Thursday 30 September 2021

Cake Landing

We all know what’s going to happen in Bosko’s Party (1932). We see footage of Bosko and a cake.

Cut to Wilbur stuck. There’s no reason for the cat to be hanging like that except for one purpose. You can see the gag coming.

Bosko blows out the one lit birthday candle (though it's Honey's birthday). That’s all, folks!

Friz Freleng and Larry Martin are the credited animators in this Warners release. Bosko resists the temptation to do his slide step dance.

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Serious Soupy

Other than they talked to the same age group, there wasn’t a lot in common between Captain Kangaroo and Soupy Sales.

The Captain was very low key. Soupy was energetic. The Captain was full of common sense. Soupy was silly.

Yet Soupy had a serious side, too, that he chose to express off the air. Here’s a story from September 29, 1962 about how Milton Supeman tried to help teenagers.

The Serious Side of Soupy Sales

AP Movie-Television Writer
HOLLYWOOD (AP)—It's tough on new comedians to discover that the established comics have taken up most of the known diseases for their pet projects.
The rules of show biz are such that a funnyman must also have his serious side—as spearhead for some worthy cause. Soupy Sales realized this as he started pushing into the television bigtime as slapstick favorite of the younger crowd.
He chose as his particular cause that disease afflicting thousands of teen-agers—drop out.
The youngster who drops out of high school and goes no further with his education has been getting attention from many civic-minded persons, up to and including President Kennedy. They reason that the drop out is a waste of the nation's resources. Further, education is increasingly important in today’s world, in which automation is replacing work done by unskilled labor.
"I had been doing charity work, but it wasn't being directed toward anything," said Soupy. "Jerry Lewis has muscular dystrophy and the other comedians have their own causes. I thought since I had worked with kids, I should find something that affected them.
"Combating the drop out is just as important as fighting any dreaded disease. This is a kind of disease that can blight lives, yet it can be cured by the people themselves, if given enough love, understanding and guidance."
Soupy has gone all out with special television and radio spot announcements to coincide with the return to school. He also carries on the campaign with his daily television show in Los Angeles. The local station, KABC, has put together a 25-minute short called "Drop Out Blackouts."
Last week the film was presented to Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Anthony J. Celebrezze for use in the nation's schools. I saw the film and it is an effective piece of salesmanship, getting to the teen-agers with Soupy's unique brand of humor.
“Don’t be a drop out,” warns Soupy, and a body plunges off a high roof.
The comedian revealed he almost dropped out of high school as a lad. "I figured I was going into show business," he said. "You don't need a diploma to tell jokes, I thought.
"But I changed my mind and even graduated from Marshall College in Huntington, W. Va., getting my degree in journalism. I'm glad I did. Now I write all my own material."
Parents might find this a poor argument for his campaign, but at least the teenagers are on his side.

1962 was an interesting year for Soupy. He, rather improbably, was picked as a guest host for the Tonight show. NBC was using fill-ins of all kinds, awaiting Johnny Carson’s contract on another network to expire so he could permanently take over.

Perhaps the most sour critic in America, Harriet Van Horne, disapproved. Mind you, she seemed to disapprove of almost everything, judging by some of her other columns we’re transcribed here. This one is dated June 6, 1962. She has a low opinion of everyone who filled in for Paar, and Paar himself.

Tonight Show in Soup
Substitute MCs Keep Program In Embarrassed Suspension

Scripps-Howard Staff Writer
NEW YORK, June 6—Until Johnny Carson—a pro—assumes command of the Tonight show on Oct. 8, NBC is flinging substitute M.C.'s onto the screen as if they were dummy hands at bridge. From a viewer's vantage, a malign hand would seem to be dealing—and from a rather soiled and tattered old deck.
In consequence, the Tonight show is now in a state of what might be termed embarrassed suspension but live and in color.
This week the master of the revels is one Soupy Sales. I've seen Mr. Sales' name in the daytime TV log a thousand times. But until recently, I was under the impression that Soupy Sales was an animated cartoon.
Well, having viewed the Tonight show I can now report that Soupy Sales is not a cartoon, though his animation is such that it nearly qualifies him for the rank. An anxious man with blurred diction and the arrogance that probably hides a sinking heart, Mr. Sales has made a notable success of his kiddie shows. In his own field, I am advised, he is superbly at ease, with a golden arm for pie-throwing.
In truth, Soupy, if I may be so familiar, made his name and fame hurling pies. It was taken for granted that he would open his week's run on Monday by tossing an open-faced custard at some poor stooge standing there (at union minimum) braced for impact.
Ah but Soupy staged a stunning surprise. He resisted the obvious and hurled a man into an enormous pie. Versatile you might say. A man who refuses to be a dupe to his art.
To give you a full account of all that transpired on the Soupy show last night would tax your credulity. I still can't believe it myself.
First, we had Marie Wilson. While her host was busy grimacing and offering footnotes of total irrelevance, Miss Wilson told us some backstage stories. How she once borrowed Zsa Zsa's wig in Las Vegas—a lovely Blue wig—how she usually dresses for a show (a low cut bathing suit turned frontwards) and so on. For whatever it means to her, Miss Wilson had our sympathy.
Not so Gene Shepard, the disk jockey, idol of the "night people," a man of raw and un-concocted conclusions. Mr. Shepard offered what I can only describe as a skull solo. He thumped his head with his knuckles while the band played "The Sheik of Araby." Bowing modestly to the studio applause, Mr. Shepard volunteered that he keeps his head in condition by soaking it in ointment. I believe you, Mr. Shepard.
I expect there was a great deal more of this sophisticated entertainment but my little screen suddenly went dark—by arrangement.
It strikes me that all the substitutes seen so far on the Tonight show have one quality in common with Jack Paar. That is, a note of privileged vulgarity runs through every sentence. There's also a tendency toward petulance, the egomania that's almost out of bounds. Perhaps it's something the Paar "personal," as they say, left in the studio air.
While I've not watched every new face on the Tonight show, it would seem that the M. C. viewers found most at ease was Merv Griffin. A number of viewers have said so in their letters. I must beg to disagree.
Mr. Griffin is a man of over-weaning courtesy, and as such a pleasant change from some of the others. But he's a graceless, non-listening interviewer, the sort who smiles cheerily as he interrupts a good story with a senseless question.
Mr. Griffin has another habit I find annoying. He tells brittle show business stories, the sort of stories that must be told with a theatrical air, and gets them all wrong. Also, he relates these glittery yarns in the tone of a man putting a child to sleep with a bedtime story.

Soupy talked to adults later in his career when he appeared as a panelist in the ‘70s syndicated version of What’s My Line?. The show shed its Park Avenue atmosphere of the ‘50s and ‘60s and became a little more down-to-earth. Arlene Francis was still charming and got off some clever humour. Anita Gillette was bright and friendly. And Soupy, well, couldn’t help being “on” some of the time, but at the same time he made fun of himself, especially if one of his jokes didn’t go over. It was a really good mixture.

Arrogant? Hardly. Sinking heart? Give me a break. Soupy Sales was a guy who liked a little innocent, and perhaps corny, fun. There was more to him than tossing a pie or two. I guess he had that in common with the Captain, too.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Headless Horse

I don’t know what the fascination was with wooden horses in cartoons of the late ‘20s and early ‘30s, but I think every studio had them. I mean, just draw a regular horse.

A wooden horse enters into the picture in the Van Beuren short Hot Tamale (1930). As you can expect from Van Beuren, the cartoon is twisted.

A mouse and a cat vie for the attentions of a Latina mouse. Why cartoons have cats that want to date mice is confusing at best, but back to our story. Milton the mouse gets away on his wooden horse. But to slow down the cat’s wooden horse, he unscrews its head and shoves rocks inside the body, then put the head back on.

The rocks weigh down the horse so it can’t chase after Milton and the girl on their horse. Finally, it gets moving only for the cat, after yelling with no noise coming out of its mouth, flips off the wooden animal. The horse’s head comes off. We gets spinning eyes that change shape.

The cat registers shock.

He kicks the horse’s body, which gallops into the distance. Meanwhile, he rises up into his sombrero, which twirls around. What?!

But the horse’s head is alive! And it bites him and hangs on. The two of them twirl around.

John Foster and Harry Bailey get the “by” credit and Gene Rodemich supplies the score.

Monday 27 September 2021

Fudd Take

Huge eye takes were almost a thing of the past in the 1950s, and they’re something that Bob McKimson eschewed as his unit’s animation became more and more watered down.

But here’s a take in Design For Leaving, a 1954 release with his pre-shut down animators. Anticipation and then the take. Not big, but big for McKimson about then.

And can someone explain something? Why did McKimson love putting eyelids on eyelids? They're in his cartoons before and after the 1953 shutdown, so it wasn’t the trait of one animator.

Chuck McKimson, Phil De Lara, Herman Cohen and Rod Scribner are the animators using layouts by Bob Givens.

Sunday 26 September 2021

The Kid is Not My Son

Two people on the Jack Benny TV show appeared in Charley’s Aunt. One was Benny himself. Who was the other?

Well, we should qualify that it wasn’t the film version Benny was in. The answer is revealed in the May 2, 1952 edition of the Casper Star-Tribune.

Dale P. White of Casper, a veteran of the Brigham Young University stage, recently was seen in the lovable Thomas comedy, 'Charley's Aunt", which was produced April 23 through April 26 on the campus.
He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. F. White, 815 South Ash. He is registered in the college of Fine Arts majoring in speech, is a member of the regular staff of KBYU campus radio station, and has participated in several of the radio dramas. Dale is lighting technician for all major drama productions at BYU, and at present is vice-president of the Wyoming club. Before his graduation in 1950 from N.C.H.S , Dale was president of the Thespians, national drama society for high schools, student-body secretary, and a member of the wrestling team.

The paper anxiously followed White’s acting career. Every time he appeared on the Benny show, it published a little squib about it.

Dale White was a reluctant actor. He didn’t want to be one. But he ended up playing Don Wilson’s son Harlow on the Benny TV show.

Wilson’s middle name really was Harlow. But, no, he had no children in real life. He had none on radio. He had none on TV, too, until White appeared out of nowhere as his grown son.

The circumstances are explained in this publicity piece from 1960.

This TV Guest Forced To Watch His Figure
By CBS Press Department
The rotund young man hung his head shyly while his hands nervously clasped and unclasped over a well-fed stomach. He stood beside a slightly larger carbon copy of himself and in humble, nasal tones said. "Yes, Daddy." The audience watching howled.
In the past four years the young man, Dale White, has appeared on Benny's program several times, always as the son of announcer Don Wilson. He's due back for another appearance on "The Jack Benny Program" Sunday.
No Pro Actor
Despite the expert job of acting he turns in as Wilson's pride and joy, White isn't even a professional actor.
He's head of the television department at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he also instructs in television techniques. He also teaches a course in sound effects for the stage and is developing a stereophonic sound-effects system for the legitimate theater.
White was born in Otto, Wyo., and reared in Casper, Wyo. He studied engineering at Utah State University for a year and then spent two more years at Brigham Young University. During this time he was an expert wrestler and won several titles on the Intercollegiate mat.
Married when he was 18, White brought his bride, Marie, to California in 1954. He was determined to make the theater his life's work and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse, where two years later he was awarded a bachelor of theater arts degree.
White's entry into show business as an actor was, as White put it, "a peculiar and wonderful quirk of fate."
Dick Fischer, who was at that time an associate producer of Benny's television show, was at the Playhouse on other business when he saw White. His resemblance to Don Wilson was so striking that Fischer grabbed the youth as if he were a long-lost rich uncle.
For some time Benny had wanted to do a skit based on Don having a roly-poly son, but had been unable to find anyone who could properly portray the role.
"Son," Fischer" shouted, "how would you like to be on Jack Benny's television show?"
Stammers—Then Acts
White recalls he stammered a bit, not understanding completely, and almost before he knew it he was rehearsing for the show as an actor. That initial show was such a success that Dale has been called back repeatedly to portray Wilson's chubby and embarrassingly shy son.
White's ambition is to be a director. He says the life of an actor is too nerve-wracking.
"Every time I'm on the show I lose weight," he explains. "And like Mr. Wilson, if I lose too much, I’d be out of a job.
"I'm fully aware that I owe my job not to any great acting talent, but to my figure."

The Benny TV series ended in 1965. And that’s when Dale White ended his acting career. He wanted to direct—in the 1950s, he started a small film company—and that’s what he did.

White was a Mormon, and found a home in Utah. This feature story appeared in the local paper in Bountiful, April 30, 1996.

Longtime actor, director makes his home in Bountiful
Quig Nielsen
Contributing Writer
Not often do you find someone who is a superlative actor, talented director, master behind the camera, organizational genius, and has quiet, charismatic energy! Would you believe it? I found one who has all these skilled attributes and he is right here in Bountiful. He is Dale White, who lives with his lovely wife, Marie, in a gorgeous new home near the majestic Bountiful Temple.
This congenial couple, parents of three married children, joined the Bountiful residents in 1991 and, making friends quickly, has concluded this city of beautiful homes is the place to live. Further, one of their sons, Frank, and his family live only a few blocks down the street from them.
Of the many highlights in Dale’s fabulous career, and perhaps the best known, is that for ten and a half years he acted in the highly popular and top rated Jack Benny comedy television show. His first performance on the show, which emanated from the CBS studies in Hollywood, was as Don Wilson’s son. Wilson was the rotund and well-liked television announcer for the Benny show. Following his inaugural performance with Benny, Dale performed in a variety of roles in the show over the years.
As a young college student Dale White had difficulty choosing a career. He attended Utah State, briefly studying mechanical engineering but, after a year, decided that wasn’t the field for him. He gave law school at BYU a try and said no way. Then he met the eminent T. Earl Pardoe, BYUs widely-recognized and acclaimed teacher of the dramatic arts. After a long period of serious thought and discussion with the professor, Dale concluded he’d take a shot at theater arts. He became Pardoe’s stage manager for BYU productions.
When young White wanted to pursue more education in the drama and movie-making field, Professor Pardoe recommended that he attend the Pasadena Playhouse, College of Theater Arts, in Pasadena, California. “It was called the Cal Tech of the theater world,” Dale remembered. “Enrolled in the school were students who wanted to become actors and some who wanted to acquire a degree. I was one who wanted a degree. Because of my experience in theater work I was called the ‘Orson Welles’ of the Pasadena school.”
It was at Pasadena when he was chosen from a large group of applicants for his first role on the Benny show. Dale continued with his education, acquiring his degree, and then, to his surprise, was invited to teach, a work he thoroughly enjoyed.
While teaching Dale took a shot at directing. He quickly learned “that to be a good director you had to be a good actor. I was fortunate,” Dale continued, “to get a job as the cameraman at one of Hollywood's big TV stations, KCOP.” So now he excelled as an actor, a director, and as a photographer.
He organized White Productions and began producing portrait, industrial, and training videos for commercial companies and was extolled for the high quality work he did. General Dynamics who had a big plant in Rhode Island, another in Connecticut in addition to divisions in California and other states was one of the many companies to profit from the White Productions videos.
Dale said he would have liked to have done shows for the motion picture market but "there is so much intrigue in the financing of the productions that I felt it was better to leave that aspect of the business alone.” Numerous made-for-TV movies are listed in Dale's creative accomplishments.
A national film trade magazine, considered the most prestigious in the industry, wrote an article about White Productions in which it said "White Productions has the most difficult qualities to find in film production today, integrity, intelligence, and imagination." Quite a compliment. Dale’s company also was lauded in a Wall Street Journal article.
As a member of the LDS Branch Presidency of the Rocky Mountain and South Davis Community Care Centers here in Bountiful, Dale has produced a video teaching the young people how to assist in caring for those confined residents. It's a film everyone should see.
Currently Dale’s working on an hour-long film of the love story of Joseph and Emma Smith. Now that’s something to anticipate.
Dale White’s ancestors who came from England on the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock in America in 1620 have got to be proud of their descendant. But that's another story.

White died in his new-found home in February, 2006, age 74. Read a tribute in the Salt Lake City newspaper.

20 years ago, a posting by Gerry Orlando on the International Jack Benny Fan Club web forum wondered about White. The answer, Gerry, took a little while in coming, but it’s been answered today.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Lantz, Columbia Studios, 1940

A while ago, we posted a list from 1940 of many of the male employees of Leon Schlesinger Productions based on U.S. military draft cards, most of them filled out in October 1940. Because of misspellings of poor Leon’s name, not all of them came up in a search.

We’re going to do the same thing for the Lantz, Screen Gems and Cartoon Films studios. The staffs there were much smaller.

Many of the Lantz names you’ll recognise from the cartoons. Some you won’t; maybe they were cameramen or other non-animation personel.

A few notes about people whose names were on cartoons the previous year:

● Burt Gillett was employed in a restaurant.
● James Miele was a “freelance cartoonist.”
● George Grandpre was unemployed.
● Victor McLeod went to work for J. Walter Thompson.
● Kin Platt went back to New York to work on comics.
● Frank Marsales card is from 1942. He left Lantz in 1940 to conduct a municipal band.
● Hicks Lokey has no card that I can find.
● Willie Pogany was self-employed.

RUSSELL BALDWIN, born 19 Sept. 1907, Freeley, Colo.
5740 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles. Hempstead 2074.
FRED WILLIAM BRUNISH, born 18 Dec. 1902, NYC.
727 N. Vista, Los Angeles. Whitney 5771.
DARRELL WALLACE CALKER, born 18 Feb. 1905, Washington, D.C.
7257 Willoughby Ave., Los Angeles. Gladstone 0156. Self employed.
ROBERT FLETCHER CORTEEN, born 16 Oct 1940, Burbank.
4647 Tujunga Ave N., Hollywood.
GEORGE DANE, born 2 Feb. 1913, Chicago.
5607 La Mirada, Los Angeles.
LOWELL EVERETT ELLIOTT, born 20 Dec. 1901, Independence, Kansas.
4817 Cleon Ave., North Hollywood. Sunset 2-7692.
OSMOND BILLINGE EVANS, born 18 Sept. 1910, Muskoka, Ont.
1839 N. Fairview, Burbank. Charleston 6-8663

RAYMOND MARK FAHRINGER, born 30 Nov. 1910, Omaha.
4270 Riverton Ave., North Hollywood. Sunset 2-6490.
EMMET VINCENT HALLORAN, born 24 April 1920, Syracuse, N.Y.
1815 ½ N. Wilcox Ave.., Hollywood. GL 5660.
JOSEPH BENSON HARDAWAY, born 21 May 1895, Belton, Mo.
11211 Kling St., N. Hollywood. Sunset 2-1522.
WALLACE FRANKLIN HAYNES, born 13 Feb. 1906, Ceres, Calif.
631 Caleb St., Glendale. Citrus 1-1576.
ANGEL GANDARA JIMENEZ, born 3 Oct. 1919, Denver.
450 15th St., Santa Monica.
EDGAR OTTO KIECHLE, born 24. Jan 1911, St. Louis.
4209 Bellingham Ave., N. Hollywood. Sunset 2-5731.
LESTER ROBERT KLINE, born 3 April 1906, Santa Monica, Calif.
6249 Ben Ave., North Hollywood. Hempstead 3131.
WALTER LANTZ, born 27 April 1899, New Rochelle, N.Y.
4607 Van Alden, Tarzana. ST7-1211

ALEXANDER LOVY, born 2 Sept. 1913, Passaic, N.J.
5607 La Mirada, Hollywood. HO 9551.
RICHARD WAGNER MARION, born 27 June 1910, Cincinnati.
14652 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys.
HAROLD MASON, born 6 Sept. 1917, Manchester, England.
1313 ½ N. Mariposa Ave., Los Angeles. NO1-9067.
ROBERT LEE MILLER, born 23 Oct. 1910, New Hampton, Iowa.
4165 Tujunga Ave., Los Angeles. SU2-0269.
ROBERT LEWIS MOORE, born 20 June 1908, Los Angeles.
1447 N. Orange Grove Ave., Los Angeles. HE 6944.
LANSING BALLARD NOLLEY, born 30 March 1902, Dallas.
2115 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles. OL 4119.
RICHARD JAMES NELSON, born 26 April1917, Philadelphia.
929 South Lake St., Los Angeles. FI 6797 (actor).

JACK RABIN, born 18 March 1914, Edmonton.
438 ½ N. Curson St., Los Angeles. Walnut 3537.
RALPH JAY SOMERVILLE, born 6 Dec 1905, Oskaloosa, Iowa.
4104 Kraft Ave., N. Hollywood. Sunset 12806 (wife is Xenia Somerville).
FRANK GEORGE TIPPER, born 19 Aug. 1909, England.
4543 Longridge, Van Nuys.
JOHN LAW WALKER, born 19 Sept. 1899, Glasgow, Scotland.
616E Providencia, Burbank. CH6-8494.
1410 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. OL 3958.
SEYMOUR ZWEIBEL, born 20 April 1915, Newark, N.J.
871 South 11th Street, Newark. Essex 3-3131.

The list for Columbia/Screen Gems is incomplete. Some employees in 1940 don’t have draft cards until 1942 when they were no longer employees. There was a purge with 30 people let go in 1941. Ben Harrison is listed as a “self-employed cartoonist,” and Art Davis’ older brother Phil opened a liquor store. Animators Manny Gould and Allen Rose, musician Joe De Nat and managers George Winkler and Jimmy Bronis are all unemployed. The database has mistranscribed “Screen Gems” so names were missed.

Sid Marcus took some doing to track down. There is conflicting information about him on-line and, naturally, more than one Sid Marcus in Los Angeles. But having checked his marriage license, a census report and a voters list for dates and occupations, enough information matches to say that Marcus was born in New York on July 13, 1904. His draft card reads “own studio 1560 Vine St Hollywood.” Sid died September 9, 1985 in Santa Monica.

I cannot find composer Paul Worth simply because that was not his legal name and I can’t remember what it was.

CARL RICHARD ANDERSON, born 9 Sept. 1910, Auburn, Wash.
4348 Longwood Ave., Los Angeles. NO 9138.
CHESTER CALLAHAN, born 2 Feb. 1904, Lockhart, Texas.
804 East 43rd Place, Los Angeles. Adams 8035.
ARTHUR JOHN CHADWICK, born 3 Feb. 1922, Handley, Texas
5 - 1401 N. Ridgewood, Hollywood (1942).
JACK VIRGIL COSGRIFF, born 23 July 1903, Baker, Ore.
6515 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. HO 6381 (1942)
ARTHUR DAVIS, 14 June 1905, Yonkers, N.Y.
12322 Viewcrest Rd., North Hollywood. SU2-2219.
SIDNEY DAVIS, born 5 June 1900, Yonkers, New York.
6427 Radford Ave., No. Hollywood. SUnset1-3556.
REAH WENDELL EHRET, born 8 July 1907, Brea, West Virginia.
945 West 85th St., Los Angeles. TW-0705.
FRANK JEROME FISHER, born 7 Mar 1907, Oregon Ogle, Ill.
914 N. Reece Place, Burbank. Charleston 6-0473.
EDGAR FRIEDMAN, born 23 Oct. 1912, Galveston, Texas.
111 S. Mariposa Ave., Los Angeles. FEderal 1556.
BERNARD GARBUTT, born 25 Aug. 1900, Ontario, Calif.
1308 Cedaredge Ave., Eagle Rock. Albany 8919.
SIDNEY JEROME GLENAR, born 13 Sep. 1903, Amsterdam, N.Y.
2338 ½ Bev. Glen Blvd., Los Angeles. CR1-8275. (1942)
EDWARD VINCENT KILFEATHER, born 5 April 1900, Portland, Ore.
412 Spaulding Drive, Beverly Hills. CR1-3963. (1942)
HAROLD LIEBLICH (Love), born 1 April 1911 in New York City.
1525 N. Van Ness, Los Angeles. HI 5111.
LOUIE HASKALL LILLY, born 26 Feb. 1909, Henderson, Kentucky.
10501 Bradbury Rd., Los Angeles. Ardmore 8-4690.
BENJAMIN FARLEY LLOYD, born 5 Dec 1916, York, Nebraska
10615 Inglewood Ave., Inglewood. OR7-4994.
JOHN RICHARD (Pat) MATTHEWS, born 17 May 1916, Chicago.
1144 South LaPeer Drive, Los Angeles.
WILLARD HOWARD MATTHEWS, born 4 Nov. 1922, Los Angeles.
2707½ West 8th Ave., Los Angeles (1942).
EDWARD RAYMOND MOORE, born 28 Aug. 1905, Chicago.
914 Orchard Dr., Burbank. CH6-4211.
THOMAS ANTHONY PELUSO, born 19 July 1899, NYC.
6546 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. WH 3087 (also with Hal Roach) (1942).
ROBERT RAE PETKERE, born 20 Jan. 1910, Battle Creek, Mich.
1030 Kenwood, Burbank. GH6-8597.
MILES EDWARD PIKE, born 20 May 1902, NYC.
4291 Klump St., North Hollywood. (1942)
HERBERT RICHARD ROTHWILL, born 24 Nov. 1912, Highland, Wisc.
932 S. Irolo St., Los Angeles. FEderal 8392.
BEN SCHWALB, born 15 June 1901, Riga, Latvia.
1814 N. Berendo St., Los Angeles. NO 19020.
WILLIAM SPRAGUE TILTON, born 22 Sep. 1920, Rawlins, Wyoming
800 N. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles. HO 9705 (1942).
EDGAR CLARK WATSON, born 5 May 1908, Montreal.
617 N. Orange Drive, Los Angeles. YO 2797.
ELMO JAMES WHITE, born 28 Aug. 1911, St Augustine, Florida.
606 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles. HO-2904.
ROBERT EARL WOLFER, born 15 Nov. 1907, Cincinnati.
5734 ½ Carlton Way, Los Angeles. Gladstone 2460.

Cartoon Films, Ltd. started out as the Iwerks studio in 1930 and changed its name when Ub worked out a deal with Lawson Haris to make Gran’ Pop Monkey cartoons to be screened in England. Former Harman-Ising animator Paul Fennell took over when Iwerks returned to Disney. It made commercial films with a small staff.

EDWARD ALLAN BENEDICT, born 23 Aug. 1912, Cleveland.
107 ½ S. Flores St., Los Angeles. Webster 9615.
CARL FERDINAND BUETTNER, born 26 May 1903, Minneapolis.
912 Shenandoah Street, Los Angeles. CR1-0696.
CHARLES BYRNE, born 24 Dec 1909, New York City.
826 S. Hibart Blvd., Los Angeles. DR 4576.
JOHN WILLIAM CANNON, born 17 Mar 1907, Terre Haute, Ind.
4875 Hartwick Street, Los Angeles. CI6-5698.
GEORGE JOSEPH DARNEILLE, born 29 May 1916, Needles, Calif.
159 Corlies Ave., Pelham West, N.Y. Pelham 2729.
EDWARD CLARK DAVIS, born 10 Sept. 1902, Paris, Miss.
444 N. Norton St., Los Angeles. Gladstone 9507 (1942).
JOSEPH PATRICK FENNELL, born 20 Mar. 1914, Grafton, Neb.
1341 Seward St., Los Angeles. HI-2741.
PAUL JOHN FENNELL, born 9 Nov. 1909, Grafton, Neb.
13910 Davana Terrace, Van Nuys. ST4-0205.
WILLIAM LAWSON HARRIS, born 30 Jun 1897 in Evansville, Ind.
14501 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. SM5-3015.
ANDREW SLOANE LITTLEJOHN, born 8 Feb. 1916, Newark, N.J.
2523 Kenilworth Ave., Los Angeles. MO1-6935 (brother is Bill Littlejohn).
THOMAS JACOB MCKIMSON, born 5 March 1907, Denver.
108 S. Harper Dr., Los Angeles. WH 8971.
NICHOLS MILBANK, born 23 Mar 1903, Montclair, N.J.
10637 Ashton Ave., Los Angeles. AR3-4675 (1942).
GORDON MAXWELL NUNES, born 1 Aug. 1914, Porterville, Cal.
3513 Clarington, Los Angeles.
GILBERT PARMELEE RUGG III, born 9 Nov. 1910, Minneapolis.
729½ N. Formosa St., Los Angeles.
EDWARD R. SMITH, born 22 Aug. 1908, West Lafayette, Ind.
401 Seaside Terrace Hotel, Santa Monica. Santa Monica 5-7209.
ALMON RICHARD TEETER, born 26 May 1913, Jasper, Miss.
141 S. Swall Dr., Los Angeles. CR1-4216.
DONALD HAROLD WILLIAMS, born 21 April 1906, Rochester, Minn.
2666 Carleton Ave., Los Angeles. Capitol 8461.
BONG JIN WONG, born 26 Nov. 1908, Hoy Sun, Canton, China.
846 Lookout Drive, Los Angeles.
JOAQUIN RUDOLPH ZAMORA, born 26 Mar 1910, Mexico City.
6720 Franklin Place, Los Angeles.

My thanks to Devon Baxter who marched forward past mis-transcriptions and found several more names.

Friday 24 September 2021

Punching Out a Train

The train’s coming and Popeye doesn’t have time to rescue Olive Oyl tied to the tracks. Well, he’s got only one choice.

My favourite scene is still the train whistling its warning. I must have first seen it 60 years ago.

Charlie Judkins reminds me the name of the background song in this sequence is “Beyond the Blue Horizon.” It’s in other Fleischer cartoons with trains but this is the one I remember hearing it the most. It’s from the 1930 Paramount feature Monte Carlo.

Seymour Kneitel and Doc Crandall get animation credits on Popeye’s 1933 debut though, technically, Popeye the Sailor was part of the Betty Boop series.

Thursday 23 September 2021

Detouring America Backgrounds

Johnny Johnsen brings us cityscapes and nature-scapes (is that a word?) in Detouring America, a 1939 Tex Avery travelogue. Avery was more cinematic at Warners than at MGM. I don’t recall getting this many angles in his Metro cartoons.

There are overlays galore in this short. The buildings in the immediate foreground are examples in the first two frames. There’s a great pan going up the Empire State building that, unfortunately, can not be edited together included here.

There are tree overlays and a cactus overlay. I wanted to clip together the Arctic pan but couldn’t get the colours to match, so you only get a portion of it.

Johnny Johnsen was an artist for a number of newspapers in various states. He was born in Colorado on July 23, 1885 and died Feb 7, 1974 in Los Angeles. He left Warners soon after Avery did and joined him at MGM.

Wednesday 22 September 2021

He Didn't Want to be a Yokel

Buddy Ebsen really didn’t want the role that brought him everlasting fame.

He’d played enough rural types over the years, he felt, and wanted something different. But then Paul Henning came up with The Beverly Hillbillies, and felt Ebsen would be right for Jed Clampett. He read the pilot script to Ebsen and the man who had worn buckskin as Davey Crockett’s sidekick agreed to do the series.

Here’s Ebsen in a syndicated newspaper story that appeared around April 14, 1962, a good five months ahead of his debut as head of the Clampett clan. He talks about some of the roles he liked.

Buddy Ebsen Sheds Bumpkin Roles

NEW YORK—The big mop of farm boy hair is mostly gray, with patches of white now, and the sideburns are more Hollywood than Belleville, Ill. The suit is dark and richly tailored. The tie is white. And the outlook from those light blue eyes is sophisticated. But you'd recognize Buddy Ebsen anywhere.
He's still the boy friend of Judy Canova, the sidekick of Davey Crockett, and the long-boned drink of water who danced with Shirley Temple in "Cap'n January" so many years ago. He still gives that slow, stiff stretch of the shoulders before he speaks.
Just under his left eye, there's a piece of tape. "I had a little thing there I had taken off," he said. "Do you tend to be a warty fellow?" he was asked, somewhat crassly. "Oh, yeah, I used to get dozens of warts on my hands when I was a kid back in Belleville."
So there you've got him, warts and all Buddy Ebsen.
Ebsen is in New York at the moment rehearsing for a Westinghouse Presents drama by Tad Mosel, in the illustrious company of Jason Robards Jr., Kim Stanley and Patricia Neal. You'll get a chance to see "That's Where the Town's Going!" Tuesday, 10 p.m.
"I play a kind of alley cat in a small Midwestern town, who's hovering over these two spinsters. Jason Robards breezes in, stirs things up, and then leaves again. At the end, I'm still hovering. "And the thing is, what the girls really need is me."
He smiled a sweet, bumpkin grin, with a glint of evil in it "See?" Is that the way the part was written? a visitor asked. "Well," Ebsen said, with a stretch of the shoulders, "that may not be what Mosel had in mind, but it's what I have in mind."
Later, Ebsen will go back to Hollywood to film a few episodes for a series he'll star in for CBS next fall. Beverly Hillbillies, it's called, and it concerns an Ozark clan that strikes it rich in oil and moves in on an upper crust community near Hollywood.
"Y'see, I'm a hayseed again," he said, with a note of regret in his voice.
Ebsen didn't exactly start that way. He came to New York in 1926, with only a few coins in his pockets and the notion of being a doctor in his mind. He soda-jerked for a while and then, suddenly, he had a spot with his sister Vilma in the Ziegfeld show, "Whoopee."
The dance team of Vilma and Buddy Ebsen was a headliner for years on the vaudeville circuit—part of a troupe called Benny Davis and His Future Stars. Then came "Flying Colors," the Follies and Hollywood. "Broadway Melody of 1936" was the first one, then Broadway stardom in "Yokel Boy," then back to the movies for a string of hayseed parts.
Not long ago, Ebsen and his business manager came to a conclusion.
"We decided that we'd make the part the thing and not the money. We'd talk about the money later. So, along came 'Breakfast at Tiffany's and we grabbed it. In ‘The Interns’ I play the head of a hospital. There's no smell of the barn in that one.
“I like to get out of the overalls whenever I can. And no more buckskins, for me, no, sir! In hot weather, you melt in 'em, and in winter, they hang on you like a wet fish. I don't know how the pioneers could stand 'em.
"Now a part I’d like is 'Dodsworth.' My wife is an actress and one day she and I might just do it together. I’m in a playwriting group at UCLA and I have a play written—pretty good, too—and a musical book I have some hopes about."
Did he ever play a villain?
"Well, there are dirty dog villains and gray villains. I can do a gray one okay. My favorite part was in a cowboy movie where I was a coldblooded murderer but so charmin’, a real likable feller when I wasn't bumpin’ somebody off."
To look at him, there's nothing gray or dirty dog about Buddy Ebsen, no, sir.

Critics hated the Hillbillies. They wanted sophisticated, erudite television, and they saw the show as a continued dumbing down of American culture—improbable situations played out in front of a laugh track heard everywhere else. They couldn’t understand why the show quickly became a smash hit. That was addressed by the Los Angeles Times service’s TV columnist. The story originally ran on November 12, 1962.

Hillbillies Corn? Nation’s All Ears

"Everybody keeps asking why," said Buddy Ebsen. "Why, why, why?
"I don't know why. If I knew why people watch one show instead of another, I wouldn't be working here—I'd be a millionaire."
Buddy grinned his slow, easy, grin, scratched his stubbly chin. The whys being tossed at him concern why the Beverly Hillbillies, an innocuous comedy, waist-deep in corn, is the phenomena of this TV season.
I was on the set the other day just after Mr. Nielsen's busy figures had determined that the Hillbillies had nudged Lucille Ball out of the top spot on the rating polls and in five short weeks had become the most popular show on television, watched each Wednesday night by some 35 million people.
Even writer-creator Paul Henning is astonished at this smashing success because it seems to cross all levels of life, delighting sophisticates and rustics alike, as popular in New York as it is in Nashville. Perhaps the best answer to why comes from Ebsen, the Grandpa Clampett of the series, who says: "We were born into such a plethora of agony shows that people grabbed something that took 'em away."
It was a happy set, spreading across a vast sound-stage, duplicating the formal elegance of the Beverly Hills mansion the hillbillies bought with their oil millions. They were shooting a swimming pool scene with Donna Douglas and Max Baer Jr.
It has been said of blond Donna that she may do for bluejeans what Lana Turner did for the sweater. As effective as the beautiful Donna is in bluejeans, you should check her in a skin-tight bathing suit. She's one of the seven wonders of the world. Maybe all seven.
The incredibly talented Dick Wharf, who directs the show, shrugged, and said: "It's a comic strip. It means nothing, preaches nothing, says nothing—it's just for fun. And with this great cast—with Ebsen and Irene Ryan and Bea Benadaret and the others—it's a ball to do."
I'm always amazed at Wharf. A splendid actor, a fine director, an excellent painter, a noted sculptor he's a Renaissance man. Donna, who studies metaphysics, says: "It's just that he's a Gemini. Geminis are directed by the brain and they can do many things."
Donna wrinkled her pretty forehead and added: "I went home last week to Baton Rouge and to a football game and people kept surrounding me and yelling, 'Hi, Elly Mae.' I don't know about this. It's scary."
Irene Ryan, grandma of the show, wriggled her toes in the old Army brogans she wears. "They wanted to get some different shoes, but I went back to these. They're my funny shoes. I feel funny everytime I put 'em on."
Buddy Ebsen shook his head. "Hillbillies," he said. "When Paul Henning mentioned hillbillies to me, I started to run for the hills. I'd played too many hillbillies. But then he told me about 'em and he got me to laughing and here I am."
Maybe that's the real answer to why the Beverly Hillbillies are the country's TV delight. When they mentioned hillbillies, everybody headed for the hills. But then they got to laughing and . . .

Ebsen played Clampett for nine years before taking a breather and moving on to a non-hayseed TV role that lasted eight years—detective Barnaby Jones. Both were good parts, but I imagine fans of ordinary folk getting the best of city slickers every week enjoyed Ebsen as Clampett more than a jug of white lightning after a weekend hayride.