producers entered into an agreement with Metro on Feb. 14, 1934, to deliver 13 cartoons a year for five years. Disagreements developed, the action declares, and the pact finally was renegotiated on Nov. 12, 1937. Under the original pact, Harman-Ising said, the 37 cartoons weir the property of Metro but the rewritten contract gave them possession.
Croas complaint, which states Harman produced 19 and Ising 18 of the cartoons in question, asks that Federal Judge James M. Carter rule they had possession of the cartoons and are entitled to sell them to television.

April 10, 1953
George E. Phair column
You can get an education from a mouse — take it from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. That august body, commenting on the Metro cartoon, "Mouse in Manhattan," says: "It contains a new intelligence, and even a little instruction."

April 22, 1953
Inside Stuff-Radio
A big show biz push is behind the Greater New York Fund 1953 campaign, which begins April 27 with radio and tele stations throughout area ballyhooing the kickoff.
For tele, Pathescope has produced "A Memo to All New Yorkers," in 20-second and one-minute reels, and for film-houses a two-minute trailer to be shown at metropolitan area.
.A; nine-minute cartoon by Transfilm, "The Perils of Fenwick," also being edited for tele, while Campus Films Productions has released a 14-minute documentary film, "A Thought for Your Pennies," for TV., Many half-minute and one-minute celebrity recordings already have been cut by such stars as Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan.
Trade showing of Fund's theatre and TV films will be held at Avon Theatre tomorrow (23).

April 24, 1953
Walter Lantz is working on the first 3-D cartoon, "Hypnotic Hick," rushing it through for a September release.

April 29, 1953 (Motion Picture Daily)
UA to Release 1st 3-D Feature Cartoon
The first feature-length animated cartoon in 3-D will go into production this summer under the direction of Hugh Harman. A deal is close to consummation whereby United Artists will distribute the picture.
Harman, a partner in the Harman-Ising organization, has been in New York for the past month negotiating for distribution.
While United Artists deal has not been actually signed, a spokesman said here yesterday that an oral agreement had been reached.

May 4, 1953
Dawes Butler and June Foray, Capitol discers, lend their voices to three upcoming "Tom and Jerry" Metro cartoons.

May 8, 1953
CAMERAMEN HIT SAG'S TV PACT
Claim Stiff Terms Cause Unemployment By Bringing Switch To Cartoon Blurbs
Screen Actors Guild and Screen Extras Guild scored a hollow victory in their recently inked teleblurb pacts, it was charged last night by business agent Herb Aller at a meeting of IATSE Cameramen's Local 650. The stiff residual clauses in the SAG-SEG pacts, Aller charged, have resulted in a 90% cut in commercial vidfilm production in Hollywood, causing unemployment for actors and extras, as well as lensers. As a result of the union's findings on unemployment, the exec board of the cameramen's union is considering organizing all other crafts in Hollywood in a unified protest against the SAG-SEG pacts, the cameramen were told last night.
Meeting was told by various members and execs that the SAG-SEG pacts call for such high terms, particularly on re-run coin, that the teleblurb producers are turning to cartoons instead of the regular vidfilm commercials using actors.
Asserting the Guild pacts ask so much for residuals they discourage production and consequently hurt lensers' employment, Aller told the meeting, "It's time for everybody in the picture business to think of what they can do to help each other instead of harm each other."

Cartoonists Celebrating Guild's 15th Anniversary
Screen Cartoonists Guild celebrates its 16th anniversary with a festival of animated films tomorrow night, Hollywood Guilds and Union Bldg., 2700 N. Highland Ave., it was announced yesterday by proxy Ed Levitt. Clips will be shown of commercial, industrial and TV spot cartoons, as turned out by indie companies whose members belong to Guild.
Total of 21 outfits will be reaped, Including Academy Productions, Cartoon Pictures Corp., Cascade Productions, Churchill-Wexler Productions, Dudley Films, Phil Duncan, Jerry Fairbanks, Paul Fennell Studios, Five Star Productions, Sherman Glass [sic] Productions, Graphic Films, Sid Glenar Productions, Pathway Productions, Ray Patin, Sketchbook Films, John Sutherland Productions, Inc., Telepix Corp., Telefilm, Robert Wickersham, Raphael Wolff Productions and Norm Wright.

May 11, 1953
Harry Love, head of animation and effects department, sits in for John Burton as production manager for Warner Cartoon Studio during latter's vacation.

Film Review
The Girl Next Door
(Musical Comedy-Technicolor)
animation sequences by United Productions of America
Amusingly done are a fantasy cartoon strip by United Productions of America involving young [Billy] Gray's troubles over Miss [June] Haver, and another about Noah's Ark and the pairing of the sexes.

May 12, 1953
Film Review
Dangerous When Wet
(Musical Comedy-Technicolor)
Tom and Jerry cartoon sequence by Fred Quimby, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera.
Topper of the musical stints in the film is the underwater cartoon sequence involving Miss Williams, Tom and Jerry and an octopus character to the tune of "In My Wildest Dreams."

May 14, 1953
KTTV has bought 32 "Felix the Cat" cartoons from Official Films, for showing on "Sheriff John" program.

3-DIMENSIONAL EXTENDS TO CARTOONS
Three-dimension has gone into a new trend — cartoons. Walt Disney already has completed his first 3D abort, "Melody," which will be tradeshown today, and Walter Lantz and his production manager, William Garriety, have developed a new process of filming animated subjects in simulated 3D which Lantz currently is inaugurating in "Hypnotic Hick," a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Short will be released with film "Wings of the Hawk" as a package in October. The Disney reel probably will be released in the early summer.
Process, for which Lantz already has applied for a patent, consists of shooting entire subject for the left eye, and then moving individual drawings from approximately one-tenth to three-tenths of an inch to the left and shooting the second strip of film with the same camera, corresponding to the right eye. Distance each drawing is moved depends upon whether the effect is to be a closeup or a long shot, the further the distance the closer the object to the eye. Lantz claims it's been found that at least six depth levels may be attained by the displacement of backgrounds, midgrounds and foregrounds.
His first 3D subject, running six minutes, Lantz estimates, will cost approximately $10,000 more than normal costs for standard cartoons, which are turned out for $35,000. Extra costs lie in increased print costs, additional per-foot expenditure for Technicolor to line up scenes so synchronization won't be off, uppance of camera costs and extra artists charges.
Producer also will release subject in regular 2D form, by the use of a single strip of film. UI, which distributes producer’s product, plans to get behind the 3D short with a special campaign.

May 18, 1953
Par Joining Trend Into 3-D Cartoons
New York, May 17.—Paramount has joined parade of those planning production of cartoon shorts in 3-D. First flock of Par briefies is due in September. Walt Disney was the first to ready a 3-D briefie, "Melody," (reviewed below). Walter Lantz has developed a new process of filming animated shorties in simulated 3-D, with initial one to be released in October.
Oscar A. Morgan, Par's short subject sales manager, said the 3-D's will also be available in 2-D prints.

Disney 3D Cartoon In Interesting Bow
Walt Disney makes an entry into the 3-D race with "Melody," a 10-minute cartoon which is the first in a new series called "Adventures In Music." It is an interesting novelty and will complement theatres playing a stereopic bill.
Most impressive feature of "Melody" its its music, the plot delving into the origins of song and tuneful vocalistics. A particularly ear-tickling number is "The Bird, the Cricket and the Willow Tree" cleffed by Sonny Burke and Paul Webster. As to the 3-D effect of the short viewed through polarised glasses, the process does not add backsides to the flat drawings. The depth illusion shows best in several scenes of musical abstractions.
C. August Nichols and Ward Kimball directed the short and the animation of the Dick Huemer opus was done by Kimball, Julius Svendsen, Marc Davis, Harvey Toombs, Hal Ambro and Marvin Woodward. The music was supplied by Joseph B. Dubin, art direction by A. Kendall O'Connor and Victor Haboush, and the good color styling by Eyvind Earle.

May 26, 1953
195 'Rabbits' Breed 500G Suit Vs, NBC, Jerry Fairbanks
A $500,000 suit against Jerry Fairbanks, Inc., the producer individually, and NBC, was filed in Superior Court yesterday by Television Arts Productions, Inc., charging fraud, conspiracy to fraud and breach of contract, and seeking a temporary injunction and restraining order to hold up sale of the 195 “Crusader Rabbit” vidpix involved in the beef. Attorney Max E. Gilmore filed the suit for J. Troplong Ward and Alexander Hume Anderson, Jr., of Berkeley, owners of TAP.
Complaint alleges that the pair conceived the "Rabbit" property and presented it to NBC in NY, that they were referred to Fairbanks, told he did their vidpix biz for them. They signed with Fairbanks Aug. 4, 1950, in a deal in which TAP agreed to produce the "Rabbit" cartoons with Fairbanks financing production, with each to split the profits 50-50, complaint says. TAP contends its pact gave it a vested interest in the pix, that if Fairbanks sold or transferred the properties they were to retain this interest.
Fairbanks gave them $91,000 to produce the pix, but coin was actually put up by NBC, suit claims. The company turned out 195 of the 5-min. cartoons for TV. NBC then made a deal with Fairbanks subsequent to that, under which it acquired title to the vidpix, and in Feb. 1, 1952, the net sold the property back to Fairbanks for $175,000 chattel mortgage, suit says.
Complaint declares Fairbanks defaulted on payments, with result NBC foreclosed and obtained a court order to sell them at public sale. TAP demands $400,000 general damages and $100,000 punitive damages. Gilmore, attorney for TAP, said an accounting provided by Fairbanks, dated Feb. 29, 1962, disclosed the series had grossed $104,806 at that time.

May 27, 1953
DECISION WILL BE made upon return of Gene Kelly to this country as to whether Metro's "Invitation to the Dance" will contain the announced animated cartoon sequence. It's not yet filmed, and if it's decided to go ahead with it, the footage will be lensed on the Culver City lot. At present time, "Dance" contains three sequences—all shot overseas.

May 29, 1953
Warners May Produce Commercial Cartoons
Warners cartoon studio is understood to be considering an expansion of its activities to include a program of commercials. Project has been under consideration for some time, and probably will be decided within the next two weeks. Company currently is approximately 50 cartoons ahead on its new 20-per-year schedule.

June 8, 1953
Metro's cartoon department will feature the TV commercial stick figures of Lucy and Desi in a short, short trailer for "The Long, Long Trailer."

(Motion Picture Daily)
Popeye to Be First Para. 3-D Cartoon
A Popeye subject will be Paramount's first 3-D animated cartoon and will be ready for release in September. This will be followed by a release in the Caspar series.
The home office has seen 200 feet of the Popeye subject and the reaction is reported to be highly favorable.

June 12, 1953
DISNEY ENTERING TV-FILM PROD’N
Plans Making Entertainment Series, But No Intention Sell Theatrical Backlog To TV
Expansion of Walt Disney Productions' operations to include television production and its own TV program was announced yesterday by proxy Roy O. Disney, in an Interim report mailed to stockholders.
"It is our plan," he stated, "to launch into television before too long, in such a way as to further exploit our motion pictures as well as to earn revenues. We believe that the addition of a fine television show will be of tremendous value in the exploiting and marketing of our pictures, as well as making for fine television entertainment in itself."
Company, however, has no present intention of selling any of its inventory outright to TV, Disney stressed. Simultaneously, exec announced a consolidated net profit of $142,728 for first six months ended March 28 of company's 1953 fiscal year. This is equivalent to 22 cents per share on 652,840 shares of common stock outstanding.
Figure exceeds substantially the earnings of $19,980, or three cents a share, for corresponding period of last year. Disney in his letter stated that earnings for 1953 should approximate closely company’s $451,809 in 1952. Difference in net for the corresponding six months was due to greatly higher costs and expenses in 1952, particularly in amortization of picture costs.
Substantial revenue is expected during the next six-month period from "Peter Pan," Disney reported, which was released Feb. 5, 1953, with first returns received in April. Major releases in foreign markets will occur in the fall and winter.
Disney also reported a slight increase in net working capital, from $4,824,584 to $4,852,206 in six months ended last March 28. Debentures in principal amount of $17,840 were bought and retired, leaving $251,290 outstanding at end of period. An increase of $924,488 in current liabilities, due principally to a rise in current bank indebtedness, was accompanied by a comparable increase in inventories.
It also was disclosed that other activities of company, including merchandising, publications, comic strips, music publishing and 16m non-theatrical film distribution, are proceeding at a business level comparable to, or better than, prior years.
This also applies to company business in foreign countries, Disney pointed out, where the blocked currency situation remains about the same. There are some evidences of improvement in the future, he added. Company now has approximately $1,114,000 in frozen funds abroad.
Stating that company is keeping furry abreast of both 3-D and wide-screen development, Disney also declared it already has released one 3-D cartoon, and other short subjects in 3-D are in works. Outfit also intends to reissue "Fantasia" later in both wide-screen and stereophonic sound.

New Pact Tilts Disney Income; Fringe Benefits
Walt Disney has been inked by Walt Disney Productions to a new seven-year employment contract and the use of his name acquired for a period of 40 years for all company activities apart from production, prexy Roy O. Disney revealed in the interim letter sent yesterday to stockholders.
Two contracts supplant Disney's previous pact with company, signed in 1940 for seven years, in which he received $2,000 weekly as executive producer. New agreements were entered into due to this former figure being "inequitable in light of his greatly increased duties," and "increasing diversification in company's character merchandising endeavors and other facets of business having reached the point that the Disney name had acquired the characteristics of a valuable trade name."
Under terms of his new employment pact, which became effective Jan. 1, 1953, Disney will receive $3,000 per week. Contract is exclusive insofar as relating to cartoon production, but he may engage in outside activities which won't interfere with his services to company. He is limited, however, to one outside live-action picture annually.
Other provisions of this personal agreement give him an option to purchase an undivided ownership interest, not to exceed 25%, In any live-action film (except "True Life" and "People and Places" series) produced by company, for the contribution of a like percentage to its negative costs.
Disney also is granted a three-year option to buy up to $50,000 Interest In the $1,500,000 life insurance company now carries on him.
In the contract through which the production company acquires the use of his name, for which producer has set up Walt Disney, Inc., production company guarantees minimum percentage royalties to Disney of $50,000 annually. Initial term is for 10 years, starting April 1, 1958, with the right to three 10-year extensions at option of Walt Disney Productions.
For rights to his name granted by Walt Disney, Inc., production company will pay $150,000 in five annual installments of $30,000, plus varying percentages of annual gross income received from merchandising licenses. Without the $50,000 annual guarantee being affected, Disney, Inc., under terms of pact, cannot receive more than 25% of annual profits derived by production company from merchandising operations.

June 16, 1953
WB CARTOON STUDIO TO CLOSE DOWN
Warners cartoon studio will shutter Friday, with the exception of 10 employes working under topper Edward Selzer, and will remain closed until probably Jan. 4, 1954. Approximately 70 cartoonists are affected by the sudden move.
At the time they were pink-slipped last Friday, they were told by Selzer that they might be recalled within 90 days. More likely, however, exec said, studio would remain dark until January, and it was suggested that those given notices take new jobs.
Those remaining include a director, a story man, a layout man, three background men, a cutter and three office staffers. They will handle a small amount of commercial work during the summer, and prep work for resumption of activity, so no time will be lost when workers return.
Sudden cessation of cartoon activity is due to two chief reasons, a heavy backlog which gives Warners finished releases until late in 1954 and uncertainty in what process to make further cartoons, 2-D or 3-D.
Company, which now releases 20 cartoons annually, has 38 cartoons ready for release, 20 more three-quarters complete, including all the animation finished, and 12 stories completed and most of the direction completed.
Two units are affected by studio closing, a third having been closed out two months ago. At that time, the annual releasing slate of 30 subjects was cut to 20.
Metro cartoon department also is a casualty of a big backlog and 3-D. Department now is operating with only a single unit, for its Tom and Jerry series, a second shutting down last March 1.
Studio currently has an inventory of 32 completed cartoons for its 24-a-year release. Department is expected to be back in full swing in the early fall, however, Fred Quimby, department chief, declared yesterday, with the second unit again functioning. Studio actually is waiting to see whether to continue with 2-D or go all-out in 3-D, he added. All future films, at any rate, will be adapted to wide-screen projection.
Walter Lantz Studio, on the other hand, has increased its annual output from six to 13, for release through UI. Lantz yesterday hired Mike Maltese, story man who swung over from Warners, and two weeks ago took on a pair of top Metro animators, Ray Patterson and Grant Simmons. Studio also has stepped up its commercial cartoon production.

June 17, 1953
51 Iwerks Cartoons On CBS-TV Film Sked
WCBS-TV, N. Y., has bought a group of 51 animated cartoons produced by U. B. Iwerks for exclusive first run tele showing in New York. Cartoons are in two series—"Flip the Frog" (38) and "Willie Whopper" (13) — and will be worked into the station's film schedule shortly.
Cartoons were originally released by Metro for theatre showing.
Iwerks is now working with Walt Disney.

Hollywood Inside
SITE FOR DISNEYLAND, for which $8,000,000 has been earmarked by Walt Disney as an amusement centre, is being scouted with a view to the start of early construction. Location sought will encompass 50 acres and close to arterial travel.
Centre will serve not only as a paid attraction, with the characters from Disney cartoons romping over the grounds, but as a location for a TV series now being planned by the Disney staff. Site would also have paid rides and other carnival attractions. Disney's interest in the project is for the promotion of his films as a tourist attraction and to use the centre as an outdoor location site for the series of cartoons he's preparing to telefilm.

Disney Seen Emcee, Top Personality But Orgs TV Entry Unlikely for Year
Proposed entry of Walt Disney Productions into the TV film field, as disclosed last week by prexy Roy O. Disney's interim letter to shareholders, may not materialize for at least a year, according to a company spokesman. Meantime, he added, all phases of the upcoming video venture are being carefully studied to groom its basic design to sell and enhance both Disney's own product as well as merchandise of some 600 of its worldwide licensees.
Walt Disney himself, it is said, would be the top personality or emcee of a program in which dozens of familiar characters and players long associated with the organization reportedly are scheduled to be cast from time to time. In light of the firm's many licensees, it's anticipated that tie-ups likely will be made with some of them. Possibility also exists of a package deal with one or more national advertisers, such as General Motors.
Plans for the TV project as well as a blueprint for company operations in general, it's understood, are to be threshed out in New York around July 20, when chief exec Roy Disney is scheduled to arrive from the Coast to preside over top-level home office confabs.
Discussions will take stock of existing and upcoming product in view of the industry's new accent on 3-D and widescreen. Methods for marketing a reissue of "Fantasia" in 1954 will also be taken up.
"Fantasia," the company is said to feel, was "before it's time" when originally released in late 1940. Film was equipped with stereophonic sound which now goes hand in hand with 3-D and widescreen.
Moreover, only around 6,000 playdates have been rolled up on Disney's animation of a series of eight musical compositions interpreted by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Thus sales execs think the time is ripe for another time around.
No Sale Outright
Roy Disney, in outlining the organization's TV goals in his interim report, said that "it is our plan, before too long, to launch into television in a way to further exploit our motion picture product, as well as earn revenue."
However, he stressed that "we have no present intention of selling outright to television any of our inventory of motion pictures."
A consolidated net profit of $142,723 was racked up by Walt Disney Productions for first six months ended March 28 of its 1953 fiscal year, prexy Disney announced in his report. This is equivalent to 22c per share on 652,840 shares of common stock outstanding.
Figure exceeds substantially the earnings of $19,980, or 3c a share, for corresponding period of last year. Disney in his letter stated that earnings for 1953 should approximate closely company's $451,809 in 1952. Difference in net for the corresponding six months was due to greatly higher costs and expenses in 1952, particularly in amortization of picture costs.
'Pan' Returns
Substantial revenue is expected during the next six-month period from "Peter Pan," Disney reported, which was released Feb. 5, 1953, with first returns received in April. Major releases in foreign markets will occur in the fall and winter.
Disney also reported a slight increase in net working capital, from $4,824,534 to $4,852,206 in six months ended last March 28. Debentures in principal amount of $17,340 were bought and retired, leaving $251,290 outstanding at end of period. An increase of $924,488 in current liabilities, due principally to a rise in current bank indebtedness, was accompanied by a comparable increase in inventories.
It also was disclosed that other activities of company, including merchandising, publications, comic strips, music publishing and 16m non-theatrical film distribution, are proceeding at a business level comparable to, or better than, prior years.
This also applies to company business in foreign countries, Disney pointed out, where the blocked currency situation remains about the same. There are some evidences of improvement in the future, he added. Company now has approximately $1,114,000 in frozen funds abroad.

CBS Unveils UPA Short Designed To Sell Radio
CBS Radio threw its Sunday punch last night with pictorial and statisticated proof that it's still to be reckoned with as a major force in advertising.
Before an assembled turnout of 500 industry leaders and the press at Ciro's, the network screened for the first time a promotion film running 16 minutes made in Hollywood by United Productions of America.
In taking an introduction from Guy della Cioppa, CBS radio programming veepee in Hollywood, Adrian Murphy, prez of CBS Radio, said that a year ago "radio was a doubtful thing" but that a first promotional film made by UPA helped turn the tide. He expected even more fruitful results from the current spool, called "It's Time for Everybody."
Color animated short drew intermittent chuckles with its cartoon effect and resounding applause at the signoff. It is cleverly contrived to sell CBS Radio with a light but effective touch. Murphy said the film is intended to emphasize three points: that markets are bigger and richer, that radio reaches all people, and that for the advertising dollar it is cheaper and more effective than any other medium.
Film will be shown again tonight at Ciro's to another group of advertisers and tradesmen, with William D. Shaw, general manager of KNX and the Columbia Pacific Radio Network, as host. Murphy and Lester Gottlieb, CBS veepee in charge of radio programming, will take the film to NY this weekend for a series of showings there.

‘Popeye’ Under 3-D
First cartoon to undergo the 3-D treatment will be "Popeye," the Bill Zaboly-Tom Sims cartoon syndicated internationally by King Features.
Paramount is planning to do a series of depth versions of the "Popeye" stories. Scripts for the series haven't been assigned yet.

June 19, 1953
‘Giant Killer’ Cartoon Gets U.S. Bow Here
U.S. premiere of "Johnny the Giant Killer," British-made full-length Technicolor cartoon and the first animation subject to be released by Lippert Pictures, has been set for next Friday at the United Artists and Egyptian theatres.

June 24, 1953
Film Review
Johnny The Giant Killer
(Feature Cartoon – Technicolor)
LIPPERT RELEASE of a Jean Image production. Directors, Jean Image, Charles Frank; Screenplay, Paul Colline, Charles Frank, Neila Macdonald; based on idea by Eraine; camera, Kostia Tehikine; music, Rene Cloeree; chief animator, Albert Champeaux.
PREVIEWED at KTTV Studios, Hollywood, Calif., June 23, 1953. Running time: 60 mins.
First French-made feature cartoon, "Johnny the Giant Killer” technically is well turned out but carries a story so tedious and repetitious that its length might easily be cut in half without loss of story. Animation, while not so polished as that of Disney and other Hollywood cartoon producers, is excellent; backgrounds are imaginative and artistic and enhanced by shrewd use of Technicolor. Bookings will be for lower half of double bills, with appeal strictly for juve trade.
Story follows the adventures of Johnny, leader of a group of boys who dare invade a giant's castle atop a high pinnacle. Put through a machine by the giant, they're reduced to miniature size for a later meal by the monster. Johnny makes his escape and is befriended by a swarm of bees, whose queen takes a liking to the stranger. Johnny ultimately saves the queen and her kingdom from heavies, and the bees in turn help the lad save his friends from the giant. Animation is long on detail which doesn't progress the story line; French producer Jean Image apparently overlooked the fact that effects don't necessarily assure entertainment. Excess of characters, too, retard interest. Whit.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Metro's cartoon department animated the "stick figures" of Lucy and Desi for "The Long Long Trailer" trailer...because they "secretly" animated the opening title and "bumpers" for "I LOVE LUCY" as well.

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