Saturday, 27 August 2016
Cartoons of 1957, Part 2
Yes, it’s true. That year, a company did ask people to give it money so it could make animated cartoons for television. It got the money, too, though the idea wasn’t without a bit of controversy.
It’s a shame that after all the effort, the cartoon series that came out of it wasn’t very good and is only remembered today by lovers of really bad cartoons. The series was Spunky and Tadpole.
1957 saw another made-for-TV series hit the air, and it had far more reaching effects. Hanna-Barbera began operations in July that year, worked out a deal with the Screen Gems TV arm of Columbia Pictures, and by December had Ruff and Reddy beaming into homes on Saturday mornings. From that modest start (the show included a live host and some old Columbia theatricals as well) came the breakthrough that showed the world animated cartoons could be made on a TV budget. That begat the Hanna-Barbera empire which shoved filmed shows off Saturday mornings in favour of new cartoons.
So let’s take a jaunt through the pages of Variety. You can read more about Spunky and Tadpole in this old blog post. The trade paper reviewed the Woody Woodpecker Show. It also reviewed a book about Walt Disney. And it reported on a frightfully dull union dispute. We’ve skipped some of the stories about TV stations lining up to buy Popeye and Bugs Bunny, and 650-plus stories about Disney as they had little to do with cartoons. We’ve included a note about a stage musical about a cartoon character that came to life. It bombed after reaching Broadway. There’s also talk of Willie Wonderful cartoons, but they were actually puppet shows; trade papers tended to refer to puppetry as “cartoons” for some reason.
July 3, 1957
Allen Swift handled the voice roles in "Gaston Le Crayon," new Terrytoons cartoon slated for 20th-Fox theatrical distribution, and also a Nestea commercial for Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample.
July 8, 1957
George Sidney, Columbia exec producer, and William Hanna and Joe Barbera, ex-MGM toppers, have formed a cartoonery, H. B. Enterprises, Inc.
Firm has plans for eventual theatrical cartoon features, but will do teleblurb and industrial animation work at present. Sidney is prexy, Hanna and Barbera veepees. Quarters are at Kling studios.
New outfit has no connection with George Sidney Productions, through which he makes pix for Columbia release. Hanna and Barbera were first associated with Sidney in making of MGM's "Anchors Aweigh." Pair also made Metro's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons.
July 10, 1957
Leo Salkin, formerly with Walt Disney and now managing director of the London office of UPA films, has authored "Story-Telling Home Movies: How To Make Them" for McGraw-Hill publication next December.
July 12, 1957
Acad of Animated Arts, which has run into heavy organizational weather with indie animation firms and Screen Cartoonists Guild, has invited 25 local cartooning firms and SCG officers to meeting in Burbank Tuesday. John Holmes exec director of AAA, is expected to assure the indies that organization is dominated by neither major studios nor labor. Meet follows disclosure by DAILY VARIETY earlier this week that IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 had advanced the Academy $8,000 to get started.
Since then, Local 839 biz agent Don Hillary has resigned from AAA's council of administration Also, it's known that local IA execs have met with Holmes and have assurance that loan will be repaid.
July 15, 1957
Screen Cartoonists Guild is proceeding with plans for fifth annual film festival, according to union prexy Fred Madison, who disclosed this year's fest will be held Sept. 28 at Ambassador Hotel. Fred Charrow has been named chairman of event, which covers field of teleblurbs, industrial, educational and entertainment animated films.
Fest is supported by 25 signatories to Guild pact. No awards are given, but union and participating firms make up reel of best entries, for exhibition. Last year, for first time, foreign entries were permitted.
July 17, 1957
Chicago, July 16.
WGN-TV, beating the local NBC station to the punch, grabbed off Associated Artists Productions, package of 337 Warner Bros. cartoons last week and forced WNBQ again to revise its noontime strategy.
The NBC o&o had received permission from New York a few weeks ago to drop the "Tex and Jinx" show, which reaches Chicago at noon, in favor of a moppet strip. Station has planned to build one around the WB cartoons. Having lost the package, WNBQ is retaining "Tex and Jinx" temporarily until it can device a new show to compete with WGN-TV's high-rated "Lunchtime Little Theatre" and WBKB's "Uncle Johnny Coons."
Harry Foster Welch, original film Popeye, appeared Saturday (13) in a promotional stand for Assosiated Artists at Bamberger's department store in Newark—to push the cartoons on tv . . .
July 24, 1957
Hollywood, July 23.
Protest on manner of organization of newly-formed Academy of Animated Arts was registered from NY, by IATSE Screen Cartoonists Local 841. In letter to AAA exec director John M. Holmes, Pepe Ruiz, union's biz agent, urged the Acad "to organize on a national basis, recognizing all geographic locations, all forms of animation, all types of studios and all unions in the Industry."
Ruiz' letter commented: "You cannot fairly claim to speak for the animated cartoon industry. You are undoubtedly aware that a substantial proportion of animated cartoons are produced outside California . . . It is our conviction that an Academy cannot command public acceptance and respect unless it is created and motivated by every segment of the industry it represents."
Meanwhile, the dove of peace hovered over the embattled newly-formed Academy of Animated Arts, following a meeting with dissident indie cartoonery producers and unofficial reps of Screen Cartoonists Guild last week.
"Complete reorganization" of the Acad was promised by AAA officers, as well as repayment "as soon as possible" 'to the IATSE of a $3,000 loan from the IA's Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists. Ray Patin, one of the dissident producers, stated that his group was "still listening" to the Acad, on the basis of starting all over again.
Meanwhile, matter of SCG support came up at regular membership meeting last night. AAA exec director John Holmes dispatched a letter to the Guild, promising full participation rights on all levels.
Lawrence Kilty, SCG biz agent, emphasized that he intended meeting strictly as an ur official observer. He declared that the Guild will retain an "open mind" about the Acad, if organizational mistakes are corrected. "We're critical of the method of formation, in which a large part of the industry was left out," he told VARIETY.
Besides Holmes, AAA reps attending Tuesday Meeting were Herbert Klynn of UPA, AAA v.p.; secretary Wilson D. Burness; and attorney Woodrow S. Wilson. Klynn admitted organizational errors, mainly because of short period in which the new Acad was set up. He also invited indie producer and SCG participation in the upper echelons of the Acad and promised that the AAA would completely "disassociate" itself from any suggestion of IA or major studio "domination."
Bordighera, July 23.
Two Italo-mades will have their world preems at Bordighera; Titanus' "Nonna Sabella" and Vides' "Rascel Fifi," while Great Britain is sending "Three Men in a Boat," directed by Ken Anakin. Soviet Russia ' s entry is "Faithful Friends"; Germany has "Captain from Koepenick"; Spain is entering "Felices Pascuas"; France is showing "Les Hussards."
In addition to these and the short subjects, a program of comic classics will be screened in cooperation with the Italian Film Archives. Prizes (Gold Olive Branches) will be awarded in all comic categories at the festival's conclusion (July 27). Organizers expect a large number of celebs and stars to attend.
July 31, 1957
National Telefilm Associates, distributors of the "Betty Boop" cartoon series, has just completed arrangements for the telecasting of the programs in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Monte Carlo.
Animator Jean Washam, formerly with Walt Disney and Warners cartooneries, shifts over from Shamus Culhane Productions to Song Ads Inc.
August 1, 1957
Complaint charging that the hike in initiation fee for the IA Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 is "excessive" was issued yesterday by the L.A. office of the National Labor Relations Board. Move, under Taft-Hartley Law, is not only precedental in the motion picture industry, but is first time such an action has been filed by the NLRB in any industry.
Hearings will be held Aug. 15 at board offices here, with Ken Schwartz to act as attorney for NLRB. If Board wins, union will probably be instructed to cancel fee hike.
Original complaint by Animated Film Producers Assn., filed last year, pointed out that initiation fee had long been pegged at $50. However, in July, 1956, Local 839 had voted a hike to $250, which producers' group charged was "excessive."
Matter was kicked back to Washington by NLRB, and complaint was issued yesterday on two counts. First agreed that hike was "excessive." Second charged that it was discriminatory against new members coming into the industry, in that beginning scales are too low to stand a $250 tap. Thus, NLRB feels, effect is to limit membership of union.
August 2, 1957
Principals in experiment are Beverly Hills Productions, cartoon firm headed by Edward Janis, with Corinne Calvet and husband Jeffrey Stone as veepees, and Howard Bierman as secretary-treasurer, and brokerage house of H. Carroll & Co.
Reports attorney Ralph Frank, of law firm of LeMaire & Frank, repping Carroll firm, on the tv stock sale: "We've had fantastic results. To sell a similar issue (by more conventional means) in three months wouldn't be unusual."
Calif. State Commissioner of Corporations has issued Carroll firm a permit to sell the shares. Since this is an offer only in this state, to bonafide residents. SEC jurisdiction has been almost entirely eliminated.
Actually, offer on KTTV was only an offer to send a prospectus. However, Frank states, California law holds that this is really a stock offer.
Carroll firm already has contracted for a schedule of further spots on Tom Duggan's KCOP show and KTTV, and finds itself in pleasant position of continuing with stock already completely subscribed. However, since it's likely that about 10% of subscribers won't redeem pledges (a normal depreciation, Frank holds), Duggan spots will probably be used to clean up $125,000 offer.
Spots were started last week, and by early this week, $82,000 was subscribed. Rest of issue was subscribed by yesterday, at $1 par and same cash value. In one case, a client came to Carroll office as result of teleblurbs, with $1,000 in hand. He left after reading prospectus, with $3,000 order.
Actually, $125,000 offer represents 50% of available stock. Other 50% still resides In BevHills Productions firm.
Janis, formerly with 20th-Fox, has plans to package five-minute color cartoons, approximately 50 in number, for a daily telepix strip. However, he was unavailable for comment on actual production start.
But successful result of BevHills Productions issue has aroused enthusiasm of Carroll house in further use of tv spots to sell stock, in both entertainment and other ventures. Already on the drawing boards are plans to sell stock in "one or two" feature pictures, and firm has been approached to finance a Broadway show in a similar manner.
August 6, 1957
LA. Better Biz Bureau Scrutinizing Telefilmery's TV Pitch For Prod’n Coin
. . . New stock promotion is for Beverly Hills Productions, a California corporation founded to produce "an animated film series . . . suitable for presentation in both motion picture theatres and television stations throughout the world . . . In full color." The stock is being sold via spot announcements on two local television stations, KTTV and KCOP...and its backers jubilantly reported that the entire $125,000 issue was pledged within two weeks. Pitch is being continued, however, since stockbrokers normally figure that at learnt 10% of the pledgee won’t be redeemed. The Better Business Bureau told DAILY VARIETY that it regretted that neither of the stations involved bothered to check the offer. Stations should have seen and studied details in the brochure issued by Beverly Hills Productions, BBB added, along with the disclosure that it is trying to develop information on the firm and its principals.
Preeident of Beverly Hills Productions is Edward Janis, 35, one time staff cartoonist for 20thFox who "entered the television field in 1953." DAILY VARIETY has found no record of any credit for Janis in the tv field during the last four years and Attorney Ralph Frank, representing the firm, said he "didn't think" Janis had any. Actress Corinne Calvet and her husband, actor Jeff Stone, are vice-presidents of the firm, the only members of the outfit's top quintet whose names are familiar to show business. Secretary is Howard Bierman, a commercial artist and the treasurer is Emil Gillman, who last year sold his share of a family furniture business and "entered the television industry, utilizing his business knowledge and administration (sic) ability in the production of telefilms." DAILY VARIETY has found no credits for Gillman, either.
Cost sheet offered by the firm lists rent of office and studio at $30 per cartoon film. The firm intends to make five-minute shorts which, according to the trade, require about two weeks to complete.
Probing the Economics
Similar inconsistencies are noticeable in the payroll costs estimmated in the stock brochure. Firm estimates $100 per film each for director, writer, narrator, voice, background artists, inkers and painters, and $200 per film for animators—and reports that it can turn out each five-minute color cartoon for $1,850. Salaries quoted are, in the main, below minimum scales, at a time when, the Screen Cartoonists Guild reports, there is a labor shortage in the trade and most people are drawing more than scale pay for their work. As to the total cost, one veteran teleblurb producer estimates that using slide animation (the cheapest form), a five-minute cartoon would cost at least $3,000 in color—at the going commercial rates; for full animation the cost would be around $18,000. Another reported that for limited animation, the cheapest possible price is around $1,000 per minute; full animation, $5,000-$6,000 per minute.
August 7, 1957
Reports from Prague indicate that CBS has purchased over 100 Czech puppet and animated cartoon shorts for use on stateside television. Pact is reported to have been signed during the recent Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
At the same time, Czechoslovakia is said to have sold 16 feature films to Egypt, currently pushing curtain product, while 70 other short subjects of various types have been sold to Denmark for use on television in that country.
August 14, 1957
New distribution company, Willy Wonderful Productions Inc., was established by a former Guild Films sales executive to sell a batch of "Willy Wonderful" cartoons, made by Eddie Bracken, to television. Robert C. DeVinny, who ankled as Guild's midwest sales manager last month, bought 65 quarter-hours from Bracken and is reassembling them into 195 four and five-minute cartoon shorts.
DeVinny, prexy of WWP, will temporarily headquarter in Chicago and move to New York within the next 60 days. Deal adds 195 animated units to the 3,298 now on the video market.
Australia—Eric Porter is producing animated cartoons for the U. S. market.
August 16, 1957
National Labor Relations Board hearings on alleged "excessive and discriminatory" initiation fee set by IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, were set over yesterday until Aug. 28. Chief NLRB trial examiner Wallace Royster allowed continuance, to permit AFL-CIO to intervene if it desires. Attorney William B. Irvin, repping defendants, requested extra time, contending matter is of importance to entire labor movement. He argued that all parties with an interest in the case should be given a chance to determine what action should be taken.
NLRB has charged that the initiation fee hike, from $50 to $250 voted last year, is a violation the Taft-Hartley Act in that it tends to restrict membership in the union.
NLRB attorneys Kenneth M. Schwartz and George H. O'Brien are prosecuting case for government, and James J. Ryan is repping the Animated Film Producers Assn., the initial complainant.
August 20, 1957
Los Angeles firstrun film biz this frame is heading for a rich $284,800, strength coming from both new bills and a few extended runs. Reissue of "Bambi" coupled with "Apache Warrior" leads the field, with a big $35,200 slated at Hillstreet, Iris, Uptown and Loyola and a boffo overall total of $180,000 estimated from 20 hardtops and three drive-ins in local area.
[Note: at this time Disney also had in release the animal documentary Perri, billed with a reissue of The Truth About Mother Goose and Niok].
August 28, 1957
The acquisition of distribution rights to Flamingo Films' properties by a new telefilm sales company, headed by Herman Rush, formerly sales v.p. of Official Films, and Ira Gottlieb, Flamingo Films sales manager, has transpired. The new company is called Flamingo Telefilm Sales....
The new firm's syndicated sales catalog will include: "The Country Show," recently renewed by Pillsbury Mills in 30 markets for a third year; "Cowboy-G-Men," "The Beulah Show," "Top Secret," "Superman" cartoons, telecomics, and a feature library.
London, Aug. 27. Sam Eckman Jr., longtime head of Metro in Britain, is joining, the board of Halas & Batchelor, the company operating the largest animated studio in Europe. Appointment takes effect Sept. 1.
Halas & Batchelor plan to switch next year from cartoons to live action features and plan to make two to three pix a year. They'll also turn out around three animated shorts for theatrical release, as well as their contract work producing cartoon commercials for tv, etc.
September 4, 1957
September 9, 1957
Fifteen full-length color films will be released within the next 18 months by Walt Disney's Buena Vista Distribution Co., according to Leo F. Samuels, general sales manager....
Among pix are ... "Sleeping Beauty," all-cartoon feature...and two reissues — "Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs" and "Peter Pan."
September 11, 1957
CBS-TV is moving its "Face the Nation" to an early-afternoon Sunday slot starting Sept. 22 and is expanding the show to 45 minutes. As of that date, "Nation" moves into the 1 to 1:45 p.m. time and stays put until Dec. 15, when the pro football season ends. "Nation" is currently slotted at 5 to 5:30. Day of the shift, incidentally, "Face the Nation" will feature the winner of the German elections.
Displaced in the "Nation" shift is the "Heckle & Jeckle" cartoon show, out of CBS' Terrytoons backlog. That will probably return in midwinter. As for the extra 15 minutes for "Nation," CBS is moving into local station time for the expansion.
September 26, 1957
(Jack Hellman column)
TELETYPE . . . UP TO A YEAR AGO YOU PROBABLY NEVER heard of Shull Bonsall and for a very good reason: he's been a builder and in the press metal stamping business. He has been attracted to the cartoon game, likes it and you may be hearing more from him. He has certain ideas about cartoons that are new and even revolutionary to the old line of thinking. In less than a year he’ll turn out 260 five-minute episodes of "Crusader Rabbit." By applying hard business methods to cartoon production and introducing to the business "cost accounting," he can turn out a cartoon cheaper than any of the factories because, he explains, "We use radio technique on the sound track (no after-dubbing), we lean to pastels (chalk treatment) and we make 800 drawings whereas Disney would make 4,000." Bonsall will make a theatrical one-reeler of "Rabbit" at a cost of not more than $8,000. Other cartoonists, he said, would spend upwards of $85,000 for the same subject. By selling "Crusader" as a library service instead of syndication with its high distribution costs, he can come out on the profit. How one man can pick up so much information in such a short time in a business that was completely foreign to him a year ago is one of the vagaries of the ink-and-paint business.
October 2, 1957
Following a company claim that it had the biggest two weeks In its sales history, AAP Inc. hit another hot streak in the sale of features and cartoons to television. Twelve new sales were made by the distrib in the last seven days. This follows 22 sales in the two previous weeks.
In the last week, WCDA, Albany," bought the "Popeye" cartoons. WPTZ-TV, Plattsburg, N. Y., bought an AAP western package. WABC-TV, ABC-TV Gotham flag, bought an unspecified number of features, which, it is believed, the station will add to its "Shock" package from Screen Gems. WHCT, Hartford, bought a large batch of features.
In the midwest, WKRC-TV, Cincinnati; WTVN-TV, Columbus; CKLW-TV, Detroit, all bought AAP features, taken from the Warner library. WOC-TV, Davenport, bought both the Warner cartoons and the "Popeye" package. On the Coast, KTRX-TV, Kennewick, Washington, and KFSD-TV, San Diego, bought full-lengthers. Remainder of the buys were in the south, mostly for features, though many from groups predating the Warner library stuff.
Film, an animated color production, represents Terrytoons’ first attempt at an industrial pic. Subsidiary is doing theatrical cartoons and tv commercials and programs. The pic, titled "In Depth," is a solid and workmanlike job which gets its message across clearly, yet is entertaining and visually delightful. Gene Deitch, Terrytoons' creative supervisor, was producer, with George Bristol, CBS-TV director of presentations, in on the writing end. In the way of new research material, the film included results of a survey (commissioned by CBS) by the Market Planning Corp. among 1,200 self-service dealers asking which ad medium helped them the most in selling nationally advertising brands on a self-service basis.
Among grocers, 78% preferred tv; among druggists, 89%, among hardware dealers, 68%, among variety stores, 75% and on a total basis, 79% felt tv was the greatest pre-selling aid. Asked to imagine themselves in the role of a national advertiser and to divide $1,000,000 among the major media, the weighted average apportioned $508,000 to television, newspapers came next with only $198,000. Druggists were highest on tv, apportioning $550,000 to the medium.
October 9, 1957
Producer: Walter Lantz Productions
Director: Jack Daniels
30 Mins.; Thurs., 5 p.m.
There aren't very many people in the television industry who would gainsay that ABC-TV has been very lucky these past few weeks in establishing itself in the afternoon. From some almost totally surprising program sources, the network has, to its own amazement, arrived as a rating giant in many of the pre-dark tv hours—and with programs that hardly stack up iir the main as novel or costly. One of the few shows that is costly and of sufficiently different dimension to be singled out is the new "Woody Woodpecker" telefilm produced by Walter Lantz for ABC-TV, through Universal International. It's also one of the few shows, apart from the 5:30 to 6 "Mickey Mouse Club," that appears to cost some dough.
ABC has a goodly number of reruns at 5 p.m., which are sponsored by Kellogg, with a little help from other bankrollers. A handful of new shows are to be mixed in with the old "Supermans," "Buccaneers," "Sir Launcelots" and "Wild Bill Hickoks," but sponsor Kellogg is conserving the coin because the Battle Creek boys figure they can do it without a heckuva lot of money or inspiration, and, judging by the "Superman" ratings of last week, it looks as though they are probably right. That's four days a week, and on Thursday, in Lantz time, there is no doubt that Kellogg will have the strongest show in its cross-the-board lineup.
"Woodpecker" on Thursday (3), in a series of shorts, made a perfect assault on the moppet viewership and was a great lead-in for "MMC." It should help ABC sell nationally the part of the Thursday "Mouse" half-hour that is now being co-opped, if it is contractually not too late. "Woody" cartoon characters are cute, funny and well-drawn. Stanza has quality and offers the juves a lively, harmless Thursday half-hour. Art.
Chicago, Oct. 8.
It's used regularly on Patti Page's "Big Record" and occasionally on the Arthur Godfrey show, both on CBS-TV. Same film won a blue ribbon earlier this year in Chi Federated Advertising Club competition.
October 10, 1957
With filing of National Labor Relations Board petition by IATSE Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, to rep workers at TV Spots, Inc., open warfare in long-smoldering battle between IA union and indie Screen Cartoonists Guild broke out anew yesterday.
Indie producers in animation field already pacted by SCG have been threatened with a secondary boycott by the IA. Lawrence Kilty, biz agent of the Guild, heatedly charged yesterday. They have been told that unless they sign with Local 839, IA theatre projectionists will not show product, labs, cameramen and editors will refuse to handle footage, he accused.
These charges were flatly denied by Don Hillary, biz agent of Local 839. NLRB filing for employes at TV Spots was result of petition requesting change, filed by workers there, he declared.
Shull Bonsall, prexy of TV Spots, also denied that he had heard threats from the IA. However, other indie producers privately admitted to DAILY VARIETY that such threats have been issued in past, especially after IA Local broke off from parent SCG union in 1951.
SCG's Kilty flatly repeated charges that the IA campaign has been intensified in recent months and filing at TV Spots marks beginning of open warfare by IA. He admits he has no direct evidence, since the producers are reluctant to buck the IA openly, he states. Also, despite the threats, no overt action has been taken yet by the IA in current campaign, he adds.
(It's interesting to note that in October, 1956, an official in IA Cameraman's Local 669 commented that "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." Significantly, most SCG pactees use IA personnel in all actual cartooning work.)
Meanwhile, in another significant move, Local 839 yesterday signed up Top-Cel, Inc., a teleblurb outfit hitherto unorganized. Traditional dividing line in Hollywood has given SCG most tv work; IA most "entertainment" (i.e., theatrical) cartooning. But for past couple of years, Local 839 has been signing up more and more telefilm firms.
October 14, 1957
(Jack Hellman column)
Some young genius can make a name for himself at CBS if he has the answer to how the web can salvage some of its investment in the cartoon series, "Gerald McBoing-Boing." It’s been shelved and the loss may run well past a million.
October 15, 1957
STANDARD OIL ANNI SHOW
(Sun., 9-10:80 p.m., KRCA-NBC)
(Reviewed in Live Color)
Ronald Seale [sic], British caricaturist, made a brief appearance to set the stage for his cartoon on energy [Energetically Yours, cel to the right] and he could have been dispensed with, too, but Standard was entitled to that much consideration for the nearly $750,000 the show cost in time and talent.
October 16, 1957
One of the largest sales made by AAP Inc., since first assuming the tv rights to the Warner backlog, was closed last week with CKLW-TV, Detroit. Station paid $2,000,000 to the distrib for the entire 740-some-odd Warner features and cartoons and the "Popeye" cartoons.
The "Popeye" deal was closed with the Detroiter a few weeks ago, but comes under the $2,000,000 price tag. Meanwhile, AAP made lesser deals last week with two other stations—WCBS-TV, N. Y., and WJAR-TV, Providence. Both stations, having bought Warner product earlier, returned for limited additional packages.
The showing of kinescoped recordings of the World Series games over JOAX-TV (Nippon Television Co.) marked the results of the first sale of the newly-formed Pacific Television Corp., exclusive distributors in Japan of NBC filmed and kine product....
[Company director Kazuhiko] Fujita also said that his company had been queried by NBC re the making of animated cartoons in Japan for U. S. use.
October 20, 1957
Plagiarism suit asking $100,000 in damages was filed in Superior Court yesterday by writing team of Seymour Berns and Tom Baron, against Bracken Productions, KLAC-TV, Scott-DuMont & Lowman Agency, and Martin Gordon, writer. Legal firm of Kopald & Mark filed for writers.
Plaintiffs charged pirating of their original idea, "The Adventures of Willy Wonderful," a puppet telepix series produced by Bracken Productions and beamed over KLAC-TV. They assert that idea and script had been submitted to Gordon, when he was an account executive for Factor Advertising Agency, for a certain sponsor. When this fell through, they claim Gordon took scripts with him when he left Factor organization, and the next they heard of idea was when "Willy Wonderful" program, with Gordon credited as writer, started appearing on KLAC-TV.
October 25, 1957
Conflict among Hollywood cartooning unions intensified yesterday, with indie Screen Cartoonists Guild filing unfair labor charges against TV Spots Inc., charging that teleblurb firm's management intimidated its employes to bring about an election between SCG and IATSE Local 839, Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists.
Lawrence Kilty, biz manager of SCG, also dispatched a wire to IA prexy Richard Walsh in NY, calling attention to recent IA adherence to AFL-CIO "no raiding" pact, and charging that IA moves at TV Spots constituted "an organized raid." Kilty asked Walsh to show his good faith by calling off Local 839.
As result of SCG charges against TV Spots, filed with National Labor Relations Board, agency has called off hearings on an election there, asked by Local 839, until charges are investigated.
Latest move is part of running fight which has developed in cartooning industry locally. Traditionally, since Local 839 split off from the indie union several years back, IA has held sway in entertainment field (i.e., theatrical cartoons), while SCG has repped workers in tv, including teleblurbs. However, in recent months IA union has been entering teleblurb field increasingly, and filing a couple of weeks back to rep some seven employes at TV Spots was latest move in that direction.
October 30, 1957
Anime, makers of animated films for television, claims to have developed a mechanical device which speeds up the creation of animation and cuts the costs by as much as 75% according to Josh Meyer, prexy of the firm.
The outfit has abandoned the UPA flip-card method and employs a trick-wire idea for the showing of its films. In this way, according to firm execs, production time is cut in half and a film can be made in six to eight weeks instead of the usual 16.
Television stations are being offered animated cartoons of top record hits in two separate packages. Stations can purchase Anime animation as a weekly 15-minute once a week program or they can by two songs a week which they can use as a fill.
Mitch Leigh, executive producer of the firm stated that the 15-minute programs animating the top pop records has been pre-tested in Toronto where, on CBLT-TV, against three competing channels, it drew a rating of 44.4%.
Despite Philly's habitual preference for musical fare, "Rumple" is getting only a mild reception. The tuner arrived last Monday (21) at the Shubert and the advance was nothing sensational. Critical reception was tepid.....
Rumple, Shubert (MC) (1st wk) ($6; 1,870; $63,000) (Eddie Foy Jr.). Musical fantasy tryout about a cartoon character coming to life to plague the artists still in tuning up state; over $33,200 and continues.
[Note: the musical opened on Nov. 6 on Broadway and closed after 45 performances].
November 5, 1957
Rosary will be recited tomorrow, 7:30 p.m., St. Charles Church, North Hollywood, followed by requiem mass Thurs., 10 a.m., at the same church, for Norman Ferguson, 58, animation director in charge of production at Shamus-Culhane Productions. He formerly had been with Walt Disney for 20 years.
Survivors include widow, two daughters, son.
November 6, 1957
Show takes its title from the new animated series, which consists of four-minute cliffhangers about a dog and a cat, with the first series of 13 depicting them in an adventure in outer space, a la Sputnik II. Plan is to use two of the new cartoon and two oldies per half-hour show. "Ruff & Ready" cartoons are being filmed by Fred Hanna [sic] and Joe Barbera, who used to do the “Tom & Jerry” shorts at Metro.
New York, Nov. 5.—The pay-as-you-see-tv potential in old theatrical pix has taken its first solid toll on the cinematic pool available to free broadcasters, with Associated Artists Productions putting its unsold Warner pix in about 35 larger markets in a "deep freeze" for at least a year.
One of the principal reasons for AAP's wait and see move is to attempt to assay possible earnings for the old pix in a feevee setup, whether wired or aerial....
In addition to the WB features, WB cartoons and Popeye cartoons also are affected by decision.
November 12, 1957
Capitalizing on the Sputnik publicity, Walter Lantz is juggling his release schedule to put "Misguided Missile," a Woody Woodpecker cartoon directed by Paul Smith, into release immediately.
November 13, 1957
The deal, reportedly involving about $6,000,000 in cash, represents the first major merger of telepix companies in about a year, the last being Screen Gems' takeover of the Hygo-Unity library. The NTA-AAP agreement is expected to be reduced to writing today (Wed.) or tomorrow.
Apparently, NTA nosed out United Artists in the negotiations, for the latter company had also been dickering with AAP for a majority interest buy-out.... Besides the 1,200 Warner features, AAP has the Paramount "Popeye" cartoon library, Warner "Looney Tunes" shorts, and other cinematics from both foreign and American sources. Since its purchase in July, 1956 of the Warner library—the sole negative rights buy in all the major studio deals—AAP has realized close to $30,000,000 in gross sales to tv stations.
November 19, 1957
Deal has been consummated for a Columbia Pictures release of UPA's first feature-length cartoon feature, "Magoo's Arabian Night."
Film goes before the cameras Dec. 15 in widescreen and Technicolor. Stephen Bosustow will produce, Pete Burness direct.
November 20, 1957
Sputnik, Muttnik and President Eisenhower's messages on "Science and Security" have created a new interest by stations throughout the country for factual films on scientific subjects. Nothing which was done by Trans-Lux to sell the Encyclopaedia Britannica Film library has had the impact of Sputnik I, according to sales topper Richard Carlton. Since the event, and in response to a Trans-Lux telegram to stations throughout the country, the distrib organization has been on the receiving end of an unprecedented number of requests for films dealing with all phases of science.
In the free public service programming field, Assn. Films is offering a half-hour "Space and Time" package to stations. The package consists of two films, "The Corporal Story," dealing with an Army rocket-powered missile, and "Your Safety First," an animated cartoon conception of travel in the year 2000.
November 25, 1957
THE STORY OF WALT DISNEY
(Holt; 247pp.; $3.95)
Walt Disney's daughter — who should know — has painted a faithful and often absorbing blow-by-blow picture of her father in this intimate biog of the man who developed film animation to the high degree of perfection it occupies today. Working with (as told to) Pete Martin, who previously authored biogs on Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, she has come up with a pretty human portrait which reveals Disney probably has had more ups and downs — particularly downs — than the majority of big-time producers, frequently didn't know where his next cent — even after he became a name — was coming from and is a man of fierce loyalties.
When Disney first landed in Hollywood from Kansas City, where he was engaged in commercial and novelty screen cartoon production, he had no idea of continuing with a pencil . . . What he wanted was to become a director, thinking that the ultimate already had been reached in cartoonery by such producers as Paul Terry. In Kansas City, where as a boy, too, he had had a paper route prior to going to France with the Red Cross during World War I, he had devised his own system of animation. This, now, was to prove the springboard for his cartoon career when, after finding no director jobs available, he turned again to his pencil for eating money. Alexander Pantages, operator of the Pantages vaude circuit, gave him his first chance via a series of animated jokes for the screen.
Through a literal labyrinth of hurdles, story traces Disney's rise through financial difficulties, raids on his art staff, business double-crosses, etc. How he created his various cartoon characters, as well as meeting the challenge of talking pictures, sound and color are also described. It is a complete, readable portrait of Disney down to the present and his entry into television and realization of his dream, Disneyland. Whit
November 27, 1957
NBC bought 52 cartoons in the series called "Ruff And Ready" from H-B Enterprises for showing on Saturday mornings. It was part of a package negotiated by Screen Gems and will include Columbia one-reel comedies.
SG has also ordered from H-B 78 cartoons titled "Super Snooper" and "Yogi Bear." H-B was formed last spring by George Sidney, prexy, and animators Joe Barbara and William Hanna. Company has also been active in the commercial tv field.
Walt Disney Productions is suing Bourne Music for the return of a flock of valuable film music copyrights, according to an action filed in N. Y. Federal Court last week. Disney's complaint charges that the Bourne firm acquired the Disney music copyrights through "misrepresentation." It further alleges that Bourne's royalty statements to Disney were "false and inaccurate," to the tune of $75,000 to $150,000, since the contracts were entered into in 1933.
Subsequently, Disney, under the contract, delivered the scores from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Dumbo" and numerous shorts. Under the pact, Bourne had the right to publish, exploit, collect fees and royalties in the U. S. and overseas in return for payment of a royalty to Disney. Since the tunes in the Disney films were written by composers and lyricists who were employees "for hire," the copyrights were the exclusive property of Disney before their transfer to Bourne.
Disney charges that beginning in 1934 and for a period thereafter, Bourne's royalty statements to him were "untrue, unjust and fraudulent." The complaint charges that Disney learned of the "false statements" on Oct. 1 of this year. Saul H. Bourne, founder and owner of Bourne Music, died in New York Oct. 13. His widow, Mrs. Bonnie Bourne, now operates the firm.
Disney is asking that a special master be appointed to make an accounting of royalties allegedly due him; that all contracts between himself and Bourne be declared null and void; that Bourne transfer all rights to the disputed copyrights to Disney; and that Bourne be enjoined and restrained from dealing in the copyrights, pending outcome of the legal action.
December 4, 1957
After nine years as arrangers and copyists rep at AFM Local 47, Jimmie De Michele is back in the field of commercial music. First job probably will be to compose, arrange and conduct for a series of 52 tele cartoons.
Margaret and Paul Schneider yesterday were set by Stephen Bosustow, prexy of UPA, to supervise work on script of "Magoo's Arabian Night," company's feature-length cartoon which is slated to start Dec. 15.
Bosustow will produce and Pete Burness direct.
Walt Disney bought "The 101 Dalmations," book by Dodie Smith, as his next cartoon feature.
December 9, 1957
Outfit is currently engaged in subcontracting work for Disney.
December 11, 1957
San Francisco, Dec. 10.
KPIX, the Westinghouse tv'er here, became the first station in the U.S. to purchase the Australian-produced color cartoons, "Waltzing Matilda" and "Christmas Bells." Importation of the Aussie celluloid helps alleviate pressure in this country for new animated product for video.
There are only these two cartoons in the first deal, but KPIX has made a deal with International Television Services to take options on 50 others to be completed later Down Under. Rowl Greenhalgh produced the cartoons, with full orchestration and chorus by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
December 16, 1957
Corinne Calvet and Jeff Stone, the pic couple who were v.p.'s of Beverly Hills Productions cartoonery, over the weekend resigned their posts and informed Calif. Commissioner of Corporations they did so because they were denied info on the firm's financial dealings.
Beverly Hills Productions recently came under fire, Including investigation by the Better Business Bureau and the L.A. Police Bunco Squad, following DAILY VARIETY story disclosing inconsistencies in group's brochure accompanying public sale of stock. Via pitches, mainly over tv, group sold nearly $100,000 in stock to the public. Labor and other estimated costs listed in brochure were considerably below established scales in the cartooning field. Consensus of expert opinion from reputable firms in field was that Beverly Hills Productions couldn't deliver proposed color cartoon strips at prices quoted.
In their letter to the Corporations Commissioner, Miss Calvet and Stone admitted they knew that their names would be used in stock solicitations. However, "... we feel it imperative that our names not be used for any purpose which may in any way affect our reputation. At the time, we permitted the use of our names because representations were made to us that the corporation's purposes ... warranted our support, and we were guaranteed we would be active in the company's affairs, so we would be aware of how monies collected as a result of stock sales would be used ..."
Letter asserts that when the couple requested such info last week, firm's directorate not only refused it, but voted them out of office.
December 17, 1957
Peter Gordon set yesterday to dub voices for a UPA cartoon, "Honorable Blossom," and for role in a "Studio 57" vidpic, "A Source of Irritation."
[Note: the Catalog of Copyright Entries lists BANNER OF TERUAKI, m[usic] UPA Pictures, Inc., employer for hire of Tak Shindo, copyright October 25, 1957. It was Jimmy Murakami’s first short film. “I took it home and burned it,” he recollected, because he couldn’t get anyone at UPA to shoot the drawings. You can go here for more on this film].
December 24, 1957
Before Chesler and supporters M. Mac Schwebel and Max Goldbar sold out their 51% in AAP to United Artists dummy corporation, one of the chief issues between them and AAP prexy Eliot Hyman was whether to recapture feature film sales profits, or plow them back into Ray Stark's production plans.
AAP is trying to close option with King Features for “Popeye”rights.
December 25, 1957
A legal hassle still haunts the United Artists deal for controlling stock interest in Associated Artists Productions, the Eliot Hyman helmed feature and cartoon distrib organization owning the Warner Bros. backlog.
National Telefilm Associates is going ahead with its court action, seeking performance of its deal with the Chesler group for a stock buyout. Louis Chesler, resigned board chairman of AAP, bowed out of the NTA deal, contending the UA offer was better for all AAP Stockholders. The breach-of-contract claim is part of an overall NTA suit against UA, Hyman and others. The suit was triggered in New York Supreme Court when AAP minority stockholders sought a permanent injunction blocking the NTA-Chesler deal, now rejected.
The UA agreement for 700,000 shares of AAP stock was made via a UA subsid, Gotham Television Film Corp. The selling group was composed of 12 individuals and corporations, the major ones being Chesler, his family and one of the Canadian financier's corporations, Donnell & Mudge, Ltd., a Canadian film distribution organization; and J. H. Greenberg, a Canadian lawyer. Others in the selling group included Maxwell Goldbar, who resigned as exec v.p. of AAP, B. Solway, E. D. Wright, L. J. Fogler, Ken Kelman and E. T. Lynch.
The purchase price for the stock was $12 per share, consisting of $6 in cash and an undertaking for a $6 sinking fund 6% debenture. UA said steps are being taken by which other AAP shareholders would be offered the same $12 per share.
It's still too early to tell how the future of AAP will shape up under UA's control, but it's considered likely that UA may utilize the AAP distribution organization for its features, while employing United Artists Television, a subsid, for its telefilm operation. Hyman, in any event, continues as AAP prexy, with the probability that UA shortly will name some of its associates to the AAP board.
As to a merger of UA and AAP, that won't take place until UA has the required amount of stock to effect such a change, that is two-thirds of the 1,039,000 AAP shares outstanding. Even if the required two-thirds is procured, UA may elect to keep AAP's identity and working organization.
December 31, 1957
Washington, Dec. 30.—The $250 initiation fee instituted by Screen Cartoonists Local 839 in 1956 is "excessive and discriminatory," an examiner of National Labor Relations Board today ruled. Fee was increased from $50.
Examiner recommends to NLRB that the Local be required to refund all payments on the amount to new members and either reduce initiation fee, or surrender its union shop contracts with Warner Bros., Loew's, UPA, Walter Lantz and Walt Disney.
The case does not involve the Screen Cartoonists Guild, which also raised its initiation fee from $50 to $250 in April, 1957. However, the inference is that an appeal to NLRB from the Screen Cartoonists Guild initiation fee would probably have the same result.
Appeal to NLRB against Local 839 was brought by the Animated Film Producers Association, comprising WB, Loew's, UPA, Lantz and Disney. Association charged upped fee was an "unfair" labor practice.