3-D? That’s so 1953.
Nobody was talking about 3-D in 1954. Instead, movie companies were turning their attentions to wide screens as the latest weapon against television keeping movie-goers at home. And cartoon producers were looking at the idea, too.
Walt Disney continued to show his foresight, signing a deal with ABC. Disney didn’t view television as an enemy but as a promotional tool for his movies and a potential profit centre. Cartoons on TV in 1954 mainly meant old silents with added stock music sound tracks, or black-and-whites from B-list studios like Iwerks and Van Beuren. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Popeye were yet to come.
Here are stories about animation from Variety for the first half of 1954.
January 8, 1954
Metro cartoon producer Fred Quimby's next musical subject will be "Tom the Fiddler," Tom and Jerry short. ... Knighthood is in flower on a lot of screens these days, so Fred Quimby is breaking out with a cartoon called "When Mousehood Was in Flower."
January 13, 1954
Jim Backus and Jerry Hausner completed a cartoon script called "Rocket Racket" and sold it to United Productions of America.
January 20, 1954
Wolper to NTA As Head of Sales
Wolper, one of the young "Harris group," Joe and Jim Harris and Sy Weintraub, who set up Flamingo Films, has brought over four Flamingo properties into the NTA distribution fold. Properties are 16 "Superman" cartoons, originally produced by Paramount, the "Tele-Comics" series originally run on NBC-TV, "Viz Quiz" series of five-minute quizzers and 77 quarter-hour "TV Baseball Hall of Fame" shows.
January 20, 1954
Bibo Music will publish "Chilly Willy," title song of a Walter Lantz cartoon. Words and music were written by Mary Jo Rush, wife of publicist Art Rush.
OFs New Syndication Status Via Takeover of Entire Lippert Catalog
Official Films this week took over distribution rights to Lippert Pictures' complete tv catalog, comprising in the main some 123 feature pix produced by Lippert since 1946. Official acquired the distribution rights as part of a deal wrapped up on the Coast between Lippert and theatrical-vidpix indie producer William F. Broidy under which Broidy acquired the Lippert film properties and assigned Official as sales rep.
Deal gives Official a powerful feature package for the first time, and projects the vidfilm outfit into a new sphere, syndication-wise. Firm has been swinging toward syndication for the past year—in. the earlier years of its existence it relied heavily on network sales—and acquisition of the features rounds out its roster of properties to include features, musical shorts, cartoons and other shorts, and four half-hour series with a fifth coming up. [note: the story doesn’t list specific cartoon series].
February 5, 1954
Cartoon Prod'n Costs Up 165% Rentals 15% Laments Walter Lantz
The costs of turning out film cartoons are now at the saturation point, and with cartoonists asking pay hikes of from 56% to 94% in current negotiations for a new contract producers can't stand another salary boost, Walter Lantz, former prexy of the Cartoon Producers Guild, who heads his own company, claims.
During the past 10 years, Lantz asserts, rentals have gone up 15% while costs have risen approximately 165%. Exhibs claim they, too, have reached the saturation point in amount they can pay for cartoons. There being no way of getting extra coin for product, since exhibs won't raise their prices for animated product, and any increase necessarily would ave to be absorbed by the producer, according to Lantz, one of the veterans in his line.
Producer contends that cartoon producers 30 years ago received more for their product than they do today. He said that Bray, for whom he turned out the old "Colonel Heeza Liar" series, used to get $500 for first runs on Broadway, with films costing an average of $2,500. Today, a $85,000 cartoon can get only $75 to $100 for the same playdates, according to Lantz.
An average of four years is required to get back the negative cost of a cartoon, producer insists. He illustrated what the cartoon producer is up against in way of investment by stating that a producer, who turned out a program of 12 subjects annually at a cost of $85,000 apiece, must lay out $1,680,000 before he gets back the cost of the first cartoon made in the first year.
Additionally the Indie producer is saddled with a 5% interest on amount of his bank loan, and a 80% distribution fee.
To break even, Lantz says, he reissues six of his best oldies annually, all more than seven years old, against which there are no production charges. His license business, cartoon mags and cartoon strips, plus commercial cartoon work, keep him in operation.
February 9, 1954
METRO, WITH "INVITATION TO THE DANCE" in and out of production now for nearly two years, yesterday assigned every animator not immediately required for Tom and Jerry cartoons to work on the one-reel cartoon sequence for the feature musical. More than 45,000 drawings are being made for this third feature insert to be prepped for a Metro pic, other two having been made for "Anchors Aweigh" and "Dangerous When Wet."
February 15, 1954
Bob Clampett, Tashlin To Film 'Cecil' Feature
Bob Clampett, producer of tv's "Time for Beany," has set up a deal with Frank Tashlin to co-produce a feature-length theatrical color cartoon, "Cecil," based upon character of "The Seasick Sea Serpent" in "Beany" series.
Lionel Barrymore will be sought by duo to introduce and narrate film, which deals with a family of humans adopting the serpent. Clampett has written script and Tashlin will direct.
February 16, 1954
(1,000 feet or less)
"From A to Z-Z-Z-Z," Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. Edward Selzer, producer.
"Rugged Bear," Walt Disney Productions, RKO. Walt Disney producer.
"The Tell Tale Heart," United Productions of America, Columbia. Stephen Bosustow, producer.
"Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom," Walt Disney Productions, Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc. Walt Disney, producer.
February 17, 1954
Sign Dick Nelson For Voice of 'Beany'
Bob Clampett, producer of "Time for Beany," today inked Dick Nelson to a long term contract for a multi-voice assignment on "Beany" as well as "Thunderbolt the Wonder Colt."
Nelson formerly voiced "Woody Woodpecker" among other theatrical film cartoon characters.
Television Followup Comment
"Omnibus," video's top bid for the highbrow element, came up with a full menu for the intelligentsia on CBS-TV Sunday (14). The show consisted of some T. S. Eliot dramaturgy, classical Japanese ballet and a doleful one-acter by Budd Schulberg. The only concession to the mythical average dialer was a brief cartoon sequence about a whale which wanted to become a submarine with narration by Orson Bean. This bit turned out to be show's weakest spot.
February 19, 1954
UPA Re-Elects Officers, Plans Expansion In TV
All incumbent officers of United Productions of America were re-elected yesterday with Stephen Bosustow assuming prexy and board chairman posts for ninth term. Other officers include Robert Cannon, veepee; Charles Daggett, pub-ad veepee; T. Edward Rambleton, treasurer; Melvin Getzler, assistant treasurer; and M. Davis, secretary.
Board also declared the regular dividend on preferred stock and instituted plans for additional expansion in the tv and commercial film field, to augment firm's current cartoon program for Columbia release.
UPA, according to Bosustow, will immediately step up its eastern sales and production activities, and board elected Don McCormick as veepee of UPA-New York. He has been manager of firm's NY studio.
February 24, 1954
SHORTS, CARTOONS IN REISSUE PROTESTED
Exhib beefs are mounting relating to the continued reissuing of shorts and cartoons by almost every distrib. Noting that it's almost impossible to keep track of every two-reeler issued within the past five years, an Allied midwest unit notes that alert small-fry usually call the fact to the theatremen's attention.
Says Charlie Jones, of Allied of Iowa, Nebraska and Mid-Central: "It is getting to be more than I can take to have kids coming out about every two or three shows and reminding you with a slight reference that you're pulling something on them and that they've seen that old cartoon before."
Jones complains that exhibs are paying full price for the cartoons and "the distributor makes full price profit from something that has once been liquidated." He points out that a reissued feature is usually half-priced or less. So "why not shorts?" he asks.
March 1, 1954
Metro over weekend finished three Tom and Jerry cartoons in CinemaScope.
March 9, 1954
Warners Expanding Its Cartoon Studio Into Three Units
Warners cartoon studio, which resumed production the first of the year with two units, very likely will be expanded to three following arrival later this month of Norman Moray, Warners' shorts sales chief.
Moray is slated to huddle with Jack L. Warner and Edward Selzer, who heads the cartoon division, on the upcoming program, expected to require the addition of another unit to handle the full output.
March 12, 1954
Metro's publicity department, with a straight face, yesterday announced that Fred Quimby has set June 15 as finishing date for the cartoon sequence of "Invitation To the Dance." "This," the handout boasted, "is three weeks ahead of schedule."
The Gene Kelly starrer went into production on Aug. 19, 1952.
March 19, 1954
KNXT Buys Up 130 Old Two-Reelers
KNXT picked up another 180 comedy film shorts and cartoons from Unity for its afternoon program, "Space Funnies."
In the block are old Charlie Chase, Laurel & Hardy, “Tom and Jerry” [Van Beuren humans, not MGM cat and mouse] and Aesop Fables cartoons.
March 22, 1954
Jack Hellman’s column
CHAIN BREAKS . . . EVERY NETWORK IN THE LAND HAS made overtures to Walt Disney for a series of his cartoon characters from his projected Disneyland, a 55-acre playground which will be located in the direction of Anaheim. Site will be broken up into four amusement centers: adventure land, fantasy land, western land and futuristic land. The tv series would take the form of an omnibus, which Disney hopes to package with a network and/or sponsor. Programs would be remoted from Disneyland with all the cartoon characters and other flights of fantasy. Ifs still a year away, but sponsors have alerted their Hollywood agencies to keep close tab on every development.
March 24, 1954
TERRYTOON OK; 'UNSQUEEZED' IN C'SCOPE
New technique of drawing adopted by Paul Terry for his Terrytoon cartoons permits their showing via 20th-Fox's CinemaScope projection lens, even though the figures aren't being "squeezed" at the camera end.
After doing some testing, 20th, which releases the Terrytoons, has come to the conclusion that even some of the older subjects can be shown by CinemaScope houses on the wide screen since the distortion doesn't seem to matter in the Terry characters.
Availability of Terrytoons for CinemaScope widescreening somewhat relieves the very considerable bottleneck on prints of 'Scope shorts. "Jet Aircraft Carrier," the 'Scope short that was to have accompanied "Prince Valiant," 20th's Easter release, was dropped at the halfway mark when the cameraman was killed in a crash and the carrier put back into port.
Terry has been experimenting with a method of compensation in the drawing for the 'Scope lens for some time. The first subject he tried it out on was "Arctic Rivals." His shorts don't carry stereophonic sound. The projectionist uses the 2-D instead of the regular 'Scope aperture so that the stereo sound track is cut off. Pic is then masked in accordingly via the screen curtain.
TUSHINSKY SHOWS N.Y. SUPERSCOPE
The Superscope printing and projection process, developed by Joseph and Irving Tushinsky, and the subject of much trade speculation for some weeks, was given its eastern showing at the RKO 86th Street Theatre, N. Y., Monday (22). That it will have strong impact on the trade was immediately evidenced. [snip]
Hour-long demonstration on Monday had an audience of about 500 particularly impressed with the versatility of the variable prism operation and the screen images which looked like a reasonably good facsimile of CinemaScope.
Shown were scenes from Walt Disney's "Fantasia," Metro's "Knights of the Round Table" and a group of RKO pix which had been shot in conventional fashion and printed in the anamorphic system. Marring effect was via two thick shaded lines on the screen but technical observers said this was due to a flaw in the theatre screen itself. Also shown were some stock shots which came through with a certain amount of fuzziness.
Spectacular effect was achieved with "Fantasia," which had not gone through the anamorphic processing. Film simply was spread out to an area of about three to one. Dial control on the Tushinsky lens permits this but the print, of course, must conform to the aspect ratio.
Tushinsky admitted that this spreading, if done with a live-action pic, would distort the images but it can be done with cartoons. "Doing it with a Mickey Mouse short would make Mickey gain 20 pounds but Walt Disney is delighted with this new look," the inventor quipped.
March 26, 1954
Short Subjects (Cartoon)
"TOOT, WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM," Walt Disney Productions-Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc., Walt Disney.
March 29, 1954
DISNEY IN TV WEDDING WITH ABC
First major link in the marriage of pictures and television was forged over the weekend when Walt Disney became a producing partner of ABC in a long term deal involving "many millions" of dollars. Marking the most dramatic development in tv-cinema relations, it is also significant in that Disney becomes the first major producer to "go over" to television.
Details of the transaction are being closely guarded pending preparation of an official release by ABC In NY this week. It is known, however, that the contracts signed by Roy and Walt Disney and ABC toppers, believed headed by Robert E. Kintner, network prexy, who passed last week in Hollywood, carry for 10 years or more with an over-all financial consideration in eight figures.
Disney will start producing a series of five or six hour-long shows for tv in October to carry through next season. Important part of the deal is ABC’s partnership with Disney in the projected 55-acre Disneyland near Anaheim, where many of the vidfilms will be live and cartoon with what Disney calls "the new approach" to tv. Understood that the vast backlog of Disney pictures will first be made available to his new partner —ABC, that it is included in the partnership deal.
There is a strong possibility that the Disney-ABC alliance may acquire a third partner especially in the Disneyland phase of the operation. One of the country's largest food packagers is known to have made overtures for the exclusive output of Disney telefilms on a financial-participation basis. Negotiations are said to be in progress in NY with agency reps of the company, guessed to be General Mills, General Foods or Standard Brands. One of the principals in the negotiations is reported as saying, "The door has been left open to whoever wants to come in" (meaning the sponsor.)
In the trade it will be considered another major coup by Kintner, who is believed to have incepted and engineered all negotiations for the network. It was the skein's prexy who brought into ABC such blue chip advertisers as U.S. Steel, American Tobacco and a half dozen others through his personal solicitation and salesmanship. Kintner was accompanied here by top level financial execs of ABC and meetings were said to have been held at Beverly Hills Hotel, where phone operators had the same reply to all calls, "We have orders not to disturb."
Partnership with Disney is expected to make available to ABC studio and stage space for the network's telepix, now farmed out to rental plants. For the 1955-56 season it is reasoned that most of the Disney hour shows will be shot at Disneyland, which will have four different areas of playground and recreation centers for the tourist trade and as an admission-charge amusement park covering 55 acres. Replicas of all the Disney cartoon characters "in action" will be the main attraction.
Understood each of the Disney hour shows will carry a production cost of around $100,000.
March 30, 1954
Disney Confirms ABC Hookup; Not Affecting Theatrical Pix Prod'n
Walt Disney yesterday confirmed his affiliation with ABC in the production and distribution of television films, as exclusively reported yesterday by DAILY VARIETY. A Disney spokesman also added that the multi-million dollar network tle-up will not affect the Disney company's regular theatrical production of shorts and features.
Disney currently is producing the live-actioner, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and also has in work two cartoon features, "Lady and the Tramp" and "Sleeping Beauty." "Lady" Is slated for a spring, 1955, release, and "Beauty" early in 1956. All three are in CinemaScope.
April 7, 1954
Cinema-Vue Joins Transamerican On 3 Vidpix Skeins
Newly-formed Cinema-Vue vidpix distribution outfit, headed by former Tele-Pictures v.p. Joe Smith, is planning immediate production with Transamerican packaging outfit of two quarter-hour series and has picked up an option to handle sales of a third series, a half-hour group of fairy stories featuring the Salzburg Puppets.[snip]
Meanwhile, Cinema-Vue has picked up a Danish-made feature length cartoon based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, "Tinderbox," and already has set it in eight major markets, including N. Y., where it will air on WCBS-TV.
In New York City . . .
The Halee family keeps busy these days, Roy Halee scripting for tv while also doing the voice of Mighty Mouse for the Terry Toon cartoon strip; Mrs. Halee (Becky Cauble) doing tv stints (on Kraft) and commercials (Tide this week), and nine-year-old Alice acting one of the two children in the Metropolitan Opera production of "Norma" this season.
April 9, 1954
RKO To Distribute Disney Short In Canada
New York, April 8—Canadian distribution rights to "Toot, Whistle, Plunk And Boom" have been obtained by RKO, it was announced today by Charles Boasberg, general sales manager.
The Disney cartoon, first pen-and-inker in CinemaScope, was distributed in the States by Disney's own releasing company, Buena Vista. The short won an Academy Oscar.
April 21, 1954
'Animal Farm' Finished
Completed print of "Animal Farm," the full-length cartoon feature based on the late George Orwell's satire, will be delivered to the Louis de Rochemont Organization in about two weeks. The 75-minute film was made in England in a co-op deal between de Rochemont and Halas & Batchelor Cartoon Films, Ltd.
Release plans for the picture haven't been set as yet, but possibility exists that the de Rochemont outfit may handle it on its own. Company established a releasing and sales organization for "Martin Luther," the feature film it made for the Lutheran Church. The same setup can be employed for "Animal Farm," with National Screen Service handling the physical distribution as it is doing for "Luther."
The American Jewish Committee has come up with an unusual series of eight animated cartoons, currently getting a free ride on tv stations throughout the country, designed to foster tolerance and human rights. In an effective use of showmanship, the capsule presentations offered as station breaks and for integration into regularly sponsored shows do an enlightening job in an entertaining manner in carrying the torch for understanding and respect for the Bill of Rights.
There's a moppet cartoon; one themed to a circus; another to the UN, another to baseball, etc., most of them backgrounded by Tom Glaser's troubadoring. In the realm of combatting prejudice, the AJC has made tv an instrument for good.
Disney to 'Sneak' Theatre Product On New TV Series
Walt Disney will use his ABC-TV showcase to sneak preview 23 of his major theatrical productions over the next four years. Clips from his upcoming features through 1958 will be inserted in his hour-long network shows on an unscheduled basis either as part or the entirety of the particular show for that week.
That's only one phase of the format of the series of 26 a year that Disney will make for ABC. Other segments include "Fantasy Land," "Adventure Land," "Frontier Land" and "World of Tomorrow." These are the basic elements; whether they'll comprise separate shows by themselves is still to be decided.
While the actual working format hasn't been finalized, ABC prexy Bob Kintner is out pitching the show at agencies now, accompanied by eastern program chief Bob Lewine (who returned from the Coast after huddles with the Disney execs) and tv sales development director Don Durgin, who's prepared the presentation. Also completed are two exploitation reels, with clips from Disney's old product. On the Coast, the Disney lot has 20 scripts on the storyboards, with production to get under way on their completion.
"Fantasy Land" will reintroduce the old Disney cartoon characters (tracing the birth of Mickey Mouse, for example) and some of Disney's new ones, like Captain Nemo, The Lady & the Tramp and the General's Horse. "Frontier Land" will combine live action and animation to present the story of America's legendary heroes like Paul Bunyan and Davey Crockett. "Adventure Land" will utilize the Disney true-life adventure technique used in films like "The Living Desert" and "Bear Country." An integral part of this will be the demonstration of how the films were made (difficulties in photography, etc.). "World of Tomorrow" will take a cartoon family through history and into the future—a program in Rome, for example, and another on the moon.
Series starts in October, with ABC pitching for a Wednesday night exposure.
April 22, 1954
Add 'Hansel & Gretel', 'Babes In Toyland' To Walt Disney Schedule
Walt Disney has slated "Babes In Toyland" and "Hansel and Gretel" for upcoming production, both to be made as feature-length animated cartoons. Pix, however, will not be released until February, 1958, and February, 1959, respectively, due to the amount of work and time involved in such projects.
Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," first live-actioner in CinemaScope to be turned out by the producer, Is skedded for release this November. "Lady and the Tramp," Disney's first C'Scope full-length cartoon, will be released next February. "Sleeping Beauty," another C'Scope feature-length cartoon, goes out in February, 1957.
Disney, incidentally, is planning a reissue of "Bambi" in the summer of 1956; a reissue of "Cinderella" in February, 1958.
April 28, 1954
Sterling Claims Vidpic Pirating On 166 Cartoons
First known case of pirating of vidpix for "bootleg" sales to stations came into the open last week in a letter from Sterling Television to station operators warning them that other unnamed firms are attempting to sell a cartoon series exclusively distributed by Sterling.
Involved are some 166 cartoons owned by Bergen Film Labs, Bray Studios and Walker Stuart Productions and licensed to Sterling for tv distribution. Letter informed stations that distribution by any other firm is unauthorized and asked stations to notify Sterling of any offer of the films from other outfits.
Sterling officials said they are studying the legal aspects of the matter and refused to comment further. Pix involved include 44 "Aesop's Fables," 21 "Dinky Doodle" pix, 10 "Unnatural History" cartoons, 38 "Koko" shorts, 12 "Bobby Bumps," five "Out of the Inkwell" pix, 15 "Bergens" and 21 miscellaneous pictures.
METRO IS MAKING UP A special 150-ft trailer for Its cartoon program, believed to be the first time that a briefie ever was turned out to bally a studio's animated product.
Trailer, produced by Fred Quimby, will announce "MGM's Kartoon Karnival" to promote cartoon matinees, and will feature clips from subjects starring Tom and Jerry, Droopy, Barney Bear and Lucky Ducky.
May 4, 1954
Selzer Seeks Tie-Ups For WB Cartoonery
Edward Selzer, prexy of Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc., hopped to Gotham yesterday for confabs with various manufacturers' reps on licensing of use of cartoon characters, as well as to close number of merchandising tieups.
While in the east, he will also finalize deal with a recording firm to put voices of Bugs Bunny and other cartoon characters on wax. He returns in two weeks.
May 12, 1954
Credit War Babes For Big Return Of 'Pinocchio'
Underlining the growing importance of the moppet trade, RKO's current reissue of Walt Disney's "Pinocchio" is outgrossing the original issue and the first reissue.
In this new outing, "Pinoke" headed for domestic rentals of at least $2,000,000 and probably slightly more. This is based on numerous dates so far across the country. In its first time out, in the 1939-'40 season, the Disney entry drew $1,700,000. The first reissue was in 1945 and this brought $975,000.
Less money was spent for an ad-pub campaign at this time than in the course of the two previous distributions of the pic, adding to the startling b.o. performance.
Disney's cartoon product is timeless and invariably can be counted upon for some play in the re-run market every four or five years. But "Pinoke" in its third time around is regarded by distribution execs as particularly significant.
For it has brought into dramatic focus the existence of a new and expanding segment of the pic audience. This is the crop of children born in the immediate post World War II years who've now reached the theatre-going age.
Thus, the kid trade situation has been favorably reversed. Leonard Goldenson, president of United Paramount Theatres, recently noted that the low ebb in births during the war had the effect of cutting down on the number of potential pic customers immediately after the war. Now, the infants of that latter era are old enough to have spending money.
"Pinoke" in large measure has proved this point.
May 19, 1954
Smith to Guild As Sales Chief
Post of sales manager at Guild Films, vacant since Barney Goldman exited the firm a couple of months ago, has been filled by Joseph P. Smith, who's disbanding his Cinema-Vue Corp. to take the post. Smith is bringing in Cinema-Vue's sole vidpix property, the Danish-made cartoon feature, "Tinder Box," and may also turn over to Guild a couple of other properties for which he's been negotiating.
The Film Division of General Teleradio, in addition to its 30 features and "Greatest Drama," just made a deal with an undisclosed British firm for a 26-week package of half-hour animated cartoons. All of these products will be showcased at the meet and probably the former Phillips Lord properties as well. [Note: reference is to the National Assn. of Radio & Television Broadcasters convention in Chicago the following week. The British company was Primrose Productions].
May 26, 1954
The Roy Rogers' Exit Victor For Bell Deal; Shimkin Nabs 'Bunny'
Rogers cut his first sessions for the labels last week, but they'll be held off the market until September. He'll cut country and western as well as religioso sides for Bell and stick to the kidisk groove for Golden.
Shimkin, who returned to his New York office last week after a two-week stay on the Coast, also nabbed the wax rights to the Warner Bros, cartoons "Bugs Bunny." Only hitch here is that the soundtrack voice of "Bunny" is dubbed in by Mel Blanc, who's a Capitol Records' pactee. Shimkin, however, will hire another voice to portray "Bunny" on the shellac product.
Tinted Cartoons for Mex
Mexico City, May 18.
Production of tinted film cartoons has started in Mexico, with the making of three plus three others nearing completion by Richard Tompkins, ex-manager of the Churubusco pic studios here. The completed three were privately exhibited to Eduardo Garduno, chief of the pic trade's own bank. Tompkins hopes to distribute his pix in South America and Europe besides Mexico.
June 3, 1954
Metro is starting a new "Butch" cartoon series, starring pooch which appeared in this character in studio's "Droopy" series.
June 4, 1954
Disney's Half-Year Net Nearly Double
Walt Disney Productions earnings for the six months ended April 3, 1954, virtually doubled the net of the first half-year in 1953, jumping up to $283,662 as compared with $142,728 last year. Net equalled 43 cents a share on the 652,840 shares of common outstanding, while per-share earnings last year were 22 cents.
Film rentals on features and other pictures brought Disney an income of $8,218,523 during the six-month period, while income from publications, comics, licensing cartoon characters and music reached $1,118,804, for a total gross of $4,381,827. The first six months of last year the total income was $2,887,649, of which $1,695,740 came from film rentals.
In an interim letter to stockholders, Roy O. Disney, president of the corporation, reported that the company's current production program is the largest and most diversified in its history. Scheduled for completion by the end of 1964 are two live action features, one cartoon feature, one feature-length True Life Adventure, two pix in the People and Places series, and seven cartoon shorts. Investment in this production will ultimately reach about $8,750,000. All are in Technicolor. He pointed out that the current reissue of "Pinocchio" is doing excellent business, and the feature-length True Life Adventure, "The Living Desert," is producing sizable revenue and promises to earn a substantial profit. On the other hand, Disney reported two live-actioners, "The Sword and the Rose" and "Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue," are not up to expectations at the domestic boxofflce but are doing well in many foreign territories.
Report disclosed that, because of increased production activities, the company's bank borrowings were up to $5,308,706, as of April 8, 1954, compared with $8,119,967 at Oct. 8, 1953, and. for the same dates inventories had gone up to $12,531,019, compared with $10,400,450. Report also listed the 26 new one-hour filmed tv shows per year Disney has contracted to do for American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc., and the $150,000 investment it has made to date in the "Disneyland" project.
June 8, 1954
Army Archerd’s column
Gene Kelly isn't happy that "Invitation to the Dance" isn't going out until after "Brigadoon," but he won't be able to complete the cartoon sequences until August.
June 11, 1954
Quimby Celebrating 30th Year With Metro
Fred Quimby, head of the shorts department and producer of Metro cartoons, is latest member of the studio to join the "30 Year" club.
Quimby was signed to head the shorts department 30 years ago this month. Prior, he had been general manager for both Pathe and Associated Exhibitors.
June 16, 1954
With Col Cool On Coin For Cartoon Feature, UPA Overtures UA, UI
New York, June 15. — United Productions of America is again on the prowl for financing for a full-length cartoon feature, a project UPA long has eyed.
Cartoonery, which releases its two-reel animations through Columbia on a co-financing arrangement, has been unable to convince Col to undertake the full-length project. As a result, UPA prexy Stephen Bosustow has been here sounding out Warner Bros, 20th-Fox, United Artists and UI. Both UA and UI, it's reported, are lending a friendly ear.
If the coin can be lined up, UPA intends to start on a full-length animation of James Thurber's "Battle of the Sexes," on which it has had an option for some time.
June 22, 1954
Lantz Making His Cartoons Elastic To Fit All Screens
New method was worked out by William Garity, production manager for Lantz Studio, and Morrie Weiner, of UI, who worked with producer in preparation of tests.
Process is a combo of camera changes and what is described as a brand new technique of drawing by staff of artists which permits "elasticity" of the cartoon characters. Lantz makes first use of new technique on "Pig in a Pickle," now being dubbed.
June 23, 1954
Two all-purpose Terrytoon cartoons will be available to exhibs on a monthly basis starting this month. Short subjects will be adaptable for projection in CinemaScope proportions through anamorphic lenses, or in standard or widescreen proportions via regular 35m lenses.
A total of 14 cartoons will be released from now until the end of the year, with eight being available through September.
At the same time, Metro is also readying for general release a cartoon carnival, consisting of the company's various series of animations which can be used to package special kiddie shows. Metro is making available a special Technicolor trailer to plug the cartoon carnival.