Monday 30 September 2013

Legs of Spike

Spike the bulldog suddenly realises he hasn’t just buried a bone. He’s buried a hairpiece in “The Counterfeit Cat.” Look how he comes to a stop.

Mike Lah’s animation in another fine Tex Avery cartoon.

Sunday 29 September 2013

The Stub Story

Childhood must have been a pleasant time for Jack Benny. His home town of Waukegan, Illinois was mentioned frequently on his radio show and names of his boyhood chums found their way into scripts, too.

One of the most interesting examples is Stub Wilbur. He’s featured in the second half of Jack’s second-last radio show on May 15, 1955. It’s based on a joke Jack had done before—someone he knew in childhood would show up as a feeble old senior citizen, hardly the contemporary of a 39-year-old. There actually was a Stub Wilbur (the part on radio was played by an actor) and he was interviewed many years later about Jack Benny.

This syndicated column appeared in the Ogdensburg Journal of March 3, 1980. The writer was with the Waukegan News-Sun.

He Took Jack Benny For A Ride

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (NEA)—Jack Benny didn't always ride in a Maxwell chauffeured by Rochester. Everett Wilbur can remember when the car was a Metz Sports Roadster and he was the driver.
"It was an orange two-seater with a 25-gallon tank," Wilbur reminisces. "A speedy little devil. It would go about 70 miles an hour."
Those were the years immediately after World War I, when Benny began hitting the vaudeville circuit with partner Lyman Woods.
Wilbur was a salesman for a local calf-meal company—"the first to cover the state by car," he says.
To save the budding entertainer money, Wilbur let him and Woods ride along from town to town. There were only two bucket seats, though, so one man had to sit on the floor and hang his legs out of the car.
And the gas tank was in the back, so they had to pile the luggage—including Benny's violin—on the fender.
But it beat paying train fare out of the $2.50 a week that was then the going rate for beginning vaudevillians.
After dropping the two men off at the theater, Wilbur made his sales calls, returning in the evening to wait for them backstage.
Did he ever watch a performance?
"No," he says in surprise. "Why pay money to see him?"
He first saw Jack Benny when the future comedian was still Benny Kubelsky. That was when Wilbur got a job clerking in the Kubelsky family store in Waukegan.
Benny was then a teen-ager, three years younger than Wilbur. (Wilbur was born in 1891, Benny in 1894.) But their friendship grew almost from the start.
"He was a swell guy," Wilbur says.
"He was always joking around. A lot of laughs.
"I don't know what he saw in me. I guess I was a good audience."
As young men, they used to hang around together and attend dances in the park. One year they shared a vacation cabin in Michigan.
"I was cook and Benny was the chambermaid," says Wilbur.
So close were the two men that Benny had permission to go into the Wilbur home at any time to borrow his friend’s suits.
Benny was best man at Wilbur's wedding, and they enlisted in the service together during World War I. Benny ended up in the Navy and Wilbur in the Army.
It was Wilbur who introduced Benny to Lyman Woods, a pianist. The two worked up their vaudeville act in the Wilbur home.
"Our house was like a second home to him," Wilbur says. "He called my mother 'Ma Wilbur.' " She often played the piano while Benny fiddled and was his frequent guest of honor, sitting in box seats at Chicago vaudeville shows.
Wilbur recalls that one of Benny's dreams was to get a role in a musical comedy. He laughs now at how successfully those long-ago dreams were realized.
Wilbur never visited Benny in California, but the two kept in touch through the years. The comedian looked up his old friend almost every time he returned to Waukegan.
The last time was in 1968, six years before Benny's death.
The comedian was in town for a program at the Jack Benny Junior High School. At the end of the festivities, city dignitaries were waiting to transport the star to his next destination.
Benny turned away from the limousines and jumped into Wilbur's car.
"I'm going with Stub," he said, using an old boyhood nickname. The rest of the entourage was forced to follow or lose their guest of honor, Wilbur recalls, chuckling.

Fast cars and fast boats appealed to Stub. The Antioch News of June 25, 1908 relates how Stub raced in his car into Waukegan to get an oxygen tank to try to help save a young man who ultimately drowned at Gage’s Lake. Stub placed third in the speed boat race at the 1927 Waukegan Summer Festival. And he worked as an auto mechanic for Johnson Motors in Waukegan after leaving the J.W. Barwell Company.

Everett Dixon Wilbur died in Waukegan in December 1980, not too many weeks before his 90th birthday.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Farewell, Hugh and Rudy — Again

Twice in four years, Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising found themselves without a contract and looking for someone to release (and fund) their cartoons. It happened in 1933, though stories in The Film Daily show they were hunting before Leon Schlesinger formally announced their relationship was severed. And it happened again in 1937, though there are a few holes in The Film Daily’s account.

The newspaper reported on April 7th that year that MGM was going to open its own cartoon studio. What about Hugh and Rudy? Several months later, another item mentioned the two had signed a five-year-old girl. A column a few days later said MGM announced she would play “the single flesh-and-blood character in a new series of Harman-Ising cartoons.” It sounds like Metro still intended on releasing something by Hugh and Rudy, apparently combination live action/animation shorts. But it never happened and there followed a chain reaction of office politics that resulted in Harman and Ising leaving, their company going bankrupt—and then returning.

Still, they were doing a little better than Ub Iwerks. After a failed bit of strong-arming by Pat Powers to have Iwerks move his studio to New York, Powers dropped him and had delusions of feature grandeur (a musical drama called “For Love of You” with Frank Forest was released). Iwerks picked up piecework with Charlie Mintz and Leon Schlesinger. It’s not quite clear but it appears Schlesinger took over his operation and put brother-in-law Ray Katz in charge. It was solidified into a fourth unit and Bob Clampett was appointed the Katz studio’s director.

There were a few other changes in the animation world in the first half of 1937. Disney was busy with “Snow White” and his shorts were about to be added to the RKO release schedule to replace the Van Beuren cartoons. United Artists decided to fill the gap with cartoons from a brand-new studio, Mayfair Productions, which eventually failed. You can read more about Mayfair HERE. (Van Beuren, newly-co-owned by RKO and Condor Pictures, continued producing other kinds of shorts but Condor was bankrupt by year's end.).

Paul Terry had promised Educational Pictures he’d develop new characters and came up with something called Ozzie Ostrich. Mighty Mouse he wasn’t. The Fleischer studios decided to put Wiffle Piffle into a couple of shorts but Max Fleischer’s attention was diverted by a noisy, arrest-filled strike by his unionised employees. And Astor Pictures in New York signed a deal to release color Sam Small cartoons made in England; they actually appeared on American screens.

With that little summary, let’s leaf through The Film Daily for the first half of 1937. We’ll include cartoon reviews as well.

January 7, 1937
Future of Film Cartoon Secure, Says Paul Terry
THE future of the cartoon is secure because it has proved the most popular and hardy of screen formulas. Blending comedy, dramatic values, sound and music, it combines all the essential ingredients of screen entertainment. Yet it transcends the 'real life' films as a medium because its possibilities are endless, limited only by the imagination of the creator. Yes, the cartoon probably will live forever on the motion picture screen. But it has changed tremendously, not in form so much as in expression. Sound has brought about the greatest transformation. And then came color. Some animated cartoon producers are toying with the idea of a third dimension, but it yet remains to be demonstrated whether true stereoscopic illusion is either practicable or possible. Perhaps, the next step is a combination of the animated cartoon with real life characters and backgrounds. It is not generally realized the amount of labor, concentration and expense that goes into making a single cartoon. Eight thousand individual drawings are required for an eight minute subject. It takes three months from the stage of developing the idea to the finished product. Sound has increased costs tremendously. In silent days we had a staff of 25 men turning out 52 animated cartoons a year—one a week. Today we make 26 subjects a year—a 100 per cent increase in manpower for half as many subjects. The result is bound to be improvement. An important factor in the continued growth of the cartoon lies in the personnel making it. Men are not trained in cartoon work for graduation into feature fields. They are trained in a field which keeps them permanently, and thus as new and talented cartoon workers are found or developed, they add to the brain power that is the sole source of the cartoon's strength. —Paul H. Terry.

January 8, 1937
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Kenneth McLellan, former head animator for Walt Disney, and Norman Stephenson, former Disney production manager, have engaged a staff of five animators and 40 artists for their new cartoon company which will make nine "Skippy" cartoons in Technicolor annually for U. A. release. Facilities have been provided on the U. A. lot.

January 22, 1937
Disney, Leading Young Man
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Walt Disney, brain-father of Mickey Mouse and other famous film cartoon favorites, has been named the Leading Young Man of 1936 as result of ballots cast by U. S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. Walter E. Holman, organization's national president, said Thomas E. Dewey, New York's vice prosecutor, was runner-up.

January 23, 1937
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • SO IMPORTANT do the RKO Radio folks consider their forthcoming distribution of Walt Disney's cartoon products starting March 15 with the first, "Pluto's Quinpuplets" that the current issue of their house organ is devoted almost exclusively to Disney and his creations there are special signed articles by Jules Levy, Ned Depinet, Kay Kamen, Walt Disney, Harry Michalson and the Sales Promotion Dep't under Leon Bamberger is sending out a special letter signed by Mickey Mouse himself sent to all logical exhib prospects throughout the land here is a splendid piece of atmospheric sales literature done in the spirit of the clever cartoon character.

January 25, 1937
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
With "Clean Pastures," a parody on Warners "Green Pastures" developed into an amusing "Merrie Melodie" cartoon, Leon Schlesinger has started production on "Uncle Tom's Bungalow," satirizing "Uncle Tom's Cabin." New short is also a "Merrie Melodie" in Technicolor.

February 3, 1937
Tri-Color, Inc. Suing
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Los Angeles—Tri-Color Inc., has filed suit in U. S. District Court here against Technicolor, Mitchell Camera Co., 20th Century-Fox, Warner Bros., Samuel Goldwyn, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Walt Disney Productions, Pioneer Pictures and RKO Studios charging infringement in one of its patents for making color pictures. Damages and an accounting are asked.

February 12, 1937
Walt Disney Considering Use of System for Cartoons

West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — The new Dunning three-color process will be ready for the market next summer, with $250,000 invested in a laboratory and equipment. Handling of 10,000,000 to 15,000,000 feet annually will be possible under the setup.
Although Walt Disney continues to use Technicolor, he has refused to sign a three-year contract with that company and is considering the Dunning system which is especially designed for the cartoon field, it is stated.
Randal Terraneau, active head of George Humphries Laboratory, Ltd., London, which handles the Dunning two-color process in England in association with Dunning, arrived in Hollywood yesterday.

February 15, 1937
RKO Expected to Start Disney Distrib. in April
"Pluto's Quintuplets" will be the title of the first Walt Disney subject which RKO Radio will distribute and indications are distribution will begin in April, Ned E. Depinet, distribution head, said Saturday.

February 15, 1937
Disney Signs New 1-Year Contract with Technicolor
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Walt Disney and Technicolor have signed a new one-year contract, Technicolor to be used exclusively by him. Disney will make 18 Silly Symphonies, Mickey Mouse and other short subjects and in addition one feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

February 26, 1937
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Mr. and Mrs. Leon Schlesinger and Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Blackburn sail on the S. S. Malolo, Feb. 27 for Honolulu. They will be back in Hollywood Mar. 20.

February 27, 1937
Disney Signs 10-Year Deal For Photophone Recording
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Walt Disney has signed a new contract with RCA providing for exclusive use of Photophone High Fidelity sound recording on all of his productions for the next ten years. Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and all other popular Disney cartoon characters will have their voices recorded for the screen through High Fidelity equipment under terms of the agreement. In addition, all Disney cartoon or dramatic features made during the next decade will utilize RCA sound apparatus.

March 2, 1937
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • FOLLOWING A special screening of the output of seven different producers of film cartoons . . . a group of Cuba's leading illustrators and cartoonists handed the palm to Walt Disney . . . "Mickey's Opera" was the Disney entry that copped . . . and the diploma was handed to Henry Weiner, the U. A. manager for Cuba

Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Leon Schlesinger, producer of “Merrie Melodie” and "Looney Tune" cartoons for Warner Bros., shipped four subjects this month, hailed a record for cartoon production. Shorts include two "Merrie Melodies" in Technicolor — "The Fella with the Fiddle," "I Only Have Eyes for You" and two Looney Tunes"—"Picador Porky" and "Porky's Romance," the latter introducing "Petunia," a new character, supplying the love interest for the rotund Porky.

March 5, 1937
Outstanding Shorts—cartoon, "Country Cousin", Walt Disney

March 10, 1937
Cameramen Are Called In Tri-Color—Technicolor Suit
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Insisting that the Tri-Color camera is a patentable novelty, Tri-Color called Friend Baker, in charge of special effects at Columbia and Milton Moore, freelance cameraman, to the stand yesterday. Technicolor attorneys maintain that Charles Jones' camera device patent is invalid on grounds that his invention is not a patentable novelty. Baker and Moore testified to using the camera.
It is understood Jock Whitney, subpoened by Tri-Color and who wishes to go to Europe, will be allowed to make a deposition. Walt Disney called by the plaintiff, is expected to testify Friday.

March 15, 1937
Astor Takes Dyers Series
Astor Pictures Corp. has closed a deal whereby it acquires the distribution rights to a series of six Anson Dyers color cartoons in the U. S. and possessions. Series features a character known as Sam Small, popularized by Jack Hylton and his band on the Real Silk radio programs. Release date of the first subject, "Carmen," is set for April 15.

March 20, 1937
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
With two "Merrie Melodies" and a "Looney Tune" going into production, Leon Schlesinger has started work on his product for next season.

March 25, 1937
Astor Gets Pix Deals
Astor Pictures Corp. has closed a deal with B. N. Judell, Inc., to distribute the series of "Sam Small" color cartoons through its Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee exchanges. By another deal, Atlantic Pictures of Salt Lake City will distribute this series for its territory. Astor also has closed deals with Elliott Film Co., Minneapolis, and Atlantic Pictures Corp. of New Orleans, to distribute the series of 8 Tom Tylers for their respective territories.

March 26, 1937
"Old Sam" Deals Closed
Astor Pictures Corp. has closed deals with Savini Films, Inc., of Atlanta, Ga., and Selected Pictures Corp. of Cleveland, to distribute the series of "Old Sam," color cartoons in their respective territories.

April 1, 1937
The cartoon speaks a universal language. But the process of making a film cartoon . . . the technique that "makes them move" . . . remains a universal mystery. No phase of film production holds a greater fascination for the public than the making of an animated cartoon.
Taking advantage of this widespread curiosity, Educational's publicity department, in cooperation with Paul Terry's studio, has prepared an elaborate display telling the story of "the making of a screen cartoon as observed at the Terry-Toons studio." The display, which consists of six large printed panels, explains in type and liberal illustrations the cartoon production method from the inception of the story idea to the finished film. There has been an immediate and heavy demand for the exhibit from all parts of the country, and it has already been shipped to more than 2,000 libraries, clubs, classrooms and other meeting places.
Each of the six panels in this Terry-Toons display is 22 x 30 inches in size.

Majors Dominate Hollywood Comedy "NAMES" IN SHORTS Shorts Production, Checkup Shows
West Coast Representative of The Film Daily
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Mayfair is the newest entry in the cartoon field and will produce a series for release by United Artists. Walt Disney is busy with his "Silly Symphonies" and "Mickey Mouse" subjects, while Harman-Ising is making "Happy Harmonies." Leon Schlesinger continues with his "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes." Charles B. Mintz is making "Krazy Kat," "Scrappy," "Barney Google" and "Color Rhapsodies." Walter Lantz is working on the "Oswald" cartoons at Universal, while Animated Pictures Corp. [Ub Iwerks’ studio] is producing two series.

Success Story
Steady flow of new contracts to the home office from a U. A. salesman finally resulted in a "Home come?" inquiry. The salesman explained that all he did was to carry one of Disney's films around with him and if his customer proved tough he showed the picture in the exhibitor's theater on his first or second show and let the audience's reaction get in its work.

April 2, 1937
Dowager Queen Is Disney Fan
London—Her Majesty, the Dowager Queen Mary has made a special request that, whenever she attends the cinema the program include a Walt Disney Mickey Mouse or Silly Symphony production.

April 7, 1937
M-G-M's Own Cartoons
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—M-G-M plans to make its own series of 13 one-reel cartoons in Technicolor. Harman-Ising has 13 more subjects to deliver under present contract.

Levy Seeks 8-16 mm. Rights
Max Levy of Exclusive Movie Studios, Chicago, distributor of 8 mm. and 16 mm. films for home projectors, is negotiating with the Franchise Department of Columbia for the sole rights to use Columbia's cartoon character "Scrappy" in both 8 mm. and 16 mm. for children's toy projectors. Negotiations also are under way whereby Levy will acquire the rights to both "Barney Google" and "Krazy Kat", Columbia animated cartoon characters.

April 14, 1937
Llanuza Suit Hearing Today
Hearing will be held today before Supreme Court Justice Frankenthaler on the application of Pedro Llanuza, cartoonist, to orally examine five defendants in his suit against Columbia Pictures, Chas. B. Mintz, Walt Disney Enterprises, United Artists, for an accounting of the profits from distribution of films allegedly patterned after an idea he conceived.
The idea was to use caricatures of screen stars for movie shorts. Llanuza seeks to examine Mintz, Geo. S. Stallings, Earl Hurd, Ted Sears and Jack King.

April 16, 1937
Phil M. Daly column, New York
• • • DOLLARIZE WITH Disney . . . that will be the slogan for you exhibs when you book this Walt Disney novelty feature with it's sure-fire B.O. pull . . . in a few words . . . United Artists will present what will be known as the Academy Award Revue of Walt Disney Cartoons . . . consisting of the five color cartoons that have won the awards each year since the Academy made their first award
• • • HERE IS a very unique feature subject . . . running 50 minutes on the screen . . . the five prize cartoons have been deftly presented with a commentator introducing each one . . . after opening the picture with a reproduction of the Academy Award plaque and explaining how Walt Disney has won it five years in succession . . . the subjects are "Flowers and Trees," "Three Little Pigs," "The Tortoise and the Hare," "Three Little Kittens," and finally last year's prize-winner, "The Country Cousin"
• • • THE RELEASE date is June 16 . . . this novelty cartoon feature will be backed with a nation-wide newspaper campaign . . . an exploitation campaign along the lines of a Chaplin feature . . . tie-ups with more than a hundred Disney licensees who will plug the event with newspaper ads, window displays and radio mentions . . . a special pressbook . . . and a series of coast-to-coast broadcasts for several weeks prior to the release date, with scenes from the Revue put on the air and Walt Disney himself speaking to the nation in the final broadcast . . . it is a cinch that this Quintuplet Quintessence of Quality from the Cartoon Master will Bowl Over your B. O. in a Disney Deluge of Dollars

April 21, 1937
Say Fleischer Studios Violating Wagner Act
Commercial Artists and Designers Union, an A. F. of L. union, yesterday filed complain with the National Labor Relations Board against Fleischer Studios, cartoon producers, charging violation of the Wagner Act by refusing to bargain collectively with a majority of the company's employes. The union claims to represent 112 of the 134 employes of the company.

FILM DAILY Staff Correspondent
Robert A. Morales, producer of "Novillero" ("The Apprentice Bullfighter"), first color picture ever made in the Spanish-speaking countries, is leaving for New York to market world rights on a series of color cartoons with music which he is also producing. The first has been completed under the title of "Los Cinco Cabritos y el Lobo" ("Five Little Lambs and the Wolf") with animation by Bismarck, Mexican cartoonist.

April 24, 1937
Interrogatories Sought
A bill of discovery seeking interrogatories, supplementing a copyright infringement action brought by 20th Century-Fox, M-G-M and Terrytoons, Inc. against the C. & F. Amusement Co. and Ben Rosasi is being asked by the distributors in the U. S. District Court, New York. Eight shorts are involved in the case.

May 8, 1937
120 Strike at Fleischer Studios; 15 Pickets Arrested
One hundred and twenty employes of the Max Fleischer studios, members of the Commercial Artists and Designers Union, went on strike last night in protest at the discharge of 15 union members, allegedly for union activities, and also because of the management's failure to negotiate with the union as representative of a majority of the employes.
Picketing in front of the Fleischer studios at 1600 Broadway last night resulted in the arrest of 15 pickets for disorderly conduct.
The union has filed a formal complaint with the Regional Labor Board charging the management with violation of the Wagner act. The union is asking for immediate re-instatement, with back pay, for those discharged, recognition as the sole bargaining agent, a 35-hour week, double overtime pay, dismissal bonuses, minimum pay scales for some types of workers and a general 10 per cent increase in other categories.

May 10, 1937
Fleischer Claims Meeting Demands Would Close Plant
Demands made by the Commercial Artists and Designers Union, if granted, "would add $200,000 yearly to our payroll and expenses and would simply mean that we would have to close down our studio", Max Fleischer of Max Fleischer Studios, Inc., declared in a statement Saturday, following the walkout of 120 employes Friday night.
"There is no issue of unionization in this strike", Fleischer added. "The question is whether we shall be driven out of business because of the new technic of slow-down strike."

May 11, 1937
Fleischer Studios Open
Fleischer Studios remain open despite the walkout of employes, with no move planned to open negotiations with the striking workers, it was said yesterday by Louis Nizer, counsel for Max Fleischer.
Charles Robinson, one of the striking employes, was held yesterday in $500 bail in West Side Court charged with assaulting Charles Schettler, a Fleischer employe who has remained on the job.

May 15, 1937
Fleischer Production Up; Strike is Said “Broken”
Asserting that production at the Max Fleischer cartoon studio has risen from 20 to 90 per cent, a spokesman for the producer yesterday declared that the "strike has been virtually broken." At the orders of the police, mass picketing has ceased, it was stated. Fleischer, through his counsel, Attorney Louis Nizer, has brought about the holding of one employee, who is alleged to have struck another remaining on the job, for General Sessions, and another has been found guilty of disorderly conduct.

May 17, 1937
RKO Radio has had the biggest year in its history in both foreign and domestic sales, it was said yesterday by Ned E. Depinet, vice president in charge of distribution.
RKO Radio now plans to begin distribution of the Walt Disney shorts about Aug. 1. "Pluto's Quintuplets," the first of the Disney Subjects RKO Radio will distribute, has been received at the home office.
RKO Radio will sell "Snow White," the first feature produced by Disney for next season release, Depinet said. Film will be sold individually.

May 18, 1937
Schlesinger Organizes Fourth Unit for Shorts
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Leon Schlesinger producer of "Merrie Melodie" and "Looney Tune" cartoons for Warners, has organized a fourth unit located at 9713 Santa Monica Blvd., in order to handle heavy 1938 production schedule, which calls for 36 short subjects.
Raymond G. Katz, formerly assistant to Schlesinger at the Sunset plant, will supervise new unit consisting of 35 people.
Katz will turn out 10 "Looney Tunes" in black and white, with the Sunset plant delivering 20 "Merrie Melodies" in Technicolor and six "Looney Tunes."

May 22, 1937
Phil M. Daly column, New York
Robert C. Johnston, of the Walt Disney artist staff, is being married today to Ethel Primmer of Hillside, N. J. . . . the couple will leave next week to establish a home in Hollywood

May 26, 1937
Walt Disney said yesterday on arriving from the coast that he has placed his second all-color feature in production and that other full-length pictures will follow along. The second feature will be based on the story of "Bambi," the deer by Felix Salten, Viennese author.
"Snow White," first of the Disney features will cost $1,000,000 and will be two years in production Disney declared. Production of the features will overlap, he said. The studio has developed a new dimensional effect which gives more illusion of depth, the producer stated.
RKO Radio's first quota of Disney short subjects will include 18 cartoons. The “Silly Symphonies” will all be fantasies from now on Disney said. There will be several pictures in which “Donald Duck” will dominate and some with "Pluto, the Dog," as the chief character There will also be a quota of "Mickey Mouses."
Disney plans to stay here a few days to see the shows and then return to the coast.

June 1, 1937
Dickson Joins Disney
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Gregory Dickson, formerly with RKO, has been made publicity and advertising director for Walt Disney Productions.

June 8, 1937
Nab Singing Pickets
And now it's singing pickets. Six of 'em who warbled in front of the Nat Fleischer [sic] studio at 1600 Broadway yesterday were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

200 Deutsch Theaters Now Have Mickey Mouse Clubs
William Levy, British manager for Walt Disney, said yesterday that the Walt Disney comic magazine which sells for two cents now has over 500,000 circulation. Levy, who arrived yesterday from abroad, reports that Queen Mary insists on a Disney subject whenever she views a film program. Oscar Deutsch has ordered that Mickey Mouse clubs be organized in every one of his 200 theaters, Levy said.

June 9, 1937
Plan New Fleischer Move
Following action yesterday afternoon by the executive board of Local 306 officially declaring the union on strike against the Fleischer studios, officials of the operators union were to ask the IATSE today to rule against requiring members to show Fleischer short subjects. Local 802, musicians' union, has also called a strike against the Fleischer studios since employes there walked out several weeks ago.
Six singing pickets arrested on disorderly conduct charges yesterday as they marched in front of the Fleischer studio at 1600 Broadway were discharged yesterday in West Side Court.

Disney, Back on Coast, Pushes "Snow White" Work
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Walt Disney, back from New York, will immediately plunge into work connected with the current production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", slated for RKO's 1937-38 schedule.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" will be Disney's first feature-length production, and the first Disney in which humanized characters, not caricatures, will receive his consideration. The entire feature will be filmed in Technicolor.

June 12, 1937
Million Offer for Disney Pix Rights Proves in Vain
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Indicating the unusual foreign interest in Walt Disney's first full-length feature production in Technicolor, an offer of $1,000,000 for the English roadshow rights to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has been made to Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., by William Morris, Jr., acting on behalf of one of the largest theater circuits in England.
Previous commitments, however, with RKO recently appointed distributors for Disney productions, preclude any possibility of the proposed deal being consummated.

June 15, 1937
Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood
Valerie Shepherd, five, was selected from more than 400 little girls by M-G-M to portray the heroine in the next Harman-Ising comedy cartoon short subject. In addition to Valerie the studio is using two little pups.

Disney Dropping Realism
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Season of 1937-38 will see Walt Disney reverse his current trend toward realistic materials and treatments in his Silly Symphonies and again place emphasis on fantastic themes and childlore, it is understood.

June 22, 1937
NLRB Gets Report on Fleischer Artists' Petition
Washington Bureau, of THE FILM DAILY
Washington—National Labor Relations Board yesterday declared that Trial Examiner H. Y. Korey has made a formal but unofficial report to the board concerning the petition of 135 artists of the Fleischer Studios for representation. According the NLRB spokesman, Korey's report is now before the Board for consideration and it is expected action will be taken within the next two or three weeks. The report, it was explained, must necessarily remain confidential until the Board decides upon an election or dismisses the case. The artists petitioned the Board on May 3rd.

June 24, 1937
M-G-M Organizes Cartoon Dept. as Separate Unit
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Los Angeles—Fred C. Quimby is organizing a new cartoon department for M-G-M at Culver City to function as an individual unit. Move follows announcement that M-G-M will produce a series of 13 cartoon subjects based on the comic strip, "The Captain and the Kids." Latter has been appearing in newspapers since 1897, longer than any other comic strip published today.

Schlesinger Sets Record
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Leon Schlesinger established a new cartoon production record this month by shipping five subjects, two Looney Tunes and three Merrie Melodies-Technicolor. The two Looney Tunes were "Porky's Bad Time Story" and "Porky's Super Service." The three Merrie Melodies were "Sweet Sioux," "Egghead Rides Again" and "Plenty of Money and You."


January 7, 1937
"The Worm Turns" (Mickey Mouse)
United Artists 10 mins. Mickey Magic
A very clever skit in which Mickey acts as a chemist and dopes out a liquid that puts fighting blood into any poor downtrodden animal. Mickey gives a shot of it to the fly caught in the spider's web, and the fly forthwith proceeds to clean up the spider. The same procedure follows with the cat and the mouse, the dog and the cat, and finally the dog and the dog-catcher. All the poor worms turn with the aid of the magic liquid, and perform feats of valor against their bigger opponents.

"Don Donald" (Mickey Mouse)
United Artists 10 mins. Romance
Donald Duck is seen as a gay caballero making love to a fair senorita. He serenades her, then takes her off in the desert for a ride in his new auto. But the auto starts to buck and then when he gets it started, it runs wild with his fair senorita. When Donald catches up, the car has thrown the lovely passenger into a pool of water, and she walks home, leaving the romantic Don Duck flat.

"More Kittens" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 10 mins. Funny Adventures
High adventures of three kittens who are thrown out of the house by the colored maid, and start to make friends with the big St. Bernard in the garden. The kittens romp around and have a high old time with a turtle, a bee, and a scrappy bird. When they get into trouble they come flying back to the St. Bernard for sympathy and protection.

"Pigs Is Pigs" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Clever
The fanciful adventure of Junior Pig, who has a nightmare after making a little pig of himself at the supper table. He dreams that an ogre captures him, and puts him through a terrible ordeal, strapped to a chair and forced to be fed by machines till he almost bursts. In fact he does blow up at the end, only to find that he is being called for breakfast by his ma. Done in color, and the mechanical contrivances are very funny and ingenious. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

January 28, 1937
"The Golfers" (Meany, Miny, Moe Cartoon)
Universal 8 mins. Monkey Shines
The three monks start out for golfing with some trick clubs. They meet with all sorts of disasters, and find themselves off the fairway and in the rough. Along comes an automatic gadget like a steam shovel driven by a stranger, which clears the road of trees and other obstructions, and sends the golf ball right onto the tee. Moe takes charge of the machine, but it goes haywire, and almost skins the poor monks alive before it blows up.

"Everybody Sing" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Bird Stuff
Oswald is in charge of the swing band at the summer hotel in Birdville. All the birds helped out in the song fest, till a bunch of black crows horned in and did the bandit act. They chased all the guests away, and took possession of the hotel. Oswald discovers a scarecrow in a field, and getting inside, comes back and cleans up the bandit crows. Then with great glee the birds assemble again and go on with their swing show.

January 30, 1937
"The Book Shop" (Terry Toons)
Educational 7 mins. Nice Fantasy
Neat and clever fantasy of the story books of childhood. The little doggie falls asleep and dreams that he is being transported through the Land of Books. In turn he encounters the characters of some of the child classics and finally lands in the clutches of Jack the Giant Killer. Escaping into the giant's castle, he at last is in the grasp of the terrible monster, and of course awakes to find it is all a nightmare.

February 5, 1937
“The Tin Can Tourist” (Terrytoon Cartoon)
Educational 7 mins. Timely
The timely theme of the trailer tourist cross-country is cartoonized, with old Farmer Al Falfa off on a jaunt with his flivver and a beautiful new trailer. But the old lad strikes a snag when he decides to camp in a beautiful spot and enjoy breakfast on his front porch. He gets into an argument with a bee, and the latter summons all the bee clan and finally rout" the tourist completely.

February 12, 1937
"The Painless Window Washer" (Popeye,—a Max Fleischer Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Amusing
Avast!-—it's a far cry from his native sea to his role of window washer, with one mere bucket of water, but here is Popeye the Sailor in all his extra-special muscled glory. His job is to make the panes of glass in a giant office building shine brightly. Bluto, the regular window washer won't stand for Popeye musclin' into his racket. Witness to their fistic fracas high above the yawning street is the gangling, devoted Olive Oyl. But she is spared the tribulations that would surely attend Popeye's being hurled to his death, for the resourceful sailor imbibes rapidly a ration of spinach and in the nick of time knocks Bluto for a loop,—and amusingly.

"Never Should Have Told You" (Screen Song)
Paramount 8 mins. Peppy
Max Fleischer's skill and judgment in mixing pop orchestra reels with comedy and novelty is evidenced again in this peppy short. Both introductory and final shots deal with that weird and mirthful cartoon character, Wiffle Piffle,—an inventor in this instance. He invents all manner of ridiculous contrivances including a diminutive, portable movie projector for subway passengers. He demonstrates it by showing on a tiny screen, which a close-up brings into full theater size, Nat Brandywine and his Orchestra playing "Never Should Have Told You," a recent pop hit. Maxine Tappen sings the number skillfully. The lyrics are flashed in, so that audiences can sing, assisted in the matter of rhythm and syllabic accents by Fleischer's patented method known as the Bouncing Ball.

February 13, 1937
"Skeleton Frolic" (Scrappy Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 mins. Fine Technique
A Technicolor production with the skeletons coming out of the graves and dancing to swing music as the orchestra leader puts his band through some eccentric capers. The musicians play on each other's bones. Rather a gruesome subject in a way, but done with great technical cleverness and filled with a grim sort of humor. Produced by Charles Mintz.

February 20, 1937
"Whoops! I'm a Cowboy" (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Good Fun
Lithe-limbed, round-faced Betty has an easy time of it in this cartoon, for most of the footage deals with that comical character, Wiffle Piffle, whose grotesqueness, antics and high pitched voice are winning him a fan following in the short reel realm. He proposes to Betty who rebuffs him because she wants a cowbody for a boy friend. Wiffle goes westward to a dude ranch to try to be one. That he doesn't succeed in his ambition is evidenced from the manner in which he is tossed about by broncos, longhorns et al. But its good fun for audiences.

February 26, 1937
"Don Donald" (Donald Duck Cartoon)
United Artists 8 mins. Swell
Ingenious Walt Disney stars Donald Duck in this literally colorful comedy romance. Donald is arrayed in his Mexican frills, topped, of course, by a giant sombrero. Astride his little black burro,—which by the way is one of the most lovable and appealing of the animal characters delineated by the deft Mr. Disney,—he rides to the hacienda of his heart's flame, Donna Duck. This senorita is decidedly a worldly gal, for after a tiff with Don, indicating that all is over between them, she relents. The reason is that Don Donald trades his burro for a bright red roadster. Together they ride like the wind through the cactus-covered countryside. But the auto has an ornery disposition and cuts up all kinds of capers. Donna heads home on her mono-cycle, leaving poor Donald to repent of his rash trade and to hear from a nearby knoll the derisive laughter of the little black burro. It's swell stuff.

"Moose Hunters" (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 8 mins. Top-Notch
Plenty of action and fun stud [sic] this highly entertaining short with Mickey cast in the role of a hunter. On stilts and enshrouded with foliage, the renowned rodent is camouflaged as a tree. For a decoy his two companions, the Goof and Donald Duck, disguise themselves as an alluring female of the Moose family so as to attract the majestic Mr. Moose to the spot marked for the kill. Literally ladening the air with the scent of perfume, the plotters succeed in enticing not one but two romantically inclined gentlemen moose to the woodland clearing, where, in keeping with classical male tradition, they fight over the lady fair. But when they discover that the lovely maiden moose is the mean machination of Donald Duck and the Goof they charge to the attack. Mickey and his allies fortunately escape in a canoe. Young and old will love this top-notch reel.

"Magical Mickey" (Mickey Mouse Cartoon)
United Artists 8 mins. Merry
Mickey cavorts behind stage footlights in this chapter of his amazing and amusing adventures. He is a magician. And what a master he is of the sleight-of-hand art! His audience applauds vociferously when he makes all manner of things appear, disappear or change form. But, alas, there is an unruly patron occupying a box in the theater's auditorium. The gentleman is none other than raucous Donald Duck, and he heckles the magical Mickey to the point of distraction. The latter makes a laughing stock of the obstreperous Donald through a series of comical tricks, to the delight of the audience that has come to see him perform. Audiences will find an equal degree of merriment in the sequences.

"Picador Porky" (Looney Tune Cartoon)
Vitaphone 8 mins. Lively
The high adventures of Porky in a Mexican town, where he arrives with two stooges and enters a contest for the champion bullfighter. The gag is that the stooges are to get inside the skin of a bull, and Porky will try to win the prize by fraud. But the scheme gums up as they are delayed, and Porky is forced to fight the real bull. But the stooges come to the rescue just in time. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" (Merrie Melody)
Vitaphone 8 mins Sprightly
Cleverly done in Technicolor, with a real plot that builds unusual suspense for a cartoon. The humble iceman falls for Miss Canary who is strong for radio crooners. So he hires a ventriloquist to croon in his ice wagon as he takes the girl for a ride. But the girl uncovers the ruse and falls in love with the crooner, and the iceman is forced to go back to the old maid who at least knows how to cook.

March 5, 1937
"Bunny-Mooning" (Max Fleischer Color Classic)
Paramount 7 mins. Amusing
This is a cleverly delineated and amusing single reeler with subject matter that will appeal both to young and old alike. It deals with the courtship of two rabbits, and the gala marriage ceremony for the long-eared couple performed in the enchanting forest, with all manner of woodland folk on hand. Particularly humorous are the preparations the animals undergo to appear fastidious and magnificent at the nuptials. As might be expected by reason of his glamour, the resplendent peacock ties the matrimonial knot.

March 10, 1937
"Duck Hunt" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Entertaining
Plenty of diversion in this subject for audiences. Oswald and Elmer the Pooch go duck hunting. Elmer goes for one of the decoy ducks after which Oswald ties him to the outboard motorboat so that he won't interfere with the shooting. When passing ducks pelt him with eggs, Elmer jerks around, starts the motor and off he goes through the air. In the windup, Elmer rescues Oswald who had been chased into the lake by the wild ducks.

"Lumber Camp" (Meany, Miny, Moe)
Universal 7 mins. Diverting
Lots of action and humor in this subject laid in a lumber camp with Moe as the cook with a reputation for making swell flapjacks. Moe's flapjacks are constantly being pilfered by a little bear. When Moe finally starts out after him, the bear calls its mother. Moe is able to beat off the mother. The next time the little bear comes running to its mother for help, the parents wallop him.

March 12, 1937
"The Lyin' Hunter" (Krazy Kat)
Columbia 7 mins. Lively
A visit to the zoo by Krazy with his two little nephews puts him in a bragging mood. He starts to tell of his adventures in the jungle and the cartoon records his Munchausen story. As he hits the lying climax, a tiger breaks loose from the zoo and starts for Krazy. After it has shown him up to his nephews as a four-flusher, the tiger turns out to be a hoax with an actor in a tiger skin. The little cats give Krazy the berry.

April 1, 1937
"My Artistical Temperature" (Popeye the Sailor Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Merry
Sonorous-voiced Popeye is a skilled sculptor in this merry chapter of his outlandish adventures, and shares a studio with the bad, bulky Bluto, who is a portrait and landscape painter. Their esthetic rivalry boils over when the visiting Olive Oyl wants a portrait or a statue of herself, — whichever, by sample, proves the more satisfactory. Popeye and Bluto bend to the chore, each trying to impede the other's craftsmanship. Soon blows are freely exchanged, with the ready and willing sailor on the receiving end. But Popeye adds to his readiness and willingness to "mix it" with the battling Bluto by becoming plenty able,—for he finds a can of spinach in the studio, gathers it to his gullet, and soon bangs Bluto about with the greatest of ease. At the fadeout, there is little doubt but that Olive Oyl's portrait is going to be in the form of a statute:

"The Fella with the Fiddle" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 7 mins. Novel Cartoon
The little mice listen to grandpa who tells them the story of Miser Mouse, whose racket was pretending to be blind and begging on the street. Accumulating a fortune, he lived in a tricky house that looked like a shack on the outside and inside also, but by pressing buttons it could be transformed into a mansion as the broken furniture disappeared behind the walls and rich articles took their place. But finally the tax collector called, and Miser Mouse had a tough time trying to clear himself when the visitor started pressing the buttons and revealing the rich furnishings. Produced by Leon Schlesinger. Animation by Cal Dalton and Ken Harris.

"Bug Carnival" (Terry-Toons)
Educational 7 mins.
The insects stage a carnival that has a lot of big-time circus acts. The highlight is a daring act by the ringmaster who acts as a lion tamer and goes into a bottle containing a ferocious specimen that looks like a firefly. Barehanded, he finally subdues the ferocious beast and comes out of the bottle to receive the plaudits of the spectators. The entire conception of this cartoon is very ingenious and funny, and it moves fast. Technique by Paul Terry, Mannie Davis and George Gordon. Original score by Philip A. Scheib.

"Bosko's Easter Eggs" (Harman-Ising Cartoon)
M-G-M 8 mins. Timely
Two pickaninnies and a pup get mixed up with a hen trying to hatch out her eggs. The boy is trying to get his easter eggs to his little sweetheart, but meets with a spill, so he borrows the eggs from the hen and colors them for Easter. The girl makes him return them, and the pup is put to work to keep them warm till the hen returns. When she does, there is the dickens to pay, and the enranged fowl makes the pickaninny and the pup sorry they ever mixed in. Done in Technicolor, with plenty of clever technique.

April 2, 1937
"Red Hot Music" (Kiko the Kangaroo)
Educational 7 mins. Exciting
This Terry-Toon features a red hot fire brought about by the red hot music of the orchestra that plays at the KIKO broadcasting station. Soon the entire building is in flames, and Kiko and his fire laddies do their stuff. After some spectacular stunts and the risk of his life many times, Kiko the Kangaroo finally saves all the gang in the studio. Plenty of excitement and thrills in the fire scenes to hold the youngsters.

April 5, 1937
"Puttin’ Out the Kitten" (Scrappy Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins Clever
A nursery fantasy, with Scrappy getting ready to go to bed as he puts the kitten out in the cold for the night. But Scrappy has an awful nightmare, and in it he sees the poor kitten going through all sorts of wild adventures with the fairy tale people depicted on his nursery room wall paper. Scrappy comes out of the nightmare, and jumps up feeling very sorry for the kitten which he takes in from the cold and puts him in the warm bed with him.

April 12, 1937
"Pudgy Takes A Bow-Wow" (Betty Boop Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Good Gags
Good gag, with Betty Boop leaving her pup in the dressing room as she goes on the stage for her ringing and dancing act. The pup gets into a fight with a yowling cat who is spoiling Betty's act. The pup and cat land on the stage, and are so funny that the audience goes for their "act" instead of Betty's. So Betty wisely has them come back for an encore.

"Twilight On the Trail" (Screen Songs)
Paramount 7 mins. Good Cartoon Novelty
A Max Fleischer cartoon featuring a cowboy who draws on a board and the drawings turn into cartoons showing some tall yarn done in the Munchausen exaggerated style. After a series of these wild and wooly adventures done for the laughs, Louise Massey and The Westerners finish with a song of the trail, with the animated white ball bouncing above the words of the song that are superimposed for the community singing.

April 15, 1937
"Birthday Party" (Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Funny Animal Stuff
It is Oswald's birthday, so he throws a party for the two ducklings and Elmer, the pooch. As the presents are being passed out to the little ducks, the commotion starts and Elmer tries to be helpful and chases the youngsters all the way home. Oswald realizes that he did it all for the best, and instead of Elmer getting the licking he expected, his master rewards him with a nice bone.

April 27, 1937
"Chicken A La King" (Color Classic Cartoon)
Paramount 8 mins. Laffs
This Max Fleischer color cartoon has a rooster playing the Sultan in his harem. Everything goes okay till Ducky-Wucky, a flirty duck with a Mae West makeup and voice appears. The Sultan goes for the new charmer in a big way, till the duck's boy friend appears and licks the stuffings out of him in a duel. Then the harem hens finish the job as the duck goes off with Ducky Wucky. Fast tempo, and good comedy gagging.

"The Twisker Pitcher" (Popeye Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Fun Riot
A very fast-moving and hilarious cartoon as Popeye heads a baseball team opposing the aggregation of Bluto, the tuff sailor. Bluto steals the spinach can from Popeye, who starts to wilt as he pitches, and Bluto piles up a score. But Popeye grows some extra-fast spinach from special seed, and with the new energy wipes up the field with Bluto's team, playing all positions himself. There is plenty of riotous fun and fast action to please the Popeye fans.

May 7, 1937
"Porky's Duck Hunt" (Looney Tune Cartoon)
Vitaphone 9 mins. Good Fun for Kids
The adventures of Porky, who goes duck hunting with his dog. But the amateur hunter finds one lone duck is very smart, and he cannot bag it. In fact the duck is so smart that it kids Porky, and shows him how to handle his gun. The climax has the pup swallowing the decoy duck whistle for calling the game. So every time the pup breathes, the whistle blows like a flock of wild ducks, and the other hunters pepper them with their guns. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

May 11, 1937
"Trailer Thrills" (An Oswald Cartoon)
Universal 7 mins. Just Fair
In this one, Oswald the Rabbit goes places in his auto-drawn trailer. Most admirers of the long-eared young fellow will find the episode in his existence amusing enough, but the cartoon delineators have spent too much of the footage showing what the car and trailer do as animated personalities. Consequently there is not very much time given over to Oswald himself, who, after all, is what audiences like best in this series of tab films. The reel, after revealing the vicissitudes trailer and motoring habitu├ęs face in their prodigal progress o'er mount and vale, brings Oswald weary and disillusioned to Paradise Valley. It's fair fare.

"Carmen" (Sam Small Cartoon)
Astor Pictures 9 mins. Good Action
A Sam Small number, with the little British soldier in a Spanish setting where he takes part in a bull fight at the arena through an accident. He has been jailed, and escapes with a ball-and-chain on his leg, and is catapulted into the arena by his horse as he flees from the prison cell. The ball and chain are instrumental in knocking out the bull and making Sam a hero. Done in color.

"Halt! Who Goes There?" (Sam Small Cartoons)
Astor Pictures 9 mins. Fair
One of the series of British cartoons in color, featuring the little runt who is a private in the army. He is on guard duty outside the castle when the King comes along. They become chummy, the King invites him inside, and complications arise when the Duke of Wellington busts in and finds fault because one of his soldiers is off duty.

May 13, 1937
"Steel Workers" (A Meany, Miny, Moe Cartoon)
Universal 7 1-3 Mins. Good Fun
Performing their antics in the guise of steel workers on the altitudinous girders of an under construction skyscraper, the trio of monkeys are amusing enough, but the really clever angle incorporated in this reel is the use by its makers of a panorama background of New York. It is this vista which supplies a touch of authenticity to the sets, and gives the audience the feeling of being high above Manhattan's sea of rooftops. Naturally the monks go through some hair-raising acrobatics and run wild with riveting machines and sundry contractors' apparatus. It's good fun for cartoon lovers.

May 18, 1937
"Walt Disney's Academy Award Revue"
United Artists 44 Mins.
The Academy Award winners of the past five years in the cartoon field make a very fine screen entertainment for three-quarters of anybody's hour in the theater. They are of course all Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies in Technicolor. The compilation opens with a swirl of rainbow colors moving across the main title as the bronze figure of the Academy Award statue is shown. This statue is featured before the presentation of each of the five cartoons, along with a special commentator's remarks concerning the current year's prize award about to be shown, and musical accompaniment. First comes the 1932 winner, "Flowers and Trees," the first cartoon in Technicolor. Then the immensely popular "Three Little Pigs" that won the 1933 prize, and which again revives the song craze, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" The third cartoon is "The Tortoise and the Hare," of the 1934 crop, outstanding for its fine fantasy. Then the 1935 entry, "Three Orphan Kittens," one of the most charming and appealing of all the Symphonies. Finally, the 1936 winner, "The Country Cousin," showing life in the big city through the adventures of the country mouse. Here is a novelty feature with tremendous popular appeal already built up through the years. It will not be hard to sell this unit feature with a little intelligent propaganda to your patronage. The Disney cartoons are one screen attraction that most theatergoers are willing and eager to sit through more than once. From the distributor's exchanges can be obtained a special broadside pressbook giving a wealth of publicity stories, ads and exploitation suggestions. This manual makes your selling problem easy.

"Please Keep Me In Your Dreams" (Screen Song SC6-5)
Paramount 8 Mins. Good Melodic Number
Brief and melodic short produced by Max Fleischer, with Henry King and his Orchestra, together with mellow-voiced, comely Barbara Blake featured. There is an interlude chorus employing the Bouncing Ball technique which makes it pretty easy for audiences to sing and hold the proper tempo at first sight of music and lyrics. Prior to and following the screen some are burlesque newsreel topics poking fun at various up to date aspects of everyday life. Henry King is an effective, restrained m.c, and Barbara Blake has an engaging personality that makes her as likable as her voice. Subject will grace surrounding film programs nicely.

May 25, 1937
"The Foxy Pup" (Scrappy Color Rhapsody)
Columbia 7 mins. Lively Entertainment
A reversal of the dog chases fox legend, with the foxy old fox turning and kidnapping one of the young pups that the old hound dog is teaching to trail Reynard. The fox takes the pup to his den so that the young foxes can make his life miserable. After some harrowing adventures, the pup finally eludes his tormentors and gets back safely to his own home and the other pups waiting anxiously for him. It's lively entertainment. Produced by Charles Mintz in Technicolor. Directed by Ub Iwerks.

June 3, 1937
"Krazy's Race of Time" (Krazy Kat Cartoon)
Columbia 7 mins. Good Phantasy
A glance into the future, with Krazy doing a newsreel a la March of Time in the year 1999. All kinds of inventions jazz up the reel, with auto roads running through skyscrapers, and giant machines turning out country homes all ready to be lived in. Machinery does everything and the humans are really managed by the machines. At the finale, Krazy takes a rocket trip to Mars, and is glad to come back when Mars treats him rough. A Charles Mintz production. Animation by Harry Love.

June 4, 1937
"Streamlined Greta Green" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)
Vitaphone 8 mins. Fair Comedy Cartoon
Adventures of a little auto which disobeys its mother and instead of going to school, wanders out on the highway. Racing with a train, the little auto tries to beat it at a crossing, is successful, and tries it again. Eventually the train smacks the little auto, which winds up in the auto hospital with all its parts scattered about. Done in Technicolor. Produced by Leon Schlesinger. [Released June 19, 1937]

June 9, 1937
"Porky and Gabby" (Looney Tune Cartoon)
Vitaphone 8 mins. Lively Cartoon Subject
A camping trip made by Porky and his pal, Gabby the goat, results in much excitement and a near-riot. When they have pitched camp, a bee goes to work on the two, and makes their lives miserable. After the camp is practically a wreck, the campers decide to call it a day and go home.

June 11, 1937
"Play Ball" (Terry-Toon)
Educational Snappy Ball Game
A sensational baseball staged, between the rival teams of the Kangaroos and an assorted group of animals. It is going pretty tough with the Kangaroos, with the rival pitcher Monk pulling some tricky stuff that fans them all at the plate, while the elephant and the other heavy hitters are slamming in the home runs for the other team. But finally the big kangaroo manages to pull a fast one, and with the help of the young ones scooting around the bases, wins by a healthy score.

"Ozzie Ostrich Comes to Town" (Terry-Toon)
Educational 7 mins Lively Cartoon Subject
Presenting a new cartoon character in the Terry-Toon series, in the person of Ozzie, a young ostrich. Ozzie gets in a mixup with the kangaroo. They have a hectic adventure with the mattress in the bed, with the springs getting all twined around the combatants. Later Ozzie swallows some sticks of dynamite, I as the kangaroo tries frantically to get out of his reach. But Ozzie pursues, and the dynamite shoots out of his long neck as if from a gun, and almost wrecks the kangaroo.

June 18, 1937
"Modern Inventions" (Disney Technicolor)
United Artsits 10 mins. A Clever Satire
One of the funniest episodes in which Donald Duck has been featured. He enters a modern mechanized house with everything done by machinery. There is even a mechanized butler, who insists on taking Donald's hat. Every time he starts to play around with a machine, the mechanism does the work for him. The duck gets in a baby carriage, and the automatic contraption nearly drives him cuckoo. Finally he lands in the automatic barber chair, which straps him in upside down and shines his face in lieu of his shoes, and his rear end is carefully clipped by the automatic barber. And all the way through Donald Duck is finding new hats for himself, which are as quickly taken from him by the mechanized butler. So Donald finally beats it in disgust.

"Little Hiawatha" (Disney Technicolor)
United Artists 10 mins. A Delightful Travesty
Clever travesty on the "Hiawatha" poem, with the hero represented as a very young Indian brave out on his first hunting trip in his canoe. Getting out of the canoe, he prepares to hunt the wild game with his bow and arrow, but all the animals line up and give him a Bronx cheer. He is unable to shoot a little rabbit which starts to cry when he has it cornered. Hiawatha cries, too. This makes all the wild animals his pals, and when later he gets in difficulties with the Big Brown Bear, they all come to his rescue and by various clever devices, aid him to escape to his canoe. This cartoon is treated with a tongue-in-cheek technique that is delightful.

"Woodland Cafe" (Silly Symphony)
United Artists 10 mins Swell Novelty Number
The Bug Kingdom open up their own exclusive night club, and here all the elite of Bugville gather to strut their stuff. The show is featured by a clever version of the Apache dance, with a spider and a beautiful fly as the dance team. Winds up with the fly knocking the spider, for the count. The festivities finish with the dance ork playing "Truckin' " with all the patrons joining in.

June 22, 1937
"The Morning, Noon and Night Club" (Popeye Cartoon)
Paramount 7 mins. Funny Rough Stuff
The sailor, Popeye, becomes a night club dancer with Olive Oyl, his sweetie as his partner. But that big bum Bluto busts in, and starts to crab the dance act. Finally Bluto casts Olive aside, and taking Popeye in his arms, whirls him around the stage. Under the disguise of the dance, they put on a drag-em-out scrap with no holds or punches barred, which is very funny. Popeye's spinach can of course saves the day for him at the finish.

"Mickey's Amateurs" (Disney Technicolor)
United Artists 10 mins. A Swell Burlesque
Swell kidding number on the amateur broadcasting program. Mickey puts on his amateur show before a critical audience, the program going out over the airwaves. First, Mickey introduces Donald Duck, who tries to recite "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," but the audience gives him the razz, and he gets the gong. Then comes Clara Cluck, the hen operatic singer, with Carabelle Cow at the piano. Clara hits a high note and almost wrecks the mike, but she gets a big hand. The finale has Bandmaster Goofy and his 50-Piece Band, the latter being a mechanical gadget that Goofy starts and he can't stop the darn thing. After playing one selection, the applause makes him ambitious, so he goes after a "hot" number, and the strain on the gadget tears it all to pieces and almost murders the band leader. Donald Duck sneaks in during the excitement and tries to steal the show with his "Twinkle Star" routine, the only thing he knows.

June 24, 1937
"Stevedores" (A Meany, Miny, Moe Cartoon)
Universal 6 1/2 mins. Diverting Cartoon Reel
Latest chronicle of antics and adventures of the three irrepressible monkeys finds them as stevedores. Their capacity for work, when prompted by the whip wielded by blustering, bad-tempered captain with a wolf-like face, is a revelation to their public and a matter of consternation to the said captain. One of the more mischevious monks eventually pushes a piano up the gangplank with such enforced enthusiasm that it lands in the water on the opposite side of the ship. A keg of "pickled" herrings is the source of considerable fun after Meany swallows one of the inmates and also becomes "pickled." At the finis the captain is, too, while the monkeys one and all enjoy the condition of inebriation. Action moves along briskly.

June 25, 1937
"A Car-Tune Portrait" (Color Classics)
Paramount 7 mins. A Wild Symphony
This Max Fleischer cartoon shows the animals trying to prove that they can be dignified and do something really worth while in the realm of artistic achievement. They have organized a symphonic orchestra, with the lion the conductor, appearing in full-dress. Everything starts off fine and dignified, but then little annoyances start to upset the various animals, and the first thing you know they are mixed in a free-for-all, and the symphony finishes in a general massacre.

Friday 27 September 2013

The Other Skeleton Dance

In 1929, Ub Iwerks came up with “The Skeleton Dance” for Walt Disney. Three years later, his own studio featured Flip the Frog dancing with a lady skeleton in “Spooks.” She’s a chaste skeleton as she’s covering her breasts.

There are a couple of gags in the scene, like when the two halves of the skeleton separate (but the upper half can move in mid-air on its own). Finally, Flip lands on the skeleton and leaves behind a pile of bones.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Ghost Fist of a Fox

I really like the brushwork and outlines in this one little scene from “The Loan Stranger” (1942), a Woody Woodpecker short directed by Alex Lovy. The loan company manager takes a swing at Woody’s head but busts a vase that Woody conveniently puts on top of it.

Frank Tipper gets the animation credit.

The fox, by the way, is named Hudson C. Dann. The Hudson was a car. Get it now?

Wednesday 25 September 2013

This Could Make a Good Book Some Day

Arthur Marx wrote several books about his father—the one, the only Groucho—starting with 1954’s Life With Groucho. But he had a bit of a practise run.

Marx put together some anecdotes and came up with a story for the February 1949 edition of Radio and Television Mirror. I haven’t read his books so I don’t know whether any of these little tales are included. But here are they for your enjoyment, along with the photos that accompanied the story.

My Father Groucho

MY father, Julius Marx, son of Minnie Marx—no relation of Walt Disney's, but forever Groucho—has always admitted readily that the first time he saw me was one of the great disappointments of his life. After brooding over this for nearly twenty years I finally got up courage one day recently to ask him: "Why?"
"Because, at the time, I had my heart set on a baby girl," Father confessed, "one about twenty-three, with blue eyes and a figure like Betty Grable's. As a matter of fact, I've still got my heart set on Betty Grable, and as soon as I get around to it, I'm going to start taking trumpet lessons."
One of Father's favorite devices for making time pass slowly is telling how the first time he saw me I yelled in a pretty unappealing fashion. I wonder if it's ever occurred to him to ask himself how I must have felt the first time I saw that cigar and mustache looming over my crib. Though my recollection of that first meeting has dimmed with the years, I'd say that under the circumstances my yelling was perfectly natural, and I still insist that the disparity in our ages made it highly improper for Father to yell back. Mother always said it was just because he couldn't stand for anyone else to have the last word.
Anyone who has ever listened to Groucho's radio show, You Bet Your Life, broadcast by long-suffering ABC, will probably agree with my mother that fondness for the last word is indeed one of Father's more noticeable characteristics. This tendency of his to throw a verbal hammerlock on any conversation he gets in range of makes his show a pretty expensive proposition for its sponsors. They have to give away many handsome gifts and offer large sums of prize money to induce people to submit themselves to Father's furious ad-libbing.
You Bet Your Life is a quiz show, but it differs from the usual thing in that line by putting the emphasis on laughs, not money. It is, of course, completely unrehearsed—though I doubt that lack of premeditation is any excuse for some of Father's puns. Anyway, despite the hazards of uncharted dialogue, the show usually manages to stay within reasonable bounds of propriety.
Occasionally, though, an outspoken contestant will explode one of those conversational grenades that make quiz shows an ulcerous undertaking for producers, censors, and vice-presidents; for nearly everyone, in fact, except Groucho. He seems to enjoy the unexpected as much as the audience does.
THERE was the time recently when a lady choir singer, telling about the interesting things that happened to her in the course of her singing engagements, quite innocently remarked that one of the most interesting was the time her pants fell down while she was singing with a group on the stage at Hollywood Bowl.
Groucho, obviously fascinated, didn't hesitate to ask the question anyone would have asked: "What did you do?"
"Why, I ran offstage," the lady replied. "But with those darn things dragging around my ankles I had to take such short steps that it seemed forever before I finally got out of sight of the audience."
"It must have been pretty harrowing," Groucho sympathized. "Didn't the choir try to help cover your retreat? Surely they could've made some little musical diversion, such as a rendering of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' or 'London Bridge is Falling Down.'"
Fortunately, Groucho's show is recorded on wax before it is put on the air, so this bit of flummery never got outside the studio.
There are times when Father gets depressed about his radio show. Only this morning, when I asked him how the recording of it had gone the night before, he said, in tones of deepest sorrow: "Terrible. None of the contestants won over fifteen dollars last night. It was one of the most frustrating things I ever experienced. There I sat with great golden gobs of dough to give away —how I enjoy giving away the sponsor's money!—and nobody was answering the questions correctly. I think I'll try to make a deal with the sponsors to let me have a crack at answering the questions. That new house I just bought is costing me plenty."
"What did you want to get such a big place for?" I asked him.
"Why, now that I'm married again and starting my second family—I hope Melinda is just a start—no telling how many nurseries we might need. And if the family doesn't come along as planned, I'll have ample space to put in a few pool tables and open a billiard academy."
"Fine atmosphere for Melinda to grow up in," I rebuked Father. "A billiard academy!"
But looking back on my own childhood, I can see the core of practical wisdom in Father's remark.
At the time of my arrival, 1921 or thereabouts. Father and three or four of his Brothers (they sometimes carried a spare in those days) were perpetrating a vaudeville act called "On The Mezzanine." Like most vaudeville babies, I was put to bed more than once in a bureau drawer. In fact, I slept in so many bureau drawers that even now when I go to the bureau and pull the drawer open to get a shirt, I feel an instinctive urge to crawl in and curl up.
At the time hearsay leaves off and my own memory begins, the Marx Brothers had graduated from vaudeville to Broadway, where they were doing their first full-length show, "I'll Say She Is." I never did find out who "She" was—Father always evaded the question, even when Mother asked him—but the show was a hit.
So were the Marx Brothers' next two —"Coconuts" and "Animal Crackers." I saw them all from backstage, and I don't imagine I was much more bewildered by some of the proceedings than the people out front who'd paid their way in.
Ultimately, as nearly everyone knows, Father and his Brothers became entangled in the movie industry. Ignoring the question of whether the movie industry has ever fully recovered from this entanglement, we will move on to Hollywood, where the Marx family moved after making their first two films in the celluloid jungles of Astoria, Long Island. It was about then my interest in sports began to displace my earlier fascination with backstage doings. Father encouraged this trend. He's always been a sports enthusiast. Baseball was, and is, his great love.
Our first house in Hollywood sat nearly atop one of those minor Alps that infest the region, making the surrounding terrain most unsuitable for baseball. But that didn't discourage Father, or me, either. Since the only level place in the neighborhood was a stretch of paved street in front of our house, that's where we had our games. A couple of writers who were working on the Marx Brothers' first Hollywood movie, "Monkey Business," used to come out and play with us. One of them was S. J. Perelman.
When we moved down to the lowlands of Beverly Hills and joined the Tennis Club, I discovered the main interest of my life for the next ten years or so—tennis. At that time Father used to venture on the courts once in awhile with a racket in his hands, which he used mostly for self defense, that is, when he wasn't using it to sit on between points.
I WON'T embarrass Father by telling how long it was before I was able to beat him, but I will tell you something that happened when I was fourteen. In those days the Beverly Hills Tennis Club was owned by two of the best players in the game, Ellsworth Vines and Fred Perry. Both had been world champions as amateurs. After brooding over certain defeats he'd suffered at my hands. Father actually sank so low as to enlist these two Titans of tennis on his side in an effort to humiliate me, his own son.
I had a friend my own age, who was a pretty fair Junior player, and Father challenged him and me to play a doubles match against himself and Vines.

I don't want to sound braggish about this, but we two fourteen-year-olds beat Vines and Father. We accomplished this mighty upset by being careful not to hit anything within reach of Vines—which made it a pretty warm afternoon for Father. Father insisted our win was a fluke, so the next day we had to play another match, this time against him and Fred Perry. The results were the same. Father's backhand, never very strong, cracked under constant bombardment, and my friend and I won.
Perry congratulated us, while Father stalked off to the clubhouse. I found him later in the locker-room, beating himself over the head with his tennis racket. He wasn't hurting himself much because he was using a backhand stroke and, as I've said, his backhand was weak. Nevertheless, I thought it better to remove the tennis racket from his trembling hands.
It was then he declared: "If I can't beat a couple of junior midgets with the best tennis players in the world as my partners, I'd better quit. There must be something basically wrong with my game." I thought his logic was irrefutable. After several years of tennis, I finally realized I was getting to an age when I had to consider how I was going to make my living.
FATHER had only one piece of advice "Don't be an actor," he said. On that, we saw eye to eye.
But, in the line of possible careers, there was another activity of Father's that had long intrigued me. This was the semi-secret exercise he used to perform on the typewriter at frequent intervals. He'd lock himself up in his room and, after a few hours of hacking away on his Remington, he would emerge with some pages of typewritten material which he'd stuff in an envelope and mail to a magazine. A few days or weeks later, back would come an envelope from the magazine with a check in it.
This struck me as one of the most ridiculously easy ways of making money that had ever been invented, so easy as to be almost dishonest. I decided I wanted to be a writer.
There hasn't been a day since that I haven't regretted it.
And now, if you don't mind, let us close this painful subject and get back to Groucho, who is presently working in a movie with Frank Sinatra and Jane Russell. Ever since the studio came out with a ruling that Jane wasn't going to be allowed to wear any low cut dresses in this one, I've been expecting to hear Father had resigned from the venture—but so far he hasn't. Possibly he's waiting around in hopes that Frank Sinatra will break a leg or something so that he can take over the romantic lead. If I were in Sinatra's shoes, I'd be on the alert for booby traps.
The other active Marx Brothers, Harpo and Chico, recently finished making a picture with Groucho, after which Chico set out on a European tour. Harpo's staying home, catching up on his sleeping and fishing. Groucho says a good time for the fish to catch up on their sleep would be while Harpo's fishing.
But he wouldn't have said that if he'd known it was going to hurt Harpo's feelings. Groucho is really very tender-hearted and would abandon a joke anytime rather than bruise someone's sensibilities.
Perhaps that's why, after all I've gone through with him, I have to admit that, if I had it all to do over again, I'd still choose Groucho for my father. That is, I would if I couldn't get Betty Grable.

Groucho moved with “You Bet Your Life” to television in 1950. For a number of years, the show was sponsored by the Chrysler Corporation as a showcase for its DeSoto cars. It opened with animation of a large-headed Groucho driving the newest DeSoto across a map, accompanied by animated male and female singers. I can’t remember which animation studio put it together, but here is a colour chart, although I’ve only seen the animation in black-and-white.