Tuesday 30 September 2014

Tom's Final Shriek

Some drawings from a take by Tom at the start of the final Tom and Jerry cartoon, “Purr-Chance to Dream” (1967), directed by Ben Washam.

Sorry, but the Tom and Jerrys produced by Chuck Jones just aren’t funny. This one is no exception, despite dogs that look like ones Jones came up with at Warners in the ‘50s and animation by Ken Harris, Dick Thompson, Tom Ray, Don Towsley and Phil Roman.

Monday 29 September 2014


There’s an inside joke in the pan of characters which inhabit Wackyland.

Tthe character in the pot has huge glasses, just like caricatures of animator Bobe Cannon. The creature (voiced by Berneice Hansell) yells “So, Bobo!”

Okay, there’s another inside joke. The character with the steaming funnels has a “W” and a “B” for Warner Bros.

And here are the other creatures.

Norm McCabe and Izzy Ellis appear in the animation credits. One unconfirmed report says the backgrounds were by Elmer Plummer, and this was the last cartoon he worked on before going to Disney and being replaced by Dick Thomas.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Don Wilson

Year after year, Don Wilson was voted the best announcer on radio. Almost immediately after one such award, Wilson went on the air and made one of his most famous flubs, telling Jack Benny he had heard about his new suit from “Drear Pooson” (Drew Pearson was a famous columnist who also had a radio broadcast on ABC an hour before the Benny show).

Wilson announced on a number of shows over the years, but most people would be hard-pressed to name any other than the Jack Benny show. He joined Benny in April 1934. Like the announcers before him, Wilson was incorporated into the banter with the stars and cast. Unlike the others, Wilson had a gimmick—his bulk, which fit in very nicely with (eventually) having a product to endorse that was edible. And Wilson endorsed it lovingly; by contrast, Howard Claney shouted at listeners when working his Chevrolet plugs into earlier Benny broadcasts (in fairness to him, the sponsor may have demanded a hard sell).

Here’s a full-page profit of Donzie, with accompanying photos, from the Long Island Daily Press, November 28, 1937.

Smiling Salesman

DON (SIX DELICIOUS FLAVORS) WILSON has a new home. He built it out in the San Fernando Valley, which is becoming a combination of Mecca and Valhalla to the twin industries, radio and motion pictures. Don’s house is in a place called Longacres, which the real estate sign proclaims as a community of gentlemen’s estates. That gives you an idea. The architecture is modified ranch-house—very modified and very attractive.
The house sits congenially in a couple of acres of apricot trees as if it, too, had grown there. But many of the apricot trees are going to have to give way to gardens, great sweeps of lawn and pasturage for two horses. Two mind you.
And all of this is the result of a laugh and the convincing sincerity of a pleasant voice. No wonder the genial Don beams more expansively than ever. The laugh and the sincerity made him famous. Radio announcers don't often become famous in their own right. They mostly remain just voices only vaguely attached to names. But everybody who turns a dial knows Don of NBC, who talks about that product with the “big red letters on the box” on Jack Benny’s popular program. Don who exclaims about automobiles on the Hollywood Mardi Gras hour. Massive, friendly, laughing Don.
The laugh comes to him effortlessly. He must have been born with it and he’s never separated from it for long, either professionally or in his leisure time. It is not a stage laugh. He actually gets red in the face at Benny’s cracks. I know, I’ve seen him. Maybe that’s why it is impossible to hear that laugh come chuckling over your radio without joining in on the chorus.
THE story of the development of the persuasive speaking voice is the story of an operatic baritone that didn't quite come off. Young Mr. Wilson confidently expected it was going to be an operatic baritone back in the days when any hack could sing on the radio. He lived in Denver, Col., and he warbled in a church choir, a la Lawrence Tibbett. He was also one of a trio which sang at Rotarian banquets and civic celebrations. His bread and butter was earned more practically as a salesman, until the business which provided it failed. Then Don and the trio got themselves jobs at a radio station. They sang anything which was demanded of them at any hour of the day or night without benefit of sponsor.
Eventually the resident manager of a grocery store chain claimed them. And when the urge to go to California attacked them as it does everyone sooner or later, he arranged a ninety-day contract with a San Francisco station.
“I got my first stage experience at the Curran Theater in San Francisco,” Don explains. “So far as merit is concerned, it should have been my last. But it wasn’t, because the sponsor liked the advertising value of displaying his banner in front of the theater. The ninety-day contract extended to a year and our trio went to Los Angeles.
“We played in neighborhood theaters wherever the company had a store in the vicinity. I’ve been on stages so small that when they got a piano on there wasn’t room for me.”
Don doesn’t mind illusions to his bulk. He couldn’t very well, and remain Benny’s stooge.
He kept on singing into a microphone after the trio broke up. His was the sort of singing which was used to fill in gaps between regular programs. The continuation of that circumstance finally convinced him operatic ambitions were futile. The only tinge left may be observed in the fact that his intimate friends sometimes call him Pagliacci.
BEFORE radio was nationalized by great broadcasting companies, two of Los Angeles’ major independent stations were owned by rival heads of automobile agencies. Don worked for thorn both in succession. The reason he was fired by the first was because he made the mistake of buying the make of car sold by the second. He should have known better.
When he went to KFI, which is now NBC’s Hollywood affiliate, they made an announcer of him. He started in by palavering in dulcet, Big Brother tones on a children’s hour. It was soon realized such superior vocal salesmanship was wasted on children. Then he became a football announcer. That was better.
It was so much better he grew to be leading football announcer in the country, not excepting Graham “Oh look at the scenery!” McNamee. Don went to New York and Radio City. He is credited with the fastest eye-to-microphone description of special events and sports contests in radio.
Foptball announcing came easy to him He had played on the University of Colorado team and he knew what he was talking about. He says it is pretty hard to remain popular while you are telling listeners about what happens on a gridiron, though. People are always wining in accusing you of taking sides no matter how impartial you try to be. When you’re master of ceremonies on a program devoted exclusively to professional talent there’s less they can object to.
Don Wilson became Jack Benny’s M. C. six months before Benny changed to his present sponsor. They’ve worked together nearly four years and Wilson, by his own admission, goes a little soft when he talks about Benny, because Benny is “the greatest guy in the world.”
“I remember something that happened the last time we went down to New York together.” Don always talks about going “down” instead of back to New York. It may be unconscious condescension on his part. He explains that he has too much hay seed in his hair to want to live long in the big city.
“Jack was using the trip to catch up on some much needed rest. He hadn’t been well and he was spending most of his time in bed. The train stopped for a while in a little burg in Kansas. Some of the inhabitants found out Benny was on the train and they came down to try to catch a glimpse of him. When Jack was told he got up, stuck his head out of the window and kidded with them as conscientiously as if they were the most important audience he had ever faced.
“A cynical press agent who was along watched him and said: ‘That is what is known as annuity padding.’ Well, I guess it was smart from a business point of view. But that wasn’t why Jack did it. He is nice to people because he likes to be. He can’t help being considerate of everyone and anyone.”
THERE is some proof of that. Half an hour before the show goes on the air Benny strolls out on the broadcasting stage and entertains the people who have gathered to see as well as hear him. He is the only big star who does anything like that, and when you think how much he gets paid for half an hour, giving that much free gratis time is something. Don wouldn’t want his bosses to know it but he would be willing to work for nothing on the Benny program. He has so much fun.
He has never been late to a radio broadcast in his life. In a business where every minute is worth a fabulous sum, being late must be a heinous crime. But he once missed a broadcast altogether and I daresay that is worse.
It was in New York and he was not ill or otherwise incapacitated. He just failed to notice a small item at the extreme right-hand side of the call board. So he was sitting comfortably in his hotel room late in the evening listening to the radio, of all things, when the telephone rang. A definitely annoyed executive shouted into his ear: “For Pete’s sake, what’s the matter with you? You're supposed to be announcing this program. You’re on right now!” The famous voice was small indeed when Don replied: “Am I?” He forebode to add: “How am I doing?” But he sheepishly switched off his radio. He had been listening to his own program.
This summer Don made a picture for Universal called “Behind the Mike.” He roars with laughter when he talks about it.
“I tell you it is so bad they hesitated to release it. You should see that big blimp on the screen, but I hope you don’t. He covers everybody.
“There’s a scene where he comes into a room and you can see him look down to see if he has overstepped his chalk marks on the floor. You know about how every motion picture actor has to pay attention to his chalk marks so he’ll keep in mike range or camera range or something. Only he isn’t supposed to be conspicuous about it. Well, they explained all that to the big blimp, but it was too much for him. In that scene he did get past his marks sure enough. And you can see him sort of back up and look down again with the darnedest, most puzzled expression on his moon face. Why they ever left it in is a mystery except that the rest of his performance in the picture is so much on a par it doesn’t matter.
“Now I know what I’ve inspected all along and if that picture gets out everybody else will know it too Don Wilson is no actor. He’d better stick to radio announcing.”
That’s all right by me if he continues to do it with a laugh.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Cartoons of 1948, Part 1

The biggest development in theatrical cartoons during the first half of 1948 was not apparent at the time. Columbia signed a distribution deal for cartoons to be made by United Productions of America. No one dreamed that in a few years, UPA would be the darling of critics for its art style and approach to subject matter (i.e. no animated slapstick).

In the meantime, short films of all kinds tended to be ignored more and more by the trade papers; Motion Picture Daily stopped reviewing them altogether. The Film Daily gave cartoons, outside of Disney’s features, scant attention, though it carried on with its reviews. With that caveat, let’s go the pages of the Daily and see what we can find.

The post has been augmented with items from Daily Variety, which seemed to take more of an interest in certain cartoon studios (ones with good PR departments, I suspect). Metro continued to plug animated shorts which, according to Thad Komorowski’s research, were never planned. John Sutherland worked out a deal with MGM to, essentially, replace its third (Lah-Blair) unit by allowing it to release the studio’s “educational” shorts made for Harding College. And Bob Clampett found himself without a job as Republic gave up on the idea of releasing his series of Charlie Horse cartoons and went with a far cheaper concept devised by The Great Gildersleeve’s creator, Len Levinson (and even that was short-lived). Clampett moved into television, where cartoons specifically for the medium (among other projects) were being considered by Ted Robinson’s company with backing of Bing Crosby and Philco.

Walter Lantz’s situation is difficult to sort out. His studio had been temporarily closed for three months starting near the end of 1947, but the ink and paint department was still at work. He still had a contract with United Artists. He spent some time on the road. Somewhere along the way, the studio must have re-opened, because Lantz suddenly found he had a hit record on his hands (review by Variety on May 18th) and he quickly shoehorned “The Woody Woodpecker Song” into the opening of “Wet Blanket Policy,” his third-last cartoon for U.A. (interestingly, while the song is heard in the cartoon, Buzz Buzzard talks to the audience in some indecipherable noises. One wonders if the original dialogue was lost when the soundtrack was changed to add the song).

So, here’s what The Film Daily had to say. The Variety stories are labelled as such. Unfortunately, a number of them are incomplete or garbled but you can still get the gist of the story. There’s a June 2nd story about Max Fleischer I cannot decipher. My thanks to Thad for his help in completing some of the blurbs.

January 6, 1948
Disney May Sell Foreign Distribution Rights Seeks Immediate Dollar Revenues to Offset Loss of Income from Abroad
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—In a move to gain immediate revenues from foreign distribution, Walt Disney Productions is considering a plan under which distributors abroad would be granted the right to distribute Disney films for a period of years, in return for an immediate dollar consideration, Roy O. Disney, president, revealed the annual report to stockholders. Terming the proposal "one of the most likely solutions," Disney said that progress is being made in this regard." It is expected, he continued, that this change in sales policy will to a considerable extent off-set the loss of income from abroad.
Net Profit Climbs
Net profit of Disney Productions for the year ended Sept. 27 was $1,507,075, an increase from the $199,602 earned in the 1946 fiscal year. Earnings this year were equal, after preferred dividends, to 43 cents per common share, compared to 26 cents last year on the same basis.

West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—In addition to the re-release of "Bambi" this year, Walt Disney Productions will make test releases of six selected shorts produced in previous years. Tests are seen as determining whether the re-issuance of old shorts adds to revenues, or whether it affects earnings of new shorts adversely, according to President Roy O. Disney's annual report, released today.

January 7, 1948
Quimby Slates More Metro Cartoons
Daily Variety
Fred Quimby, Metro cartoon producer, yesterday announced three new cartoons to be made during the second quarter of 1948. Two, "Carnegie Howl" and "Mad Man Mouse" will be of the Tom and Jerry series. Third, "Egg O’ My Heart" will star Tom and Jerry and Slick Chick.

Pal Trying Out New Plan For Puppets
Daily Variety
New departure in screen animation featuring lucite puppet characters has been perfected by George Pal, who claims the composition results in marked reduction of production costs and a heightened screen illusion. Process will be used for the first time in Pal's newest educational short, "Time, Space and Energy." Bernard Garbutt [former Lantz effects animator] has been signed for special animation job on the subject.

January 23, 1948
Phil M Daly column, New York City
RKO is planning a Summer release for Disney's "Melody Time," said to set a new pattern for the musical cartoon pattern.

January 26, 1948
"Bambi" As Easter Film In 4 Paris First Runs
Paris (By Air Mail)—RKO plans to release Disney's "Bambi" at Easter, playing simultaneously in the four largest film theaters in Paris: the Marignan, Marivaux, Rex and Gaumont Palace.

Metro Cartoon Series To Burlesque Classics
Daily Variety
Metro is initiating new cartoon series which will be based on classic features in screen history. First will be "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse," with Tom and Jerry, cat-mouse duo, taking over leading characters in burlesque treatments. [Note: the film had already been released the previous August].

February 2, 1948
Daily Variety
REVALUATION of franc last week by French government is likely to have important bearing upon Lou Bunin's cartoon feature, "Alice in Wonderland," currently being made in Paris by producer with assistance of 25 Hollywood technicians. Film originally was budgeted as $1,500,000, and announced by Bunin as set for production in France due to fact it could be turned out much cheaper than in Hollywood. With value of American dollars now doubled by devaluation of French franc, and able to buy twice as much in France as before, Bunin stands chance of being able to bring in his picture far under budget, since it is understood that he made all arrangements in France on basis of francs and not dollars. Payment to Hollywood unit, however, will be same, since personnel was contracted for on dollars.

February 3, 1948
TELEVISION CARTOONS, INC., New York City; 200 shares, no par value; Arthur Goldman and Bob Brotherton.

February 5, 1948
Venezuela Squawks Get 'Bolivar' Renamed
Daily Variety
Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 4. - Venezuela Motion Picture Workers Union today voted to ban all Walt Disney pix, claiming Donald Duck's dog, Bolivar, is an insult to the memory of Simon Bolivar, national hero. Disney reps last night said Bolivar has never been used in studio's film cartoons, although he does appear in comic strips. Tag for the funny-paper pup will be changed, a studio spokesman said.

Daily Variety
Peer International Music Corporation's suit against Walt Disney Studios, filed in New York Federal court last year, has been settled amicably. Ralph S. Peer brought suit after Disney gave copyrights to "Song of the South" film score to Santly-Joy Music, disregarding contracts with Peer, who had released Ray Gilbert, under contract at the time, to score "South," with pact guaranteeing Peer copyrights to Gilbert's works.

February 6, 1948
Daily Variety
Metro will release one-reel short tagged "Make Mine Freedom," for Harding college, of Searcy, Ark. Subject, entirely in animation and in Technicolor, was made for Harding by John Sutherland Productions last year, and is first on school's public education film program. Film will go out as a Harding College presentation and is first time Metro has given such credit.

February 10, 1948
Daily Variety
METRO will use portion of its own Technicolor commitment for release of "Make Mine Freedom," one-reeler in animation which company will distribute for Harding College, as part of school's public education program. Company will slice color stock slated for other films to make tint available for short.

February 13, 1948
Daily Variety
Walt Disney has slated a cartoon on fiestas throughout the world for production within the next two years. Producer is now in New Orleans, where he attended the Mardi Gras earlier this week gathering material for picture. He's now inter viewing heads of the city's numerous "krewes," social organizations which stage the annual celebration. Also to be incorporated in the film are sequences involving the annual Pasadena rose festival, Philadelphia's Mummer's Parade, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Arts Ball in Paris, Santa Barbara Festival, Mexico City's Cinco De Mayo hooplahoopla, and other once-a-year blowouts throughout the world. Theme of the film will be "Fiesta as an Expression of Humanity's Indomitable Optimism."

Up for 'Cinderella'
Daily Variety
Ilene Woods, vocalist on the Jack Carson show, is a contender for the vocal role of "Cinderella" in the forthcoming Walt Disney film based on the fairy tale.

February 17, 1948
Disney Dividend on Pfd.
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Board of directors of Walt Disney Productions yesterday declared a quarterly dividend of 37 ½ cents per share on the six per cent cumulative convertible preferred stock payable April 1, to stockholders of record March 13.

February 19, 1948
Lantz Seeks Cost of 2 Seals per Playdate
Admission cost of two seats added to the present flat rental of each cartoon playdate would mean the difference between loss and profit for animated film producers, Walter Lantz, independent cartoon producer and president of the Cartoon Producers Association, said yesterday.
Here from Hollywood for conferences with United Artists distribution officials on the 12 subjects he will make for UA release this season, Lantz pointed out that costs of cartoon production have increased by 165 per cent since 1941. As an example, he stated that a cartoon short costing $12,500 in 1941 costs from $26,000 to $35,000 today. About 90 per cent of cartoon costs are labor charges, Lantz said.
In this same 1941-48 period, Lantz emphasized, rentals for cartoons have risen only 15 per cent. As a result of these higher costs, sans adequate returns, the number of cartoon producers has decreased, Lantz pointed out, and the number of cartoons produced has decreased from 185-190 annually to 90-98 scheduled for this year, augmented by reissues of older cartoons.
Exhibitors must soon decide whether they want cartoons, Lantz emphasized, and if they do, they must be willing to pay the small extra amount per theater needed to absorb production costs.

Name More Nominees For Academy Awards
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Best cartoon: "Chip an' Dale," Disney; "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse," M-G-M; "Pluto’s Blue Note," Disney; "Tubby the Tuba," Paramount; "Tweetie Pie," Warner.

March 1, 1948
Warners Cuts Its Cartoon Sked to 30
Daily Variety
Warners will turn out limit of 30 cartoons on its 1948 cartoon pro-gram. This is cut from previous year's slate. Reason for slackdown is difficulty in getting Technicolor prints.

March 2, 1948
Daily Variety
Further production of cartoon shorts is being held up by Republic pending decision by studio execs this week on whether or not the program will be continued. Studio made a releasing deal with cartoonist Bob Clampett over a year ago for a series of the animated shorts, but he has made only one, "It's a Grand Old Nag." It goes into national release next Tuesday, when local bookings also start, at the Guild, United Artists, Ritz, Studio City and Iris. Short is in Rep's own tint process, Trucolor.
W. W. Arnold, general manager of Clampett Productions, said yesterday that firm's Melrose Avenue plant has closed down pending decision of Rep execs. Clampett was formerly an animator with Leon Schlesinger when latter made Warners' cartoons. He branched out as an indie with his Rep deal.

March 4, 1948
Salkin With Fairbanks
Daily Variety
Leo Salkin, former story man with the animation departments at Metro and Disney, and cartoonist for the New Yorker and the Saturday Evening Post, yesterday joined the scenario department at Jerry Fairbanks Productions.

March 9, 1948
Polacolor Available For Feature Pix Use
Polacolor will soon be available for feature live-action pictures to be processed from color separation negatives supplied by the producers, the Polaroid Corp. told its stockholders in the company's annual report.
The three color printing process is now adapted to production in a pilot plant with a capacity of several million feet per annum, the report stated. Cartoons processed thus far have met with highly favorable reception, it is said, from the point of view of both quality and its potential low cost.
Pilot plant has sufficient orders for cartoons from Paramount alone to keep it fully employed for some time. Plans for expanding capacity, which were deferred while efforts were concentrated on commercializing the process, are being considered.

Daily Variety
Embro Pictures, headed by Scotty Brown, has been named distributor in the 11 western states for Pictorial Films, Inc. of New York. New offices have been opened at the Cross Roads of the World with private screening room. Yesterday Brown received 500 16m features for distribution to camera stores and libraries, as well as 100 cartoons for sale in drug stores and 25 features and shorts for television.

March 10, 1948
Paramount Drops 2-Reel Shorts, Ups Singles Prod.
...Oscar Morgan, shorts and news sales manager, said that cartoon output will be increased from 24 to 30 subjects...

March 12, 1948
Daily Variety
WITH present-day cartoon rental levels virtually making cartoon production a losing proposition, United Artists' sales force will up asking price for Walter Lantz's cartoons approximately 25 per cent, producer announced yesterday. Decision was arrived at after Lantz huddled extensively with sales heads on recent trip to New York, in which it was explained that while production costs had been boosted around 165 per cent since 1941, rentals had been increased only 15 per cent. Exhibs will be asked to up rental price by only two seats per play date, which will make difference between profit and loss to cartoon producer.

March 17, 1948
Name Blackburn, Wade To Posts in NBC Tele
Appointment of Norman Blackburn, formerly vice-president of the J. Walter Thompson Hollywood office, as national program director of NBC Television, was announced yesterday by Noran E. Kersta, NBC director of television operations.
Simultaneously Kersta announced the appointment of Warren Wade, of NBC Television, to the post of production manager. Both appointments are effective April 1.
Blackburn will be charged with over-all program planning for the rapidly expanding NBC video network. Wade will supervise program production of NBC's owned-and-operated stations.
Blackburn entered the film field in 1936, writing and animating short subjects for Walt Disney and later Harmonising Studios. He subsequently handled film writing assignments for Bing Crosby at Paramount and other films at the Hal Roach and M-G-M studios.

March 22, 1948
Cartoons: "Tweetie Pie," Edward Selzer, producer. (Warner Bros.)
Best Original Song: "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," Music by Allie Wrubel; Lyrics by Ray Gilbert from "Song of the South." (Disney-RKO Radio).
Special Awards: James Baskett for "Uncle Remus" in "Song of the South." (Walt Disney—RKO).

March 24, 1948
Daily Variety
Michael Sasanoff has completed 10 one-minute commercial films for television, which Schenley will sponsor on 11 stations, and returns to New York Monday. He is expected back in a few weeks to supervise filming of video shorts for Phillip Morris, Bulova and other clients of the Biow Agency. Schenley shorts were produced at Telefilm with Hans Conreid as the voice of "Sunny the Rooster," the Schenley trade mark, and Art Ballinger as commentator. Both live action and animation were used in the footage. Sasanoff both created and draws the rooster, which is the dominating factor in the films.

March 26, 1948
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz, within next two weeks, will start his 1949 cartoon program of 12 subjects for United Artists release, more than six months ahead of schedule. Move is made possible by producer already having completed his 1948 slate of 11 and getting ready to deliver Technicolor prints on entire output in by July 1. This is exactly six months ahead of Jan. 1, 1949 deadline for all prints' delivery to UA. as per his contract. Lantz has already handed over completed prints of five, with another five to be delivered within next couple of months, and final two by July 1. Speed with which Technicolor is servicing Lantz is contributing factor to producer being able to look so far ahead of his production slate. It is first time since the war that color company has caught up on its quota for Lantz, which permits him six-month lee-way.

April 1, 1948
Phil M Daly column, New York City
WHAT A PROPERTY lineup Walt Disney has!... Look: "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Treasure Island," "Peter Pan," "The Sword in the Stone," "Hiawatha," "Three Wishes,"" It's Perfectly True"... Walt is now at work on "Two Fabulous Characters". . .RKO has two Disney pix coming up... "Melody Time" goes out in August, "So Dear to My Heart" in December.

April 2, 1948
Gov’t Films Via Distribs.
MPAA member companies will distribute worldwide to theaters 15 documentary shorts, produced or edited by the State Dep't, and including some industry-provided clips, it was announced yesterday by Gerald Mayer.
Documentaries, to be released semi-monthly, will be augmented by 13 health cartoons produced by Disney for the Gov't.

Daily Variety
Warners will make 34 cartoons this year, including 26 in Technicolor and eight in Cinecolor. Normal output is 26 but studio has taken on eight more in order to make up for drop in output last year caused by material and equipment shortages at Technicolor. There'll be 12 "Bugs Bunnies" in the bunch, cartoon chief Ed Selzer said yesterday, as against eight in 1947. These will be divided evenly between "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes," of which 17 each will be turned out.

April 8, 1948
Lantz At Work on Next Year's Scripts
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz is winding up scripts on first six on his program of 12 cartoons set for release by United Artists during 1949. Producer already has completed his 1948 output six months ahead of schedule, and is now propping his studio for blast of production activity in near future. Final Technicolor prints for 1948 will be delivered to UA by July 1.

April 13, 1948
Phil M Daly column, New York City
Said to be the first French cartoon in Technicolor, "Rhapsody of Saturn" starts Thursday at the Elysee on the bill with "Antoine and Antoinette.

April 20, 1948
Daily Variety
Now it's Walt Disney who's jumping on the documentary bandwagon. Cartoon producer has decided to make a full-length picture on Alaska, with tentative-working title of "The Story of Alaska." Only cartoons to he used will he animated maps. [remainder of the story does not involve cartoons]

April 26, 1948
Daily Variety
Columbia returned to the animated cartoon field over the weekend, inking a deal to release a series of Technicolor cartoons to be made by United Productions of America. First two cartoons in the five-year deal will be based on fox and crow characters already established in the Columbia shorts program. After that, UPA will launch new characters.
UPA, established five years ago, has turned out cartoons for the army and navy and for government bureaus and industrial and educational groups. Officers are Stephen Bosustow, John Hubley, Edward Gershman and Ade Woolery.

May 10, 1948
"Melody Time's" Astor Bow Set for May 27
Walt Disney's "Melody Time" is slated to preem at the Astor Theater, May 27, following the run of "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House."

Disney Plans $1,000,000 Loan to Pay Arrearages
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—A plan under which Walt Disney Productions will clear up arrearages on its six per cent cumulative convertible preferred, is announced. Action is subject to consummation of a proposed loan of $1,000,000, to be secured by an assignment of future royalties from a recently-signed 10-year book and magazine publication contract. Two payments of $2.25 per share each would be made this year, with two additional payments in the same amount paid in 1949.

May 11, 1948
Color Cartoon Series To Feature Radio Elf
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood — Jump Jump, three-inch-tall elf, and other characters of the popular children's radio program, "Holiday House," will be featured in a series of animated color cartoons to be produced by Samson R. Diamond. "The Enchanted Slippers," first in the "Adventures of Jump Jump" series will go into production June 1, with Rimsky - Korsakov's "Christmas Eve" as background music. Holiday House radio stanza is one of the few children's shows to receive PTA endorsement.

May 13, 1948
Impossible's Cartoons Get Rep. Distribution
"Jerky Journeys" cartoon produced by Impossible Pictures, Inc., headed by Leonard Levinson and Dave Flexer, will be distributed, starting July 1, by Republic, deal being announced jointly yesterday by Herbert J. Yates and Levinson. Four of the shorts, in Trucolor, will be made in the first year of the agreement, which runs for seven years with annual options. Frank Nelson, from radio, will do the narration for the shorts which stress camera animation rather than figure animation.

Commercial Pix Perk, Sutherland Finds
Daily Variety
Commercial film business is picking up, John Sutherland, active in this type of production since abandoning cartoons, reported yesterday. [garble] during past six months, biz now is regaining momentum, producer stated. His studio is working capacity. Sutherland is doing new series for United Fruit Co., and trio of shorts for Procter and Gamble. He also is prepping a short for Harding College.

May 14, 1948
Daily Variety
FOURTEEN SHORTS which John Sutherland produced for United Fruit Co. in 35m Ansco are to be switched to Technicolor, for reduction to 16m. Ansco is reported by producer not particularly conducive to reduction from 35m to 16m, since finished product becomes fuzzy.

May 19, 1948
Pays 1,200 Kids 5c Each to Ship Film
Cambridge, Mass. — Figuring the companion picture to the re-issue of Walt Disney's "Bambi" was not good for kids, Stanley Sumner, manager of the University paid 1,200 kids five cents each to pass up the second feature and go home after the feature cartoon had run. "It brought us the enthusiastic approbation of parents, teachers, women's clubs, etc.," Sumner commented, "which naturally is very important to a suburban theater." Sumner made a similar deal with a kid audience some years ago.

Disney-CBS Talking Exclusive TV Pact
West Coast Bur., THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood-— A deal under which CBS would acquire exclusive television rights to Walt Disney's film productions is being discussed by the producer with Frank Stanton and D. W. Thornburgh of the network, it is learned.
Preliminary talks have been held between Thornburgh and Disney in recent weeks, it is understood, with Stanton scheduled to take up the matter while he is here for the NAB convention. Deal, if concluded, would rank as one of the top film-television agreements made thus far.

'Alice' in the Middle Of a Cinematic Blunderland
Weekly Variety
Whether "Alice" in Walt Disney's forthcoming "Alice in Wonderland" should be live or animated has become a cause celebre within the cartoon organization, with considerable personal bitterness having developed over the issue among the staff on both coasts. Disney himself is still undecided and work on the picture, which is slated for 1950 release, is going ahead in such a way that either a live or cartoon "Alice" can be filled in later. Disney was all set to use his moppet star, Luana Patten, in the film until he went to England about 18 months ago. He mentioned his plan in interviews and found he had stirred up a load of squawks from the press, which maintained that Lewis Carroll's "Alice" was British and should have a British accent. Producer came home then uncertain of whether Luana would do or not.
Cartoon "Alice" advocates have been pointing out that Paramount's 1933 version of the classic, with Charlotte Henry starred, was a flop A paint-and-brush character, they figure, would clear many of the difficulties that Par ran into.
The Luana advocates, on the other hand, claim that the British accent bleat is meaningless and have succeeded in getting Disney to sign W. Cabell Greet, Columbia University prof and speech consultant to the Columbia Broadcasting System, to work out a universal accent. The nine-year-old has been applying herself to it.
Kid's in New York this week, being put through a publicity routine in preparation for opening later this month of her next Disney film, "Melody Time," at the Astor. She returns to the Coast next Monday. She's understood set to go into "Family Honeymoon" at Universal. Her only previous effort off the Disney lot was in Metro's "Little Mr. Jim" three years ago.

May 20, 1948
Daily Variety
YOUNG AMERICA is taking to corny laugh of Woody Woodpecker character in Walter Lantz cartoons like their elder brothers adopted jungle cry of Tarzan a few years ago. Every group of youngsters now is imitating laugh, which is played up in Kay Kyser's new Columbia hit recording, "Woody Woodpecker." Music, which Lantz owns, will be used hereafter as theme for main title on all Woody Woodpecker films.

May 21, 1948
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz yesterday closed deal with Coca-Cola Export Corp. to produce 12 two-minute shorts in Technicolor for theatrical distribution in foreign countries. Lantz, who produces 12 cartoons annually for United Artists release, will create new characters for films. Dubbing will be done in English, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, French and Dutch.

May 24, 1948
"Melody Time" Selections, Disney Starlet on Video
Marking the first time that film from a modern Walt Disney production will be presented on television, selections from the producer's new feature "Melody Time" will be included in next Friday's juvenile "Small Fry Club" broadcast over the DuMont network.
In addition to excerpts from the film, nine year old starlet Luana Patten, who plays a leading role in the picture, will appear in person over the telecast which will originate from WABD here.
"Melody Time" opens at the Astor Theater, Thursday.

Disney Plans To Top-Budget Authentic Story Of Hiawatha
Daily Variety
Hiawatha, greatest of all American Indian legends, got the green light yesterday from Walt Disney as one of his most top-budgeted pix. Epic of the Iroquois demigod as told in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem will be translated into an all-cartoon musical feature, for which a score of the calibre and scope of "Fantasia" is being planned. Music is to be written by a top composer, in authentic [garble]. Preparatory work on story and animation have been under way for several years as one of Disney's major projects, it was learned. Research, begun before the war, is being intensified for an early start on the film, and a full technical crew has been is-signed to complete the basic pat tern. Omce of Indian Affairs in Washington is cooperating with Disney in opening up ancient records on the life and leadership of the chieftain, whose people regarded him as a direct descendant of their god Manitou and who exercised great sway over the allied tribes in the Great Lakes region. Dick Kelsey, Disney artist, leaves next week to delve into records in Washington, visit museums and sketch settings in the region where Hiawatha lived. Scheduled production carries on Disney's policy of perpetuating American folklore on the screen, a la "Uncle Remus," "Pecos Bill," "Johnny Appleseed" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

May 26, 1948
Quimby Re-signed to Head M-G-M Shorts Production
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—M-G-M has signed Fred C. Quimby, short subject production head, to a new five-year contract, it is announced. An M-G-M executive for 23 years, Quimby has been in charge of shorts production for 12 years, and 11 years as general manager of shorts in New York.
His cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry, have won four Academy Awards, and the producer also won an Academy Award for "The Milky Way."

May 28, 1948
Vets Back Metro Pick
Daily Variety
American Legion is backing promotion of Metro's Technicolor cartoon "Make Mine Freedom." W. C. Sawyer, director of the Legion's national Americanism Commission, memoed commanders of the 12,000 posts that the film combines entertainment and a patriotic message and urged that all Legion members see it.

June 4, 1948
Halts Cartoon to Inject 'Woodpecker' Tune
Daily Variety
Walter Lantz has stopped production of one of his Woody Woodpecker shorts to inject tune of same title into script. "Woodpecker" tune has skyrocketed nearly to the top of the music heap in two weeks. Shed music has sold 155,000 and Columbia's platters registered over one quarter of a million on the sold list. The Kay Kyser disc, incidentally, was the only one etched prior to Petrillo ban.

June 8, 1948
Disney's 27 Weeks' Profit at $68,128
West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY
Hollywood—Total income of Walt Disney Productions for the 27 weeks ended April 3 was $2,543,286, while at profit, after all charges, was $68,128, Roy O. Disney, president, stated in a letter to stockholders, comparable gross for the 26 weeks ended March 29, 1947 was $2,984,097, while net profit amounted to $264,383.
Earnings in the recent period were equal to eight cents per common share, compared with 38 cents per share earned in the 1947 half year.
While Disney anticipated improved earnings for the second half of the fiscal year, he said no material improvement can be expected until international currency difficulties become less severe. Company, he pointed out, is being affected by the shortage of American dollars in foreign countries and by the blocking of substantial amounts.
Projected profit margin on current product is small, Disney revealed, as management is heavily discounting these blocked funds in its estimates. However, he added, it is hoped that recovery of a substantial portion of the funds will ultimately be made possible by improved world conditions.

Daily Variety
Ted Robinson, of New World Productions, has completed two 10-minute, animated television car toons at cost of $20,000. Each reel consumed three months' shooting; animation alone re quired six weeks. Art Scott and Frank McSavage did the animation. Nut of $10,000 per cartoon is one-third average cost estimated by other producers. Walter Lantz video cartoons run $30,000 regard-less of whether they are in black and white or color. The amount of work put into the individual drawings is the same and black and white must be delicately shaded as against the use of colors otherwise.

June 15, 1948
Prandi Sues Disney
Daily Variety
Walt Disney was sued yesterday in Rome by Italian novelist Fugenio Prandi for alleged plagiarism in producer's cartoon, "Bambi." Prandi claimed idea was taken from his book, "The Hind," published in 1932.

Arthur Heineman Gets Impossible Assignment
Daily Variety
Arthur Heineman has been signed as production assistant by Impossible Pictures, cartoon outfit releasing through Republic. He was formerly a cartoonist at Walt Disney's and Metro prior to his retirement two years ago.

June 16, 1948
Phil M Daly column, New York City
• As a result of the soaring popularity of the "Woody Woodpecker" song, prints of the Walter Lantz cartune series are being rushed to UA Lantz, incidentally, is preparing a new cartune with the entire song as the main theme.

Daily Variety
David Hand, former Disney associate, now Rank's cartoon chief, will do a series of animated English county histories with all [garble] local ballads, to be called "Musical Paintbox."

June 18, 1948
Tupper Quits Cartoons
Daily Variety
William J. Tupper, Jr., has re signed as sales manager for Terrytune cartoons.

Daily Variety
Walter Lantz declared yesterday that he will not make cartoons for television without a sponsor definitely set beforehand.
According to the vet film cartoonist, the cost of producing shorts is too high to enable company to make reels on speculation as is being done by some 50-odd indie producers here. Six-minute films run $35,000 or $6,000 per minute and, Lantz claims, the cost of the labor equals 95 per cent of the overall nut.

June 22, 1948
Eshbaugh Short At Hall
Color short on the signing of the Declaration of Independence—current on the Radio City Music Hall stage show—was produced by Ted Eshbaugh and was photographed in three-color 35 mm. Ansco.

June 24, 1948
Daily Variety
Bill Cottrell, Peter Virgo, James O'Rear and Art O'Connell set by United Productions to do narration for animated cartoon, "Nottingham on Rye," which Columbia will release.

June 28, 1948
Phil M Daly column, New York City
• Walter Lantz's "Wet Blanket Policy," which UA will release in August, carries "The Woody Woodpecker Song" thruout.


January 16, 1948
"The Super Salesman"
Twentieth-Fox 7 Mins. Sure Laughs
The talking magpies, Heckle and Jeckle, decide to sell their hair tonic in a park, to the consternation of the park caretaker. He calls in a bullish policeman to settle matters. As salesmen they are better entertainers. This one is really clever and is an excellent bet for sure laughs.

"A Fight to the Finish"
Twentieth-Fox 7 Mins. Good
Oil Can Harry, has our heroine, Pearl, tied to the railroad tracks while Mighty Mouse tries in vain to save her. He finally succeeds and mops up Oil Can. Lots of action, mellerdrayma, and laughs.

January 26, 1948
"Boston Beanie"
Columbia 6 Mins. Excellent
Lavish MacTavish offers a poor kitten one baked bean for every mouse he kills. The mouse and cat soon join forces to outwit Lavish who grows more unhappy at the loss of so many beans. Clever angles rate this as excellent cartoon.

"Fishing by the Sea"
Twentieth-Fox 7 Mins. Excellent
Heckle and Jeckle, the talking magpies, head for a day of fishing. So does a slow-witted dog, who unsuspectingly, plods happily on his way. When the trio meet only two come out on top. Packed with laughs, this rates an excellent.

"The First Snow"
Twentieth-Fox 7 Mins. Good
A group of chubby bunnies lead a wily fox on quite a chase before he takes the upper hand. Jubilation and chop-licking are fox features till Mighty Mouse arrives on the scene and saves the day for the rabbits. Good entertaining cartoon.

"The Wolf's Pardon"
Twentieth-Fox 7 Mins. Very Humorous
The Big Bad Wolf decides to visit the scene of his crime, only to find everyone changed in modern Mother Goose-land. In fact Little Red Riding Hood starts to chase him. Good turn-about tale with many humorous situations.

January 26, 1948
"Dog Show-Off"
Paramount 7 Mins. Very Entertaining
Little Lulu tries to help a sad-faced little boy and his mutt dog win first prize at the dog show. In her usual ingenious style, she finally gets the blue ribbon for the pup. Very entertaining.

"Olive Oyl for President"
Paramount 7 Mins. Should Do Well
Popeye looks on dubiously as Olive Oyl dreams she is president. Her innovations include ten months of June for honeymooners, one-cent ice cream cones for children, plenty of apartments for rent, etc. This is timely, should do very well.

"Cat O' Nine Ails"
Paramount 7 Mins. Barrel of Laughs
Buzzy the Blackbird, playing doctor, decides to treat Sam the Cat, a hypochondriac, to a few pills. His diagnoses include pneumonia, measles, and bats in the belfry. Excellent cartoon with a barrel of laughs.

February 3, 1948
"Horse Fly Fleas"
Warners 7 Mins. Excellent
A homeless flea takes refuge on a dog's back, which to him is a forest inhabited by hostile flea Indians. The poor dog is tormented till he rids himself of his lodger. Excellent cartoon which should have them in the aisles.

February 19, 1948
"Pluto's Blue Note"
RKO 7 Mins. Very Cute
Pluto decides he's a crooner but nobody'll give him a chance to display his ability. He stumbles onto a record shop where he discovers his tail acts like a needle on a Sinatra recording. Taking the instrument back to his dog-house he has a willing audience. Very cute with plenty of bright spots.

March 11, 1948
"Little Brown Jug"
Paramount 8 Mins. Pleasant
A colony of beavers are rolling apples down to the cider mill for pressing when the mill breaks and the cider flows into the stream. All the animals in the vicinity get a little high and lead the audience in a community chorus of "Little Brown Jug." Pleasant cartoon with novel sing-along quality.

"Santa's Surprise"
Paramount 9 Mins. For the Kiddies
Santa, exhausted, falls into a deep sleep after delivering presents to all parts of the world. A child representative from each part of the globe follows him and decides to clean his house as the children's present to him. Colorful kiddie cartoon.

"They're Off"
RKO 7 Mins. Hilarious
Very funny race track yarn wherein Goofy is a hunch better who cleans up on a hundred-to-one shot. Lots of hilarious sequences give this plenty of energy.

March 26, 1948
"King Size Canary"
M-G-M 7 Mins. Different
All sorts of weird twists when a cat and a canary get hold of a magic potion that increase their size. Different angle and good for laughs.

April 5, 1948
“There’s Good Boos Tonight”
Para. 9 Mins. Will Do
Graveyard shenanigans by a young ghost who befriends a fox. Fox dies. His shade arises. Both are reunited in the spectral. Macabre neatly avoided. Color.

April 6, 1948
“Pre-Hysterical Man”
Para. 7 Mins. Good
Popeye and Olive Oyl get involved with the prehistoric—animals & Bluto. Plenty of slam-bang animation cleverly concocted to provoke laffs...In color, t'will send 'em.

The Bored Cuckoo
Para. 8 Mins. Good
Technicolored cuckoo clock sounderoffer is disgusted with his hourly chore. He quits. He does not fit in with real birds but a nightingale cutie goes for him and he finds a place in the scheme of bird things. Clever stuff.

“Taming the Cat”
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Fairly Good
The Talking Magpies tangle with a feline. What transpires is a load of provocative whizbang action that will go over on sheer uproar and kaleidoscopic animation qualities. In color.

"Woody, The Giant Killer"
Universal 7 Mins. Lots of Fun
Having no place to live, Woody is persuaded to buy some "magic" beans that will take him up to the clouds. He finds a sleeping giant whom he outwits to set up housekeeping in the castle. Lots of fun.

"Banquet Busters"
UA 7 Mins. Good
Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker are two unemployed musicians who happen to hear about a very swank musicale and supper. Crashing same, they create havoc and provide lots of slapstick laughs. Good color cartoon.

April 15, 1948
"Bon Bon Parade"
Columbia 8 1/2 Mins. Fair
This melange of color and fantasy should be enjoyed by children, if they are very young. It is made to order for Saturday morning kid shows. Kaleidoscopic doings are concerned with a waif who visits Candyland and sees the wonders therein.

“Felix the Fox”
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Good
Crude but laughable. This one runs fairly wild in the comic sense but still does the trick. Felix, after he runs a stupid hound breathless, turns out to be a skunk. He had been wearing a disguise.

April 20, 1948
"Hitch Hikers"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Will Do
The Talking Magpies get themselves involved with a couple of crooks. In a deserted house they drive them frantic. Slam-bang action. In color.

"Lazy Little Beaver"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Routine
Mighty Mouse saves a lazy young beaver from a wolf out to get his pelt. Plot manages new animated twists. In color.

May 5, 1948
"Hop, Look & Listen"
Warners 7 Mins. Fair
Sylvester Cat the Shlemiel gets in dutch with a baby kangaroo this time. Routine comedy situations. No better no worse than most. In Technicolor.

"I Taw a Putty Tat"
Warners 7 Mins. Cute
Canary outsmarts cat with doleful consequences to latter. Some of the sequences are above average in imagination and comedy. In Cinecolor.

May 19, 1948
"Melody Time"
with (visually) Roy Rogers, Trigger, Luana Patten, Bobby Driscoll, Ethel Smith, Bob Nolan, Sons of the Pioneers, and (aurally) The Andrew Sisters, Freddy Martin, Fred Waring, Buddy Clark, Frances Langford, Dennis Day. RKO-Disney 75 Mins.
MORE HAPPY DAYS FOR EXHIBITOR AND AUDIENCE; THIS IS HI-GRADE DISNEY SKEDDED FOR TOP BIZ; HAS USUAL SUPERB HANDLING IN EVERY DIVISION. You can call out all the old laudatory adjectives and round up a new collection for Walt Disney's latest contribution to the gayety of the nation. Again he has delivered up freshly, whimsically and delightfully an entertainment that is certain to please every audience strata and send them away happy and much the better for having seen his latest offering.
With the exception of Roy Rogers, Trigger, Ethel Smith, Luana Patten and Bobby Driscoll, the other names listed above, beneath the title, are on the sound track but identifiable.
This is a seven part show. Each part is separate and brushed onto the screen in some of Natalie Kalmus' best tints. The Technicolor art work by the Disney staff easily maintains top place in the handling of the medium.
"Once Upon A Wintertime'' opens the show. It is a tender, yet comically done boy and girl story which gets the audience in the right frame of mind, concluding with some excitement when the boy rescues the girl from going over the falls. Seems they were ice-skating, had a falling out. A pair of similarly romantic rabbits parallel their animated human counterparts.
"Bumble Boogie" depicts the hectic plight of a bee assailed by Jack Fina's piano rendition of "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" with Freddy Martin's orchestra blasting out a hot jazz instrumental accompaniment. There's much ingenuity in the handling of this sequence which permits wide latitude in animation.
"Little Toot" is about a baby tugboat. Given to cutting figure eights in the busy harbor, he causes a liner to run berserk and wind up high and dry in the city streets. Arrested, he is towed out to the 12 mile limit. A storm comes along. "Little Toot" proves himself a hero by saving a liner in distress. The Andrews Sisters do handsomely by "Little Toot."
"Trees," after the Joyce Kilmer poem-song with new handling in color and form, is still a good thing. "Blame It On the Samba" features Donald Duck, and Jose Carioca cavorting in Aracuan's cafe after he rouses them from their blues state. They frolic with Ethel Smith, give her a hotfoot, at length set off a giant firecracker for whizbang concluding pandemonium. "Johnny Appleseed" is one of the Disney gems that will be long remembered by everyone.
CREDITS: Production supervisor, Ben Sharpsteen; Cartoon directors, Clyde Geronomimi, Wilfrid Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney; Story, Winston Hibler, Harry Reeves, Ken Anderson, Erdman Penner, Homer Brightman, Ted Sears, Joe Rinaldi, Art Scott, Bob Moore, Bill Cottrell, Jesse Marsh; Folklore consultant, Carl Carmer; Animation directors, Eric Larson, Ward Kimball, Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsbery, Les Clark; Musical direction, Eliot Daniel, Ken Darby; Special arrangements, Vic Schoen, Al Sack; Photography, Winton Hoch; Editors, Donald Halliday, Thomas Scott. DIRECTION, Tops. PHOTOGRAPHY, Fine.

May 27, 1948
"Bone Bandit"
RKO-Disney 7 Mins. Okay
Pluto, awakening hungry, sets out to dig up some bones he has cached in a garden. He encounters a groundhog that has been using the bones as support for his underground home. There is some goldenrod about the place and the underground denizen uses this to advantage in thwarting allergic Pluto. Pluto responds with violence. At length the groundhog calls it quits.

June 14, 1948
"Buccaneer Bunny"
Warners 7 Mins. Tops
Bugs Bunny lets go his wild talents on Swashbuckle Sam, a pirate who tried to bury treasure and instead got BB. The beastie gives Sam a slambang time and this results in plenty of laughter when the animation gets into its studied screwball stride.

June 14, 1948
"Butterscotch and Soda" (Noveltoon)
Paramount (Technicolor) 7 Mins. Okay
Heroine, Little Audrey, is a bad little girl when it comes to eating too much candy and neglecting the vitamins in her meals. Left alone in a world of her own, she makes the most of her candy-land, and becomes a very sick girl. Learns her lesson and passes up the sweets for regular eats.

"Nothing But The Tooth"
Warners 7 Mins. Good
Herein Porky Pig has a wild session with a screwy Indian who is out to get his scalp. En route to California Porky constantly encounters the tomahawk wielding demon who is finally dissuaded from carrying out his hair raising plan.

"Daddy Duck"
RKO-Disney 7 Mins. Okay
Donald Duck adopts Joey, a kangaroo, takes him home and therein lies the crux of the matter for the Australian marsupial gives the web-footed waterfowl a wild, acrobatic time leading up to Donald tangling with a bear rug and coming off second best when Joey saves him.

"Short Snort of Sports" (Color Phantasies)
Columbia 6 1/2 Mins. Amusing
Kaleidoscopical panorama of satire covers many of the American sports with a different slant on games are shown.

June 28, 1948
"Popeye Meets Hercules" (Series E7-5)
Paramount (Polacolor) 7 Mins. Spinach and Brawn
Here's one for Popeye fans. Away from this modern world, Popeye and Olive gallivant back to the days of the early Greeks and attend the first Olympic Games in the Coliseum. Bluto-looking Hercules challenges all comers. Popeye takes up the challenge. Plenty of humorous situations ensue. Spinach-atomic fortification enables Popeye to rescue Olive from his scheming antagonist.

"Mystery in the Moonlight"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Diverting
Dog and mouse have a session with a cat this time with a good proportion of eerie doings to round out routine chase elements. Concentration of attention points to the dog getting the worst of the deal from time to time and the cat at length makes off to where he came from.

June 30, 1948
"Donald's Dream Voice" (Walt Disney)
RKO Radio (Technicolor) 6 Mins. Tops
Due to poor manner-of-speech, and with plenty of abuse to boot, Donald fails as a brush salesman. However, the impediment is corrected when he buys "voice pills" enabling him to speak clear Colmanish enunciation. But alas, the transformation is short lived when, by accident, the pills are lost, with the exception of a lone one. He tries to retrieve it but the pill is swallowed by a cow. In a tirade our hero calls the animal down, but the cow, dramatically disgusted, remarks "I don't understand a word you say."

"Seeing Ghosts"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Okay
One of the constantly recurring themes in the Terrytoon collection, this number in Technicolor has an interior decorating pig coming to do over a haunted house. In no time the ghosts and skeletons that lurk about the place give him a hectic time. Proceedings end on a loud note generated by the explosion of a giant firecracker.

"Feudin' Hillbillies"
20th-Fox 7 Mins. Amusing
When things look bad between feuding mice and cats, Mighty Mouse steps in and via his powers the felines again come out second best. Piece has good deal of inventive imagination in its composition and should click well enough.

Friday 26 September 2014

Woody Gun Take

Sheriff Woody Woodpecker and Buzz Buzzard get into a typical (?) Western saloon gunfight in “Wild and Woody.” The woodpecker discovers he’s out of ammo.

Then he sees Buzz’s gun has the drop on him. Here’s the take. The drawings are on twos, pretty typical for Lantz.

Ed Love and Pat Matthews are the only ones to get animation credits. Someone can correct me, but I believe Matthews was the guy who always drew the jagged, expanded neck-ring during takes.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Spider Head

They sure loved to have heads zoom at the camera in those Van Beuren cartoons. Here’s an example from an early sound one, “The Fly’s Bride” (1929).

A spider is walking along. Suddenly, an exclamation mark pops out of its head. Then it turns and then the head fills the screen.

The drawing’s primitive and ugly in places, the plot’s like two cartoons stitched together, but there are a few good morphs. John Foster and Harry Bailey get the sole credit.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Lennie Weinrib

You may have had a time in your life when you’ve turned on the radio or TV, heard a voice, and thought to yourself, with a smile, “Ah, it’s so-and-so.”

Lennie Weinrib was one of those people for me.

Around 1970, it seemed like he was everywhere. You could recognise him doing assorted characters on “H.R. Pufnstuf.” You could pick him out as Moonrock on “Pebbles and Bamm Bamm.” And he was in tons of commercials. McDonald’s comes to mind instantly because of the Pufnstuf-Krofft-McDonaldland connection but there were many other products. Some he sold with soft reads, others harder, others with a comic approach. His delivery was extremely versatile and it’s no wonder he was in such demand by ad agencies and producers.

And I could say “Ah, it’s Lennie Weinrib!” instead of “Ah, it’s that guy” because his name had been in the screen credits of many cartoons and he had been a guest star on sitcoms in the ‘60s. And he was always very funny.

Lennie’s talents extended beyond that, as you will see in this feature piece by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, which has been pulled from the Buffalo Courier of July 31, 1966. He worked with some top people as well, as you’ll notice by the names in the story. Not bad for a former tour guide at CBS Television City.

Movie Producer Moonlights as Television Spieler
Weinrib, Man of Many Voices, Works With Mel Blanc's 300 Commercials Team

The Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD—A hulking, 6-1 man slid in behind the wheel of his new Cadillac to take a sentimental journey. When he arrived at Melrose and La Brea, sure enough, there was old Willie the newsman, still working the same corner.
“Hey kid,” said Willie, admiring the new car, “you did all right. You see, I told you so. All that hollering did get you someplace.”
LIKE IN MOVIES — The kid is Lennie Weinrib, now 31, who used to stand on that corner not too long ago hawking newspapers. He wore a cap on the side of his head like kids in movies. He used to shout “wuxtra! wuxtra!” like they did. And he’d make up phony headlines—“big sex scandal in Brooklyn”—just to hustle those nickels and dimes.
Today, Weinrib is a movie producer-director, and he’s still shouting, but there’s some element of truth in what he shouts—if you believe the spiel in commercials. And the pay, as that Cad attests, is infinitely better.
ALSO TV — In addition, Weinrib is a voice specialist in the lucrative occupation of TV commercials.
“It keeps me busy during my spare time,” said Weinrib, a self-admitted “nervous nut” whose hobby is his business.
“I’ve always been doing voices,” he adds, “ever since I was a kid. I’d go to movies, come home and imitate Bogart, Cagney and the rest. I grew up with Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows, and I loved every minute of his skits and Carl Reiner and Howard Morris.”
PROTEGE — Weinrib proudly states he’s a protege of Mel Blanc who, perhaps, is the peer among Hollywood voices. When Mel Blanc Associates was formed, Weinrib became part of a company that has made close to 300 commercials.
“Talk about a repertory feeling of a group,” exclaimed Weinrib, “with Joan Gerber, Howie Morris, Sid Melton, Artie Johnson, Lee Zimmer and Henry Corden, we all work like a well-oiled clock because we’ve been together three years under the same director and writer.”
DEBUT WITH SPIKE — First TV exposure for Weinrib was in 1958 during Spike Jones’ summer series on CBS [actually 1960]. It took a personal commercial to bring about that break. “Here I am a college grad parking cars at NBC,” recalls Weinrib, who attended UCLA those vintage years the likes of Carol Burnett, Jimmy Dean, Corey Allen and Asa Maynor were his classmates. “I heard they were looking for a comic. So I decided to call the show’s writer, Bill Dana, and ask to read. While waiting for him on the phone, I thumbed through the trades and spotted Mort Sahl’s name, a close friend of Dana’s. Suddenly it came to me. When Bill answered, I went into Mort’s voice and fooled Bill for five minutes. They signed me the next day.”
CAME NATURALLY — This ability to do voices came naturally to Weinrib, but he never knew why until he lost his meal ticket one day in San Francisco.
In a rare serious moment he explained: “I had just been going too much. Coming off the long-run Billy Barnes revue, I was doing the road show of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’ I was also working a four-hour daily radio show in Frisco. Well, I’d never had any formal training for singing, and with all this activity the strain took its toll. I broke a blood vessel in my throat.
“I was sent to Dr. Paul J. Mosses,” he continued. “He treats opera people like Patrice Munsel when they have trouble. Zo den (he lapsed into a German dialect) he zez to me, ah ha, I see you haf an inner-ear memory. You can remember zounds, yaah? Only a few people in the verld can shtore zounds in der memory ear.” LOTS OF WORK — In the years that followed, the Weinrib memory bank was responsible for dubbing David Niven’s voice on the Rogue’s Pilot; doing Peter Sellers for “Pink Panther” spots; a variety of voices in “Mad, Mad World,” and recently the voice of the little animated green-eyed monster in Tony Curtis’ yet unreleased movie “Not With My Wife You Don’t.”
“Paradoxically,” he summarizes, “ability as an actor is more important today. You can only do so many trick voices, like Bugs Bunny. Dialects are essential. But economically, you can go on doing character voices forever.”
Lennie Weinrib has that kind of voice. There’s been no overnight instant recognition for him, though. It’s taken him 10 long years to get some place. And he’s got the ulcer to prove it.

There are people in show business who keep performing until death. There are others who say to themselves something like “I don’t really want to do this any more” and retire to relax in peace. Lennie was among the latter, leaving behind plenty of laughs that we can still enjoy today.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Lucky I Have Blue Cross

Bugs Bunny saws bitter Daffy Duck in half in “Show Biz Bugs.” Daffy yells to the audience that it’s only a trick until he realises otherwise.

Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross and Art Davis are the animators in this one.

Monday 22 September 2014

Elegant Alley Cat

He may be a mangy alley cat, but the title character in Tex Avery’s “Ventriloquist Cat” has a bit of elegance nonetheless. Note his expressions and his pinky held in mid-air as he plots his next explosive trick on Spike.

The cat’s still holding out his arms as he scoots around the house (one with a yard and located in the middle of a business district).

The end result.

Mike Lah, Walt Clinton and Grant Simmons are the animators.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Rangoon Wilson

Publicity agents made up wild stories. Stars invented their own past. Who was to know otherwise?

Anyone remotely familiar with the Jack Benny show can name his jolly long-time announcer. And fans are pretty much aware that Don Wilson was raised in Denver, Colorado, that he worked in radio there and a singing career took him to the San Francisco Bay area, thence to Los Angeles. But that isn’t what’s contained in one amazing biography published by the New York Sun (motto: “If you see it in the Sun, it’s true”) as Wilson was starting to gain some fame.

The story was in the paper’s radio and television section of January 13, 1934 (yes, there was television then). Wilson wasn’t on the Benny show yet. He was an NBC staff announcer who had specialised in sports on the West Coast before moving to New York City. His biography in the Sun is bogus and you have to wonder if someone was playing a joke. The biography in the story for Ken Carpenter, best known as Bing Crosby’s announcer on The Kraft Music Hall and other shows, is accurate, as least off the top of my head. There’s no byline on the story, so I suspect it was by a Sun staffer rewriting an NBC publicity handout.

Announcers at Rose Bowl Little Known in East.

Two men, both experts in their field but practically unknown in the East, acted as sports announcers at the Stanford-Columbia game in the Rose Bowl at Pasadena on New Year's Day, and although working under conditions as revere as observers ever encountered, thrill the nation with the accuracy and completeness of their description. Their work brought praise as fulsome as that which the press and public gave to the winning team from Morningside Heights. Yet because both announcers were Westerners few of the millions who listened to their unruffled explanation of plays knew more about them than their names. Kenneth Carpenter and Don Wilson were the pair who were assigned to the year's greatest football spectacle. Wilson was brought East for several gridiron games last fall, but Carpenter, being a member of a Los Angeles station, had limited his circle of admirers to the West Coast.
Into Radio by Accident.
Kenneth Carpenter, 33 years of age, was born in Avon, Ill., the son of a Universalist minister. After graduation from Lombard College in literal arts he was, successively, a copy writer for a department store and advertising agency. His introduction to radio was accidental. He approached an auto agency owner, Earle C. Anthony, who also controlled several West Coast stations, with a plan for automobile advertising, and us more of a prank than anything else was tried out as an announcer. He met every requirement and immediately concentrated his interest on radio. He is now chief announcer at KFI and specializes in the descriptions of sports besides assuming duties in the continuity and production departments. He is married and the father of one child.
Born In Rangoon.
Don Wilson, the other announcer, was born in Rangoon, India, but spent his boyhood in California and on an Oregon ranch. At 15 he ran away from home and in three months traveled 15,000 miles with a company of Chautauqua entertainers. Tiring of this life he returned home and later matriculated at the University of Redlands, where he acquired eleven letters in various sports. A season with an oil company was followed by twenty-five games of professional football. In 1928 he joined KPO, San Francisco as a continuity writer, but he couldn't keep away from the gridiron. As assistant to the regular sports announcer, Wilson was given the job of keeping the windows of the field booth clean. One day when the regular announcer failed to show up, Wilson found himself in lone charge of the microphone. From that day to the present Don Wilson has followed the pigskin East, West, North and South, always adding to his reputation for knowledge of the game and for his uncanny ability to supply, a smooth, placid but nevertheless thrilling description of plays and players.

I suspect the closest Don Wilson ever got to Rangoon was when he drove past some Burma Shave signs. Wilson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Lincoln and Charlotte Louise (Hatch) Wilson. His father was a druggist. The family was in Denver by the time Don was ten and that’s where he went to school and then into radio.

While we’re talking about Wilson facts and fancies, I was always curious whether his middle name really was “Harlow” or if that was something the Benny writers invented. If you’ve had the same question, take a look at Donsey’s World War One draft file card. That should settle the question.

Wilson took over the announcing chores for the Benny show when it changed sponsors from Chevrolet to General Tire in April 1934; Alois Havrilla didn’t move with the change of sponsors and Wilson won an audition. He remained with Jack through his television series that ended in 1965. Jack’s later TV specials used off-screen announcers (I believe Bill Baldwin was one), but Wilson made cameo appearances. We’ll have a more accurate newspaper feature on him here next week.