Sunday 20 December 2015

Best of the Season From John and Jam

Two of the top industrial film companies wanted to wish a happy holiday season to prospective buyers in the pages of Business Screen Magazine. Both made animated cartoons. Some of John Sutherland’s were released by MGM in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. Jam Handy came up with a charming animated version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer produced for the Montgomery Ward department store chain in 1948 that was beautifully restored in 2014 by the Library of Congress.

Here are some full-page Christmas greetings published from 1951 to 1961. Some of the text got lost in the gutter of the magazine but that shouldn’t spoil the enjoyment. Click on each to make it bigger.

Now, watch the Library of Congress’ restoration of Rudolph. You can read a little bit about this version from historian and noted Christmas celebrator Jerry Beck. Max Fleischer directed a charming cartoon with help from former Fleischer studio staffers Joe Stultz, Shane Miller, Charles Schettler, Fletcher Smith and Bill Sturm (Smith had his own New York City studio in the late ‘40s; Sturm opened one in the early ‘50s).

1 comment:

  1. This is an important part of the history of this classic since all other prints in circulation omit the reference to Montgomery Ward, who owned the original rights to the story. The original purpose was to show this film in a mini-theater to children waiting to see Santa Claus in the Montgomery Ward stores. It's seven minute length made the wait more tolerable, and lessened the lines and waves of children.

    Contrary to easily drawn conclusions, this film was not produced through the Animation Department at the Detroit Jam Handy location, but in New York, which explains the names having connections to Max Fleischer's studio, including his long-time associate, Charlie Schettler.