Monday, 29 May 2017

Done Swallered a Television

“Now, don’t ask how we got the television set back,” is Droopy’s comment to those in the viewing audience who try to put sense into a Tex Avery cartoon. For, a little earlier in the cartoon (Three Little Pups), the big bad wolf sucks the TV set out of the house of bricks through a straw and into his stomach.



“Heck's fire. I seen that one last night,” says the wolf, as he shuts off the set to end the gag.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

1002 Roxbury Drive

Jack Benny's favourite home, by his daughter's account, was the first house he owned in California. Jack and Mary Livingstone rented three different places in Los Angeles after leaving New York, then bought a piece of land in 1937 and had a home constructed on it. The address was 1002 Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. The home is still there but has apparently been renovated extensively inside. It's said the house was copy of the home of George Burns and Gracie Allen but larger.

Joan Benny related in her book that the area was still fairly rural at the time and vacant lots were not uncommon. It was a kindler, gentler time. The Benny home had minimal security, with a system which Jack sometimes activated accidentally. Fans could walk up to the door if they wished—and some did.

The Bennys called it home for 30 years before Mary Livingstone decided she wanted to move. She and Jack bought two 39th floor penthouses before tiring of life overlooking the Pacific and purchasing a house hidden away in the Holmby Hills area.

Radio Mirror took a tour through the Benny house on Roxbury and published its findings in the April 1940 edition. These poorly-scanned photos accompanied the story.

House of Laughter
OF course, it's just a "tumble-down shack," the Benny house on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, California, or so Jack says. Just a modest little grey home in the West. Even if you remind Jack of its Venetian chandeliers, inch-thick carpets, movie projection room, five bathrooms, two bars and real Battenburg lace piano cover, he insists those were Mary's ideas, not his. As star of his new Paramount picture, the rip-roaring "Buck Benny Rides Again," he could hardly admit that he likes such fripperies. Then, you say what about his mirrored dressing room, his antique mahogany highboy and his fourposter bed, whereupon he grins and says, what the heck, a guy's gotta have a half-way decent place to live in, and shows you all around, pleased as punch with the house and with himself for building it.

Well, it is something! White French Provençal set in the middle of an acre or more of ground with a swell green lawn in front; mammoth patio, swimming pool and rose garden in the back. And from the moment you enter the spacious, circular hall, papered in gray, canopied by a gorgeous chandelier fully ten feet long and sentinelled by a beautiful grandfather's clock, you realize you are in not only a house but a home.

The drawing room (Jack won't call it that, but Mary does) is done in soft rose beige tones with harmonizing satin-striped wall paper. The carpet is beige, the drapes beige and apple green satin brocade and most of the furniture is antique with beige and apple green coverings. But here and there a scarlet chair or cushion provides a bright color accent.

Back of the drawing room is the playroom, a gay, homey place with corner seats upholstered in scarlet or green, pool, card and backgammon tables scattered conveniently about, and a projection room opening off one end, its door cunningly concealed by two large pictures.



The very formal beige and brown dining room opens on a gay little chintz hung breakfast room, where Jack and Mary and Baby Joan eat when there isn't any "company." The library is a comfortable room with a blue Oriental rug on the floor, shelves full of books that look as though they have been read, and a handsome desk which Jack says is too fancy for any real transaction of business. Several secret closets, tucked away behind movable book shelves, were when we viewed them stuffed full of Santa Claus' Christmas presents for Joan.

Upstairs you'll find Mary's bedroom. It is very luxurious, decorated in the same quiet beige shades as the drawing room, but her dressing room, as big as some people's living rooms, is a gorgeous affair of mirrors and crystal fittings. Across a little hall, Jack's bedroom, dominated by the simply huge highboy we mentioned and his equally huge four-poster, is a pleasingly masculine room done in browns and tans, with leather upholstered chairs and even a leather upholstered chaise longue. And, yes, Jack's dressing room is lined with mirrors, though he vows he never looks in any of them—well, hardly ever!

Upstairs there is also a gay nursery for Joan and beyond that a sun deck built especially for her. There is a guest room, too, a pretty, quaint apartment complete with dressing room and bath.

The playhouse, a separate building beyond the swimming pool, has another big bar, more card and game tables, a barbecue pit and dressing rooms for swimmers. The furnishings are done in scarlet and green.

There are several other things, too, about the Benny house which make it quite complete—things like huge servants' quarters, fireplaces in every room except the dining room and kitchen, a mammoth butler's pantry (well stocked with jello) and a perfectly ducky powder room on the first floor.

All in all, the house that Jack Benny built is something to be proud of—and who wouldn't be with a charming wife like Mary and a beautiful adopted daughter like Joan to share his long cherished dream?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Cartoons in Theatres, 1961

Short subjects fought a losing battle in the 1960s. They were still being shown at movie theatres but their heyday was long past (it could be argued that shorts fared better before sound came in). And by 1970, they were almost extinct.

In 1961, distributors were still sending cartoons, newsreels, sportsreels and travelogues to theatres. The cartoons had a big advantage over the others. New releases could later be sold to television for a profit. Old ones could be cobbled together for a kiddie Saturday matinee “carnival” or run in connection with a G-rated feature.

Boxoffice magazine still had a Short Subjects Spotlight edition in 1961, gamely trying to convince the movie houses (and, perhaps, producers) that people really wanted to watch reruns of old Candid Microphone shorts. And there were some new things at theatres—Gene Deitch’s Tom and Jerry cartoons had been produced, while Paramount promoted a two-reel cartoon, Abner the Baseball.

Here’s what the magazine had to say about various shorts coming soon to a theatre near soon in its November 27th edition. Photos and publicity drawings accompanied the stories but we’ll only reproduce the ads which, I suspect, were the reason Boxoffice had a special Shorts edition in the first place. Some non-cartoon items have been omitted.

Wide Variety of Subjects In Columbia's Lineup
“Today’s ‘shopping-customer’ will go to the motion picture theatre, and will continue to go only if a full effort has been made to provide him with his money’s worth in terms of a well-balanced program of judiciously selected features and short subjects,” according to Maurice Grad, Columbia’s short -subjects sales manager. ...
Highlighting the one-reel color cartoons is the popular “Loopy de Loop” series, created by the Academy-Award winning team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Other one-reel color cartoons will be the two-time Academy Award winner, “Mr. Magoo,” in eight of his favorites, and 15 selections from some of the company’s Cream of the Crop of past years.

First New Tom & Jerrys In 3 Years From MGM
After a three-year halt, new Tom and Jerry cartoons are being produced once again for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — with 11 new subjects on the release schedule for 1961-62. In recent seasons, the MGM Tom and Jerry lineup has consisted of reissues of the most popular of the subjects in the series.
Three of the subjects already have been placed in release — “Switchin’ Kitten,” “Down and Outing” and “Greek to Me-ow,” all in Metrocolor. The Tom and Jerrys have proven so popular, both in this country and abroad, that many theatres regularly book festivals exclusively devoted to subjects featuring these two animated characters.
The cartoons are being released through an arrangement with Rembrandt Films of New York, of which William L. Snyder is the president and Gene Deitch the creative director. Both have had wide experience in the animated cartoon field, Snyder having produced, among others, “Munro,” an Academy Awards nominee, and Deitch having served as creative director for Terrytoons.

'Abner' Story of a Baseball, Prime Paramount Entry
With the current shortage of feature product in today’s markets, shrewd exhibitors are surrounding their feature programs with the most attractive short subjects obtainable in order to cultivate a continuous flow of patronage and maintain a well-balanced show, says Howard Minsky, Paramount’s assistant general sales manager and executive in charge of shorts sales.
“The essential values in a company’s short subject program to increase exhibitor patronage is best summed up in these important subject matter requirements: timeliness, variety and action — with color an additional strong plus factor. Opinions from leading exhibitors on the most desirable type of short subjects patrons prefer almost invariably revealed cartoons leading all other divisions with sports, travel shorts and novelty films running closely behind,” he said. For its current program of short subjects, Paramount will have available a brighter, newer array of 40 assorted short subjects encompassing a wide variety of colorful subjects “geared to meet any and every showman’s program requirements.”
The 1961-62 lineup is composed of the following: A two-reel cartoon special, “Abner, the Baseball,” which documents the life of a major league baseball from the time it is stuffed and stitched in a factory to the time it gets the stuffing clobbered out of it on the diamond. This subject was shown to various baseball writers as well as major league clubs. Phil Rizzuto, baseball radio commentator, declared it “one of the funniest pictures about baseball I have ever seen.”
There will be 20 other colorful cartoons of four series each: seven Noveltoons including “Munro,” a cartoon gem which won this year’s Academy Award; “Turtle Scoop,” “Kozmo Goes to School” and “Perry Popgun”; seven Modern Madcaps consisting of “The Plot Sickens,” “Crumley Cogwheel” and “Popcorn and Politics”; six Comic Kings with “Mouse Blanche” and “Hits and Runs” now ready and the following six Popeye Champions: “Fireman’s Brawl,” “Toreadorable,” “The Ace of Space,” “Shaving Mugs,” “Taxi Turvy” and “Floor Flusher.”

Universal Has 36 in Color One Black, White Subject
Acting on the premise that short subjects are continuing to form a more important part of a theatre’s programming. Universal again will offer a varied program of 36 shorts in color and one in black and white during the 1961-62 selling season.
F. J. A. McCarthy, assistant general sales manager in charge of short subjects distribution, said that the increase in output effected last year by Walter Lantz would be continued during 1961-62, with Lantz making 19 new color cartoons for release, augmented by seven rereleases of Woody Woodpecker subjects.

Terrytoons Winning Favor On Film Festival Front
For exhibitors booking Terrytoon cartoons, William Weiss, vice-president and general manager of CBS’s Terrytoon division, has a few suggestions that should help create more public interest in the subjects.
“The nature of the pictures we currently have in distribution provides the alert and aggressive exhibitor with a great opportunity to point out with pride that the Terrytoons releases he is now receiving have been selected for showing this year at the world’s best known film festivals. He should point out to his local Parent Teachers Ass’n, his local school administrators and to any other educational group in his community, that Terrytoons cartoons featuring Hector Heathcote, Hashimoto San and Silly Sidney were seen in the Cannes, Berlin, Moscow, Locarno, Edinburgh, Cork, San Francisco and Mexico festivals; in fact, were requested to be shown at these festivals by those in charge. He should also point out that at the Venice Film Festival, “Drum Roll,” featuring Hector Heathcote, won first prize in the children’s category,” Weiss said.
“By promoting the quality of these Terrytoons films, the alert and aggressive exhibitor can help his continuing drive to bring children back to the movie theatres. Also, because of the current lack of full-length films for the entire family, the alert and aggressive exhibitor can put together a Terrytoons cartoon festival of his own that he would be proud to invite the family unit to attend,” he said.
Weiss said the Terrytoon studio is working on two new series with new characters, which will be available some time next year.

Union Film Distributors, releasing organization of Kingsley International, will offer eight new short subjects for the 1962 season, in addition to 11 now in release. The new subjects consist of “Two Men and a Wardrobe,” a Polish live-action film; “Children of the Sun,” a cartoon; “A Bowl of Cherries,” from Greenwich Village; “Rembrandt,” the story of the artist’s life as told through his paintings; “A Chairy Tale,” about the revolt of a kitchen chair; “Return to Glennascaul,” a ghost story with Orson Welles; “Romance of Transportation,” a cartoon novelty, and “Life with Caesar,” a comedy.

Lester Schoenfeld Offers 14 Shorts in New Season
Lester A. Schoenfeld Films will offer 14 short subjects during 1962. The subjects cover cartoons, art, travel, adventure, sports, nature and military — with running times ranging from ten to 30 minutes.
Titles of the lineup are:
“The Colombo Plan,” art cartoon; “The Queen’s Visit to Nepal,” travel-adventure; “An Oscar for Signor Rossi,” art cartoon; “A Date With Gulienne,” travel; “Sicilian Memories,” travel; “Champs of Sport,” sports; “Springtime in England,” nature; “Aran of the Saints,” travel; “Down Killarney Way,” travel; “Northwest Horizons,” travel: “State Opening of Parliament,” art; “Safari South,” travel; “Edinburgh Tattoo,” military, and “Three’s Company,” travel. All are in color except “Champs of Sport.” The sole Cinemascope subject is “State Opening of Parliament.”

Laurel & Hardy Cartoons
The famous comedy team of Laurel & Hardy will again be seen on the world’s screens, in a series of two-reel animated cartoons to be produced by Larry Harmon. The subjects will be produced for both television and theatrical showing, but films made for theatres will not be available for television.

1961-62 Shorts Lineup, Company by Company

Buena Vista
One seven-minute Goofy short ; three Donald Ducks, including one 28-minute subject; two live-action featurettes, and groups of cartoon and live-action reissues.

Columbia
Six two-reel color travel featurettes, a new series; a group of new Loopy de Loop cartoons; eight Mr. Magoo reissues; eight Three Stooges reissues; 12 reissues of two-reel comedies under Assorted Favorites and Comedy Favorites banners; 15 Cream of the Crop cartoon reissues; ten World of Sports one-reelers; six Candid Camera re-issues.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Eleven new Tom and Jerry color cartoons; 104 issues of News of the Day.

Kingsley-Union Films
Eight new subjects, encompassing a variety of subjects, mostly imports, plus 11 subjects already in release.

Paramount
Forty subjects — one two-reel cartoon special, seven Noveltoons, seven Modern Madcaps, six Popeye Champions, six Sports in Action, two two-reel specials in color, plus cartoon favorites.

Lester A. Schoenfeld
Fourteen subjects, encompassing cartoons, art, travel, sports and other subjects.

20th Century-Fox
Twelve color CinemaScope short subjects, encompassing national defense, national progress, sports, music and travel ; four subjects in a new series, “Amazing But True,” a believe-it-or-not type of subject, plus a selection of new Terrytoons and reissues of popular Terrytoons of the past.

Universal-International
Nineteen new Walter Lantz Cartunes; seven Woody Woodpecker rereleases; two two-reel specials (travel) ; eight one-reelers in color; Football Highlights of 1961; and 104 reissues of Universal-International News.

Warner Bros.
Three two-reel Worldwide Adventure Specials; six one-reel Worldwide Adventure specials; 16 Merrie Melodie-Looney Toon cartoons; 13 Blue Ribbon cartoon reissues.


By the end of the decade, there were still short subjects around—just fewer and fewer of them. As for cartoons, Walter Lantz and DePatie-Freleng were the only studios still producing new shorts, Terrytoons was putting TV cartoons (like the Mighty Heroes’ The Toy Man) on the big screen, Warners had ended production with the release of Injun Trouble on Sept. 6, 1969 but was reissuing old shorts, as was Disney. Not that I saw them. The local theatre was torn down. No one was going to the movies. They were watching TV instead.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Thanks a Lot, Harry

We all know that a rabbit sold Trix cereal for years, but did you know rabbits also sold milk?

Playhouse Pictures was contracted in 1965 to animate some very short blurbs starring Pete and Harry to sell various products under the Carnation brand.

Backgrounds were almost non-existent (one commercial has a lone cactus) and there was usually some kind of take to end them with the line “Thanks a lot, Harry.”



The characters were copyrighted by Playhouse on October 21, 1965 but the spots aired earlier. Variety of May 28, 1965 reveals:
Those Carnation "rabbits" are the creation of Playhouse Pictures vocalized by Lennie Weinrib and Al Hammer, directed by Gerry Chiniquy from Bernie Gruver's fable.
Chiniquy spent many years at Warner Bros., mainly in the Friz Freleng unit, and was reunited with Friz at DePatie-Freleng. Gruver was normally a layout man. He had worked for John Sutherland and soon after these commercials were made, worked for Bill Melendez on A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts cartoons.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Silk Worm?

Sex plays an important role in many Tex Avery cartoons. Here’s an example from The Early Bird Dood It! (1942), the first he put into production at MGM.

A bird (Frank Graham) is chasing a worm (Kent Rogers) but the action is halted by a shapely leg in what appears to be a silk stocking. Naturally, it’s the worm. And, naturally, the bird gets clobbered before it’s on to the next gag.



Irv Spence, Preston Blair, Ray Abrams and Ed Love are the credited animators.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

No, It's Not Ted Collins

Silliness? Really bad puns? Parody? It was all wrapped up in one radio show that hopped about among various networks in radio’s Golden Age.

The show was “It Pays To Be Ignorant.”

It seems I write about this cockeyed quiz programme every two years. You have no doubt read posts from May 2013 and May 2015. So here’s another one.

My big lament is that most of the versions of the show circulating on the internet have poor audio quality or are AFRS copies that don’t have network IDs and commercials. And it’s not a show I’d recommend for binge listening (which, to be honest, I don’t recommend to begin with). But it’s fun to groan along with, and it’s enjoyable to find a show that doesn’t take itself seriously. Neither did the sponsor, at least in the days on Mutual. The show was picked up in 1942 by Piel’s Beer. Broadcasting magazine revealed “Ignorant”...
...is being promoted by Piel salesmen this month, who are making their calls wearing large paper dunce caps. In the spirit of the show also, the brewing company's commercials are based on the "apologetic theme", stating that the program "is the best the company could find" and Piel's "hopes its listeners won't be offended", etc. Agency in charge is Sherman K. Ellis & Co., New York.
Here’s an article about it from Radio Life magazine of February 15, 1944. There are brief biographies of the panel and host as well. Oddly, the show was on two networks at the time, but it left Mutual for Columbia at the end of the month, replaced with the Army Air Forces Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Harry Bluestone, and taking the place of “The Philip Morris Playhouse” on CBS.

It Pays To Be Ignorant
By Shirley Gordon

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Mutual-KHJ
WHO SAYS there's nothing new under the sun?
If you are one of that growing group of radio dialers who is beginning to be worn ragged by the endless barrage of quiz programs that prove to be poor imitations of "Information Please," you will find just what you're looking for in "It Pays to Be Ignorant," the new half-hour comedy show heard each Tuesday night on KHJ, and also being featured indefinitely as a part of CBS' popular Friday night "Kate Smith Hour." It's a quiz show to end all quiz shows.
Burlesquing the usual programs of this type, the cast of this new laugh spot includes interlocutor Tom Howard and a trio of judges, George Shelton, Lulu McConnell and Harry McNaughton. Their routine runs very much as follows:
Curtain opens on board of experts in the midst of deep intellectual discussion:
1st Expert: "What d'ya think he did—he tried to pass off a lead half-dollar on me!"
2nd Expert: "The dirty crook!"
3rd Expert: "What did you do with it?"
1st Expert: "I bought this tie."
This week's literary offering from these noted educators:
"Little Bo Peep
Has lost her sheep
And don't know where to find them . . .
Leave them alone
And they'll come home.
. . . Lamb chops!"
Dean of Misinformation, Mr. Tom Howard, submits the question of the evening to the board:
"What great president was the city of Washington, D. C. named after?"
The board of experts, with furrowed brows and drumming fingers, sinks into deep concentration of thought.
"No help from the audience, please!" Mr. Howard exclaims hastily with a warning gesture. "Now, let's all concentrate," he urges his experts.
The experts look dubiously at one another.
"Would you kindly repeat the question, please?" they finally request of Mr. Howard.
Mr. Howard obliges.
The board remains puzzled.
D. C. or T. C?
"Did you say D. C. or T. C.?" they question.
"Could it be Ted Collins?" one suggests, Mr. Collins being a prominent figure on the Kate Smith show.
"He wasn't president during my time," a co-expert points out.
"Why did you put that D. C. in the question?" another expert asks of their interlocutor. "You're trying to confuse us!"
"D. C. stands for District of Columbia," Mr. Howard patiently explains.
"Oh, then it's something about Christopher Columbus!" exclaims one enlightened expert in delight.
"Why wasn't he president?" asks another.
"He must have been a Republican," opines the third.
The board once again emerges into the deepness of thought. There is a period of suspenseful silence; then one of the esteemed experts clears his throat to speak.
"What was the question again, please?" he asks.
"Why was Columbus made president?
As one can readily see, "It Pays To Be Ignorant" is a reverse of the orthodox procedure on question -and-answer shows. The judges are as much baffled as the audience, as they try not only to answer the puzzlers but also to find out what the questions were in the first place.
Such profound inquiries as "What great American general lies buried in Grant's Tomb?" and "What radio singer with initials K. S. has a theme song called 'When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain'?" are gravely pondered by the learned foursome.
The questions they will or will not answer, depending on their mood of the evening, are submitted in writing from the audience instead of in person, as previously done on their own show.
When interlocutor Howard asks "What comes over the mountain?", the answer he gets is "Hillbillies!" When Howard persists, and patiently hints, "What comes over the mountain at night?", the reply comes readily: "Drunken hillbillies!"
All four members of the cast of "It Pays To Be Ignorant" are veteran performers. Tom Howard, born in County Tyrone, Ireland, has a theatrical career that goes back to 1905 when he decided that vaudeville acting was nice easy work paying fine dividends. He started at the Dreamland Theater in Philadelphia for the munificent salary of $15 a week, playing a dozen performances a day. That led to other engagements which finally brought him to Broadway in the "Ziegfeld Follies," Joe Cook's "Rain or Shine," "Greenwich Village Follies" and "Keep Moving."
Then Howard found a partner in George Shelton, to form the team of Howard & Shelton, a standard vaudeville act for many years. The team also made a number of motion picture shorts, some 55 in all, which brought them nationwide attention and fame. With the advent of radio, the team went on the air, appearing on many programs for the past decade.
Shelton, born in New York, started his career with a tent show in Iowa. He had worked out an act featuring a Dutch accent, but soon learned he had to broaden his repertoire by reason of doing a different act each night. Turning to blackface with a Southern drawl he encountered difficulties, for the Dixie drawl came out with that same old Dutch dialect.
From the tent show Shelton went on tour with a repertory company for five years, and then saw service in World War I. After the war, he toured Germany with a show, then returned to America for vaudeville dates. He replaced Bobby Clark in an act called "The Merry Wives of Windsor," and after that ran into Tom Howard and decided to team up.
The other two expert "ignoramuses" have had equally long careers in the theater. Lulu McConnell, the only woman in the show, has been on the stage in one capacity or another since she was four years old. Born in Kansas City, she was an established musical comedy star by the time she was sixteen, and has been featured in a number of successful Broadway shows, both in stock and in musicals. She takes some pride in having discovered Jack Oakie. Celebrities she appeared with included Eddie Cantor, George Jessell, Lillian Russell, Anna Held, and Willie and Eugene Howard. She says she likes answering the questions put to her on "It Pays To Be Ignorant" because it gives her a chance to use some of the same old jokes she has been using for years. "And," say Lulu, "they still get laughs!"
Harry McNaughton, best known to radio audiences for his seven-year run as Phil Baker's English butler, "Bottle," is the only member of the "Ignorant" cast bearing the distinction of having been a prisoner of war. In World War I he was captured by the Germans and so badly beaten he still bears facial scars.
Currently celebrating his 25th anniversary in show business, McNaughton comes of a long line of English theatrical artists. His father was lessee and manager of the Adelphi Theater in London, and his uncles were music hall favorites for many years. His Broadway career includes appearances in more than 30 productions.
In 1929 he was making a film at the Pathe Studios in New York when fire broke out. McNaughton jumped out of a window with a helpless chorus girl in his arms, both of them escaping with minor injuries although several people were burned to death in the blaze. The chorus girl, now a distinguished actress, was Constance Cummings.
And in case you still want to know who's buried in Grant's Tomb, ask them and they'll doubtless reply, "We don't know; we don't go to funerals."

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Fleischer Suburbia

Wonky or worn-out cityscapes highlighted many a cartoon from the Fleischer studio in the early 1930s. By the end of the decade, the Fleischer shorts were being set in cleaner suburbs with lawns and so on, perhaps reflective of New Yorkers leaving the dirt of the city for little homes on the outskirts.

Here are some of the suburban backgrounds in The Hot Air Salesman (1937), featuring the arm-swinging Wiffle Piffle.



The cartoon opens with a layered, 3D background. As usual, the artist isn’t credited.

By the way, is it my imagination, or did Fleischer cartoons eventually start ending with a lot of destruction?

Monday, 22 May 2017

Tom Thumb in Trouble

Chuck Jones wanted to make Disney-like cartoons with little or helpless characters, cartoons that made you want to go “Awww.” His boss Leon Schlesinger wanted to make funny cartoons, and apparently told Jones to make them. Is it any wonder that Jones spent years castigating Schlesinger as a know-nothing boob?

Tom Thumb in Trouble (1940) is about as Disney as Jones could get within the confines of Schlesinger’s budget. There’s a chirpy Disney-like song, there’s pathos, there’s a teeny character overcoming the odds and there’s a happy ending. And because Jones in an Artist, there are some interesting camera angles and layouts.

There’s a scene where Tom Thumb is splashing around in a soapy water-filled dish that he can’t escape. Whether Jones had Ace Gamer or another effects animator working on it, I don’t know, but there’s an awful lot going in each frame with water drops. Some examples:



Tom is splashing around to “Agitation” by Mendelssohn.

Tom’s voice is supplied by Marjorie Tarlton, says the internet, but I can’t find a thing about her in any trade publication, the Los Angeles Times or even the U.S. Census.