Saturday, 9 July 2016
Cartoons of 1956, Part 2
Bugs became a TV star in 1956 when Warner Bros. sold the broadcast rights to his oldest cartoons to Associated Artists Productions, which proceeded to plant them on stations all over the continent. Stations couldn’t buy cartoons fast enough because sponsors couldn’t buy air-time for kids shows fast enough. As Variety revealed, one company wanted its spots on Bugs and AAP’s Popeye, no matter when they aired.
So it was that the story of theatrical animation in the latter part of 1956 is a story about television.
What did the movie studios think about syndicators making a killing off their old cartoons, cartoons they had decided were worthless in theatres? We can guess. Columbia proceeded to buy back the TV rights to its own shorts, though it was The Three Stooges and not the limp old Screen Gems cartoons that were the breadwinners. Walter Lantz was talking about TV in his annual moan to the press about how he wasn’t making enough money from theatre owners (though he and his wife hardly lived in poverty). And, a few years later, Warner Bros. put Bugs et al on TV, using whatever cartoons it hadn’t sold to AAP.
Time it is to peer again through Variety, this time for the second half of 1956. Perhaps the biggest animation news that didn’t involve television was MGM’s decision, amid corporate turmoil, to close its cartoon studio for two years. The decision came after an expansion just six months earlier. UPA continued to talk about features that never got made.
We’ve included two reviews of both The McBoing-Boing Show and Our Mr. Sun, the live action/animated special for Bell Telephone. One is from Daily Variety (Los Angeles), the other from Weekly Variety (New York). You can see how the company’s own critics had different opinions. And there’s another on CBS’s shows featuring Terrytoons. Modern apologists for the studio are still backlashing against Leonard Maltin’s chapter on it decades ago in Of Mice and Magic, but the fact is Terry’s product as a whole was a real step down (if not two or three) from Warners and MGM shorts in every imaginable way. Gene Deitch knew it and that’s why he started making changes when he took over the operation. You can read a Variety story from August 1956 separate from this post.
July 5, 1956
New puppet and cartoon department is being set up by Clampet-Toon Commercials, Inc., according to prexy Bob Clampett. Facilities also will be made available to theatrical film producers for screen title backgrounds.
July 11, 1956
Warners is moving into the tv commercial field and will make its studio facilities and cartoon division available to national advertisers. Department head and staff are being organised.
Film stars are flocking to disks these days, so Mister Magoo is gonna make the jump too. He'll be heard on "Mister Magoo in Hi-Fi," which RCA Victor album producer Dennis Farnon is prepping. Farnon, who has written the scores for about 10 of the Magoo cartoons, is brewing an original score for this one and is gearing it for an unusual sound with bassoons, flutes and sound effects playing a big part. Jim Backus, of course, will do Magoo for the special which will occupy one side of an LP. By George, that's a record.
With eight half-hour syndicated shows already fully sponsored and nine other half-hour telepic shows half-sponsored for the fall season, the sales picture at WPIX, N. Y., indie, looks bright.
In addition, the station's Madison Square Garden fail and winter sports program is already three-quarters sponsored, and its new "Popeye" cartoon series is sold out to participants three days weekly.
The "Popeye" series, a recently purchased package of 234 cartoons, was offered for sale only last week, and 14 of the 20 participations in the Monday-through-Friday shows were quickly sold.
The New York Daily News station plans to showcase its "Popeye" series in the same format as its "Clubhouse Gang Comedies" programmer, utilizing an emcee. The "Popeye" show will be telecast 6 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting Sept. 10; Saturdays, 5:30 to 6 p.m., starting Sept. 8; and Sundays 5 to 5:30 p.m., starting Sept. 9.
Philadelphia—Lou Kellman's "Li'l Davy and Dan'l Coon," first cartoon to be produced locally, booked into Stanley.
July 12, 1956
Metro cartoon department personnel will take their annual mass vacation starting Aug. 8, returning Aug. 20.
Policy has been in force for 15 years, with only a few technicians remaining to supervise improvements on facilities.
July 13, 1956
UPA Pictures will produce "Don Quixote" as a full-length animated feature for theatrical release, according to prexy Steve Bosustow yesterday, who added that film will be peopled by "typically-UPA" characters. Sidney Peterson, assigned as writer-director, will develop the initial treatment and storyboard during next two months.
Plans call for feature, first to be turned out by UPA, to be theatrically shown for two years. After this, it will be edited down to one-hour length as a television special, for national sponsorship or syndication. The Cervantes yam warn also announced some months ago by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as an indie, to be made under their own banner.
This makes the second full-length feature in works at UPA. Studio already has completed a polished script and storyboard on James Thurber’s "The White Deer," but this will be temporarily shelved until after completion of "Quixote," when it will go into production. UPA also is seeking a third theatrical cartoon feature, Bosustow reported.
Upcoming feature will be produced by UPA staffers at all three of company's studios, Burbank, NY and London. Peterson will function under Robert Cannon, veepee and supervising director of company.
July 18, 1956
Dennis Farnon inked to score another UPA cartoon, "Mister Magoo's Nephew" .
Though no sponsor or time slot are set yet, CBS-TV is going ahead with its "UPA Cartoon Theatre" for a late fall premiere. Series, which will have the United Productions of America Oscar-winning cartoon character, Gerald McBoing-Boing, as emcee of the all-animated show, will comprise three-minute and six-minute animated segments, with an occasional 10-minute "special."
Robert Cannon is producing for UPA. One possible time slot for the show is Saturdays at 7, as replacement for the current sustaining "Sports Mirror.' It would follow "Beat the Clock."
Warner Bros. is forming its own telecommercial operation, as part of the studio's tv division, using the full technical facilities of the Warners pix and cartoon studios. Walter Bien, formerly with U-I, has been inked to head the new teleblurb operation.
July 20, 1956
Fred Quimby, former producer of MGM cartoons and head of the MGM short subjects department, is in St. Vincent's Hospital for major surgery.
July 23, 1956
Walt Disney's tv output for ABC-TV next season—126 hours—is by far the biggest sked of any telefilm production outfit.
To tee up the new season Sept. 12, Disney will put on the cable 26 new hour-length "Disneyland" programs with "Antarctica—Past and Present." All-cartoon programs will include "Goofy's Cavalcade of Sports," "At Home With Donald Duck," "Pluto's Day" and "Your Host, Donald Duck." In the combined live and cartoon collection are "Tricks Of Our Trade," "Plausible Impossible," "Man In Flight," "Our Friend, the Atom" and "Man and Mars."
July 25, 1956
The lid is off the "Popeye" cartoons controlled by Associated Artists Pictures for television, with two national bankrollers ordering the pictures through the distrib in a minimum of 32 markets each. And it's no secret that at least three, perhaps four, other sponsors are seeking to buy the show for national spot placement.
In a joint deal with the national sales department of AAP, American Character Doll and Remco Electronic Toys have bought a 13-week sked beginning Sept. 15. Both pacts were inked by Webb Associates agency. The brace have additionally bought into the WPIX exposure of the 237 AAP cartoons, and other sponsors of the stanza on the N. Y. outlet are considering using "Popeye" for large regional or national buys. Bosco, Seven-Up, Junket Brands and Schwinn bikes are understood to have expressed their interest to AAP.
Character Doll-Remco signing is unique in tv cartoon sales, since the pactees have firmed the deal on the strength of the show itself, without first waiting for clearances on stations. Also, it may prove to be the largest national spot contract ever negotiated by a vidfilm distributor for cartoons. Tentative list includes every major tv market in the U. S. The two sponsors are buying half of the shows, evidently to alternate products within that half. The "Popeyes" will be placed as either 10-minute or 30-minute programs on the basis of the order, leaving stations or AAP to sell off the other half—most likely among those bankrollers who have already expressed interest.
In the months that "Popeye" group have been for tv sale, AAP has additionally sold them directly to 15 stations.
KTLA (TV), Paramount-owned indie, has purchased local exclusive rights to over 500 cartoons, according to station topper Klaus Landsberg. Buy is in two packages, one consisting of over 200 "Popeye" cartoons, all ever made; the other, approximately 300 Warner Bros, product, including a number of "Bugs Bunny" offerings.
July 26, 1956
Harman-Ising Enterprises, Inc., one of the original cartoon outfits in the film field, made its telefilm debut yesterday when it began shooting a pilot for the projected "Emmett Kelly Story," based on the career of the circus clown. Half-hour pilot will combine animation and live action. It is being shot in color, at a cost of around $49,500.
Moppet Terry Rangno is featured in the pilot with Kelly. Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising are partnered in the firm, launched years ago.
July 27, 1956
The pix sold, all produced prior to 1949, include over 750 features, and more than 1,500 shorts and cartoons.
Goldhar, speaking on his own later, stated that last March 1, "memorandum of sale" had been entered into between PRM and WB subject to condition that Warner Bros, obtain a favorable capital gains tax ruling from the Treasury Department with respect to the transaction, the examination of titles, etc. These conditions, of course, have been met.
Since the March 1 agreement, PRM has acquired control of Associated Artists Productions, vidpix distrib. Associated, headed by Elliot Hyman, has already sold a flock of stations the pix batch. PRM, meanwhile, also has acquired the old "Popeye" cartoons from Paramount and King Features Syndicate. These two film library deals made Associated the largest distributor of old pix to tv. Goldhar further stated that the financing for the Warner film buy was done by NY's Manufacturers Trust Co.
Throughout these transactions, PRM was represented by attorneys David Stillman, Sidney H. Levin and M. Mac Schwebel. Lloyd Frank was counsel for Warners, along with Robert Perkins, Harold Herkowitz, George Schiffer and Walter Kaufman. George Balamet and Robert McKean represented Manufacturers Trust.
August 6, 1956
Edinburgh, Aug. 5.—Three U.S. films so far have been entered in the International Film Festival which opens here Aug. 19. Pix are "The Brave One," "The King and I" and "On the Bowery." [snip]
As already known, "Invitation To the Dance," produced by Arthur Freed, has been chosen by Queen Elisabeth for screening when she visits the feat Aug. 20. Complementary subject to be shown at same screening will be "The Magic Lamp," Metro cartoon.
Walt Disney, over the weekend, revealed upcoming theatrical and telepix release slate, headed by the yet-to-be-produced "Old Yeller," filmization of Fred Gipson yarn to roll next year.
Theatrical releases will be topped by the Yule issuance of "Westward Ho the Wagons," CinemaScope tinter co-starring Fess Parker, Kathleen Crowley and Jeff York. "Samoa," a "Peoples and Places" short, goes out with "Wagons."
Fall releases lead off with Disney's latest True-Life Adventure feature, "Secrets of Life."
Next year, the fantasy "Cinderella," will be reissued. Featurettes on the 1956-57 slate include "Cow Dog," "Alaskan Sled Dog" and a 30-min. color documentary, "Japan."
Television slate embraces 26 hours for the weekly Disneyland offerings, including two-part show on Admiral Byrd Expedition to Antarctica, three science-factual segments, a four-part series featuring a new fictional hero, Johnny Tremain, and behind-the-scenes hour-long shows filmed in many parts of the world. There will also be several full-length cartoon entries featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto.
On the daily Mickey Mouse Club segments, Disney has lined up variety offerings totalling 100 hours.
The 1956-57 format for the daily four-parter will include three-times-weekly newsreel featuring moppets in far-off lands as well as at home; serials; song-and-dance segs featuring Jimmy Dodd and the Mouseketeers; and a varied serving of Disney cartoons.
Series include 20-part "The Hardy Boys" and 10-chapter "The Dairy Story."
Fall Disneyland series tees Sept. 12, Mickey Mouse Club Oct. 1.
August 7, 1956
Series, produced under supervision of UPA veepee Robert Cannon, will be distributed in UK by UPA's own English subsid, apart from cartoon org's present nonexclusive distrib deal with Columbia.
Columbia pact, formerly stipulating 10 "Mister Magoo" and eight special cartoons annually, has been switched to include "Magoos" only, the special now being distribbed by UPA itself.
August 8, 1956
Walter Lantz is expanding his cartoon production operations by adding a new painting and inking department. For past five years, producer has contracted this work outside.
New department goes into operation Aug. 17, and will include a staff of 12 painters and inkers. Donna Cooney has been appointed to supervise activities.
August 15, 1956
Paramount had an estimated consolidated net of $3,279,000, or $1.57 per share, for the second quarter of 1956, the profit including $1.12 per share realized through company's peddling of shorts and cartoons to television. Same period of 1955 brought a profit of $2,307,000, or $1.05 per share.
Consolidated net for first six months of current year amounted to an estimated $5,001,000, equal to $2.40 per share on 2,086,000 shares outstanding at June 30. This includes the equivalent of $1.28 per share from the tv sales.
Earnings for the first half of 1955 (Par operates on a calendar basis) were listed at $5,165,000, or $2.36 per share) on the 2,189,000 shares then outstanding. Over the past year the corporation bought in over 100,000 shares of its common issue on the open market.
Meanwhile, the Par board declared the regular 50c quarterly dividend, payable Sept. 14 to holders of record on Sept. 4.
August 16, 1956
Walt Disney has purchased film rights to several of the late L. Frank Baum's "Oz" books during the past several weeks, it was learned yesterday. Included in the group are "Dorothy And the Wizard of Oz," "The Emerald City" and "Glinda of Oz."
Producer plans filming series of animated cartoons and/ or features from contents of the novels, but whether they're headed first for tv or theatres has not yet been decided.
Metro, of course, filmed "The Wizard of 0z" in 1939, with Judy Garland starred.
August 21, 1956
NEW York, Aug. 20. — In line with the current film industry discussions regarding sales of new theatrical pix behind the Iron Curtain, Norman Katz, foreign sales manager of Associated Artists Productions, leaves tomorrow to try to sell old Warner theatrical features and cartoons to television stations in Russia and satellite countries.
August 22, 1956
About 50 ad agency execs attended a cocktail party yesterday (21) tendered by Associated Artists Productions at the Hotel Commodore in connection with AAP's cartoon presentation.
The short films will be offered as the complete program at the Plaza, N.Y., starting Aug. 28 and running for three weeks. On the program will be seven "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, two Robert Benchley shorts ("See Your Doctor" and "How to Sublet"), and two "Passing Parade ' subjects.
AAP's cartoon package has been sold to KREM, Sacramento [actually in Spokane, Wash.]; KPHO, Phoenix, and WTCN, Minneapolis.
August 22, 1956
In a forward step toward RKO's entry into active television film production, Fred Ahern, supervisor of television operations, yesterday reported that arrangements had been closed for Fred Niles Films, cartoon outfit, to move onto the RKO Pathe lot.
Niles unit, headed by Chris Peterson, swings over from General Service Studios, where it has been quartered. Deal, according to Ahern, serves the two-fold purpose of providing much needed room for expansion by Niles and making available to RKO-TV, on a priority basis, its facilities for commercial and industrial production.
Ray Thursby has been upped to studio production manager of UPA, Burbank, from his previous post of head of cost control. Rev Chaney, his assistant, moves up to assistant studio production manager.
Thursby started with UPA in 1948 as a camera operator. Chaney joined the cartoonery in 1949 as unit manager on industrial productions.
August 27, 1956
Julie Bennett to "voice" MGM cartoons for producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
August 29, 1956
WABD, N. Y., now firming up its fall programming schedule, has about 55% of its approaching programming sponsored, with the remainder of the time open for spot participations. [snip]
Station will utilize its large batch of cartoons, such as Looney Tunes, Little Lulu's and Bugs Bunny, for a series of children's shows, most of which will be stripped across the board either afternoon or early evening. Hosting one of the new kiddie shows will be Herb Sheldon, spotted for the "Speaking of Animals" Paramount shorts in a 15-minute strip program, beginning at 7:15 p.m.
Sheldon, who will continue his Saturday morning program on WRCA-TV, also is being considered by WABD for a daily women's show and host for another comedy cartoon show this fall, tentatively titled "Screen Souvenirs."
Venice, Aug. 28.
Yank "On the Bowery," directed by Lionel Rogosin, captured the grand prize of the documentary film fest here last week.
Two American cartoons—"The Naked Eye" and UPA's "Jay Walker"—came away with special mentions. Winner in the short film division was "Modesta," by Banj Dangler of Puerto Rico.
TV Cartoon Productions added Maurice Fagan, ex-Disney and ex-UPA, to staff.
August 30, 1956
THOSE EIGHT OPEN SEGMENTS ON "MICKEY Mouse Club" will be filling up now that Walt Disney has liberalized the use of his cartoon characters for client commercials. Committee has been set up to pass on all "reasonable" requests, a reversal of last season's policy. Current schedule calls for 126 hours of new programming every season, the equivalent of 80 theatrical features. Last season 24 ad agencies were involved in the sponsorship of Disney's tv output and to date, 15. [Jack Hellman column]
Irvin Spence, vet Metro cartoon animator, has resigned to join the staff of Animation, Inc.
September 4, 1956
Pat Matthews and Irene Wyman have joined the staff of Playhouse Pictures, tv animation studio. [Wyman was the head checker at MGM]
September 5, 1956
Series is being retitled "Heckle & Jeckle," after the magpie characters of the Terrytoons cartoon series and will also be televised in color, since the cartoons themselves were originally filmed in tint. Tootsie, incidentally, picked up half of "Tales of the Texas Rangers" last week, hence the alternate-week by on "Heckle," but CBS is reportedly close to another sponsorship deal on the show. Tootsie Roll is also using the Terrytoons facility in New Rochelle for its new animated commercials as well.
Film observers from many nations believe the Edinburgh Film Festival of 1957, already being planned, will be even bigger than the current fest. So many companies and distribs, both American and British as well as European, are throwing in their films and experience that the fest is in danger of becoming even greater than the overall junket of music, drama and ballet. [snip]
Among the shorter pix on tap has been a novel cartoon film "Calling All Salesmen," made by Pearl & Dean (Productions) Ltd. This advertises Life magazine, and is dedicated to the salesmen of America, who are shown throughout in animated form.
September 6, 1956
Theatrical Cartoon Biz In Peril, Says Lantz; Costs Up 225% In 15 Yrs., Rentals Only 15%
Only salvation, he added, is to make subjects at a price, between $28,000 and $30,000.
During the past 15 years, Lantz says, costs have risen approximately 225%, while rentals have increased only about 15%. Producer also cites tv's deep inroads. Further, commercial tv producers are offering premium salaries for top men, wooing animators, for instance, who are making around $200 a week with offers of from $300 to $400 weekly.
Lantz reporting he has been approached by ad agencies anent commercial cartoon production, is seriously thinking about such a move. As a means of meeting today's market, Lantz, who releases his product through UI, next year will turn out 13 new films and reissue nine subjects, up from six this year. Foreign business is pointing the way to new returns, he stated, accounting now for 27% of his gross and rising several points yearly through new markets abroad.
For a definite savings in overall operations, Lantz this week set up his own inking and painting department, previously farmed out under contract. When such contract costs rose 85% during the past year, Lantz abandoned the practice. He is further meeting the threat of valued key personnel leaving him by putting such creative talent under long-term contract.
September 7, 1956
London, Sept. 6.—Following its recent unspooling at the film fest in Edinburgh, where it was viewed by Queen Elizabeth, Metro's "Invitation to the Dance" has been split into two units for screening in British theatres.
Arthur Freed production directed by star Gene Kelly will go out under its original "Invitation" title consisting of the "Circus" and "Ring Around the Rosy" segments, both spotlighting Kelly and Igor Youskevitch, with former co-starring Claire Sombert and latter Tamara Toumanova.
Remaining segment of dialog-less pic, "Sinbad the Sailor," goes out under tag, "The Magic Lamp." Episode combines live action featuring Kelly, David Kasday and Carol Haney, with cartoon effects created by Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbara.
September 15, 1956
With Ray Heatherton (weekend), Allen Swift (weekday), hosts
Director: Mike Meltzer
30 Mins.; Sat., Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Mon.-thru-Fri., 6 p.m.
WPIX, New York
As to the cartoons themselves, they are relatively out of the top drawer insofar as quality and content—relative to what's on the air now. And about half are in color, which without chasing rainbows, means that when and if color makes any sense, WPIX has an added edge with them. In their current early-eve slotting, they should do quite a rating job.
As for the live format surrounding the cartoons, the weekend setup is that of a boat deck, Ray Heatherton wearing a captain's outfit and spouting nautical terms. In keeping with the theme, perhaps, but a trifle tiresome after a while. And Heatherton, who's usually glib, was stumbling on his words the first time out. One other flaw, a minor one to be sure but nonetheless an irritant, is the constant repetition of titles and credits, including the use of the AAP logo and the staff credits on every cartoon. With three per show, it can get tiring. Chan.
Westinghouse Broadcasting Co., which provided a major impetus to the trend toward station purchases of entire film libraries with its three-station pickup of the RKO backlog last April, has extended its feature film yen with another $1,000,000 deal with Associated Artists Productions for the Warner Bros, backlog and cartoons.
Under the new purchase, WBC has bought the entire WB backlog of 754 features for WBZ-TV in Boston, along with 240 "Popeye cartoons and the latter-day WB cartoon library... For KPIX, San Francisco, WBC purchased 58 WB features.... For Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV, it bought the "Looney Tunes" shorts out of AAP. [snip] WBZ-TV will use the features cartoons, shorts and newsreel in a cross-the-board "Boston Movietime" show running at 4:45-6:30 p.m.
New York, Sept. 11.—On the basis of the results obtained at the first "Tom and Jerry Festival," complete program of two-reelers and cartoons, at the Plaza Theatre here, Metro is setting up test engagements in each sales division.
According to a survey made by Metro during the first week of the Plaza run, 73% of all admissions were adults. The program will run for three weeks at the house.
Plaza (Brecher) (556; $1.50- $1.80)—"Tom and Jerry Film Festival" (M-G) (3d wk). First holdover round was nice $6,000 for program of cartoon and shorts. Opener tallied solid $8,700. Continues to Sept. 16 when "Lust for Life" (M-G) opens with special premiere.
Allen Swift doing the voices on tv spots for Canada Dry being filmed for J. M. Mathes agency by Terrytoons.
September 17, 1956
Stephen Bosustow, UPA Pictures prexy, and exec veepee-treasurer Ernest Scanlon hopped to NY yesterday for confabs with James Thurber on letter's story, "The White Deer."
Thurber will write final script on property, which will be made into a feature-length cartoon by UPA, starting around Jan. 1.
September 18, 1956
New York, Sept. 17. — Guild Films has acquired a block of 179 Walter Lantz cartoons for tv distribution. Cartoons will be offered to stations as an unlimited-run library.
September 19, 1956
One of the largest cartoon purchases on record was made last week by the Triangle stations. Its five tv outlets paid $1,000,000 for "Popeye" and the entire selection of Warner Bros. animations. Most of the cartoons in both package are in color.
Negotiations were made with Associated Artists Productions. Triangle stations involved were WFIL Philadelphia; WNHC, New Haven; WNBF, Binghamton, N. Y.; WFBG, Altoona, Pa., and WHGB, Harrisburg, Pa. Additional sales of the two cartoon groups were made to KFSD, San Diego, and KOAT, Alburquerque.
Color programming gets terrific impetus as WRCV-TV launches its conversion to tints with 20 hours of color during the six-day period from Sept. 24 to 29. Debut is tied with NARTB "National Television Week." [snip]
For use on its small-fry weekday shows, station has purchased 135 Paramount color cartoons, and an initial group of 12 color feature films.
September 21, 1956
CECIL H. SURRY
Services for Cecil H. Surry, 49, animation supervisor on UPA Pictures' "Mr. Magoo" cartoons, will be held at Costello Mortuary, Reseda, tomorrow at 1 p.m. Surry, with UPA for past 6 ½ years, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He started in cartooning field with Walt Disney Studios in the '30's, and also worked in cartoon departments of Harmonising, Walter Lantz, Warners and MGM Studios.
Surviving are his widow, three daughters, one son, his father and brother.
September 24, 1956
Among immediate plans for KTLA, Paramount-owned tv station, is an expansion of broadcast schedule on both ends, with the station going on the air earlier and staying on later, according to Lew Arnold, exec assistant to DuMont veepee Bemie Goodman and station's interim manager. [snip]
In color, KTLA, which dropped tintcasts of its live "Western Varieties" during the summer months, will start Sunday afternoon color transmission of "Looney Tune" cartoons. Station has been chrome-casting "Long John Silver" film series in enlnr throughout summer.
September 28, 1956
October 2, 1956
With nominations in for next year's officers, opposition to incumbent Don Hillary as biz agent of Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, IATSE, has developed. Bill Schipek, MGM cartoon employe, has filed for the job.
Also nominated were Volus Jones of Disney studios, for prexy; Jack Parr, Disney, for v.p.; and Bob Carlson, Disney, and Regina Kelliga, Warners, for financial secretary.
Mail voting is slated to be finished by Oct. 15.
October 10, 1956
Dennis Farnon's "Magoo In Hi Fi" album is paving the way for a new UPA cartoon character. As a result of the Farnon package, which he composed and conducted for RCA Victor and completed last week, there'll shortly be a new member of the family — "Mother Magoo." A soprano Jim Backus?
To hypo its kid outlook, WABC-TV, N.Y., bought the 179 Walter Lantz cartoons from Guild Films. Station will begin using the new material after the first of the year. Day and time are to be chosen later on.
National Telefilm Associates has reportedly purchased negative rights to four Leo McCarey feature films and partial rights to two other of McCarey's top Paramount releases, all of which will serve to launch television's first "film network" on Monday (15).
NTA Film Network Inc., a wholly owned NTA subsidiary, launches operations next week on 102 stations covering. 82% of U. S. tv homes with a feature showing of McCarey's "Good Sam," the Gary Cooper starrer which is one of the four outright negative purchases. Other three are said to be "Bells of St. Mary," "Gulliver's Travels" and "Mr. Bugs Goes to Town," the Max Fleischer feature cartoon.
October 16, 1956
The current IATSE campaign to drive competing unions from the film studio field broke out in another quarter yesterday, when an IA exec declared that the drive will "eventually" extend to the indie Screen Cartoonists Guild.
Doyle Nave, assistant to Herb Aller, biz agent of IA Cameramen's Local 659, commented, "Where we have basic IA agreements with employers and studios, where they agree to employ IA people, we will insist that they live up to these agreements." Most SCO signatories, mainly in the teleblurb field, use IA personnel in all but cartooning phases. SCG, formerly IA Local 852 before secession some years back, has some 250 members.
However, Nave pointed out that the drive will be conducted by the IA International office here, headed by George Flaherty, and not by the cameramen solely.
October 17, 1956
HECKLE AND JECKLE CARTOON SHOW
Producer: Michel Grilikhes
30 Mins., Sun., 1 p.m.
SWEETS CORP. OF AMERICA
Program qualitatively seems to be a continuation of the sustaining "CBS Cartoon Theatre" the network tried out this summer on Wednesday nights. Only then the material was barely of a nature to compete with the rating giant, "Disneyland," on ABC-TV. On Sunday afternoons, the competing webs don't have another "Disneyland" to offer for the favor of juves. As a matter of fact, neither ABC nor CBS program at 1 p.m., so the new show can't do too badly—unless local stations program "Popeye" or some such directly opposite "Heckle and Jeckle."
On first show, Gandy Goose—a real uninspired character—lead off in a badly edited piece of film. Goonishness has its place among kids, but the continuity was so badly mangled it was hard to follow. Dinky Duck, being a mere duckling, looked helpless whereas Gandy Goose did not. But that didn't help a dull plagiarization of "The Ugly Duckling." Best of the four was Little Roquefort, the mouse, in a Tom & Jerry type takeoff, simply because the cat-mouse game was the best natural material Terrytoons got hold of on the initialer. Other was typical "Heckle-Jeckle" roughhouse, with a giant French Canadian woodsman getting the short end in the battle of wits against the birds. Art.
Tentative deal for the sale of 11 features to the Soviets, made last week in Moscow by Bernard Kreisler, is seen in New York as substantially weakening the American industry position vis-a-vis Russian reciprocity demands.
In return for agreeing to o.o. 11 pix and to enter into negotiations' for them, the Russians got Kreisler to purchase two Soviet tint pix plus a number of cartoons, the latter for showing on U. S. television. [snip]
The two Soviet pix Kreisler agreed to take for the U.S. are "Bag of Gold," a cartoon feature, and “Othello.”
October 24, 1956
With the Wander Co. for Ovaltine placing an order for half-sponsorship of the Saturday "Popeye, the Sailor" show, WPIX, N. Y., has hoisted the SRO sign on its "Popeye" show Mondays through Saturdays. The only remaining open spots on the fast-selling cartoon series are on Sundays.
Wander's sponsorship begins Nov. 3.
WGN-TV has all but cornered the Windy City vidpix rerun market with a flurry of buying that has added 16 new series to the station's stockpile, totaling 960 half hours of programming.[snip]
Also bought was the Paramount cartoon and shorts library from National Telefilm Associates, totalling 467 comedies.
New York, Oct. 23.—There are 5,885 old theatrical feature films now available to tv, according to the just-released TV Film Program Directory issued by the Broadcast Information Bureau. These include 725 Metro features, 754 from Warners, 742 from RKO, 52 from 20th-Fox, 39 from UA and 104 from Columbia.
Other theatrical product available to video includes 108 serials and 6,172 short subjects, the latter including 1,000 shorts from RKO, 1,400 from Warners and 1,500 from Paramount. Besides these, there are presently 2,787 cartoons which can be telecast.
Mike Todd's multi–faceted "Around the World in 80 Days" shapes as one of the most potent word-of-mouth films in many years. Double-preemed last week at the Rivoli Theatre, N. Y., the filmization of the Jules Verne classic also was the talk of the trade. [snip]
Many of those who've seen "80 Days" comment on its unusual credits, which run at the end. Audiences so far have remained in their seats to enjoy the cartoon credits, designed by Saul Bass. However, some feel the unique drawings bear a-rather striking resemblance to the work being done with United Productions of America ("Gerald McBoing Boing," etc.).
October 29, 1956
Exhibs' Rental Stand May Shift Cartoonery Emphasis to TV—Lantz
Lantz, indie who has released his animated pix through UI for 27 years, notes that although cartoons get better playing time than shorts, theatremen have resisted all efforts to hike rental prices even by as little as 25 to 50 cents per booking. Small boost, according to Lantz, would make an important difference in the economic status of cartoon firms.
In an effort to control costs, Lantz reports, most cartooneries have reduced the running time of animated films to six minutes. They used to run seven or eight. Lantz's investment in each cartoon is approximately $35,000. He turns out 13 shorts annually as compared to his program of 26 during the lush period of 1946-47.
At present, he noted, cartoons play between 12,000 and 13,000 dates, compared with 15,000 to 16,000 in the past. Increase in number of long-running pictures has also affected the cartoon biz, Lantz noted.
"The heyday of the cartoon producer is over," Lantz said. "It is impossible for the independent to get started in the theatrical business at this time." Salaries of animators, story board specialists and musicians have increased far out of proportion to the rentals cartoon producers receive.
Lantz revealed that the average rental per booking is $3.47, with some theatres paying as little as $1 per cartoon. At that rate it takes him three to four years to recoup his investment on each entry. He said repeat bookings UI has been able to obtain "is the only thing that keeps me going." But, Lantz complains, situation has become so acute that cartoon firms can't afford to experiment on new ideas or develop new talent. He said he is "happy" he did not shift to CinemaScope since theatres refuse to pay higher rentals for C'Scope cartoons, which are costlier to produce.
October 30, 1956
The indie Screen Cartoonists Guild, a target in the current IATSE drive to force other unions out of the filming field, issued a hot statement yesterday, charging that the IA has been intimidating producers and employes in the cartooning field.
Statement came from William Littlejohn, former SCG biz agent and currently a trustee. Going back to the history of the Guild's split from the AFL Painter's International in 1952, the Littlejohn statement charges, "Ever since 1952, the IA has been trying to beat the Guild out of the tv field . . . (their) technique was a primitive attempt to scare the producers and employes into going IA, or else . . ."
October 31, 1956
CBS-TV has flashed the green light to its Terrytoons subsidiary to go ahead on full-scale production of "Tom Terrific," the new five-a-week cartoon series to be used on the web's "Captain Kangaroo" series.
Pilot spread of "Terrific" is already finished, and the network ordered 13 weekly units of the series on the basis of the pilot. Each weekly series would consist of five three-and-a-half-minute episodes, to be run daily on "Kangaroo." Later, they would be combined into 15-minute shows for rerun on the web and subsequent syndication through CBS Television Film Sales. Series will make its debut on April 1 of next year and would run through July of 1958.
London, Oct. 30.
Last night's (Mon.) Royal Command, film gala at the Empire, Leicester Square, added around $84,000 to the $700,000 which has been netted since the first Royal gala in 1946. The proceeds go to the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund, the motion picture industry's principal charity.[snip]
The program also included a 10-minute Halas & Batchelor cartoon, "The History of the Cinema."
November 1, 1956
Producer Pete Burness has been upped from director to producer of UPA Pictures' "Mister Magoo" theatri cal cartoon series, prexy Stephen Bosustow disclosed yesterday. Program for Columbia release will be increased next season to 12 subjects annually, from the present eight-film slate.
Rudy Larriva has been upped to a director, following two years as supervising animator of "Magoo" unit. Burness and Larriva each will direct six "Magoo" cartoons in new program.
November 7, 1956
In July, the trade was apprised of a rarity in film purchasing. Remco and American Character Doll, two sponsors doing a lot of juve program buying lately, committed themselves to two cartoon shows on the strength of their potential alone. They were willing to accept virtually any time on any station that distributor Associated Artists Productions could find for 'Popeye" and "Looney Tunes."
Tactic was a far cry from the cautious analysis of leadin and leadout ratings of bordering tv programs and the ratings of competing stanzas.
A festival of cartoons produced in the east for tv, the screen, and industrial and commercial purposes will be offered at the Hotel Pierre, N.Y., on Nov. 26. Festival, dubbed "Animation One," is being jointly sponsored by the N.Y. Screen Cartoonists Guild and the leading eastern animated film producers.
Studios participating include UPA Pictures, Transfilm, Terrytoons-CBS, Storyboard, Shamus Culhane Productions, Preston Blair Productions, Pelican Film, Paramount, NBC, Lars Calonious, Frances Lee, Film Graphics, David Piel, Cineffects, Bill Sturm, Animotion, Film Creations, Film Art, Elektra, Animated, Anderson Craig, ABC, and Academy.
November 20, 1956
OUR MR. SUN
Cast: Eddie Albert, Dr. Frank Baxter, the voices of Marvin Miller, Lionel Barrymore, Sterling Holloway, KNXT-CBS, Mon., 7 p.m. Running time: 60 mins.
The drama and excitement of science is promised in this series by Frank Capra for Bell Telephone. But although "Our Mr. Sun" burst on the home screens in color, animated by cartoons and narrated by Dr. Frank Baxter and Eddie Albert, it is doubtful this "Sun" carried enough mass appeal to sustain interest at the sets. It was far too scientific for the average mind.
Scholarly in conception and exhaustive as a project of research into the uses of solar power, its main lack was the absence of entertainment.
Such high sounding words as "thermonuclear" and "photosynthesis" must have caused a general exodus from the home receivers or a fast switch to another channel. It was predicted by the savants that one day there would be a sun age, with cities powered via sunlight. Capra used a unique device to tell the story of the sun, with Dr. Baxter and Albert carrying on a running conversation with a line drawing of the sun with the changing facial emotions and the voice of Marvin Miller. The late Lionel Barrymore voiced Father Time and Sterling Holloway vocalized for Chlorophyll.
Capra put in nearly four years on "Mr. Sun" and his real reward will come in its showing in schools. It was a masterful job as were the camera work of Harold Wellman and editing of Frank Keller. Baxter and Albert provided light moments in their occasional humorous exchanges with the sun to supplement the antics of the cartooned characters. Used equally well were animation, studio shots, stock and location footage. Bell Telephone rang in not one commercial, unusual in itself. Helm.
November 21, 1956
OUR MR. SUN
With Eddie Albert, Dr. Frank Baxter, Marvin Miller, Lionel Barrymore; UPA animation
Producer - Director - Writer: Frank Capra
60 Mins., Mon. (19), 10 p.m.
BELL TELEPHONE SYSTEM
CBS-TV (color film)
(N. W. Ayer)
Capra succeeded in extracting maximum entertainment values through his ingenious integration of animation, cartoonery and "human" continuity. The pleasures were doubly enhanced in its prismatic version and in the adroit utilization of Eddie Albert (as "Mr. Fiction") and Dr. Frank Baxter (as "Dr. Research"), both of whom, incidentally, were excellent, and in Capra's always revealing yet bright and humor-tinged dialog. It would be a giant step forward for education in general if Capra, CBS and UPA could always be around and give it this kind of sugarcoating.
Facts were piled upon facts and clarified by cartoons and animated charts of delightful character as to the size, whereabouts and composition of the sun (herein portrayed with a bright impishness and "voiced" by Marvin Miller and whose byplay with Father Time, "voiced" by the late Lionel Barrymore, was strictly in the "documentaries-can-be-fun" groove). Special film's showed the sun and its corona, supplemented by the story of sun spots and amazing news culled from leading observatories.
There was a very exciting and simplified explanation of energy, thermo-nuclear reaction and the manufacture of a solar battery. Photo-synthesis, the process of plant growth, was vividlv delineated by cartoon. Staggering figures as to the rapidly increasing earth's population, shown against the diminishing natural supply of fuel, knowingly advanced the need of scientific research in harnessing the sun's energy.
With the possible exception of a slow start it moved fast, was never belabored and was vibrant throughout. It was Capra's bow to video and for all the lofty scientificating, it had a gem-like spoof quality—Capra's tv approximation of the Mike Todd-Jules Verne collaboration in this "Around The Sun In Sixty Minutes." Rose.
December 4, 1956
UPA's animated color cartoon series for CBB-TV gets an airing on the net starting Dec. 16, shirt-tailed to the revived "Mama" series.
The UPA series, made for the net last summer and unaired hitherto because of a time slot lack, will run 26 weeks. No sponsor yet is set. Bill Goodwin is the off-camera narrator of UPA series.
December 5, 1956
A television exec visting Berlin recently was astonished at seeing some old Terrytoon cartoons on East Berlin's Commie-run television station. He did some investigating and found that the cartoons were made about 22 years ago and transferred to the Castle Films home-movies outfit. Presumably, they were in East Berlin when the Russians took over and were dug up for tv use.
What made the situation something of a coincidence and accounted for the tv exec's interest in the cartoons is the fact that he is Leslie T. Harris, v.p. and general manager of CBS Television Film Sales. CBS Inc. bought out Terrytoons from Paul Terry a year ago and set up a Terrytoons division for which CBS,Television Film Sales handles sales.
December 7, 1956
UI yesterday exercised its option with Walter Lantz, marking 29th year he has been making animated cartoons for studio.
Pact calls for Lantz to deliver his usual quota of 13 Woody Woodpecker and Walter Lantz special cartoons, all in Technicolor, during year, beginning next Dec. 1.
New York, Dec. 6.—Screen Gems has concluded purchase of Hygo Television Films and its subsid, Unity TV, thus assuming 450 old pix, 180 westerns, 156 cartoons and 406 serial episodes.
Deal marks re-acquisition of some 20 Columbia features and 156 Columbia cartoons by the Col vid-subsid from Hygo-Unity, which had leased them. In addition, SG plans to draw on a backlog of over 1,250 Col features not yet made available to tv.
Stipulated in the integration agreement will be transfer to SG of all Hygo and Unity personnel, including Jerome Hyams, prexy, and Robert Seidelman, second in command. SG sales v.p. John H. Mitchell and Hyams, who will function as director of syndicated sales in the new setup, are coordinating the integration. Robert H. Salk recently shifted from head of syndicated sales to direct the Screen Gems newly-created station operations department, formed with SG intent to acquire station ownership.
With integration, SG will have a 48-man sales force. The Col subsid recently floated a $5,000,000 loan from First National Bank of Boston to finance the expansion program.
December 12, 1956
Flav-R-Straws bought the entire nine-hour one-shot cartoon stanza Xmas Day over WABD, N. Y. Lee Wagner, exec veep of the manufacturing concern, placed a direct $21,000 order for the show, which will be limited to a "soft sell."
The Tuesday telecast will unveil the George Pal "Puppetoons," which were produced theatrically for Paramount. The Warners "Bugs Bunny" and "Looney Tunes" will also be shown. From other series currently on the air for WABD, there will be some "Little Lulus," "Superman" pix, and "Betty Boops." Station intends playing segs from its entire stockpile. Regular WABD kidtooners, Sandy Becker, Herb Sheldon and Al Hodge (Capt. Video) will split hosting.
December 13, 1956
MGM Cartoonery Prod'n Hiatus; 2-Year Backlog
Contracts of MGM's two cartoon producers, Joseph Barbera are William Hanna, are up in the spring. Pair, however, have not been notified of any terminations of their services.
December 17, 1956
THE BOING-BOING SHOW
Filmed by UPA Pictures, Inc. Executive producer, Stephen Bosustow; producer, Robert Cannon; directors, various; color, Jules Engel; music director, Lyn Murray.
Cast: Bill Goodwin, narrator, "Gerald McBoing-Boing." KNXT-CBS, Sun., 2:30 p.m. Running time: 30 mins.
A new television cult undoubtedly will spring up as a result of the arrival of Gerald McBoing-Boing on the videoscene. And, as is the case with all cults, the vociferous supporters will meet with equally vociferous opposition. In the long run, however, "The Boing Boing Show" should settle down to enough of a following to more than justify its place on the television screens; it's a light-hearted, humorous and frequently charming entry.
Initialler sets forth a format encompassing animated cartoon treatment of a pair of noveltunes, "A Horse of Course" and "Miserable Pack of Wolves," plus a pair of cartoon shorts. For the opener, one is the classic fable of the origination of Gerald and the other is fable based on the life of the French painter, Raoul Dufy. Latter packs some interesting art world information into its colourful and whimsical footage to provide an intriguing segment. The "McBoing-Boing" original, of course, still stands as solid fare.
Animation hews to the high UPA quality throughout, but there appeared to be some difficulty with the color on the original and some segments showed to better advantage on black-and-white screens. Show features an excellent original musical theme by Chico Hamilton. Bill Goodwin does an easy job as narrator. It is, for the time being, a CBS house show. Kap.
December 18, 1956
The favorites held to their previous level in the weekend Trendex. Perry Como took the measure of Jackie Gleason, 28.7 to 21.9... CBS' "Boing-Boing" cartoon series took 11.7 on its getaway Sunday, considered a strong opener in the early evening.
December 19, 1956
THE BOING-BOING SHOW
With Bill Goodwin, narrator
Exec. Producer: Stephen Bosustow
Producer: Robert Canno [sic]
30 Mins., Sun.; 5:30 p.m.
CBS-TV, from New York (color) Gerald McBoing-Boing, a delightful cartoon character who has an Academy Award to his credit, made his tv debut Sunday (16) in a half-hour color film series via CBS-TV. Gerald, an imaginary moppet who can't talk except to croak "boing-boing," perhaps is as familiar to film theatre patrons as "Popeye" or "Mickey Mouse." But whereas most cartoon characters have an appeal limited to juvenile audiences, Gerald not only can count on the youngsters as his fans but adults as well.
For Gerald, who was created by United Productions of America, is a boy physically—yet mentally he can be frightfully adult. In this new series, produced by UPA Pictures in association with CBS Television, he's the emcee of several shorts and also stars in one film on his own. Of course, since our boy speaks only in sound effects, Bill Goodwin helps out as narrator.
Unreeled for the initialer were a quartet of whimsical clips well worth any viewer's time. These included "A Horse of Course," "The Invisible Mustache of Raoul Dufy," "Miserable Pack of Wolves" and "Gerald McBoing-Boing." Regrettably the series has no sponsor.
Hence, the net tossed in a half-dozen-odd spot announcements plugging every CBS-TV show from Jack Benny to Captain Kangaroo.
Withal, the cartoons were first-rate in black-and-white. In color they must have been fabulous. Goodwin's narration admirably followed the films' light vein and the musical score also gave the clips a lift. Gilb.
Biggest chunk of the sales gross comes from the 40-market buy of "Captain Grief" by D-X Sunray Oil. [snip]
The $1,138,000 includes sales of Guild cartoon and rerun feature film product. All told, sales were completed that month in over 100 markets.
Allen Swift, who does most of the voices in the Terrytoons cartoons, also writing several scripts for the new Terrytoon cartoon series, "Tom Terrific," to be featured on "Captain Kangaroo" series next year.
December 26, 1956
Screen Gems will handle all merchandising of the name and likeness of "Gerald McBoing-Boing" and "Mr. Magoo" under terms of an exclusive pact with UPA, creators and producers of the animated cartoon characters.
The Columbia Pictures subsid will solely license "McBoing-Boing" merchandise and will jointly control merchandising on the "Magoo" properties with UPA. Additionally, Screen Gems and UPA will merchandise the various characters seen during the past years in films released by UPA for theatres, films which had been distributed by Columbia.
CBS-TV, which premiered the "McBoing-Boing" teleseries on Dec. 16, has exclusive merchandising rights to only new characters introduced in the animated series, but not the central figure, Gerald McBoing-Boing.
Nine percent business increase on its theatrical shorts in the U. S. and Canada is reported by Terrytoons, now a division of CBS Television Film Sales. According to v.p. and general manager William M. Weiss, theatrical production at the, company's New Rochelle studios is running full blast, with 13 CinemaScope cartoons in work for 20th-Fox release. Several new cartoon characters will be introed on the 1957 Terrytoon sked.