Saturday, 13 August 2016
Cartoons of 1957, Part 1
No, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were still at MGM—but not for long. The studio, in the middle of management changes and cutbacks, had announced in December 1956 it was closing its cartoon division but, at the same time, advertising its services to make animated commercials. Meanwhile, their former boss, Fred Quimby, announced he wanted to get into the TV cartoon business. So did Al Capp. It appears neither did. MGM was also in the midst of joining Warners, Paramount and other studios in selling their backlog of cartoons (mainly Barney Bear and the Tex Avery shorts) to television.
One other TV development saw Walter Lantz imitate Walt Disney by hosting (or, rather, co-hosting with Woody Woodpecker) a half-hour show featuring his studio’s cartoons, in addition to short filmed bits between them, including a comedy newsreel made up of old stock footage and a look at how cartoons were made. The series was picked up for sponsorship by Kellogg’s which bought a half hour of weekday airtime on ABC to run it and some live-action reruns. A year later, Kellogg’s would dump ABC and some of the rerun series, moving its five-a-week strip into syndication, and adding a series that proved made-for-TV cartoons could be hugely profitable and a ratings winner—The Huckleberry Hound Show.
Let’s peer through the pages of Variety and see what happened in animation in the first half of 1957. We’ve added a few stories from Motion Picture Daily. There were plenty of stories about stations grabbing the AAP packages of Bugs Bunny and Popeye cartoons but only a select few have been posted.
January 2, 1957
A new "Crusader Rabbit" series, done by the same producers who lensed the old four-minute cartoon episodes five years ago, has been put on the market and in a period of about four months has racked up nearly $1,000,000 in sales in 53 markets.
Handling the sales effort has been Leonard Key, a combination legit producer and sales promotion exec. He says he and the producers, Alex Anderson and Jay Ward, decided on a "do-it-yourself" program, after being given the cool reception by regular distributors.
When approached for financing, distributors pointed to the deluge of old motion picture cartoons hitting the market, Key says, forcing him and the producers to turn to other avenues of financing to get into production. The current financing of the series of 260 episodes, in the same four-minute cliff-hanging cartoon format as the old ones, is expensive, and for that reason Key and the producers are negotiating for a regular distributor. The only change in the new series is that it is being lensed in color.
American Bakers bought the new skein for 28 markets, while three-year library deals were concluded by Key for another 25 markets. Included in the markets sold are WCCO, Minneapolis; WRCV, Philadelphia; WNBQ, Chicago; WMAL, Washington; KPX, San Francisco, as well as stations in Boston, Minneapolis, Lacross, Wisc. and Rochester, N.Y.
Key, who did all the selling, via phone with the exception of one swinging trip to the West Coast, questions the estimated distribution fee of 25% made by regular distributors. Key contends that he racked up nearly a $1,000,000 in sales at a cost of about $15,000.
As an added "gimmick" in Key's sales approach, he has given contracting stations one-quarter of the 5% distributors share in the licensing of merchandising, based on the new series.
Producers Anderson and Ward in 1951, under the banners of Television Arts Production, made 190 "Crusader Rabbit" series, currently being distributed by George Bagnall. They are using the same banner for the new series, with production being done in San Francisco. The first 20 in the projected 260 episodes will be completed in February.
Cartoonist Al Capp, now represented on Broadway with "Li'l Abner," is taking the television plunge, doing the script and artwork for a new five-minute animated series to be distributed by RKO Teleradio Pictures. The series, the characters of which are being kept under cover, will be produced in England by a British firm called Anigraph Productions, headed by Collie Small.
Slated for production are 195 "cliff-hanging" episodes, or 39 weeks of "stripped" shows, to be done in the tradition of Capp's comic strips in a comedy-mystery format.
The three-way deal involving Capp Enterprises, Collie Small, a British film producer, and RKO grew out of recent trip to England by Capp. The cartoonist saw Small's new tv animation technique there, the occasion sparking trans-Atlantic negotiations. Handling the talks for RKO was v.p. Robert Manby. RKO, which is distributing, also is doing the financing.
The first couple of weeks of production already are on the drawing board, and the series is expected to be completed by spring or summer. Small, of Anigraph Productions of London, recently incorporated in the U. S. the firm of Graphic Animation for Television, Inc.
(Motion Picture Daily)
HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 1 — Michael Todd has been named co-defendant in a $250,000 damage action filed in Superior Court here over the use of an animated cartoon sequence as a screen credit epilogue to "Around the World in 80 Days." Animation, Inc., alleged in the complaint that the epilogue was "copied from and based upon" a series of "almost 100 original pictures, paintings, designs and drawings" done by its employees. The company charged the material was used without authorization and Todd "falsely credited" the "creation and authorship" of the epilogue to Saul Bass. Mr. Bass was named a co-defendant.
January 7, 1957
New York, Jan. 6. — Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. net profit for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 1956 dipped to $2,098,000, equivalent to 84 cents per share on 2,482,247 common shares outstanding. Figure, which does not include profit from the sale to television of old films, reflects a sharp drop from WB's net of $4,002,000, or $1.61 per share, of the previous year. Gross, however, was up, $73,850,988 in 1956, compared to $72,597,678 in the 1955 fiscal year.
Prexy Jack L. Warner pointed out in his report to stockholders that the sale early last summer of WB's old library of features released on or before Dec. 31, 1949 and shorts and cartoons released prior to Aug. 1, 1948, brought $21,000,000, or a net profit, after taxes and expenses, of $15,295,000, or $6.16 per share.
January 16, 1957
A new cartoon series, made by Tempi-Toon and distributed by Screen Gems, has been inked for network airing by CBS-TV for slotting in its midweek "Captain Kangeroo" show.
The deal, the first to be made since the Jerry Hyams moveover from Hygo-Unity to Screen Gems as syndication head, calls for the delivery to CBS-TV of 26 Tempi-Toon cartoons, each running five-and-a-half minutes. CBS-TV will air the 26 in all its markets, except those in 11 Western states, where Screen Gems will syndicate the cartoons, especially made for tv to appeal to children of pre-school age up to the third grade.
Although the series is being made in-color, the CBS deal calls for black-and-white telecasting. The net has a 90-day option to pick up the balance of the 52 episodes.
CBS' exclusivity in the current deal prohibits telecasting by competing stations in the same time period slotted for the CBS airing. Principals in Tempi-Toon production outfit are Leo and Walter Minskoff and Sam Singer, creator of the central character, Pow Wow, an Indian boy.
CBS deal was disclosed as Hyams, who, with his associate Bob Seidelman, sold their Hygo-Unity outfit to Screen Gems, prepared to hold his first series of sales meetings of the now unified Hygo-Unity - Screen Gems syndicated sales force. The initial meeting is slated later this month.
Recently organized firm of Elliott-Goulding-Graham comprising Bob & Ray (Elliott & Goulding) and ex-Young & Rubicam copywriter Ed Graham, has set its first program package after having created a new trend in tv commercials with their Bert & Harry Piel blurbs. Series, a five-minute cartoon entry called "The Kertencalls," is being produced for NBC-TV. "Kertencalls" is a satire of a theatrical husband-and-wife team, presumably the Lunts. Show will satirize legit and television, with Graham scripting the show and Bob & Ray helping with material and doing the voices. NBC is offering it as a five-minute strip and is talking of the 7:55-8 p.m. slot next fall as a time period. Weekly asking price for the five-minute animated strip is $27,000. Network has already stirred interest among Buick, Colgate and Procter & Gamble, but no order yet.
Walt Disney Productions' net income zoomed to the highest point in the company's history for the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, 1956, hitting $2,623,541, or $2.01 per common share.
Net income compares with $1,352,576, equal to $1.04 per share in 1955 after giving effect to the two-for-one stock split effective last Aug. 20, 1956. Gross income was up from all sources, except film rentals, for the 1956 fiscal year, totalling $27,565,394, compared with $24,638,652 in 955. Film rentals dropped to $15,054.742, down $2,615,341 from 1955's all-time high of $17,670,083.
Television income took a $4,444,378 jump over 1955, reaching $6,996,890, primarily as the result of launching the daily Mickey Mouse Club show in October, 1955. Publications, character merchandising, music and all other ancillary activities combined for a gross of $5,513,762, up $1,097,705 over the preceding year.
In discussing the year's activities in his report to stockholders, Roy Disney, prexy, pointed out that a later reappraisal of income estimates indicates possible losses from certain recent theatrical product of approximately $500,000. Also that estimated final costs of the 1956-57 series of television programs exceeds the amount of fixed income from ABC for telecasting the shows in the U. S., by about $269,000.
Disneyland Park had accumulated retained earnings of $617,929 to Sept. 30, 1956, after deducting $887,692 preopening expenses, $2,304,029 depreciation and $649,400 provision for income taxes. Disney Productions owns 34.48% of Disneyland, but does not consolidate the accounts of the latter company with its own. Five features are slated for release during the 1957 fiscal year, including "Secrets of Life" and "Westward Ho, the Wagons," both in release now, and "Cinderella," re reissue, "Johnny Tremain" and "Perri."
James Chapin, former producer for General Teleradio Pictures, has joined UPA Pictures as head of cartoonery's new merchandising department. Division, according to proxy Stephen Bosustow, will handle franchising of UPA cartoon characters to licensed manufacturers and advertisers.
Chapin, who also was former head of Capitol Records' children's merchandising, additionally will assume direct supervision of UPA's two music companies and helm a newly-formed tv analysis department. Currently at plant's Burbank headquarters, he will shift to NY in April to headquarter there.
January 18, 1957
Art director Saul Bass filed a $600,000 law suit yesterday against Animation, Inc., and Earl Klein, Animation prexy, an outgrowth of the latter's recent litigation charging Bass and Mike Todd had "plagiarized" the widely-acclaimed epilog to "Around The World In 80 Days."
Action instituted by the law firm of Steinmetz & Murrish contends that it was "wilfully false and a lie" for Klein to contend in documents circulated by him that the material "was created by the staff of Animation with the exception of certain historical engravings believed to be copyrighted by Lucius Beebe."
Bass is the winner of more than 40 national design awards and is recognized for his innovations in Aim title designs as with "Carmen Jones," "Man With The Golden Arm" and "Seven Year Itch."
Bass, meanwhile, leaves for England today to meet with Otto Preminger to discuss the title treatment and general promotion campaign for "Saint Joan," which the producer is shooting in London.
A charge that the recent hike of initiation fees by the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, IATSE Local 839, from $60 to $260, is "excessive," is being investigated by the local National Labor Relations Board office.
Charge was filed with NLRB by the Animated Film Producers Assn., which contends that MPSC is violating Section 866 of the National Labor Relations Act. Section prohibits unions from requiring excessive or discriminatory initiation fees as a condition of membership, in any shop where a union has a contract. Henry W. Becker, NLRB regional director, is heading the investigation.
Walter Lantz is entering "Calling All Cuckoos" and "The Talking Dog" as his entries for Oscar nominations in the cartoon category.
January 23, 1957
Television appears to be on the brink of an animation cartoon kick according to Shamus Culhane, head of the commercial tv firm bearing his name, currently completing the animation in the next three Frank Capra Bell Telephone science spectaculars.
Culhane, whose firm already has done some pilot projects for NBC-TV, is working on a tv comic strip, and a half-hour animated cartoon series. Besides the deluge of old cartoons which have poured out of film company vaults, and Walt Disney's tv contribution, new cartoon programming includes the "Gerald McBoing Boing" net show, as well as the new "Crusader Rabbit" five-minute series, sold locally.
Also at this date, another specially made for tv animated cartoon strip, "Tempi-Toon," distributed by Screen Gems, is slated for midweek slotting in CBS-TV's "Captain Kangeroo." This too, is in the five-and-a-half minute length category. An upcoming entry will be Al Capp, who has closed a deal with RKO Teleradio and an English outfit, for a five-minute "cliff-hanging" type cartoon.
Culhane, whose animation for Capra will include the shows on the blood stream, cosmic rays and weather, (UPA did the animation in the initial "Our Mr. Sun") pointed to the tv impact of some animated tv commercials and the entertainment values inherent in them. The same impact and entertainment could be effectively transferred into the programming area, he feels.
Shamus Culhane Productions also has expansion plans in the industrial film field. It is his belief that there are other blue chip companies besides Bell interested in intriguing the public, especially the youth, in the field of science, particularly in light of today's shortage of engineers and other scientifically-trained personnel.
Shamus Culhane Productions, which also did the animated cartoon credits for "Around the World in 80 Days," is doing about $1,000,000 annually in filmed commercials, 60% of which are animated. Their commercials include those for Ajax and Halo Shampoo and the current $1,000,000 gross figure compares with the $1,000 chalked up by the firm 10 years ago.
(Motion Picture Daily)
Associated Artists Productions has acquired the M-G-M short subjects film library from Loew's, Inc., for $4,500,000 under a five-year television leasing agreement, the negotiations for which were consummated here early this week, it was learned yesterday.
Under the agreement, AAP acquires some 900 short subjects and cartoons, with the exception of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, which Loew's, Inc., has in theatrical distribution. A formal signing of the agreement was reported as occurring yesterday.
According to an official of AAP, the television distribution company presented its bid to Loew's for the 1949 shorts library before last Thanksgiving, offering $5,000,000 for outright purchase. During the negotiations, Loew's pointed out that the Tom and Jerry cartoons were to be excluded from any agreement and antly, AAP cut its bid, it was learned. The AAP executive said that his organization will try to have the MGM shorts presented on television as soon as possible.
New York, Jan. 22. — Johnson & Johnson drug house has purchased alternate-week sponsorship of the "Heckle & Jeckle" cartoon shows Saturdays on CBS-TV, which hangs the SRO sign on the series. Tootsie Roll previously bought the other half of the all-color program.
Series is comprised of old and new product from the Terry toons cartoon stable, which CBS bought a year ago
Fade of RKO as a major entity in the film business became a reality yesterday (Tues.) with official confirmation that this company's domestic distribution will be taken over by Universal. Joint statement by Milton Rackmil, president of U, and Daniel T. O'Shea, RKO prez, disclosed the aimed-for effective date is Feb. 1. ...
RKO's major studio on Gower Street, Hollywood, is to be taken over by a subsidiary of General Tire & Rubber, RKO parent, and the film company will shift its production, which will be reduced, to its Pathe lot in Culver City. ...
RKO's deal to license all Walt Disney shorts has been revoked. Pact had another 12 years to run. This means that about 200 Disney one-reel cartoons will be taken over by Disney's Buena Vista distribution subsid.
ABC-TV has signed a $9,000,000-and-better production pact with Walt Disney for the 1957-1958 season, in which the producer will turn out a total of 110 1/2 hours of vidfilm fare, a dropoff from the 126 of this season. However, instead of two shows Disney will be producing three for the network, adding a weekly half-hour adventure stanza and cutting the afternoon "Mickey Mouse Club" from an hour to a half-hour daily.
New series, slated to start sometime next October, is "Zorro," based on the original Johnston McCulley stories and adapted for tv by William Tunberg. Disney will shoot 39 half-hours. After producting 100 hours of "MMC" for each of the last two seasons, Disney will do only a total of 65 hours to fill the proposed half-hour slot. Retrenchment in time is due to the network's failure to sell but 12 of the 20 available weekly participations in the juve telefilmer.
"Disneyland," which is currently running on ABC Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:30, will again be turned out in 26 full hours, which are repeated to fill out the year. Included in the new batch will be three to six Frontierlands via the "Saga of Andy Burnett," the story of a Kentuckian, and "Buckskin," a cowboy tale. Another "Disneyland" series will revolve around "Man and Mars." The second group in the "Operation Deepfreeze" series will also be lensed for next season. Then there will be the usual cartoon component.
The new half-hour format for "Mickey" will retain regulars like "MMC Newsreel," "Spin and Marty," the "Hardy Boys," and the Mousketeers variety segs. Disney will shoot two new quarter-hour series in Europe.
Taking advantage of its already existing distribution facilities. National Telefilm Associates has set up NTA Pictures Inc. as a wholly-owned subsidiary to operate in the theatrical field. Erwin Lesser, vet distribution exec, will run the company as veep in charge of distribution. First releases will be the Ingrid Bergman-Bing Crosby starrer, "Bells of St. Mary's" and the full length cartoon feature, "Gulliver's Travels. ...
"Bells" and "Gulliver" were among a package of six feature films which NTA acquired some time ago from Paramount via a buyout of Rainbow Productions. Price paid for the sextet was $750,000.
January 30, 1957
Associated Artists Productions, with its acquisition of the Metro short subject library, exclusive of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, has become the dominant short subjects tv distributor in the field, having already acquired the Paramount Popeye backlog and the Warners shorts.
The deal, technical details of which are still being worked out, was for $4,500,000. Included in the 900 Metro shorts are cartoons, the Pete Smith series, John Nesbitt's "Passing Parade," historical miniatures, sports subjects, the "Nostradamus" series and others.
New York, Jan. 29. — Fav-R-Straws, in some 40 markets currently with spot buys on AAP Cartoons, is extending its purchases of "Popeye" and "Looney Tunes" to 170 markets this year. Total expenditure is said to be $3,000,000. with the sponsor committed to no less than three spots weekly in each market. As AAP adds "Popeye" or "Tunes" stations, the bankroller moves in.
Walter Lantz has signed Irving Bibo and Clarence Wheeler to clef "Pepito Chickito," theme song for "The Bong Punch" cartoon being directed by Alex Lovy.
February 6, 1957
"Mister Magoo" will star in UPA's 90-minute cartoon theatrical pic based on "Don Quixote. Film will mark Magoo's feature debut.
Stephen Bosustow, UPA proxy, reports that the feature will take from 14 to 16 months to complete. It will be released through Columbia. Cartoonery is now shopping for writer to screenplay project.
RCA Victor is selling hi-fi with a laugh in a new album due shortly for release. Package is titled "Magoo in Hi-Fi" and features a commentary by Jim Backus in the same voice that he uses for the cartoon character featured in the UPA shorts.
Musical background for the story was written by Dennis Farnham [sic], Victor musical director on the Coast.
General Foods becomes the latest national advertiser to buy into Associated Artists Productions' "Popeye" cartoons, in a deal that foreseeably can hit $2,000,000 over a 60-market spread by year's end. Last week, it was learned, Flav-R-Straws was ready to spend $3,000,000 annually in 170 markets, naturally at a slower pace than General Foods' (for Post Cereals) five-spots-a-week per city.
With the uncovery of the General Foods deal, through Benton & Bowies, it was also learned that much of AAP's cartoon profits will be directly dependent on national spot sales. Conceivably, if these national spot deals keep on, the distributor will make more money than by means of ordinary station sales. As with the sale of Warners features by AAP, it was revealed, considerable cartoon sales are made on the AAP profit plan.
The plan varies from ordinary direct sale of cartoon or feature product to stations. Sometimes, AAP waives an immediate cash transaction for approximately a 50% share of all time and talent revenue the station gets on the strength of the celluloid. The second type of AAP profit sharing deal provides that the station first pay off a guarantee on the film acquisition, then, after it recoups its own costs, shares 50-50 with the distrib on true profits. Hostess Bakery has bought four "Popeye" markets, Frisco, L. A., San Diego and Tulsa, where it will play four to six spots a week each. Ted Bates handled the pact.
General Foods, this being its first spot campaign concentrated in a specific cartoon show, already has Detroit, Columbus, San Antonio, Tulsa and Lubbock and Wichita Falls, Texas. A Benton & Bowles spokesman explained that the client would pick up "Popeye" markets as they opened up.
February 7, 1957
Cartoons (1,000 feet or less): "The Jaywalker," "Gerald McBoing-Boing On Planet Moo" and "Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper," UPA, produced by Stephen Bosustow, released by Columbia.
February 8, 1957
(Motion Picture Daily)
The establishment of a fourth sales office in UPA Pictures' expanding cartoon organization has been announced by Stephen Bosustow, president of UPA, the newest headquarters having been set in Chicago, to serve Mid-western agencies and television advertisers. Peter Del Negro, who joined UPA several months ago as west coast sales executive under vice-president Herbert Klynn, has been named general manager.
February 13, 1957
Columbia will release a new series of UPA cartoons tagged "UPA's Pair of Shorts" during 1957-58 season, under a deal signed yesterday. Pact is in addition to the eight "Magoo" cartoons which Col releases for UPA.
New series includes four packages, each comprising two story-and-music cartoons of three and one-half minutes. Series will be distributed theatrically worldwide first, then set for television programming.
Group of 15 free animated cartoons varying in length from five to 17 minutes is being offered stations by Association Films under the umbrella title of "Cartoons of Fun and Fact." Cartoons are of the public relations variety, including productions by Kleenex (Walt Disney's "How to Catch a Gold") United Fruit ("Bananas? Si, Senor," out of the John Sutherland plant) and Nabisco ("The King Who Came to Breakfast," with the Bil & Cora Baird puppets).
Films are available on a free basis, with stations paying return postage on prints. Pix, which include work from UPA, Transfilm, Carl Dudley and Jerry Fairbanks, are available both in black and white and in color.
New York, Feb. 12. — Buena Vista field reps in the company's eight divisional and 20 sales offices have been notified that they're to handle the entire Walt Disney short lineup. The one-reelers heretofore were released by RKO.
Program comprises about 200 cartoons, constantly in release, plus a package of 18 new shorts awaiting release. Money importance of the product is reflected in some figures passed along.
Cost of a single Disney cartoon has risen to a new high of $65,000. It's impossible to break even on a single play on" of the short, and consequently it's offered to exhibitors on a constant-availability basis. The shorts are played over and over around the country.
Disney's annual gross on the 200 which had been handled by RKO had been at the rate of $700,000 per year. It's figured the income will continue at about the same level in addition to the extra returns due from the 18 new entries.
JOSEPH B. HARDAWAY
Joseph B. (Bugs) Hardaway, 56, vet cartoonist and story man for Tempetoons Inc., died in North Hollywood Feb. 4 of a heart attack.
One of the original members of the Screen Cartoonists Guild, he had been in the field since 1931 and was one of the originators of the Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker cartoons.
Wife, daughter and son Robert, a musician, survive.
Frank Schudde, animation supervisor of Terrytoons for the past seven years, has been upped to production manager of the CBS cartoonery. Schudde, who's been with Terrytoons for 21 years in various capacities, will coordinate activities of the entire production staff.
Appointment doesn't affect status of Gene Deitch, who continues as creative director of the outfit.
February 14, 1957
Jim Backus signed a two-week contract to voice UPA's cartoon "Don Quixote," which now has a $620,000 budget.
February 20, 1957
Films will be shot at Metro's studios. Metro's Barbera and Hanna, creators of the Tom and Jerry cartoon characters, will handle special animation version of Knickerbocker trademark.
BROOM AWAY COBWEBS IN CARTOONS; TERRYTOONS, UNDER CBS, ‘OPEN-MINDED’
Theatrical cartoon business, caught in a strong economic squeeze since the war, can survive and—profitably so—if it develops new and simpler techniques and a fresh, more aggressive approach. That's both the belief and the practice on the brass level of the "new" Terrytoons outfit which, since 1955, has been operating as a part of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Company not only has branched out into tv subjects and commercials, but is putting a heavy accent on the delivery of 12 Cinemascope cartoon shorts in color for 20th-Fox release.
"We're going all out to find good stories, obtain new treatments and develop fresh characters," states Bill Weiss, Terrytoon v.p. and general manager. "The theatrical cartoon business needs new blood and a new spirit of experimentation if it's to be lifted out of the rut it has fallen into."
Terrytoons some months back took on Gene Deitch as creative director. He's an alumnus of United Productions of America. He reasons that an intelligent and adult story approach to comedy, without becoming 'arty' in the process, can do the trick.
CBS is currently spending $300,000 on enlarging and modernizing the New Rochelle plant. Staff has doubled within a single year. New sound and camera equipment is being installed.
"Our biggest problem in the production of the theatrical cartoons is still cost," noted Weiss. "We spend about $40,000 on a subject. We have to get that cost down if we are to recoup under present market conditions."
One step, and it's up to Deitch, is a cut in production time. Already, Terrytoon can produce a short in four months. Declares Deitch: "Technique has become stratified and archaic. There are a number of steps that can be eliminated between the idea and the finished product.
Deitch believes situation of the cat chasing the mouse in cartoons is dated. "We'll introduce to theatre audiences a whole series of appealing and uniquely funny new characters. For instance, there is John Doormat, a fad-conscious, typical 'Mr. America' character; Gaston Le Crayon, a smock and beret clad painter with no art sense but lots of energy; DeWitt Clinton Clobber, a grumbling but lovable superintendent of a one-time elite apartment house, and Flebus, a zany little fellow who simply wants everyone to like him."
Terrytoon has thrown its doors open to indie talent, which is encouraged to come in and use the Terrytoon facilities. "We don't claim to have a monopoly on good ideas and we are looking for the greatest variety of styles."
Jimmie Dodd, Roy Williams and Volus Jones of Disney tele shows in for personal appearances at Metropolitan Theatre [Boston] for "Cinderella."
February 21, 1957
Aldous Huxley has been signed by Stephen Bosustow, UPA prexy, to write a treatment of "Don Quixote" for full-length cartoon production.
Mister Magoo subject will be in Technicolor.
February 26, 1957
Jim Backus walked out during rehearsals on "The Reclining Figure," which was on Bob Montgomery's NBC-TV show last night, fed up to here with the script. Director of the show had told him they had a suitable part and, taking his word for it, Backus went east only to learn his role was that of a 72-year-old English gentleman; "They apparently wanted him to play 'Magoo'," says his wife, Henny. Jim's the voice for those Mr. Magoo cartoons.
Backus stuck with it for two days of rehearsals because they said they would fix and rewrite the script. But feeling nobody can do well in a part rewritten during rehearsal, he ankled. Backus has received so many requests to do Magoo, that he and his wife finally wrote a tv script titled "Do Magoo." It's a fictionized version of the creation of Magoo and what happened to Backus as a result. They have to get the okay from UPA and Columbia for the title, also are seeking clearances of persons limned in the story. Mrs. Backus, incidentally, is the voice of the 85-year-old mother of Jim in the new "Mother Magoo" theatrical cartoons now being made.
February 27, 1957
On the feature front, Columbia subsid is close to bringing out a new package of about 40 theatricals. One of the Columbia pix in the new package will be "You Can't Take It With You." already sold in a special deal to NBC o&o's. The addition of the projected 40 will bring to about 200 the number of Columbia pix that have been released to tv via Screen Gems.
March 1, 1957
(Motion Picture Daily)
The sale of the pre-1949 Loew's Inc. film library to television stations in the U.S. will produce a gross revenue of $40,000,000, payable over a period of five to seven years, according to Joseph R. Vogel, president. Vogel yesterday told company stockholders that thus far the M-G-M feature film library has been leased to 32 stations under seven-year license deals. He said that these deals alone will produce over $34,000,000.
If the company can conclude an agreement with another station, negotiations in which were expected to be finished yesterday, the revenue from this sale plus the $4,500,000 return from the sales of the pre-1949 short subjects to television, will give Loew's the $40,000,000 television gross, he explained.
The industry veteran said that the sale of the short subjects to television does not include the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. MOTION PICTURE DAILY early this month reported that a deal was almost finalized with Associated Artists Productions on the shorts.
March 6, 1957
Walter Lantz has carded the "Misguided Missile" on his Woody Woodpecker cartoon series slate.
March 18, 1957
Senior Walt Disney Studio animation director Les Clark over the weekend was presented firm's "Mousecar" award on occasion of his 30th anni with Disney.
Presentation was made to studio's oldest continuously employed staffer by Disney personally. Clark joined Disney when 19, just out of Venice High art course.
March 19, 1957
Ken Southworthy [sic] yesterday joined Fred A. Niles Films' animation department, moving over from Metro cartoonery. Margaret E. Morrow is also new member of the layout department.
March 22, 1957
HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT (Frank Capra Science Series)
Reviewed in Color
Cast: Dr. Frank Baxter, Richard Carlson, Sterling Holloway. KNXT-CBS, Wednesday, 9 p.m. Running time: 60 mins. Second in the quartet of science subjects by Frank Capra exposed in graphic detail every function of the blood and how it affects our three principal activities—thinking, eating and moving. That it will be shown around for years to come away from television is not to be questioned, but those who viewed the hour show Wednesday night may have found it on a higher intellectual plane than they cared to reach for. As with Capra's first for Bell Telephone, "Our Mr. Sun," the subject was treated in cartoon, live characters and a meagre attempt to give it entertainment value. Memorable in its concept and execution at a round cost of $350,000, "Hemo" must have been scientifically sound but perhaps too abstruse for the normal mind.
Wherever blood flowed was shown in diagram or under microscopic lens. There were excellent shots of the actual heart in action, with its audible pumping and the function of arteries, veins and capillaries. It may be news to the gambling gentry, but the vagus nerve is the one with a slowing action. The cartoons were helpful both in explaining the blood's vast "servicing" and lending a lighter touch to the simplification process.
As with "Mr. Sun," Dr. Frank Baxter and Richard Carlson tended the narration and tried to bring it down to the level of common understanding. Voice of "Hemo" was Marvin Miller and Sterling Holloway was around briefly for comedy effect. Hell Telephone commercials were dignified and not too interruptive. Around Cal Tech, where Capra is a functionary, they must still be talking about "Hemo." Helm
March 28, 1957
Patty McCormack stirred a laugh when, after reading the three cartoon nominations—all produced by Stephen Bosustow of UPA, she observed: "Something tells me Mr. Bosustow just might win." He did, for "Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper."
April 1, 1957
MGM TO DROP PRODUCTION OF CARTOONS
As part of its program to streamline studio operations, Metro will dissolve its cartoon production department in several weeks.
Hal Elias, manager of the department; Joe Barbera and William Hanna, joint production toppers, and 44 cartoonists have received notices that the department will be discontinued as soon as it finishes the balance of 12 cartoons scheduled for this year.
Continuing the pruning process is in keeping with recommendations made by Booz, Allen and Hamilton, Metro also has reportedly pinkslipped Sam Kress, head of wardrobe; Fritz Goodwin and Dave Tappan, of publicity; Bill Homing, art department chief; Merle Chamberlin, head of the projection department; and John Arnold, camera department chief.
These names as well as several others have been added to the list of those who have received Metro studio dismissal notices during the past few weeks.
April 3, 1957
Three new properties have been acquired by Sterling Television, "Time in for Sports," "Cartoon Classics Serials," and "Recordtoons," all of which will be pitched for the first time at the Chicago National Assn. of Radio and Television Broadcasters.
"Time in for Sports" was produced by Saul J. Turell, Sterling prez, and Hearst Metrotone News. "Cartoon Classics Serials" is a cartoon serialization of favorite children's stories. There are 65 episodes in color and black-and-white currently available with additional series in production now. "Recordtoons" is based on popular children record stories.
April 5, 1957
MGM's cartoon department will create a series of six teleblurbs for Standard Oil of Indiana, under a pact just signed between the firm and Metro's tv department. Two of vidplugs will be fully animated and four partially cartooned.
The Metro cartoonery is currently working on a teleblurb series for Ruppert Brewery and a third project, for Schlitz, was inked last week in Chi.
KTTV tonight spotlights inner workings of the Walter Lantz animation studios on its "Success Story" segment at 7 p.m.
The 60-man Lantz staff will be on hand to limn [?] the likes of "Woody Woodpecker."
April 10, 1957
New animation process, tagged Artiscope, has been developed which eliminates the use of artists and is claimed to turn out animated subjects for one-fifth the present cost.
Invented by Norman Maurer, a Los Angeles artist, it is animation by automation and operates electronically, with up to 90% of all artist hand labor scrapped, according to Maurer, who prexies Illustrated Films Inc., developer and sponsor of process.
A combo line action-animation technique, live action photography is converted into animation action on cells, to get the smoothness and realism of live action in drawings. Process uses only 720 cells per minute as compared to the standard 1440 cells with other processes. Maurer asserts that process eliminates the animator, assistant animator, in-betweener and inker, requiring only the painter. It is designed for use in both tv spots and theatrical releases.
"Captain Kangaroo," an hour-long, early morning cross-the-board show on CBS-TV, has been keeping the moppets happy since its bow in late 1955. But a notable addition to its format came last week in the appearance of Terrytoons' "Tom Terrific," a new animated cartoon series designed especially for television.
This series, according to Terrytoons, a division of CBS Television Film Sales, is the "first new, fully-animated cartoon serial produced for primary use as an insertion on a 'live' network show." Al Capp, among others, is preparing similar tv cartoon strips, but "Tom Terrific" is said to be the first of its kind to be televised.
Four-minute episode is screened each day with the entire yarn winding up on Friday. For Saturdays, a condensation of the week's story is run off. On the basis of a two-part 13-minute film caught Saturday (6), "Tom Terrific" obviously doesn't fall in the Pearl White idiom, but his adventures nevertheless should produce plenty of smallfry attention.
A little boy who's billed as the "Greatest Hero Ever," Tom last week was star of "Sweet Tooth Sam, the Candy Bandit." Together with the Mighty Manfred, his loyal bloodhound, they foil the wicked Sam who planned to corner the world's entire candy supply. Drawings and animation ably complemented the imaginative story. As with most serials, the yarn has ample suspense.
"Tom Terrific" may well be the answer for those jaded youngsters who enjoy cartoons but are beginning to tire of Farmer Gray and Felix the Cat. Gilb
April 17, 1957
The telefilm distributor is coming in for a new kind of revenue, so is the tv station. Associated Artists Productions, distributor of "Popeye," has arranged with cartoon sponsors for fees of two and a half, five and 10% of gross sales in return for on-the-air plugs and point-of-sale merchandising done in the advertiser's behalf.
AAP and the stations carrying "Popeye" which carry a minimum of 14 weekly promotional plugs for the cartoon bankroller will split the feed down the middle, 50-50. It has been explained that the amount of the fee to distributor and station depends on the arrangements AAP has made and will make with individual "Popeye" sponsors. Cartoons are presently aired in 44 tv markets.
WPIX, New York, will start the for-profit promotional plugging for its "Popeye" sponsors on May 1. AAP is now in the process of lining up other stations to enter the 50-50 merchandising – promotion agreement. AAP merchandising department has been formed under the direction of Paul Kwartin.
Fred Quimby, who organized Metro's short subjects, program and cartoon department before he retired in December, 1956, after 30 years with MGM, is opening his own cartoon company.
Outfit will do commercials, both animated and live action, and also tv animation sequences. Vet animator, who copped eight Oscars for his Metro cartoons and developed such characters as Tom and Jerry, Barney Bear and Droopy, has now developed a new method of presentation for commercials, he said.
Quimby reports some of his old stagers from Metro will join him.
Television station censor scissors are buzzing on feature films, the degree depending on the locale of the station, the orientation of management and on the definition of "good taste." . . .
Westinghouse Broadcasting stations have rejected some shorts, including a number in the "Popeye" series, on the excessive brutality basis and the presentation of peoples in a stereotyped fashion. Many of the shorts cut out on the Westinghouse stations were made during the war, when anti-Jap feeling was at its height and was reflected in the cartoons.
Cartoon Films Inc. has been authorized to conduct a motion picture films business in New York. Capital stock is 100 shares of preferred, at $100 par value, and 100 shares of common, at no par value.
Lazaar Henkin, filing attorney.
April 18, 1957
Walt Disney’s "Cinderella" racked up a gross of $200,587 for first week of pic's reissue In L.A, area. Feature cartoon played in 39 houses, including 33 hardtops and six drive-ins. Buena Vista release averaged better than $10,000 in each of the ozoners. It opens today in 58 theatres, some holdovers. Comparatively, it's reported "Cinderella" did 50% better than Disney's "Song Of the South," which played reissue dates in corresponding week last year.
A new type of preview will be attempted tomorrow night when UPA seeks theatre audience reaction to three "New Blue Dutch" teleblurbs. Herb Klynn, veepee in charge of commercials at UPA, will test the sixty-second cartoons at the Palms Theatre. Culver City, and the Panorama, Van Nuys.
Screenings will be preceded by a 45-second pencil cartoon asking audience to help select the commercial they like best. Following the screening, regular preview cards will be distributed to the audience, seeking reactions, and the cards will be turned over to Price-Waterhouse for an "audit."
Purex Corporation, which ordered the commercials, has sent a rep here from the east to aid in selecting the commercial which will be used to open the firm's new summer campaign on NBC-TVs "Arthur Murray Houseparty."
April 24, 1957
Salem, Mass., April 23
A miniature motion picture theatre for moppets is being installed in the $2,000,000 Foodliner IGA supermarket which opened here last week. The film unit will occupy an area in the store proper 8 feet by 4 feet and will seat 16.
Animated cartoons will run for 20 minutes and a new performance will be skedded every 26 minutes during store hours. Orville W. Johler, veep in charge of advertising and merchandising for the IGA chain of supers throughout the U. S. and Canada, said shopping parents will be able to leave their offspring in safety while they shop.
New York, April 28.—With the appointment of William B. Zoellner, head of Metro's short subjects sales department since 1946, as branch manager in Atlanta, the company has quietly eliminated its separate sales unit for shorts. From now on the sale of the shorts will be handled by the regular pales department. Since Metro shortly will discontinue the production of cartoons and a regular schedule of shorts production, a separate sales arm was no longer considered necessary. In Atlanta, Zoellner succeeds H. Russell Gaus, who was transferred to Cincinnati as branch manager. Cincy branch manager Edwin M. Booth was given a sales assignment in Indianapolis.
First quarter earnings in 1957, company reported, are approximately $1,000,000 after taxes, equal to $2.50 per share on roughly the same "pre-split" number of shares. Company loan of $14,000,000 in buying the Warner library has been reduced since the purchase to $11,700,000. Maxwell Goldhar, veep and treasurer of AAP, predicted the rate of earnings will increase, basing the prediction on estimates of a substantially reduced loan by the end of 1957. He said dividends, as was reported originally in VARIETY, will be paid by yearend.
Amount of gross coin contracted to far on the Warner and Par celluloid is $25,000,000, Goldhar said. Most of the pacts are payable over three years. Goldhar figured that, at the least, the annual dividend would be $1 per share on the split shares.
May 8, 1957
Elmer H. Young, 66, one of Hollywood's pioneer film animators, died May 2 in Los Angeles. Young, an early film-trick cameraman, cartoonist and animator, joined the film industry in its infancy.
He had worked with Hal Roach and Jesse Lasky for years and for a time was head animator at Universal studios. He also produced "Scoop Scandals," a cartoon series, and with his brother had his own cartoon co., called Kinex Studios.
His wife survives.
May 13, 1957
Popeye cartoons were bought last week [from AAP] by Granada TV and Associated Rediffusion for British tv, and other negotiations are on with BBC and commercial stations in Britain.
May 15, 1957
Expanding its foreign sales distribution, Associated Artists Productions has turned over all South and Central American distribution rights on the Warner Bros, feature backlog. "Popeye" cartoons and "several hundred" miscellaneous celluloid properties to a new sales syndicate. Transaction was for a sum in excess of $6,000,000, with AAP retaining an interest in the south-of-the-border distrib company.
Toei is seeking interested U. S. animators to co-produce cartoon tele films. Company, which set up new animation studios in January, said these facilities are open to qualified U. S. cartoon men with fresh ideas for Japanese video product.
May 23, 1957
State Division of Labor Enforcement will hold hearings Monday on dispute between seven cartoonists and animators, and two associated cartoon firms, Harmon-Ising Enterprises and Nasser-Bien Productions, Inc. Dispute revolves about sum of approximately $3,000 owed the cartoonists for work on two telepix pilots, "Pokey" and "Emmett Kelly," and whether this Work could be done on speculation by employes, against eventual sale.
Work was done last December and January on pilots, with "Pokey" an all-animated cartoon; and "Kelly," made for Classic Enterprises of NY, based on the famed clown character, both animated and live-action. Only animated portion of "Kelly" is involved in dispute.
Most employes involved are members of indie Screen Cartoonists Guild, and union is sitting in proceedings as an interested party.
May 24, 1957
New York, May 28.—RKO Television, moving ahead on the national front, has signed up for at least 10 projects, most of them slated for the 1958-'59 season. ... [I]n the lineup is...[an] Al Capp cartoon serial titled "No Gun Nolan"
May 29, 1957
Mobile, May 28.
Pape Television Co., which operates WALA-TV in Mobile, does not think WKRG-TV's "Popeye" and other cartoons are very funny.
Pape has asked a federal judge in Mobile for a temporary injunction to bar WKRG-TV, also of Mobile, from showing the films, but this injunction was denied. The judge did not, however, rule on a motion by Associated Artists Productions, of New York, seeking dismissal of a $1,100,000 damage suit filed by Pape. Suit contends Pape Television contracted with Associated to receive 202 "Popeye" cartoons and 337 Warner Bros, cartoons. Associated Artists entered into a contract with WKRG for the cartoons and the New York company claimed that its letter from WALA-TV was an order only and not a contract.
Chicago, May 28. — Biggest combo daytime-nighttime sale in ABC-TV history was cinched by Kellogg Co., with buy of net's entire 5-5:30 p.m. time strip in all time zones, plus alternate week of "Circus Boy" on Sunday nights.
Afternoon strip, biggest kidshow buy of all time, will be an action vidpix package including "Superman," "Wild Bill Hickok," "Sir Lancelot," "Woody Woodpecker" and "Buccaneers" skeins, rotating Mondays through Fridays, respectively. There's a possibility that Kellogg will dub the five shows with one title, for strong sponsor identity. ...
Incidentally, "Woodpecker" is first full-scale telefilm production by UI since company's abortive entry into the biz some years ago. It is understood the cartoons are first of more such fare from studio.
May 31, 1957
Peggy Lee takes off for NY Sunday to appear on Jackie Gleason's final three shows of the season.... “Now I'm writing a story for a series of animated cartoons, and we hope it will come out as a book eventually. We're doing our own financing — I'm partnered with Fran Jackson — and we're looking for a release. The cartoons run about 12 minutes each," says Miss Lee.
June 12, 1957
Metro TV is readying its short subjects, consisting of about 950 programs, some of them two-reelers, for syndication, with a sales policy set to evolve in about another month.
Deal with Associated Artists Productions for latter's purchase of Metro's shorts fell through some time ago, with AAP reportedly balking at $4,000,000 price tag. Metro currently is sounding out stations on their shorts requirements. Library contains FitzPatrick Travelogs, Pete Smith programs, John Nesbitt's Passing Parade, Crime Does Not Pay series, some Our Gang Comedies and cartoons. Whether Metro will include Tom & Jerry's in cartoon package still is being mulled. Tom & Jerry's currently are being reissued theatrically.
Hollywood, June 11.
Academy of Animated Arts for Motion Pictures and Television has been created by a group of Hollywood artists involved in the field of animated subjects.
William E. Best, manager of the United Press Bureau in Los Angeles, was named prexy of the new group. Veepees are Emmett C. McGaughey of Erwin Wasey & Co., Jack M. Warner, exec in charge of Warner Bros. TV and Industrial Films, and Herbert Klynn, UPA veepee. Wilson D. Burness, director of UPA animated films is secretary; Robert W. Carlson Jr., Disney studio animator, treasurer; John M. Holmes, public relations counsel, executive director; and Woodrow S. Wilson, counsel.
June 17, 1957
Walter Lantz is so fondly attached to his cartoon creation, "Woody Woodpecker," that he wants to keep it in the family upon its entry into tv next season. He’ll emcee and narrate the series on ABC-TV, his first on-camera appearance, and his wife is the voice of Woody.
June 18, 1957
So far as shorts are concerned, he said the plan is to keep production of these at a minimum, amounting perhaps to six cartoons and six of the "People and Places" category each year. It's a matter of industry record that one and two-reel films are mounting in costs without commensurate increases in market returns.
The Disney org now has "Cinderella" in re-run and it figures to rake in 75% of its original gross, or $4,200,000, according to top-kick. "Johnny Tremain," based on America's War of Independence, goes into release in July, kickoff to be in 18 Boston theatres June 28.
"Bambi," which has been Disney's best cartoon reissue, is set for another market whirl in August. Following, in August, is "Perri," which takes a new approach. This entry focuses on real animals engaged in acting out a definite dramatic story line.
Next are "Old Yeller," to go out around Christmas of 1957, starring Dorothy McGuire and Fess Parker; "Snow White," reissue set for handling in the winter of 1958; "The Light in the Forest," also in winter of 1958, adapted from Conrad Richter’s novel, with James MacArthur, Joanne Dru, Carol Lynley, Wendell Corey and Fess Parker. "The Little People" is slated for spring or summer of 1958; "Arctic Wilderness," a live-action feature, the fall of 1958, one of the "True-Life" adventure series; and "Sleeping Beauty," animated feature, Christmas, 1958. "Beauty" is Disney's most elaborate cartoon, and costs are being estimated at $5,000,000. The highly successful "Snow White" was made at cost of $1,400,000.
June 19, 1957
Clarence Wheeler, musical director Walter Lantz Productions, celebrated Golden Anni.
June 26, 1957
Chicago, June 25.
NBC-TV's "Club 60" is dropping guest acts for the month of July, both for budgetary reasons and to test whether or not they're needed. Show will also test acceptance value of a series of two and three-minute experimental color cartoons made by Norm McLaren of the Canadian Film Board. The nonsense cartoons will be telecast once a week during the month, beginning today (Wed.).
Montreal-born Ted Allan has just completed script for UPA's first feature length cartoon, "Magoo and the Arabian Nights"—expected to be two years in the making. Allan now residing in London.