Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Not-Quite Ink Spots

The Ink Spots were a tremendously popular singing group in the early ‘50s. So it was they were parodied in that wonderful Tex Avery cartoon Magical Maestro (released 1952).

An opera goer, unhappy with all the magical morphing happening on the stage, sprays Poochini with fountain-pen ink. Suddenly, he turns into Bill Kenny, the lead singer of the Spots, crooning Burton/Adamson’s “Everything I Have Is Yours.”



Next comes an anvil (who doesn’t bring an anvil to an opera and carry it up to a balcony?) which flattens Poochini to sound like the guy who did the talking bass vocal in the Spots. (The real one was lower and wasn’t as froggy sounding as you hear in the cartoon).



The magician’s rabbits jump back into the scene. One sprays off the ink, the other carjacks Poochini up to regular size for the next gag.



Scott Bradley (or his arranger) was really ingenious here. The Ink Spots were known for harmony vocals behind a solo guitar; that’s what you hear in this cartoon. And Avery and writer Rich Hogan were smart enough to know they needed a break from the magician pulling tricks on Poochini, so they introduced the angry patron in mid cartoon.

I couldn’t tell you who is doing the Ink Spot imitations.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

One Droopy Night Backgrounds

When the second unit was revived at the MGM cartoon studio in September 1955, director Mike Lah acquired Fernando Montealegre as his background artist. Monte had been born in Costa Rica on June 23, 1926 and, in his late 20s, began work at MGM as an assistant animator.

His style meshed very nicely with that of Lah’s layout man, Ed Benedict, who seems to have preferred the flat style popularised by UPA. Monte’s backgrounds tend to be very stylised. The two of them moved to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio in 1957 where Monte’s work wasn’t quite as abstract.

Here are some of his backgrounds for the Oscar-nominee One Droopy Knight (1957). I like his use of colours. Mountain ranges are indicated by a simple purple line.



I don’t know if the characters are on overlays on this one.



Monte worked on all the early Hanna-Barbera syndicated shows and the ABC half-hours, like The Jetsons. He stayed with the studio through the early ‘80s, and died in California on April 29, 1991.

Monday, 18 September 2017

She Worked for Cod Liver Oil

June Foray made more people laugh than any other woman in animated cartoons.

The title of her autobiography—Did You Grow Up With Me, Too?—couldn’t have been more appropriate. She was far from being the first voice actress in animation, but she’s probably the best known, thanks to the constant exposure of her Warner Bros. cartoons of the 1950s and ‘60s, and the great joy she and her comrades freelancing for the Jay Ward studio gave to people for years.

And that’s just a teeny sampling of her work, but it’s the work you probably remember best and love.

There was once a late-night TV host named Steve Allen. He had a gang of stooges—Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye. Before television, Allen had a radio show. He had a gang of stooges. It was a gang of one—June Foray. Radio is where all the great cartoon voice people came from.

June spoke with the Los Angeles-area magazine Radio Life several times. This story dates from her time with Allen and his co-host, Wendell Noble, on a show called “Smile Time” on the Mutual network. It was written on March 17, 1946. In honour of what should have been June’s 100th birthday, allow us to reprint it. The fuzzy photos accompanied the article.

JUNE FORAY, “Mighty Midget”
She’s Just as Proficient with a Needle As She is at the Mike — Just as Clever Under a Car Hood as with a Paint Brush

Monday-Friday, 2 p.m.
MBS-KHJ-KGB

RADIO’S “mighty midget”—that’s June Foray, four feet eleven inches of as many different radio voices as ever came out of a mike. June runs the gamut of all of them on KHJ-Mutual Don Lee’s “It’s Smile Time” show heard Mondays through Fridays at 2:00 p.m.—even to the dog that always barks at the end of each show.
Every feminine voice that’s heard on the show is June’s. She can do anything from ingenues to grandmothers, through and including lady wrestlers. She’s one of the best boy juveniles in radio, and she’s played so many of these parts that Hollywood’s younger masculine radio contingent has threatened to form a union to keep Foray out. On a recent “Murder Is My Hobby” program, for instance, June played the lead supporting role—that of a little boy aged eleven.
Foray’s talent doesn’t confine itself to radio alone. She’s just as proficient with a needle as she is at a mike; just as able underneath a car hood as she is with a sewing machine; just as efficient with a paint brush as she is with a wrench.
She’s been sewing ever since she can remember . . . makes many of her own clothes, designs her own hats to add to her height. She loves wacky bonnets, and nothing pleases her better than to walk along Vine street with a new “stopper.”
Learned Accidentally
She got into the automotive repair business by the sheerest accident. June used to drive an old Model A, whose choke kept getting disconnected from the carburetor. One night on Serrano avenue (she’ll never forget it), she couldn’t get the thing to start. It was during the war and service-station attendants were being distinctly ungallant to lady motorists in distress. At least, the only one June could find didn’t care whether she got home or not. So June poked around under the hood herself and after about thirty minutes of fiddling, found out where the trouble was and got her car started. After that, she kept right on doing her own repair work, and she’s one girl who knows the difference between a piston ring and a set of spark plugs.
June’s pint size necessitates the use of a riser on most of the shows she works. On “It’s Smile Time,” she uses a riser AND a high stool, sharing her mike with Wendell Noble’s vocal numbers. When she plays on “Red Ryder,” however, it’s a cinch; Little Beaver’s mike is just the right height. Usually she does half-caste Indians on the Western show.
She's been working in radio since 1930; groomed for it ever since she was a little girl. When she was six, her mother thought her voice was too low, marched her off to a dramatic school to bring it up to a nice ladylike pitch. It was that early training in throwing her voice all over the scale that gave her the ability to imitate anything and everything. Famed as the best dialectician in Hollywood, June is the voice behind “Sniffles,” “Oswald,” and many another favorite cartoon character. She was the parrot in Spike Jones’ “Chloe” when the song was filmed; the hiccough of Paulette Goddard and Veronica Lake . . . the sneeze of Carole Thurston . . . and all kinds of animals. Her hardest imitation was of whooping cough for “Shepherd of the Hills.” She spent an entire day in the contagious wards of the County hospital, learning how.
Pill Pay
Hard work has never bothered June. Her post as a regular on the “Smile Time” show came because she had no objections to getting up at 5:30 a.m. when the show was aired at 7:15 a.m.
Her first radio appearance in Boston was on a program sponsored by a cod liver oil pill company. For three hours of rehearsal and a half hour dramatic show, the cast was paid $5 apiece and all the cod liver oil pills they could eat.
“The sponsor used to come to the show regularly and make us take the pills,” June remembers. “I usually managed to get down two.”
At home, she likes to tinker with a paint brush and a hammer and saw. She does a wonderful trick with coffee jars—paints the tops and bottoms, puts a decal on the clear glass between, and uses them as canisters in her kitchen. Not just decorative . . . you can see what’s in which!
Finally, she has a mad passion for politics—writes letters to her congressman, spends her time during elections doing house to house campaigns—and reads every book she can find on a discussed subject.
But unfortunately, even though she has learned just about everything else, she’s never learned not to take Wendell Noble and Steve Allen seriously. Her one complaint is that she’s a perfect foil for every gag they pull. She never knows what to expect next, and even when they dress up an old routine into something new, she still falls for it, hook, line and sinker.
“I’ve been with the show so long I should learn . . . I should learn,” she sadly shakes her head. “But I’m always the straight woman . . . always!”
Entertainer and voice expert Keith Scott says June was Oswald in the rabbit’s final cartoon, The Egg Cracker Suite (1943) and had completely forgotten about it until he reminded her. She then recalled how Lantz had to hire someone else to sing for Oswald. Her Sniffles cartoon was The Unbearable Bear (released April 1943), but she played the annoyed bear wife. Keith dug through the Warner studio archives and found Miss Foray was paid a whopping $25 to cut a couple of lines.

One of June’s most famous lines from cartoons was as Rocky saying “Now, here’s something we hope you’ll really like.”

June Foray gave us a lot to really like.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Jack and the President

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In had Billy Graham and former vice-president Richard Nixon as guests.

Big deal.

Jack Benny did the same thing first. He had the Rev. Dr. Graham and former President Harry S. Truman on his show.

Truman, like Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and a number of others, made their TV debuts on Benny’s program; they refused all other offers. They knew, from years of listening and watching, Jack would make them look good by making himself the butt of the jokes.

We posted about Graham’s appearance HERE. Now let’s post about Truman’s. A media throng jetted to Missouri for the taping in early September. Here’s one story from October 17, 1959, the day before the broadcast. Maybe the most interesting thing revealed in the story is something that has nothing to do with the broadcast. It’s about the casual approach to security for an ex-president. The JFK assassination four years later changed that.
Benny's Aim on Truman Show: Entertaining Yet Dignified
By MARGARET McMANUS

It would appear, in this fall of 1959, that Mr. Benny is off to the kind of galloping start that win bring him both the envy and the awe of his competitors. Never has the bidding for illustrious guest stars on television reached such a peak, but in any company, it would be hard to top the name of Harry Truman.
"I wouldn't do this for anybody but Jack Benny," said Mr. Truman. "I've had hundreds of requests to be on television, from everybody from Lawrence Spivak to Jack Paar. Jack Benny's an old friend. He came out here and played with the Kansas City Symphony for me; raised $52,000.
"When Jack asked me to be on his show, I said I'd be delighted. I trust him. Course I was advised by a lot of people not to do it. I know there will be some people who will criticize me, but that never bothers me. I'm used to it. I do it to suit myself.
"I know Jack will do this show in a dignified way but it's his show and I'm taking directions like all the other actors. My part will be to take him on a tour of the Truman Library. I'm not going to play the piano."
The portion of the show on which the former President is appearing was taped in the library at Independence, Mo., a handsome, modern building which houses the letters and documents and memorabilia of Truman's almost eight years in the White House.
There is a replica of Truman's White House office with the mammoth mahogany desk and behind the desk, a library table with pictures of Bess and Margaret in silver frames.
In the library, there is also the office and reception room where Mr. Truman works every day, spending six or seven hours at his writing and seeing visitors.
He drives himself to and from his home, a Victorian white house, no more than a five-minute drive from the library.
"I like to drive myself to the office," he said, obviously enjoying the freedom of his private citizenship.
Asked if it is possible, after holding the most important job in the world, to take up a more normal life again without feeling the loss of excitement, Mr. Truman said:
"Course it is. My life is as exciting as it ever was. You should follow me around some time. You know there are lots of things about being president that are not so desirable. You should talk to the 'Boss'. She'd have a few things to say about that."
MR. TRUMAN said he didn't think his appearance on Benny's television show would open up a new career for him.
"Look, I've been on television since 1945. I know almost as much about it as he does," he said, pointing to Benny. "But I'm no performer. Takes a good looking gal for that. I know all the tricks though. I know about wearing a blue shirt tomorrow."
For the run-through, before the actual taping, Mr. Truman was wearing a blue suit, a shads lighter than navy, a white shirt, a light blue silk tie and two-toned shoes, black, with a vamp of gray, silky material.
HOLDING HIS script in one hand, looking like a man about to make a speech, Mr. Truman paid nodding, meticulous attention to the words of Seymour Berns, the director. His most often repeated answers were: "OK. Just tell me what you want me to do" and "shoot, whenever you're ready."
At one point, when there was some delay in setting up the cameras, and Mr. Truman and Mr. Benny were forced to stand and wait for some five minutes, Mr. Truman said: "I'm glad we're not using any stand-ins, Jack. The real big stars always do the whole thing themselves, don't they?"
At another time, a group taking the regular Library tour suddenly realized what was happening in their midst and mobbed the roped-off section to watch. They quickly became loud and excited, until Mr. Truman called to them: "You're welcome to stay, but you have to be quiet, or we'll throw you all out." To which Mr. Benny replied:
"And he can do it. It's his store."
Through the long tedious hours of rehearsals and run-through, Mr. Truman and Mr. Benny were unfailingly good-humored, treating each other with courtesy and consideration. In the matter of taste, Mr. Truman has absolutely nothing to worry about. Jack Benny feels keenly the responsibility of presenting the former President.
"Don't think we haven't given this the greatest amount of thought," said Benny. "Sure, we want it to be an entertaining show but we went over and over every laugh to be certain their is nothing questionable involved. I'd sacrifice the laughs anytime. I don't want Mr. Truman to have any regrets about doing this."
UNDER UNION regulations, the former President must receive at least scale pay for appearing on the show, so the check he received as his guest fee was for $155. It is reliably reported, however, that a substantial contribution will be made to a cause of Mr. Truman's choosing, probably to the Truman Library.
As to what he will do with his check for $155, Mr. Truman said: "Oh, I expect I'll give it to the 'Boss.' She'll figure out a way to spend it."
Blue eyes twinkling behind his rimless spectacles, rosy cheeked, white hair smoothly combed from its side part, Mr. Truman, 75 years old, looked fit and untired after his afternoon's work. In the reception room outside his office, he put an arm around Benny and an arm around Seymour Berns.
"See you in the morning, nine sharp," he said. "Don't suppose you fellas want to walk with me in the morning? No, of course not, we'll be doing a lot of walking here all day."
Since Mr. Truman answered his own question. Jack Benny didn't have to answer, and just as well. The comedian, whose idea of a long walk is the sidewalk between the front of the hotel and the taxi, had a look on his face of ill-concealed disbelief, a look that said his ears must be playing him tricks.
It was Mr. Berns who merrily turned tha conversation away from early morning exercise.
"Look at our guest star," he said. "He's so nervous about the taping tomorrow, he won't sleep tonight."
"Who? Me?" asked the former President.
At the conclusion of the run-through, the only sign of weariness Mr. Truman, 75 years old, showed was a slight dragging of his right foot as he walked back to his office.
How did the broadcast go? Reviewed “Helm” in the Daily Variety the following Tuesday:
Jack Benny had to overcome one of the roughest tape jobs of the season to prove that he's still tv's top "straight man." The acoustics, lighting and other technical attributes were shoddy enough without the added woes of groans and squeaks on the sound track. But he rode it out with his guestar, ex-Prez Harry Truman, no less, and despite all the debits, it was a comedy classic with HST handling the laugh lines off JB's feed like they've been teaming for years.
Benny knew his subject well and didn't press him, taking him along leisurely and pausing to help the laughs along with his pained look of surprise. But the element of surprise, an enduring quality of his unprecedented success in radio and tv, was used to even more surprising effect. Those who expected to see Benny sawing away at a fiddle while Mr. T punched out "Missouri Waltz" on the ivories had to be content with off-camera sounds of the same.
Benny's penury, long a main prop, wasn't short-shrifted either. The 39 age bit evoked one of the show's biggest laughs when standing under a portrait of George Washington, Benny balked blushingly with "you're making it difficult." If the laughs were clocked, the guestar was the main comic. But that's Benny and it has paid off handsomely over the long years. The tour through the Truman library was the best thing that ever happened to it and should prove both beneficial to him as a public benefactor and future visits to the treasure trove of epic documents.
Seymour Berns produced and directed with the gentle touch of humor and to the avoidance of offending the dignity of a great American.
A day later, “Trau” in the Weekly Variety pointed out the two men had some things in common:
It was a natural that Jack Benny and Harry S. Truman would become a team for this half-hour one-nighter spec. Each yens a basic musical instrument that he has made part of his personal trademark. Each is a one-man chamber of commerce for a certain city in Missouri and in Illinois. Truman has a deep and abiding respect for the office of the President; JB has a ditto for the fine art of comedy. History will surely show that each was an American institution in his time, a condition that is just as certain to rub off on posterity.
Truman died December 26, 1972. Benny died exactly two years to the day later.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Cartoons of 1960, Part 2

At the start of 1960, he was in Chicago trying to sell TV stations a syndicated bowling show. By the end of the year, he was controlling the animation studio that was the darling of the film critics of the ‘50s.

Hank Saperstein had acquired the rights to distribute UPA’s Mr. Magoo to TV stations. By July, he and a business partner had bought the turmoil-infested studio from Steve Bosustow, who was suddenly displaced as the company’s mouthpiece. Saperstein’s first priority was to flood TV stations with low-cost, quickly made Magoo and Dick Tracy cartoons. Critics? Who wanted them? He wanted sales.

The story of animation in the second half of 1960 is a story of television. The Flintstones made its debut in prime time; we’ve talked about that endlessly on the Yowp blog. TV watchers made it a winner. By year’s end, Hanna-Barbera had sold Top Cat to ABC, and was working on syndicated short cartoons starring Lippy the Lion and Harebrain Hare (replaced by Touché Turtle). And when Saperstein overplayed his hand with Kellogg’s about a half-hour Magoo series, Hanna-Barbera struck a deal to fill the void with Yogi Bear (who debuted the following January).

Among the new companies that appeared was Leonardo Productions, which did something rare that fall—it put a brand-new, made-for-TV cartoon show on a network on Saturday morning. The cartoons were animated under Bob Ganon, Gerry Ray and Sam Nicholson at TV Spots (later called Creston Studios) in Los Angeles. Critics measured the series against the yardstick of Hanna-Barbera, whereas in another era, the gold standard was Disney.

What of Disney? Uncle Walt really wasn’t in the shorts business any more, although he did release a delightful cartoon with Donald Duck in Mathmagicland. The big Disney story was the souring of relations with ABC and the decision to move to NBC, the network that was to bring kids the “Wonderful World of Color.” ABC cast its cartoon lot with Hanna-Barbera, a mixed lot of Harveytoons sponsored by Mattel, and a series named for a plucky squirrel that really starred a dopey moose.

Warner Bros.? Its highlight was the debut of The Bugs Bunny Show in prime-time, complete with Show Biz Bugs-esque bumpers which enlivened the half-hour so much.

Oh, those critics. They were now examining foreign films. And so were North American distributors and producers, who realised how much bigger their profits would be if they could just get someone other than those expensive unionised American artists to make their cartoons, especially since the critics liked that eastern European stuff. No wonder Bill Snyder later looked to Prague when he landed a deal to revive Tom and Jerry. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Let us go through cartoon stories in Variety from the final half of 1960. Some have been omitted as they appeared on the Yowp blog. This is our swan song on this little series of posts. We’ve reprinted contemporary trade paper blurbs on cartoons for every year starting in 1928 and we hope these posts have been of interest and, perhaps, some use for reference purposes.

July 6, 1960
A "tax" on merchandisers will be part of the demands advanced this fall by Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839, IATSE, which hopes to establish a management-labor trust fund to provide supplementary unemployment compensation, training programs and other projects.
Gross receipts from sale of articles tied in with cartoon characters amounts to about $100,000,000 annually but animation producers and production artists allow most of the gravy to go to the networks, distribution syndicates, financiers, promoters and agencies, argues MPSC business rep Larry Kilty. Some producers, he said, get from 2 to 6% for licensing rights to merchandisers (toys, comic books, advertising uses, etc.) but it's not standard practice. A "tax" of one-half of one percent written into all union contracts and passed on to licensees, Kilty noted, would amount to some $600,000 per year, out of which novices could be trained and regulars could be maintained at something like subsistence level during slack periods—by making up difference between State Unemployment Compensation and (say) 65% of their normal earnings.
Plan was first advanced recently at a meeting of the union and representatives of 16 independent animation producers (including Format, Quartet, Playhouse, Graphic, Harman and TV Spots) and, Kilty said, many were receptive to the idea. The joint meeting was concerned with novice training but Kilty holds that this problem cannot be separated from the overall employment problem among cartoonists.
In addition to out-of-work pay and student training, the union-management trust fund could also carry on public relations and promotion activity designed to drum up more business for motion picture cartoonists and animation producers. Advent of King Features' program to produce animated product, indicates the degree to which the animation industry has allowed outsiders to take over control and accents the need for concerted action which transcends the various rivalries in the industry, Kilty opined. "The meek may inherit the earth," he said, "but they seldom get any of the profit."

Film packagers Henry G. Saperstein and Peter De Met together have purchased a majority interest in UPA Pictures Inc., taking the respective offices of president and vice chairman of the board. Stephen Bosustow, former prexy and founder of the animation company, has been given the title of board chairman and will serve in a creative consultant's capacity.
It's expected that eventually the Saperstein and De Met facilities and telefilm properties will be absorbed into the firm, making it a triple-threat production house offering film, animation and video tape. Should a total merger come about, the UPA banner will stand for a formidable roster of teleshows, in addition to the theatrical cartoons and spot commercials it represents now.
De Met, who bases in New York now, has an elaborate film and video tape shop in Chicago which specializes in mobile work, particularly for sports shows. De Met himself owns a pair of syndicated packages, "Major League Baseball Presents" and "National Pro Football," and he produces "All Star Golf" and "Championship Bowling," both on ABC-TV, for Saperstein. The Saperstein roster also includes "Ding Dong School," "Dick Tracy," and "Mr. Magoo," the last two being new syndicated shows that were being animated by UPA before the buyout.
Their coinvestment in UPA climaxes a business relationship between the two ex-Chicagoans that has been growing closer over the past year, ever since Saperstein bought the golf and bowling shows that De Met originated. In between the two deals, they've both invested in the Freedomland project in New York, the corporation of which De Met is chairman of the board.
De Met became a telefilm entrepreneur around seven years ago, with his "Championship Bowling" idea, after sponsoring local shows in Chicago as an automobile dealer. When "Bowling" clicked, he sold his dealership and went into business full time.
Saperstein broke in by way of the character merchandising field. He's prexy of TV Personalities Inc. (which he says is the largest firm of its kind in the business), headquartering in Hollywood. His past investments in shows began with "Lone Ranger" and "Lassie."

Kellogg will bankroll the animated "Mr. Magoo" series in 100 markets on a spot schedule beginning this fall. Series of half-hour cartoon shows, with Magoo as emcee, is being produced especially for tv by UPA Pictures.
UPA series joins two Screen Gems shows in Kellogg's spot lineup, "Huckleberry Hound" and "Quick Draw McGraw." Leo Burnett Co. is agency.

July 7, 1960
Mitchell J. Hamilburg, back from a four-month 'round-the-world trip, disclosed yesterday the consummation of a deal with Japanese cartoonery, Gakken Film Co., for global distribution of its tv and theatrical output. Deal involves half-ownership in all films, and represents a $260,000 investment, Hamilburg revealed. To facilitate handling of the films in Europe, a new overseas office for his Mitchell J. Hamilburg Enterprises was opened this week in London.

July 8, 1960
Cartoon series, "Rocky and His Friends," has been renewed for 26 weeks by General Mills. Program shifts to Thursday and Sunday at 5:30 on ABC-TV, replacing "Lone Ranger" in the Sunday slot. Show had the highest Nielsen rating last season of the daytime shows.

July 13, 1960
Robert Lawrence Animation, tele commercial firm, is making its first move into programming with a pilot for a half-hour animated kid series with "strong adult appeal."
Titled "Toy Box Time," the series will be in color and feature four individual story segments in each stanza.
Original story, design and direction are by Cliff Roberts and George Cannata of the Lawrence staff. Original music is being composed by Rufus Smith with animation by Grim Natwick.
Leading roles will be voiced by Sid Raymond, John Astin and Barbara Lewis. Latter two are featured in the cast of the long-running off-Broadway production of "Threepenny Opera."

Columbia and Screen Gems filed a copyright infringement action in N.Y. Federal Court last week against Morris Kleinerman and Cinepix Inc., charging an unauthorized distribution of 13 cartoons to television.
Plaintiffs, as represented by Sargoy & Stein, want an injunction, surrender of all negatives and damages of at least $250 for each alleged infringement.

United Artists Associated has clicked off a series of new station sales on its "Mel-O-Toons," series of 104 animated cartoons based on kiddie tunes. Station sales include: WGN-TV, Chicago; WBZ, Boston; WFIL, Philadelphia; WNHC, New Haven; KPRC, Houston; KTVK, Phoenix; KLAS, Las Vegas, and KFRE, Fresno.

July 20, 1960
After two-week's selling effort. Flamingo Films reports sales of its new cartoon series "Nutty Squirrels Tales," to 15 stations.
Sales include KHSL-TV, Chico, Calif.; WKBN-TV, Youngstown; KVOS-TV, Bellingham; WNEP-TV, Seranton; KYTV-TV, Springfield; WTVN-TV, Columbus. Nutty Squirrels are animated characters derived from the trio of the novelty disk click, "Uh-Oh."

LONDON—"Mexican Schmoes" (WB) won the Cartoon Challenge Cup at the Soho Fair.

August 2, 1960
Glan Heisch, production head of Television Personalities, has taken an outside assignment as producer of the "Mister Magoo" tv cartoon series for UPA Pictures.

August 3, 1960
Beverly Hills Productions has closed a deal for Official Films to handle distribution of its "Spunky and Tadpole" 5-min. cartoons, comprising 150 shorts annually. Guild Films formerly released.

August 9, 1960
U-I has signed a new agreement with Walter Lantz Productions whereby the cartoonery will produce 19 instead of 13 animated aborts for U-I release next year—despite a dip this year in domestic bookings.
Reason, according to Lantz, is a large increase in foreign sales in the 72 countries to which U-I exports the shorts.
Number of "Woody Woodpecker" cartoons will remain at six, but company will initiate a new series, "Gabby Gater," to which storymen Ted Pierce and Walter Schmidt have been assigned. Dick Kinney and Al Albertino [sic] are working on "Woody." Joe Grant and Bill Danch are drawing the "Chilly Willy and Wally Walrus" group. Lantz and UI have had producing-releasing deals since 1938.

Chicago, Aug. 8. — "Bozo, the Clown," animated cartoon tv series produced by Larry Harmon Pictures Corp. in Hollywood, is getting a format switch from WGN-TV, the Chi Tribune-owned station which carries the program five half-hours a week.
Having presented series for about a year as solely a cartoon, with interspersed blurbs, station has adapted the format pioneered by the Harmon organization on KTLA, Los Angeles, which has a "live" Bozo in replica of the cartoon character introducing the cartoons and commercials, with a daily audience of children in a circus setting. Series is now syndicated on 130 stations, with live "Bozos" operating on approximately 25%.

August 10, 1960
Boston, Aug. 9.—Norm Prescott, veepee in charge of exploitation of Pleasure Island, has set up Norman Prescott Prods. for the purpose of going into animated film production. The onetime N.Y. and Boston deejay wings to Brussels Sept. 9 to supervise start of production on his first full-length color Cinemascope animated pic, also to be used as a tv pilot.

It may seem strange for one competitor to root for the success of another, but in the case of Bill Weiss, v.p.-general manager of CBS' Terrytoons subsid, his hopefulness for the success of "The Flintstones" out of the rival Hanna-Barbera cartoonery makes eminent sense.
Weiss hopes "Flinstones" is a big hit on ABC this fall. Because if it is, the nature of Madison Ave. buying habits is such that a sale on Weiss' own "Fearless Fosdick" half-hour animated series (with CBS Films doing the selling) would be virtually automatic. Terrytoons just wrapped up a 12-minute presentation reel on "Fosdick," about half of it animation and the other half a pitch by "Fosdick" creator Al Capp, who'll be heavily involved with the production.
Though it's just a single half-hour series, a sale on "Fosdick" would expand the operations of Terrytoons three-fold. That's in spite of the fact that Terrytoons currently has four series under its belt, plus theatrical cartoons released via 20th-Fox. Difference, of course, is that "Fosdick," like "Flintstones," would consist entirely of new footage, whereas the four current Terrytoons stanzas are all backlog or a mixture of new and old. Weiss figures it could handle one every three weeks and would have to farm out the rest. As Weiss sees it, problems of turning out new half-hour cartoon series are three-fold. There's the physical production job of the painstaking task of individual frame drawing and photography, there's a shortage of good writers for cartoons, and an equal shortage of good animation directors.. The director is akin to a legit stager—he's responsible for the translation of story to action. The problems, as of the moment, Weiss feels, are about equal in intensity.
Weiss doesn't see any difference between New York and Hollywood animation quality, though he would farm out his work to Hollywood producers because there aren't enough smaller independents in Gotham capable of handling it. He's got an on-the-job training program in work at Terrytoons' New Rochelle plant, starting people as apprentices and working them up to the status of assistant animators, directors, designers, etc. He estimates that in Situation is not atypical of the cartoon business today. Terrytoons is fairly busy, turning out an average of six minutes a week of animation among tv, theatrical and commercial efforts. That's the equivalent of 312 minutes of animation a year. But a single all-new half-hour series like "Fosdick" would immediately treble the ante by adding about 650 minutes more a year, figuring 26 half-hours. Terrytoons itself could never accomplish the physical job of turning out one show a week—the four years he's been using the system, about half his key personnel in the various departments have been developed through the training program. That's his way of solving the shortage of qualified animation personnel.
Current Terrytoons stanzas are "Mighty Mouse" and "Hecle & Jeckle," both CBS-TV half-hours; "Deputy Dawg," just placed into syndication by CBS Films; and "Tom Terrific," five-minute strip (over 130 of 'em in the can), currently aired on "Captain Kangaroo." "Mouse" and "Heckle" consist entirely of backlog; "Dawg" is about 25% new; "Terrific" is all brand-new. In addition, Weiss is upping the mix on his 20th-Fox theatrical releases from 12 new and 12 reissues to 18 new and six reissues per year. Problem on "Mouse" and "Heckle" is that the backlog of cartoons on those shows is virtually exhausted, and Weiss must face a decision as to either the introduction of new production into these shows (a cost problem) or a start of reruns. Since "Mouse" has been on five years and "Heckle" four, reruns don't represent an insurmountable problem because an entire new audience of kiddies is ready to view reruns as if they were brand new.



UPA Pictures will reach an all-time employment high of 250, with the addition this week of 80 new cartoonists, according to prexy Henry Saperstein, who took over administration reins of cartoonery which for several years has turned out the "Mister Magoo" product.
Studio now has seven cameramen, believed to be an all-time high for a cartoon outfit, who will work on the Magoo films under Saperstein's new seven-year pact with Kellogg's. Cereal company in the first year of this contract is spending approximately $3,000,000 for production, programming and time on the little near-sighted man known as Magoo. With 26 Magoo half-hour segments skedded for the first group, initial show will hit the air on prime night time in late September in over 150 markets on a national spot release basis such as Kellogg used with Huckleberry Hound. UPA's Kellogg deal includes U.S., Canada arid foreign markets.
Foreseeing a comedy trend in the fall, Saperstein opined: "Westerns are bogging down. The move is to comedy, though agency man already are searching for January replacements for many of the situation comedies which will fall by the wayside after the Fall season."
Exec said that UPA. with three Oscars, 150 awards and a decade of Magoo experience, is banking on the fact that the animated cartoon is the ideal vehicle for the entire family to enjoy together.
"Adults dig Magoo dialog, while kids enjoy the magic of animation," he declared.

Flamingo Films' "Nutty Squirrel Tales," cartoon series produced by Transfilm-Caravel, has been sold in close to 20 markets with three new sales last week, including KOMO-TV, Seattle. Seattle station and WGN-TV, Chicago, constitute the major sales thus far.

August 17, 1960
When the new season opens, there will be three cartoon series riding on ABC-TV in the evening. One is "The Flintstones," a new cartoon adult situation comedy series, heralded as a possible pacesetter for cartoon networking.
The others include "Matty's Funday Funnies," which for 13 weeks will occupy the Friday night at 7:30 half-hour time slot. Sponsored by Mattell [sic] toy manufacturers, "Fundays' will move back to its Sunday afternoon period after the American Football League season ends. The third cartoon series is "Bug Bunny" [sic] at 7:30 Tuesday, half-sponsored by General Foods.
When "Funday's" moves out of its Friday night slot in midwinter, Warner Bros. situation comedy "Room for One More" is slated for the period.

Norm Prescott, former disk jock on WNEW, N.Y., and WBZ, Boston, and former veep with Joe Levine's Embassy Pictures Corp., on "Hercules" and "Hercules Unchained," is now veep in charge of exploitation of Pleasure Island, the $4,900,000 family amusement park in Wakefield, Mass. He's also going into animated film production.
Prescott, who has set up Norman Prescott Productions, flys to Brussels Sept. 9 to supervise start of production on his first full length color Cinemascope animated film, which will also be a tv pilot. As yet untitled, the film deals with a new cartoon character adventure series.
The film is being made in Zurich, and Prescott will spend three weeks in Europe with his animation director and is bringing his own music, dialogue and sound effects track, story board and pre-directed exposure sheets with him. He plans to launch the production immediately and get the cells into work. He hopes to make several European deals for the "film with several meetings set up, and will have the film ready by Jan. 1, 1961, for Easter release in the U.S.

August 19, 1960
Zagreb, Aug. 18.—The cartoon producing wing of Zagbre [sic] Studios has finished the first two vidpix for American distributors. It is understood the work is being done here for a New York outfit, Cinemagic, because such work can be done at the Yugoslavian plant cheaper than in the U.S.
By March 31, Zagbre promises it will have completed 52 vidfilm cartoons for the New York company.

August 22, 1960
Jack Hellman’s column
IF YOU HAVE A YOUNGSTER AROUND THE HOUSE WHO can't make up his mind what he wants to be (beside a fireman) sit him down at finger-pointing length and say with finality, "you're going to be an animator." Accept no "buts." He can leam it as well as any other calling and besides there's a good and valid reason for it. It's one of the scarce few fields in our business that isn't overcrowded and the pay is good. UPA's Henry Saperstein supplies this vital convincer: "I would hire 260 tomorrow if I could find them." The pay? "I would gladly pay $350 a week for good inkers and animators. That's double of what they used to pay in the theatrical cartoon studios. If you need another good reason why you should raise your boy to be an animator, the residual factor is like an annuity. The 'Popeyes' are now in their 40th run. In the heyday of studio cartoons, one company would turn out six a year. At UPA we do three a week ("Magoo" and "Dick Tracy" among them). If Hanna and Barbera's 'Flintstones' catches a good rating, we will be flooded with orders but won't be able to take them. Just haven't the manpower. Between UPA and H-B, we turn out 80% of the cartoons for tv."
Saperstein, a recruit to tv from theatre operation, broke in with sports—All Star Golf and Championship Bowling. Why? "They are the greatest participant sports we have. There are 60 million bowlers and 40 million golfers. That's a pretty good audience to start with. Ratings? Who needs them? The others can have the awards, too. Despite that bowling gets into the 20's, I would rather have the renewals." Saperstein has one gripe he'd like to get off his chest. It's the sponsor or his adman who shops for price instead of quality for his commercials. "That's what he buys the program for and yet he’ll spend only 1% of his investment for cartooning his message."
One of the intense young men of the business, ("I work 10 hours a day and absolutely refuse to take a business call at home"). Saperstein has also branched out into the merchandise tieup field. Sezze, "hottest subject today is Debbie Reynolds. We have made deals with manufacturers for 21 different items. Elvis Presley has gotten too big and is no longer a top seller in this line. "Three Stooges,' 'Wyatt Earp' and 'Lassie' are still high in the sales column."

August 24, 1960
United Artists Associated reports 14 station renewals on the Warner Bros, and Popeye cartoon series, which have been on the market for three years. Station renewals of the 243 Popeye cartoons include WPRO, Providence; KRON, San Francisco; KMTV, Omaha; WMTW, Portland (Me.); and WAVY, Norfolk. New sales of the cartoons have been made with KOMU, Columbia, Mo.; WHIO, Dayton, O.; and WEAU, Eau Claire, Wis.
WB cartoon package has been renewed in San Francisco, Omaha, and on WAFB, Baton Rouge, and WSFA, Montgomery, Ala. New markets include Columbia, Mo.; Jackson, Miss.; Dayton, O.; and Quincy, Ill.

August 30, 1960
A 30-day option to purchase the Beverly Hills Production Corp., producer of tv cartoons, has been taken by Herts-Lion International Corp.
HLI proxy Kenneth Herts discloses deal would give his company a cartoon subsidiary. The publicly-held BevHills Corp. owns 150 segments of 5-minute reels on "Spunky and Tadpole," currently syndicated in 37 markets, and other cartoon series in production.

August 31, 1960
Ken Southworth has been signed by Animation Associates to direct 20 segments of "Q.T. Hush," syndicated tv cartoon series.

A series of cartoons, "King Leonardo," is slated to take the place of "Rough 'n' Reddy" next season on NBC-TV in the Saturday ayem 10:30-11 slot.

Revamp of its Saturday morning schedule will find CBS-TV scuttling its Terrytoons-produced "Heckle & Jeckle" half-hour cartoon series and reschduled its network service, effective Oct. 1.
Web has been on a split schedule, serving the network at 8-9 with "Captain Kangaroo," going dark until 10, then returning till after noon with a schedule beginning with "Heckle." Effective with the change, which incidentally brings some new Kellogg business in, web will start service with "Kangaroo" at 10-11.
That will be followed at 11 by a new Kellogg show out of the Leo Burnett agency, "The Magic World of Ali Kazam," with a magician-host and interpolated cartoons.

Richard Davis, owner of the arty Fine Arts Thatre, New York City, is prepping a full-length animated cartoon version of the 17th Century Spanish novel of Miguel Cervantes, "Don Quixote." Davis opines that it has been filmed four times already but never quite successfully. He feels that a cartoon treatment will give the subject its most acceptable form as well as being true to the spirit of the original.
Davis plans to have an American crew overseeing it, with the actual work done in Czechoslovakia where it can be brought in for $300,000 compared with more than $1,000,000 the same work would call for in the U.S. Davis already has talked with Czech film and animation people. The Czechs have proved their solid mastery of the medium.
Davis is also mulling the idea of doing it in 70m for roadshow chances. He points out that it will be easy to dub with important names in countries around the world. It would be more acceptable in this way than a live version dubbing can be a handicap because of the physical aspects of the characters while the cartoon figures already will be international in character.
The late Mike Todd had a live project of "Quixote" in the work at the time of his death. Federico Fellini and Jacques Tati had at one time announced a version of the classic. The most recent versions are a modern one by Orson Welles (made in Mexico) and a Russian one. There have been French, Spanish and U.S. attempts before.

September 2, 1960
Laurel & Hardy Feature Prods. Inc. is planning an animated tv series of caricatures of the comedy team, now broken, due to the death some years ago of Oliver (Babe) Hardy. Corporation comprises Stan Laurel, Mrs. Lucille Hardy, the widow; and attorney Benjamin Shipman. Mitchell Gertz, who agented the comics for more than two decades, is handling the series' sale.
Outfit is now seeking bids from animation Arm to do the actual cartooning. Old theatrical releases of Laurel & Hardy have been on video for years.

September 13, 1960
104 "Mister Magoo" cartoon shows were purchased yesterday by KTTV, making it one of the first stations in the country to acquire the new series following a week of spirited bids by L.A. stations. No price for the purchase was revealed.
Dick Woollen, KTTV v.p. in charge of programs, repped station; Hank Saperstein, proxy of Television Personalities, Inc., repped distributor. Station plans Mon. through Fri. fall airing.

September 14, 1960
Obituaries
Wallace Vincent Clark, 63, who was the original cartoon voice of Popeye the Sailor and Betty Boop, died Aug. 24 in Old Lyme, Conn.
He was also the voice for the old "bouncing ball" community sings in films. Clark retired from vaudeville in 1935.
His wife, son and sister survive.

September 16, 1960
The III Gran Premio Bergamo (Italy) Film Festival has selected Walt Disney's "Donald in Mathmagic Land" as the best animated cartoon for the year, producer was advised yesterday. Kudo brings org's Gold Medal Award and $1,600 in cash, which Disney will donate to Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Patrick Carroll-Abbing and his Boys' Towns of Italy.
Italian actress Giulia Rubini, co-star of Disney's "The Magnificent Rebel," will accept the awards for Disney Sunday in Bergamo.

September 21, 1960
M&A Alexander Productions' new color cartoon series, "Q. T. Hush, Private Eye," has been sold to WABC-TV, N.Y., and is running nightly on the "Tommy Seven Show," kidstrip which preemed last week with former Baltimore moppet emcee Tommy Seven at the helm.
"Hush" package, a cliff-hanger with 10 episodes to each story, also has been pacted in other markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. M&A has 10 of the 10-episode stories in the can.

The Walter Lantzes (Grace Stafford) are off for six weeks in Tokyo where the Lantz cartoons are in brisk demand for tv. The Orientals will be surprised to learn that the voice of Woody Woodpecker is actually that of a woman (Miss Stafford).

"Magic Boy," the full-length Japanese-made color cartoon acquired by Metro, won first prize in the Venice children's film festival. M-G has scheduled the film, for Christmas release.

FOREIGN TV REVIEWS
MEET FOO FOO
Producer: Halas & Batchelor
15 Mins., Sat., 5:30 p.m.
ABC-TV, from Manchester
New to the network this fall is a skein of seven-minute cartoons involving an angular, Derby-hatted hobo character named Foo Foo and, more often than not, a couple of other weirdies known as Gogo and Mimi. Initial 15-minute program, carrying two of the British-made yarns was thoroughly enjoyable. Dialog was notable for its absence, the development unfolding via resourceful incident backed by a chirpy musical accompaniment, in which a harmonica was featured.
First cartoon unspooled carried a minor surprise for the censorship-minded: "Foo Foo's Sleepless Night" had a patrolman (Gogo) so concerned with moving in on the tram that a safecracker got away with the loot unpunished. Second job showed the same two protagonists at odds in a "Treasure Hunt," though Gogo this time had no uniformed status. Animation was fine, and the draughtsmanship first-rate.

September 28, 1960
Walt Disney's next biggie, "Babes In Toyland," will be both "live" and cartoon; gets a February launching. The NBC videal has a few details to be ironed out — but, as he says, "We still have 51 weeks to go on ABC" . . . PS., Disney debunks the rumor of a sale of the Burbank film factory.

Tom McDermott, exec v.p. of Four Star Television, has signed deal with Herbert Klynn, president of Format Films, for Format to produce a one-half-hour animated television series, "The Shrimp," created by Sy Gomberg.
Series is based on Gomberg’s short stories published in Collier's and Cosmopolitan magazines.

KTTV became the first station in the country to acquire the new "Mister Magoo" cartoon series of 104 shows. Station will program the "Magoo" library in early evening time period, Monday through Friday, starting this fall.
In addition to “Magoo,” Television Personalities, the packager, has another cartoon series, "Dick Tracy." The "Tracy" cartoons, each five-minutes in length, will total 208 episodes and will be released In January. Television Personalities prexy is Henry G. Saperstein. Alvin Unger was recently hired as v.p. in charge of syndicated sales.

Cecil Roy, voice of "Matty" in ABC-TV's cartoon series, "Matty's Funday Funnies," busy on new film series for the show and also vidtaping Delco blurbs for firm's upcoming web outings.

Obituaries
Jacques Grinieff, 69, vet foreign film importer and prexy of Pacific Films, died in Paris two weeks ago, his local office was notified yesterday. He had distribution offices in N.Y., dubbing studios in Paris, animation studios in Brussels and Coast offices at General Service Studios here.
Grinieff was one of the largest buyers of foreign films, which he dubbed in Paris for American release. He also turned out many cartoons in his Brussels studios, among them 260 segments of "Tintin," which are released in this country.
Charles Shows, Hollywood veepee, takes over worldwide operation of Grinieff’s activities, and headquarters will be transferred to Hollywood.

October 5, 1960
Obituaries
Thomas A. Johnson, 53, chief cartoon animator for Paramount Pictures for 31 years, died Sept. 23 in New York, following a long illness. His wife, parents, two brothers and a sister survive.

Bergamo, Italy, Sept. 27.
The third annual Bergamo festival of short films awarded its grand prize to Wolf Hart's German entry, "Rhythm of A Port," a study of the port of Hamburg. One of the five additional prizes was won by Walt Disney's "Donald in Mathmagic Land" in the cartoon category.
The Bergamo fest is unique among film fests in that instead of handing out golden palms, bears or plaques to the winner, it gives cash prizes. First prize is 3,000,000 lire (approximately $5,000), while the five other winners receive 1,000,000 lire each. Disney turned over his money to Boys Towns of Italy.
One of the things which contributes to the smooth running of the annual shorts fest is that entries are submitted directly by individual producers, thereby eliminating local "selection committees" which have created so many hard feelings at the feature film fests. This year out of the total of 155 films from 30 countries, the Bergamo selection committee (which functions also as jury) accepted 77 films representing 18 countries. Germany was repped by 20 films, Italy by 17, France by 10 and the U. S. by five.
U. S. entries included Lawrence Silberthan's "The Printmaker," John Hubley's "Moonbirds," " Robert Snyder's "Three Americans" and Curt Oertel's "Building A New World," in addition to the Disney winner.

October 10, 1960
"Mr. Magoo" vidpix cartoon station sales have readied $750,000 in the first week of selling, Hank Saperstein and Al Unger, respectively proxy and v.p. of Television Personalities Inc. stated yesterday.
In the bag are such markets as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington. Cleveland. Seattle, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Boise. Miami, Jacksonville and Nashville.

October 12, 1960
Hanna-Barbera cartoonery has sold its fourth animated series for nationwide exposure with the purchase of "Yogi Bear" by Kellogg for national spot coverage. "Yogi" has been the inker comic on H-B's "Huckleberry Hound." Others from the cartoon shop are "The Flintstones" and "Quick Draw McGraw."
Kellogg is sponsor of all except "Flintstones." Leo Burnett agency has bought time on 180 tv stations for "Yogi" starting in January.

BUGS BUNNY
(Tues., 7:30-8 p.m. KABC-TV)
Filmed by Warner Bros. cartoon division for General Foods. Producer, director, teleplay, Fritz Freleng [sic] and Chuck Jones; animators, Gerry Chiniquy, Art Davis, Virgil Ross, Robert Matz; film editor, Treg Brown.
Cast, Mel Blanc (voice characterizations).
The delight of youngsters the world over ever since pen-‘n’-inking became a cinema art, "Bugs Bunny" is now a big-time tv star with a network all his own. He's the perfect "chaser" to get the young 'uns off to bed or to their homework so the elders can have their turn at the magic box. In true tradition of cartooning, Bugs gets in and out of tight spots to the chortling glee of the small-fry.
To get the series out of the ink-wells, Bugs and his mischievous pals scampered in three cartoon shorts clipped from Warners' post-48s. Characters were introduced in emcee fashion to dance across the stage as the storyline picked up the thread. Violence, such as is characterized by these impish figures, need not unduly excite the policing forces of the network code.
Vying in importance with the action is the voice of Mel Blanc with all the tonal fluctuations to less childish credence to the bunny menagerie. His "what's up, Doc?" has even caught the adult fancy and has been used by comics as a witty phrase.
Fritz Freleng and Chuck Jones made a sprightly display of the animations by the corps of four and incidental contributions. Post Cereals had only one purpose in sponsoring the series, and the direction can lead only to the kids whooping up sales. Helm.

London, Oct. 11.
Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil are the main territories affected by a deal concluded between Associated British-Pathe and Television Asociados S A. of Mexico for the distribution in Latin America of several British tv skeins. According to a London announcement, 21 countries are involved altogether, boasting 84 stations.
The series include two 39-show 30-minuters, "The Flying Doctor" and "Time To Remember," 52 quarter-hour "Torchy'' puppet pix, 39 seven-minute cartoons with the overall title "Habatales" and a new effort, "Secrets of Native," which is expected to consist of 39 13-minute episodes. All will be dubbed in Spanish and Portuguese.

Official Films has three new shorty series up for network sale.
Syndie firm, which was the first out with the five-minute series edited from newsreel files, now has pilot reels going the agency rounds on "Profile," five-minute stanzas primarily from newsreels on the lives of great people; one-minute films titled, "Do You Remember," featuring newsreel footage on big events; and a cartoon series, "Animal Land," five-minute segs produced by Sherman Grinberg. All are being pitched for web rather than syndication sales.

Cork, Oct. 4.
"Mark Twain's America," produced by Donald B. Hyatt for NBC Television, won the top award—the St. Flnbarr statuette — for the "Best General Interest" entry at the Cork International Film Festival which ended here last week.
Only other American award from the jury, headed by John Halas (Britain), was a Certificate of Merit in the animated and cartoon class for Ernest Pintoff's "The Interview," a five-minute satire between a square announcer and a hep musician. This had already won a Diploma of Merit at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

October 19, 1960
"Mr. Magoo" cartoon sales to stations have reached the $750,000 mark In the first week of active gelling, according to Hank Saperstein and Al Unger, prez and v.p., respectively, of Television Personalities Inc.
Markets already signed up include KTTV, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, Cleveland, Seattle, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Boise, Miami Jacksonville and Nashville. "Dick Tracy" cartoon sales will start approximately Dec. 1, with many "Magoo" stations, according to Saperstein, offering to buy "Tracy" on the basis of "Magoo" audition prints and UPA production reputation.

November 1, 1960
Obituaries
PAUL ALFRED MARQUARDT
Services for Paul Alfred Marquardt, 71, who scored pix at Metro for 86 years, will be held Thursday, 2 p.m., Hollywood Cemetery Chapel. Marquardt, who died Sunday after a lengthy illness, worked on all Metro cartoons and had composed scores for silent pix. He left the studio in 1964 to freelance.
Surviving is his widow, Henrietta.

November 2, 1960
KING LEONARDO AND HIS SHORT SUBJECTS
Producer: Leonardo Productions
Creator: Total Television Productions
30 Mins., Sat., 10:30 a.m.
GENERAL MILLS
NBC-TV (film)
(Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample)
This new NBC animated kidvid series is a tough contender for moppet attention if noise and fast action really count.
A large collection of fast and loud-talking characters zip pell mell through storylines that sometimes get blurred by the frenetic activity.
Show has three segments with King Leonardo, a cross-eyed lion, primarily featured. He and sidekick Odie Colognie (a skunk) watch tv in the castle, which provides segue for two other segs with continuing characters. One is "The Hunter," a hound in the vogue of Huckleberry, but far short of the appeal of Screen Gems' best cartoon friend. Third seg is listed as "Tooter Turtle," but in show caught (Saturday, 29) it concerned a diminutive human character who derrived supernatural strength through wearing a cap woven of Sampson's hair.
Voicing was good, if often noisy. Production was technically top-notch. Characters would seem to have a potential as yet not achieved in the writing. Even for the pliable kid aud, they need more warmth and wit. Hippest to date is a beatnik rat in the Leonardo series (which; incidentally, was a cliff-hanger with stories in segments covering two weeks). There are some familiar voices behind the characters: Kenny Delmar (Senator Claghorn), Sandy Becker and Allen Swift (New York kid show emcees), and actors Jackson Beck and Ben Stone. Bill.

November 9, 1960
First 100 episodes of "Q. T. Hush, Private Eye," will be completed in January by M&A Alexander Productions. Series of 3½-minute cartoons have been sold in 60 markets. Ten of the episodes are in color.

DONALD'S CHRISTMAS TREE
(Buena Vista re-release. Directed by Jack Hannah. Story, Harry Reeves, Milt Banta; animation, Bill Justice, Bob Carlson, Volus Jones, Running time: 7½ mins.) This excellent animated cartoon, starring that dear, durable old friend, Donald Duck, is being re-released by Walt Disney because it didn't get a great deal of circulation at the time of its original release a few years ago under the title, "Donald's Christmas Tree."
Since it is set against a Yuletide backdrop, it has the added benefit of timeliness as a current attraction. Quality of animation artwork and appealing storyline approach (victory of the underdog — a Disney standby) are typical of high calibre of Disney cartoons, which may be conventional by razzle-dazzle standards of certain new cartooneries, but remain disarmingly simple.
Larry Tubelle

First 13 units of Cinemagic International's new cartoon series "Hound for Hire" have been completed. Cinemag prexy Arthur Epstein and Phil Davis, v.p. and producer-director of the series, are in Paris to start production of the next group of 13 segments to be completed by February.
Some 55 episodes, running seven and a half minutes, are being readied for theatrical and tv distribution here and abroad. Producer-director Davis for 15 years had been head writer and chief idea man for Ralph Edwards Productions. He also has writing credits for such shows as Danny Thomas and "Father Knows Best."
Arthur Epstein is prexy of Fine Arts Films which released last year's Academy Award-winning Japanese film "Samurai."

Boston, Nov. 8.
Norm Prescott, former disk jock turned film producer, has set up Lincoln Productions Inc. for international film distribution and production in Boston, plus office in New York. Back from four weeks in Europe, Prescott said he has a coproduction deal for the filming of a full length animated motion picture in color and CinemaScope, based on a science fiction subject that will be completed in six months.
For the past year, he said, he has been working on the development of the character designs, has completed the finished script, storyboard and mixed tracks, all of which were done in the U. S. While in Europe he set a deal to record the entire 50 minute score of the picture with the Belgian Symphony Orch.
In London, Prescott says, he made deal with Nat Miller of Orb Films for distribution of the picture in the United Kingdom. The film will run two hours.
Film's main title designs are being completed in Copenhagen and feature production will be done in Zurich.

November 16, 1960
Lee Cannon has been appointed midwest division manager of Television Personalities, Inc., and will handle syndication of the "Mister Magoo" cartoon series for tv.

November 17, 1960
Jack Hellman column
WHAT WAS ONCE KNOWN AS "THE YELLOW PERIL" IS NOW the red, green and blue threat. Returners from Tokyo, who have inspected color tv, have claimed that it is as good and in some instances better than our own particular brand. Among those charmed by the Nipponese chroma is Walter Lantz, who in his time (44 years) has produced more than 800 cartoon subjects. The fear, more real than fancied, hangs over U.S. set manufacturers that the Japanese receivers may one day flood the market with prices undercut to make U.S. competition uneconomical. What struck Lantz's fancy even more than color was the high efficiency and skilled personnel of the Toei Studio with its 800 artists. "They're every bit as good as ours and need only supervision," said Lantz. The wage scale in the Japanese cartooneries may tempt Hollywood producers if negotiations with the Cartoonists Guild for a new contract are stalemated. Lantz was told top animators in the Toei Studio are paid $60 a month against the Hollywood average of $260 a week. "Their system of activating cartoon characters," said Lantz, "produces some astonishing results. They animate over live characters to get the desired motion."
Lantz cartoons are shown all over the Orient, the Jap children shrieking their delight at "Woody Woodpecker," "Andy Panda" and "Chilly Willy." Mrs. Lantz (Grace Stafford) was followed all over Tokyo like a pied piper by the kids when they heard her sound the voice of "Woody," which she has done for most of the years of the popular cartoon and tv commercial. Lantz would naturally rather make cartoons for tv than theatrical. "It takes five years to get my investment back from theatrical showing while in tv I would get it back mighty quick." Horror pictures and action westerns are highly popular in Japan, Lantz found, and the occasional swashbucklers with sword play fill the theatres and crowd the tv sets. In Japan's highly populated keys (98 million the national total) there are 6,000,000 sets with a government tax of 35c every three months but many of the set owners avoid this payment with indoor aerials. The Japanese tv shows he found to be amateurish. "They have the know how but not the talent." By government order the top price for a half-hour tv subject is $600 for national airing, which after all the charges are written off would leave the owner with a net of around $100.

November 21, 1960
Mel Blanc, whose vocal tricks are worth a fortune, and Johnny Burton, producer of cartoons at Warners, have formed ID's Inc. to work with ad agencies on commercials

November 23, 1960
In the kiddie programming field, due to the outcry against blood and violence, shows and cartoons are being pitched on the basis of their "non-violent" character.
Latest example is Interstate Television's "Snip and Snap" cartoon series, created for tv by Halas and Batchelor, who did the film adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." Series includes "Top Dogs" which won first prize for children's films at the 1960 International Film Festival at Venice. Series is referred to by Interstate as the "non-violent world of 'Snip and Snap.'"

Sales veepee Harvey Victor says Jayark also sold the Bozo cartoon library in three more markets during the last two weeks, boosting total sales to 141 stations in the U. S. (in addition to sales to the Canadian network and outlets in nine foreign countries).

December 2, 1960
New York, Dec. 1. — NBC and Walt Disney have stitched a partnership for three years that will encompass tv and an outdoor amusement park in NY. Deal — first tipped in these pages in August — signed yesterday after months of negotiation, is said to commit the web to Disney for three years at a reported investment to NBC of $5,000,000 a year.
While details of the transaction are withheld pending official signing of the contracts, it is reported that the tv pact calls for one weekly hour stanza in color for 26 weeks with as many repeats. Disney is also said committed for two specials a year. RCA, parent of NBC, is also heavily involved and will participate in promotion rights to the Disney characters in the sale of RCA color receivers.
Disney's output for tv after the studio's current seven-year pact runs out with ABC in August will be exclusive to NBC, with all programs to be filmed in color, an aspect that appealed to NBC to lend impetus to the sale of RCA color receivers. It has been speculated but unofficially denied that the deal involves the Disney backlog of old features and cartoon shorts. Currently Disney has only one show on tv, the ABC-TV hour-long "Walt Disney Presents."
It was reported weeks ago that ABC sought to renew its tv contract with Disney and there had been discussions but these collapsed and negotiations were resumed with NBC resulting in yesterday's wrap-up. There had been ill feeling between the two parties because of ABC's suit last year to restrain Disney from selling off "Mark Of Zorro" to a competitive network after it had been dropped by ABC. This was later resolved out of court.
Another facet of the NBC-Disney pact is for the web to become a partner with Disney in the construction and operation of a replica of Disneyland at the N.Y. World's Fair in 1964. It is planned to maintain the amusement park after two-year run of the exposition. It is ironic that Robert E. Kintner, NBC prexy, who negotiated the present Disney-NBC deal, incepted the tieup more than six years ago that tied Disney with ABC in both tv and Disneyland. NBC originally was offered the same deal but turned it down because of the Disneyland adjunct to the proposal.
[From Weekly Variety, Dec. 7:] Disney will not use any of his already established cartoon or live-action characters. So instead of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Davy Crocket and Elfego Baca, the producer will construct all new characters. Format for the stanza is believed to resemble the "Walt Disnev Presents" hour now shown on ABC-TV, with a mixture of live action drama and cartoonery covering the 25 weeks (other week laid aside for a possible special).

December 12, 1960
Ted Ferro scripting for the “Barnaby” cartoon series.

December 14, 1960
Twentieth-Fox is urging branch managers to exercise greater salesmanship and "bookership" to bolster lagging sales of Terrytoon cartoon. Problem is aggravated by fact that Terrytoon production costs have been rising as steadily as sales have been going down.
For the first 43 weeks of this year, Terrytoon rentals were 21.3% behind the same period of 1959. The 52-week revenue on Terrytoons last year was 1.15% under the 1958 total.
Number of bookings also is down sharply. In first 43 weeks of this year, they were 26.69% under the comparable 1959 period.

December 16, 1960
New York, Dec. 15. — N.Y. Supreme Court Justice Harold Baer yesterday reserved decision following two-week trial on two separate suits brought by film pioneer Dave Fleischer. He seeks to test whether tv stations have the right to use his name for advertising purposes. One action names WPIX, Inc., while defendant in the other case is NTA Pictures, inc.
Both suits were consolidated for purposes trial. Fleischer wants injunction to restrain WPIX from using his name as director “Out of the Inkwell,” “Popeye,” “Betty Boop” and other animated cartoons. He contends use of his name for ad purposes violates his civil rights. Slat ions throughout the country, all sponsors, according complaint, liable for damages.
Fleischer's suit against NTA also asks damages on similar basis. Involved in this came is cartoon tagged "Hoppity Goes To Town." Paramount formed Rainbow Productions to sell cartoon to tv, but later sold firm to NTA, which dissolved Rainbow, but absorbed its assets.
In reserving decision, Justice Baer directed attorneys of both sides to submit additional briefs by Dec. 19. Meantime, Fleischer has similar suits pending Federal Court here. His State Supreme Court actions filed about four years ago.

December 20, 1960
Hanna-Barbera cartoonery shutters its offices after its working day Thursday, giving its 154 employes a four-day Christmas weekend.

December 22, 1960
Peter Burness has joined Playhouse Pictures as an animation director. He had been with UPA for ten years as a producer-director and had supervised the "Mr. Magoo" cartoons for which he received two Oscars for direction.

December 27, 1960
Cartoon production for tv next season will soar to a record $80,000,000, in the opinion of Henry Saperstein, prexy of UPA Pictures, and seconded by others in the inker field. The opinion is almost unanimous, too, that the catalyst that erupted the new entertainment form for video into the hottest item on next season's selling schedule is Hanna and Barbara's "The Flintstones."
It was foregone that there would be a rash of the comedy characters if "Flintstones" caught the brass ring in the rating ring. That it is an unquestioned winner is freely admitted in the trade, and since success begets success, it was patent that there would be a heavy run of this type of programming. Hanna-Barbera was first to break the network barrier in prime time, but it had other winners going for them in syndication. These included "Rough And Ready," [sic] "Quick Draw McGraw," "Yogi Bear" and "Huckleberry Hound." Cartoonery will make another bid for network time next season with "Top Cat."
Saperstein's UPA will have $1,000,000 tied up in 104 animations of "Mister Magoo" and another $2,000,000 in 166 issues of "Dick Tracy" in five-minute episodes. Last year UPA used 600,000 feet of film. This year the volume rose to 2,000,000 feet and next year the output will climb to 7,000,000 feet. More than 400 cartoon comedies are scheduled for next season.
"Bozo The Clown," from the studios of Larry Harmon, will be inked in 104 shorts, but on the planning board is a half-hour cartoon subject the nature of which is not being divulged.
No new cartoons for tv are scheduled by Walt Disney.

December 28, 1960
Distribution and coproduction deal on "Wally Bear" cartoon series was signed by Raymond Junkin, prexy of Program Sales, Inc., and producer George Richfield. Planned production schedule calls for 130 five-minute episodes and 39 half-hour films.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Betty Boop Kills Bugs Dead

There’s something about Fred, Betty Boop’s newly-militarised boyfriend, in Something About a Soldier (1934). He’s frightfully dull. The declamatory reading from a book gets stale after a while. Mercifully he appeared in, what, only two cartoons?

And it turns out Fred and his army are at war against—mosquitoes. One of Betty’s finest, this ain’t. Tex Avery did it a lot funnier in those Raid commercials 60 years ago.



A bullet hits its mark. Crash and burn mosquito!



Betty gets an SOS and shows up with a tanker-truck of DDT or some bug spray that probably isn’t environmentally-friendly in our day and age. It wasn’t friendly to the mosquitoes. The gas forms fists and strangles them.



Mosquito carnage. Whoever animated this scene had some experience killing insects. The mosquito on the left in the foreground even shudders a bit after crashing.



No, I don’t know why Betty and Fred are fighting mosquitoes.

Hicks Lokey is animating for Myron Waldman in this cartoon, along with some uncredited Fleischer types.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tedd and Tom at the Big Game

The anonymous background artist at Leon Schlesinger’s studio in the mid-1930s gave some credit to the anonymous cartoon writers of the day in Along Flirtation Walk.



I couldn’t tell if anyone named Carmichael was at the studio at the time (Jim Carmichael worked for Disney and Columbia/Screen Gems in the ‘40s), so maybe this is a pun on Camel cigarettes.



Ted’s Tamales? Tedd Pierce was writing at Schlesinger’s at the time. I understand the ladies thought he was “red hot.” J.F. Barth’s Frat is heard during this scene. It got a lot of use at the studio for years; the melody was used for the Three Bears’ Father’s Day song (Chuck Jones unit) a number of years later.



Armstrong’s Anchovies. The head of the story department at the time was Tom Armstrong. He left before writers were ever given a credit on Warners’ cartoons.



This looks like Pep’s Tooth Paste. The background song melody is Student Days by Robert B. Brewer.

Copies of this cartoon available are supposed to be in two-tone Technicolor (red/green) but the colour’s really washed out. And the prints are really butchered; surely Warners wouldn’t have released a cartoon with so many glaring edits in the soundtrack and missing action. Fain and Kahal’s Don’t Go on a Diet, Baby is heard when the chickens are dancing in the frat house, John Philip Sousa’s University of Nebraska March is in the background when fans enter the stadium and the crowd plays instruments. Norman Spencer’s score also features Fare Thee Well, Annabelle (Dixon/Wrubel) and Vermont Academy (Clyde Doerr). Paul J. Smith and Bob McKimson receive the animation credits.



That’s all, folks...except, Friz, hurry up and invent Porky Pig so you don’t have to make cartoons like this one any more.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Night Owl Who Was a Friend to Bass

“Ya gotta start out each day widda song!” Jimmy Durante (“In poy-sun!”) enthusiastically belted out when he made his entrance on his radio show in the 1940s. But it turns out he started out each day with toast. If that.

Audiences loved Durante and Durante loved audiences. In the first four months of 1955, he was alternating with Donald O’Connor on television’s Texaco Star Theater (the better-paid O’Connor was dumped and Durante took over three weeks of the month), took part in a grand opening special (in pre-peacock NBC colour), was a presenter at the Emmys, and attended spring training in Florida with the Brooklyn Dodgers. And when Mario Lanza didn’t appear on opening night for his act at the Venus Room of the Hotel New Frontier in Vegas, Durante—who was in the audience waiting for the show to start!—immediately jumped on stage and ad-libbed a whole act solo. He even found time to perform at a police benefit in Los Angeles, staging a publicity photo for it showing him objecting to a traffic cop writing him a ticket while pulled over in a police cruiser.

The Associated Press caught up with him for this story that appeared in papers starting March 26, 1955. You have to read it in Durante’s verse, uh, voice.
Durante, 62 Continues Working at Furious Pace
By BOB THOMAS

HOLLYWOOD—(AP)—How does the Schnoz do it?
Jimmy Durante turned 62 last month, yet he has lost none of his vitality. He continues working at a furious pace. He is doing 20 TV shows this season, all but two of them on a live basis. He'll do 30 shows next season. When he draws a couple of weeks away from TV, he often spends them playing his explosive act in Miami, New York, Reno or Las Vegas night clubs.
This is his off-week on his regular TV show and he's filling the time by appearing on NBC's spectacular to open its 3 1/2-million-dollar color studio in Burbank Sunday.
I tried to learn Jimmy's magic formula for energy over lunch at a Sunset Strip eatery. Lunch for Jimmy was some hot tea and toast. He explained that he had just gotten up and had already eaten a bowl of hot cereal.
"Me, I never feel hungry," he explained. "Eatin' don't mean nuttin' to me. I'll have maybe some cereal and toast for breakfast, and no lunch. For dinner I might have a lamb chop. Or if I don't feel hungry, it might be a bowl of corn flakes or somethin' like that.
"I can't understand it, because my dad was a big eater. He was eatin' the spaghetti until he was 92, washin' it down with wine. When I told him he should drink water, he said, 'water is for washin' the face; wine is to drink.'
"The guys around me, they love to eat. Comes six o'clock and [Eddie] Jackson gotta have dinner, regular as clockwork. If the boys wait for me, they, gonna eat around nine o'clock."
Because of his night club upbringing, Jimmy is a night owl. He prowls around his house until 1 or 2 in the morning, reading letters and studying music. He gets up around 11 or noon.
Exercise? He gets most of his while performing; that's enough activity for any human. He takes a daily dip in his pool—"just enough to kick my feet; in and out."
Perhaps the most important element in Jimmy's well-being is his avoidance of the usual strains of show business life. "Enemies?" he reflected. "I can't think of any."
It works in reverse too. Durante is the only star of whom I have I never heard an ill word said.
"I don't like to have arguments around me," he continued. "I don't want the writers arguin' with me about things. Ninety per cent of the time I take their word for things. Once in a while I override them. If I'm goin' to get killed, I want to do the killin' myself."
Show business comprises almost his whole life, but he does have one hobby. Fishing. He owns a house on Clear Lake in Northern California and he talked longingly of the days be spent there.
"My wife's folks used to own property up there—that's how I heard about it," he said. "I used to spend three months away from a telephone and everythin'. Then I'd go back and open a night club season.
"I used to row out on the lake all alone and fish for bass. They're my favorite. I think they're the prettiest fish and the smartest. Feller wrote a book once called 'My Friend, the Bass.' I absorbed every word of it.
"I haven't been back there in four years. For one thing, I'm too busy. And it's kinds hard to go back. There are too many memories of the happy times I spent there."
Jimmy Durante was a friend to bass, and I suspect they were a friend to him. The rest of the world was.