Saturday, 13 November 2021

MGM Odds and Ends Part 2

The middle 1940s were pretty much a golden time for the MGM cartoon studio. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera kept batting out Tom and Jerrys and picking up Oscars (okay, MGM executive Fred Quimby actually picked them up at the Academy ceremony). Tex Avery scored big with Red Hot Riding Hood; Metro even paid for full-page ads in the trades about it. And there was praise for the mixed live action/animation segment in Gene Kelly’s Anchors Aweigh.

There were some setbacks. Like all other cartoon studios, MGM was losing people to military service. George Gordon was made a director for a short period then quit to work for Hugh Harman. Quimby couldn’t decide whether to keep a third unit. Avery’s unit underwent a complete change within a few years; Irv Spence was moved to the Hanna-Barbera unit, Ed Love was fired by mistake by Quimby, Preston Blair and Ray Abrams were put into a third unit (Blair returned for a few cartoons with Avery after it was disbanded). And finished cartoons sat on the shelf for months and months because there wasn’t enough Technicolor film stock to make prints.

Here’s a look at some studio activities from 1943-47 as found in the pages of The Hollywood Reporter. You may notice a few unfamiliar titles of cartoons put into production. That’s because they never existed. The stories were publicity plants by MGM. The studio PR people made it up. No Tender Wolves. The name “Wally Wolf” was an invention of a studio news release. One cartoon that did exist was one made for Spanish-language audiences. It was on-line at one time but has disappeared.

Some titles were changed. As best as I can tell, Nuts in May became Screwball Squirrel. Some Skunk was changed to The Uninvited Pest while Strange Innertube became the ho-hum named Innertube Antics starring a dog that Hanna and Barbera put in two shorts before sticking with Tom and Jerry. House of Tomorrow was shelved and revived a number of years later.

A number of the photocopied pages are faded so a couple of stories are unreadable. Portions of stories not dealing with the studio have been deleted.

February 3, 1943
Nominations in the short subjects division of the Academy Awards, are announced today. Final judging, made by the distributed companies, will be at a special showing tonight at 8 p.m. at the Filmarte Theatre. ...
Cartoon: “All Out For V,” Terrytoons, 20th Century-Fox; “Juke Box Jamboree,” Walter Lantz, Universal; “Tulips Shall Grow,” George Pal Puppetoon, Paramount; “Pigs in a Polka,” Merrie Melodies Series, Warners; “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” Walt Disney, RKO Radio; “The Blitz Wolf,” MGM.

March 19, 1943
MGM will launch a series of cartoons featuring stories well known to the citizenry below the border. First on the agenda is “Panchito y el Lobo,” or “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” adapted from the universally popular fable. Spanish main titles will be used in all instances, with American sub-titles, since each subject is intended for release in the United States as well as foreign countries. The entire series will be under the supervision of executive producer Fred Quimby.

March 29, 1943
Tony Pabian, cartoon director formerly with MGM, has joined the Hugh Harmon Productions. Harman starts a three-reeler in color for the U.S. Public Health Service today at Talisman.

April 1, 1943
For its Fourth Victory Loan Drive, starting April 15, the Canadian government will distribute MGM’s cartoon, “The Blitz Wolf,” which was also used as a war bond sales stimulant in this country. W.H. Burnside, director of production for the National Film Board of Canada, is here making arrangements for 195 (16mm.) and 65 (35mm.) prints. The negative was furnished gratis by MGM.

April 7, 1943
MGM’s short subjects schedule during April provides for at least one release in each series, a record never previously attained.
Included are . . . MGM Cartoon “The Boy and the Wolf,” April 24.

April 15, 1943
Nathaniel Elliott, MGM cartoon studio veteran, has been inducted in U.S. Army, reporting at Fort MacArthur.

April 26, 1943
More than 52 shorts produced by major studios have been landed in Algiers and are being shown to soldiers and natives as representative American entertainment. The one and two-reelers were selected by Robert Riskin, as chief of the OWI’s Overseas Bureau, and went across by plane and boat. Some were in the first troop-carrying vessels to reach North Africa. ...
Among the shorts are ...
MGM: “Waterbugs,” “Little Cesario,” “Flying Bear,” “Dance of the Weeds,” “Prospecting Bear,” “Alley Cat,” ... “Puss ‘N’ Toots.”

May 13, 1943
All previous print quotas on MGM shorts have been topped by the order for “Sufferin’ Cats,” the cartoon which is getting concurrent bookings with “The Human Comedy” from coast to coast. Print order has been hikes to 250, an all-time high for this unit. It is the 15th release in the Tom and Jerry series that began in 1940 with “Puss Gets the Boot.”

May 18, 1943
With Mexican Vice Consul Ernesto A. Romero as guest, MGM previewed Spanish versions of six James A. FitzPatrick Traveltalks Friday for Latin American consular representatives and the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. In a speech following screening, Romero extended the official thanks of his government for the pictures.
Subjects shown were “Exotic Mexico,” “Picturesque Patzcuaro,” “Modern Mexico City,” “Land of Arizaba,” “Mexican Police on Parade” and “On the Road to Monterey.” An MGM cartoon, “Panchito y el Lobo,” was also screened.

May 25, 1943
During the past two weeks MGM shorts and cartoon departments have topped all previous recrds for a similar period by previewing eight subjects.
Included were “Inflation,” starring Edward Arnold; Pete Smith’s “Seeing Hands” and “Dog-House”; John Nesbitt’s “That’s Why I Left You” and “Don’t You Believe It”; Tom and Jerry Cartoons “Yankee Doodle Mouse” and “The Lonesome Mouse,” and the Miniature, “March of Music.”

June 3, 1943
With “Yankee Doodle Mouse” as its special Fourth of July release, MGM celebrates the third anniversary of the Tom and Jerry cartoons. The series is made by Fred Quimby, with co-directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

June 30, 1943
With the largest backlog of product in history, MGM’s short subjects department is now gearing itself for 1943-44 program.
Pictures available for early release include...”One Ham’s Family” and “War Dogs,” cartoons.

July 8, 1943
With animation completed on 10 cartoons, MGM producer Fred Quimby has studio personnel engaged on the 1944 program. Pictures soon to go before camera include “War Dogs,” “Million Dollar Cat,” “Baby Puss” and “Bodyguard,” directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera; “What Buzzin’ Buzzard,” “Nuts in May” and “Screwball Baseball,” directed by Tex Avery; “Stork’s Holiday,” “Strange Innertube” and “Worst Aid,” directed by George Gordon.

July 14, 1943
Coline [sic] Miles, color model director for MGM’s cartoon studio since its beginning, has resigned to assume the financial secretary’s post of the Screen Cartoonists Guild, succeeding Pepe Ruiz who will enter the armed forces. Jean Higgins replaces Miles at the studio.

July 23, 1943
Forthcoming releases from MGM’s short subject department indicate the widest variety of product ever to emanate from that unit during its 17-year history. ...
Comprising the final group on the current year’s schedule are...cartoons, “War Dogs,” “Stork’s Holiday” and “What’s Buzzin’ Buzzard?”...Among the miniature product in preparation are...16 cartoons in Technicolor.

July 28, 1943
In keeping with an established policy, MGM will give a two-week vacation to its cartoon employees from Aug. 20 to Sept. 7, during which time the studio will be closed for renovation and the installation of a new camera.

August 5, 1943
In preparation of photographing its 1943-33 product consisting of 16 subjects, the MGM cartoon studio is installing new camera equipment to facilitate projection of both stationary and moving backgrounds on the table field. Another feature is the new prismatic view finder and matte synchronizer.

August 23, 1943
Cal Howard, MGM cartoonist, has temporarily forsaken his trade to turn tunesmith. He is penning a ditty for songstress Lena Horne and has temporarilt titled it "Moonlight Sinatra."

September 9, 1943
MGM reopened its cartoon studio yesterday following a two-week vacation period. Twenty-two pictures are in stages of production, including the 1943-33 output of 15 which are completely animated.

September 16, 1943
“Wintertime,” the 20th-Fox production starring Sonja Henie, will be featured on the Friday night program for the Motion Picture Country House. “Dumb Hound[ed],” a comedy [sic], and “Benjamin Franklin, Jr.,” a cartoon [sic], both from MGM, complete the program.

September 22, 1943
Because of the press of Government work, Hugh Harman has signed George Gordon, for five years with the MGM cartoon department, as an animation director.

MGM has a neat treat in the offing for the nation’s gourmands, as well as those who have lost their ration books. One scene in its new cartoon, “What’s Buzzin’, Buzzard?” will feature a luscious, sizzling steak—full screen size and in Technicolor yet!—follow by a title, reading, “Three Minute Intermission for Drooling!”

September 30, 1943
The Animated Film Producers Association has been formed by the local cartoon studios to effect a closer-knit organization and to decide blanket policy matters for all industry relations. Walt Disney Productions, Leon Schlesinger Productions, Walter Lantz Productions, Screen Gems, Inc., MGM cartoons and George Pal Puppetoons are the members. ...
Fred Quimby makes the 16 MGM cartoons. The studio makes training films but none in animation. Approximately four each of the Tom and Jerry Series, Barney Bear Series, and four Squirrely Squirrels, plus for general subjects, comprise the total.

Maj. Rudolph Ising has moved back to Hugh Harman Productions to supervise a series of training films which he will make for the Air Force. Robert Allen will direct them.

October 19, 1943
With 20 subjects in various stages of production, MGM enters an intensive schedule with its cartoon studio. Included in the group, under the producer guidance of Fred Quimby, are 16 one-reelers comprising the entire output for 1943-44. The additional four films represent the remaining releases on the current program.
The Tom and Jerry characters, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, will be starred in “Baby Puss,” “Zoot Cat,” “Million Dollar Cat,” “Bodyguard,” “Puttin’ on the Dog,” “Kitty Foiled,” “Mouse Comes to Dinner” and “Tee for Two.” In a special slapstick series, directed by Tex Avery, are “Screwball Baseball,” “Nuts in May,” “Little Heel-watha,” “The Shooting of Dan McGoo,” “Screwy Truant,” “House of Tomorrow” and “Screwball Squirrel.” The balance of the product is “Strange Innertube,” “Worst Aid,” “Bear Raid Warden,” “Bedtime for Barney” and “Some Skunk.”

October 21, 1943
Kay Thomson, Metro music department employee, has been upped to post of head arranger on the company’s three “Tom and Jerry” cartoons for next season.

MGM musical director Scott Bradley has created an original all-swing score for five jive stories developed by the cartoon studio. Subjects include “Zoot Cat,” “The Shooting of Dan McGoo,” “Million Dollar Cat,” “Kitty Foiled” and “Baby Puss.”

December 16, 1943
Riding in tandem with the initial single bill bookings of MGM’s “Madame Curie” will be the Tom and Jerry Technicolor cartoon, “Yankee Doodle Mouse,” produced by Fred Quimby. Last year another T & J pen-and-inker, “Puss ‘n’ Toots,” accompanied the Garson-Pidgeon Academy Award winner, “Mrs. Miniver,” in key run engagements.

December 23, 1943
MGM’s color cartoon, “Red Hot Riding Hood,” has been given a four-page spread in Parade Magazine, a Sunday supplement published by the Chicago Sun.

December 27, 1943
As part of a government quota, MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby is releasing one subject monthly for the U.S. Army screen magazine sequence, “It’s No Exaggeration.” Reels are distributed all over the world.

January 24, 1944
Following a preliminary screening of short subjects at which members of the Short Subjects Branch of the Academy acted as judges, the following pictures have been nominated for screening in the final judging, Feb. 15, at the Marquis Theatre.
Cartoons: Columbia, Dave Fleischer “Imagination”; MGM, Fred Quimby “Yankee Doodle Mouse”; Paramount, George Pal “The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”; RKO, Walt Disney “Reason and Emotion”; Universal, Walter Lantz “The Dizzy Acrobat”; Warners, Leon Schlesinger “Greetings, Gate.”

February 7, 1944
Fred Quimby To Produce Navy Medical Corps Film
(story unintelligible)

February 28, 1944
Quimby Navy Short
(story unintelligible)

March 8, 1944
Fred Quimby, producer of the Academy award winner, “Yankee Doodle Mouse,” will host 18 members of the MGM Tom and Jerry unit tonight in celebration of being the first cartoon studio to win an Oscar in competition with Walt Disney.

March 29, 1944
A cycle of stark mad, cartoon sillies, produced by Fred Quimby, is in the offing at MGM, bearing the tell-tale titles of “Happy Go Nutty,” “Screwy Truant,” “Batty Baseball,” “Bats in the Belfry” and “Screwball Squirrel.”

May 2, 1944
With the production finale of MGM’s current cartoon schedule in the offing, producer Fred Quimby is preparing the 1944-45 program to be launched for release in October.
Already in animation are five Tom and Jerrys, including “Tee For Two,” “Love Boids,” “Quiet Please,” “Springtime for Thomas” and “Mouse in Manhattan.” William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are co-directors. In the Skrewy Squirrell [sic] series are “Wild and Wolfy,” “Jerky Turkey” and “Sue Steps Out,” directed by Tex Avery.
Supplementing the foregoing group will be an additional eight subjects to complete with the customary output of 15, all of which are in Technicolor. Production to meet the U.S. Army and Navy commitments will continue for the duration.

May 16, 1944
Citing MGM’s Technicolor cartoon, “Batty Baseball,” as an outstanding example of musical scoring, Sigmund Spaeth, president of the National Association of Composers and Conductors, recently discussed the technique employed, following a screening for the membership. Scott Bradley is credit with the score of the cartoon, produced by Fred Quimby.

July 21, 1944
As a test engagement, 15 Tom and Jerry cartoons have been booked to play the Fox California theatre, San Bernadino, on a single day, July 29. Boxoffice receipts will determine the more extensive billing of all-cartoon shows on the West Coast. Similar programs have met with outstanding success over Interstate Circuit, Texas, controlling 160 theatres.

August 16, 1944
MGM has delivered to the Navy a three-reeler, “History of Balloons,” which combines live action and animation. Film was produced by the studio cartoon and shorts units.

August 17, 1944
MGM’s cartoon studio has installed a new camera featuring a turret rack-over device for the color-filter wheel, making it possible to change from Technicolor to black and white.
Also developed is a stop motion apparatus which includes a series of gears permitting a choice of six different exposure speeds as compared with a single speed on the old cameras.

August 25, 1944
Taking advantage of the current trend toward single billing which has given the one- and two-reel market a new impetus, MGM will make available during the next few months more than 25 percent of its annual featurette program, according to a statement made yesterday by shorts executive Fred Quimby.
With Jerry Bresler in charge of short subjects production, releases will include...”Bear Raid Warden,” “Big Heel-Watha” and “Puttin’ on the Dog,” produced by Fred Quimby.

September 8, 1944
Inaugurating plans of the Cartoon Producers’ Association for greater intra-industry cooperation, Walt Lantz has borrowed five employees from competitive studios. Loaned to Lantz by Walt Disney are Nino Carbe and Howard Dunn, both background animators, and three special effects animators, Joseph Creaturo, Robert Bemiller and Sidney Pillet, by Fred Quimby.
All five men are working on “Enemy Bacteria,” feature which Lantz is producing for the U.S. Navy, in association with Universal.
Under the Cartoon Producers’ Association plan of cooperation, members will undertake to employ animators and other personnel on lay-off at other studios during “slow” periods.

September 25, 1944
MGM’s cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry, have been drafted for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14.
In “Holy Smoke,” a four-page pictorial folder, 1,000,000 of which will be distributed, the comic characters are used to illustrate the household fire hazards that destroy life and property. The Tom and Jerry series is produced by Fred Quimby.

October 6, 1944
With “Solid Serenade,” a musical, scheduled for immediate detailing, MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby has 19 Technicolor subjects in various stages of production.
Being photographed are “Mouse Trouble” and “The Shooting of Dan McGoo.” Painting and inking unit is coloring “Getting the Air” and “The Mouse Comes to Dinner.” In process of animation are “Jerky Turkey,” Swingshift Cindy,” “Mouse in Manhattan,” “Flirty Birdy,” “Quiet Please,” “Hick Chick,” “Northwest Hounded Police,” “Wild and Woolfy,” “Springtime for Thomas,” “Lonesome Lennie, “Milky Waif,” “Mouse Trappers,” “Tee for Two” and “House of Tomorrow.”
Of the group, 10 are in the “Tom and Jerry” series, co-directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

October 26, 1944
Scott Bradley, musical director for MGM cartoons, will address the National Film Council and Western Music Educators Conference at the Carthay Circle Theatre, Saturday on the subject of “Music for Cartoons.” To illustrate his talk the cartoons, “Bear Raid Warden” and “Dance of the Weed” will be screened.
On the same program are composers William Lava, who will use Warners’ “I Won’t Play” to discuss his musical theme, and Hanns Eisler, who lectures on the Rockefeller Grant film, “White Floats.” The forum has been arranged by Alice Evans Field, of the MPPDA.

October 27, 1944
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, is preparing “The Mice Follies,” the latest travesty in the Tom and Jerry series, for early production. William Hanna and Joseph Barberra [sic] will co-direct.

November 6, 1944
Shooting started Friday [3rd] on the principle dance sequence of MGM’s “Anchors Aweigh,” In it Gene Kelly does an entire routine with two cartoon characters which will be penciled in later by the animation department.

November 4, 1944
Don Shafer, who recently severed connections with MGM as head of cartoon background department since 1938, Saturday signed long term deal with Hugh Harman Studios to function as chief of color background dept.

November 7, 1944
With the recent installation of rear-view projection on MGM cartoon studio cameras, Producer Fred Quimby announces that more than 1,000,000 feet of Technicolor film photographed all over the world for the James A. FitzPatrick Traveltalk series now becomes available for cartoon background material.
Technically, the method to be used corresponds with the process screen now employed for live-action production and will permit cartoons to feature authentic locales.
The first subject to have the advantage of the new device will be “Mouse in Manhattan,” of the Tom and Jerry series, co-directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The cat and mouse stars will caper in front of actual scenes showing many of New York’s famous landmarks.

November 8, 1944
William Nolan, formerly with MGM cartoons, has been selected as head animator by Morey and Sutherland productions on “Pepito Serenade” for U.A.

December 5, 1944
To introduce MGM’s new Spanish dialogue features cartoon producer Fred Quimby has made “Leo Masters Spanish,” a one-reel Technicolor subject starring the famous lion trademark.
The voice of Carlos Ramirez is used for vocal renditions during the film which was co-directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. One hundred forty-five prints are being shipped to 21 Latin American countries for theatre screening two weeks in advance of “Gaslight,” the first of the Spanish versions.

December 6, 1944
Promiscuous travel receives a polite rebuke in the MGM cartoon, “Jerky Turkey.” As the pilgrims reach American shores they are greeted by a Neon sign, reading, “Was This Trip Really Necessary?”

December 20, 1944
To relieve the present production pressure which is the greatest in MGM cartoon history, Producer Fred Quimby yesterday announced the forming of a new cartoon unit consisting of a director, four animators and assistants, story and gag writers, and layout and background men.
The move is occasioned by the extra footage requirements for the special live-action and animation sequence in the Technicolor musical, “Anchors Aweigh,” in which Gene Kelly performed a spectacular dance routine with cartoon characters and background. The regular staff is now engaged in preparing this.
In addition, a record number of 16 subject for the new 1944-45 program are in various stages of production. Tex Avery, Joseph Barbera and William Hanna comprise the directorial roster.

January 25, 1945
Seventeen pictures have been entered by seven companies for top honors in three Short Subjects classifications in the Academy Awards. Pictures are:
Cartoons: “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Pal-Paramount; “My Boy Johnny,” Terry-20th-Fox; “Mouse Trouble,” Quimby-MGM; “Swooner Crooner,” Warner Bros.; “The Dog, Cat and Canary,” Screen Gems-Columbia; “Fish Fry,” Lantz-Universal; “How to Play Football,” Disney.
Final judging of the nominated films will take place the night of Feb. 6 at a special screening at the Marquis.

February 2, 1945
MGM’s latest Tom and Jerry cartoon, “The Mouse Comes to Dinner,” has been booked to run with “National Velvet” at the Los Angeles, Egyptian and Fox Ritz.

February 15, 1945
With the opening of “Unwelcome Guest” at the Guild, 4-Star, United Artists and Fox Wilshire today, MGM cartoons will be playing simultaneously in eight Los Angeles first-run houses, a record. “Mouse Comes to Dinner” with “National Velvet” is at the Egyptian, Fox Ritz and Los Angeles theatres, while “Polar Pest” accompanies “The Keys of the Kingdom” at the Carthay Circle.

March 16, 1945
Academy Award nominees.
Cartoons: “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Paramount, George Pal Puppetoon. “Dog, Cat and Canary,” Screen Gems, Columbia. “Fish Fry,” Universal, Walter Lantz, Producer. “How to Play Football,” Walt Disney, RKO. Walt Disney, Producer. “Mouse Trouble,” MGM. Frederick C. Quimby, Producer. “My Boy, Johnny,” 20th-Fox. Paul Terry, Producer. “Swooner Crooner,” Warner Bros.
Winner: “Mouse Trouble,” produced by Frederick C. Quimby.

May 8, 1945
MGM announces the temporary curtailment of short subject production following completion of its current schedule, retained on the releasing lineup for the forthcoming season will be Pete Smith Specialties, John Nesbitt’s Passing Parade, MGM Cartoons, and the James FitzPatrick Traveltalks.
As during the past, MGM’s News of the Day will be issued twice weekly.

May 18, 1945
Release of short subjects already completed is being severely hindered by the lack of raw stock for release prints, it was learned yesterday, with the disclosure that most of the major distributors are behind in varying degrees on their miniature releases. Most of the Technicolor subject series are lagging.
Raw stock supplies are being turned over to important features, while the shorts are shelved until the footage crisis passes.
MGM has only delivered two of its 12 FitzPatrick Traveltalks for this season; of its 16 color cartoons scheduled, only one has been issued, and there is one two-reeler from last year’s program to be delivered.
RKO is late on some of the Walt Disney subjects, in Technicolor, but up to date on its black-and-white releases. Warners, Paramount, 20th-Fox and Columbia are similarly affected, mostly, however, in the color reels.

May 23, 1945
Fred Quimby, cartoon producer and short subjects executive, yesterday signed a new term contract with MGM.
Joining the company in 1926, Quimby organized the shorts program and later launched the MGM cartoon studio which, under his guidance, has won three Academy Awards in four years, the Oscar-honored group including “Mouse Trouble,” “Yankee Doodle Mouse” and “The Milky Way.”

June 15, 1945
Mrs. Alberta Lah, wife of Michael Lah, MGM cartoon animator, presented her husband with a seven-pound, 14-ounce daughter yesterday at the California hospital.

June 28, 1945
The MGM Cartoon Studio has begun production on a new Technicolor cartoon, entitled “Mop-up,” which is being made in connection with the Western Division of the U.S. Signal Corps, Photographic Center. The cartoon, which is being produced by Fred Quimby and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, responsible for the “Tom and Jerry” series, will appear in the Army and Navy Screen Magazine.

July 2, 1945
With the curtailment of MGM’s short subjects product, Jerry Bresler, former in charge of shorts production, has been appointed an associate of M.J. Siegel, studio executive.
Fred Quimby, currently MGM’s cartoon chief, is to retain that post and in addition assume charge of all short subjects production.

Tom and Jerry, the only cartoon stars to win the coveted Academy Award twice, are celebrating their fifth anniversary this year. MGM is launching a special booking drive for representation in theatres throughout the country, Sept. 24-30. Fred Quimby produces the series.

July 6, 1945
In a forum sponsored by the University of California, Scott Bradley, musical director for MGM cartoons, will address the Music Institute at Santa Barbara College July 14.

October 10, 1945
MGM is making a Technicolor cartoon travesty, “Our Vine Street Has Tender Wolves,” to star animation stars Red Hot Riding Hood and Wally Wolf. Fred Quimby will produce and Tex Avery will direct.

October 12, 1945
Following the success of the Technicolor sports cartoons, “Bowling Alley Cat” and “Tee for Two,” MGM has in preparation “Oh, Say Can You Ski” and “Tennis Racketeers” as Tom and Jerry starring animation reels. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera co-direct and Fred Quimby produces.

October 15, 1945
Heralded by shouts of “Vive Leo!” and “Vive la France!” MGM’s Technicolor cartoon, “The Early Bird Dood It,” lived up to its title by being the first MGM film to be seen by French audiences since the Nazis entered Paris.

November 2, 1945
MGM yesterday revealed plans to create two new units in its cartoon department to augment the three groups now turning out the Tom and Jerry, Barney Bear and Red Hot Riding Hood releases.
Working with producer Fred Quimby in developing the expanded program, which will include musical briefies as well as travesties on features such as the studios’ recently announced “Our Vine Street Has Tender Wolves,” are directors Tex Avery, Joseph Barbera and William Hanna.

November 7, 1945
Eugene Moore reports back to his former job as cameraman in MGM’s Cartoon studios this week.

November 26, 1945
Tommy Ray, U.S. Army staff sergeant for four years, returned last week to MGM cartoon studio as a unit animator.

December 4, 1945
Vonda Bronson Wise, after 33 months with the Waves, has returned to MGM’s cartoon studio.

December 5, 1945
Fred Quimby, MGM shorts producer, is organizing a new cartoon unit which will be staffed entirely with returning servicemen. They will be assigned to the Barney Bear unit under the supervision of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, co-directors of the “Tom and Jerry” series.
A second unit will produce a musical series of cartoons, the first of which will be “Tale of Vienna Woods.”

Kathleen Coyle, former Wave, rejoins MGM’s cartoon studio as a painter and inker.

December 28, 1945
Producer Fred Quimby played host to 125 MGM cartoon employes at a Yuletide masquerade party.

January 2, 1946
Inaugurating a new series of classes at the University of California’s cinema department, will be the animation courses which will be given in co-operation with MGM’s Cartoon studio.
For the courses, to be given at the USC campus, producer Fred Quimby, and directors Tex Avery, Joseph Barbera and William Hanna will lecture on the art of animation.

MGM announced yesterday a preliminary studio screening will be held immediately to determine its entries in the short subjects division for this year’s Academy Award competition. Subjects under consideration include Peter Smith’s “Badminton” and “Fala” at Hyde Park; MGM Cartoons’ “Mouse in Manhattan” and “Swingshift Cinderella”; three John Nesbitt shorts, two Carey Wilson Miniatures, and two James FitzPatrick pieces.

February 11, 1946
Carl Urbano and Arnold Gillespie, who were animating directors for Harmon-Ising Pictures, Inc., before war disrupted the company's production, have rejoined the newly reorganized firm.
Two additional animating directors—Ed Love and Bernie Wolf, both of whom worked with Rudolph Ising in the A.E.F.—have joined Harmon-Ising.

March 8, 1946
Four repeated were scored in last night’s Academy Awards. ...
Producer Fred Quimby scored again in the cartoon division with “Quiet, Please.” Last year his “Mouse Trouble” won.

Cartoons: “Donald’s Crime,” Walt Disney, RKO. Walt Disney, Producer; “Jasper and the Beanstalk,” Paramount. George Pal, Producer; “Life With Feathers,” Warner Bros. Eddie Selzer, Producer; “Mighty Mouse in Gypsy Life,” 20-Fox. Paul Terry, Producer; “Poet and Peasant,” Universal. Walter Lantz, Producer; “Quiet, Please,” MGM. Frederick Quimby, Producer; “Rippling Romance,” Columbia. Screen Gems, Producer.

March 27, 1946
MGM yesterday took steps to protect exhibitor interests as well as its own producer-distributor interests in a federal court suit seeking to end alleged pirating of 33 mm. cartoon shorts for unauthorized 16 mm. distribution.
In an action filed by attorney Adrian Kragen, of Loeb and Loeb, MGM named Hugh Harmon Productions, Harmon-Ising Films, Hollywood Film Enterprises and its president, William Horsley, charging infringement of patent rights, and asking damages based on accounting of profits from 12 cartoon subjects.
Kragen asserted that the films were produced exclusively for 35 mm. distribution and that subsequently all12 found their way into 16 mm. channels, actively distributed by Hollywood Film Enterprises. The 12 films were: “Tales of the Vienna Woods,” “Bosco’s Parlor Pranks,” “Hey-Hey Fever,” “Lost Chick,” “Little Old Bosco in Bagdad,” “Poor Little Man,” “Old Plantation,” “Run Sheep Run,” “Old Home,” “Little Old Bosco and the Pirates,” “Circus Daze” and “To Spring.” The case has been assigned to judge Jacob Weinberger’s court.

April 2, 1946
William Hanna, who co-directs MGM’s “Tom and Jerry” cartoons, has been invited to lecture at USC’s animation class tonight.

May 1, 1946
MGM cartoon directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, creators of the Tom-and-Jerry series, have 15 animations now being inked for 1946-47.

May 14, 1946
To meet the growing trend all over the country towards running single instead of double features, MGM has given Fred Quimby, executive in charge of cartooning, authority to hire more than 100 additional members for his present cartooning staff, which will be reorganized for a heavier production schedule. Present release dates call for 16 MGM cartoons a year. When the new staff is complete, the cartoon department will move to new quarters on the lot and enjoy better facilities than are presently available. There are four series with separate production groups operating at the studio now. They are “Barney Bear,” produced by an all-veteran staff; “Red Hot Riding Hood,” an “George and Junior,” which Tex Avery produces, and the “Tom and Jerry” series which received its third Academy Award this year.
Orton Hicks, head of MGM’s globe-girdling 16 mm. operation, will distribute all MGM cartoons in reduced 16 mm. and in several languages. Cartoons also will be featured in the “Metromobile” traveling road-show circuits.

May 15, 1946
“Forever Embers” is scheduled for an early release by MGM as the initial cartoon in the new Tex Avery series of George and Junior stories. George and Junior are two wayward bears who romp through the first vehicle spreading propaganda for the Forest Service.
MGM cartooning department plans to tie up with the Department of Agriculture on exploitation and offer studio facilities and cartooning department for fire-prevention posters.

June 19, 1946
“The Yegg and I,” latest Tom and Jerry cartoon to be produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera at MGM sounds faintly familiar to exhibitors who are currently booking “Forever Ember” which Hanna and Barbera finished last month.

July 17, 1946
Tom and Jerry, MGM’s cat-and-mouse combo, will go classical in their next short. Chopin’s 24th Prelude will serve as a background for “Cat’s Concerto.”

August 14, 1946
With a new term contract at MGM as a cartoon director, Tex Avery is going ahead with plans for a cartoon series burlesquing works of Shakespeare. First of the series, “Romeo at Joliet,” begins work today.

August 16, 1946
Following its annual custom, MGM cartoon studio will close for its vacation period Aug. 19. Production will resume Sept. 3.

September 9, 1946
Active again after its annual vacation, the MGM cartoon studio resumes work today on the heaviest production schedule in its history.
A total of 20 Technicolor cartoons are in various stages of production. Eight one-reel cartoons are in the final stages of production, including three “Tom and Jerry” cartoons directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, three Tex Avery-directed shorts, and two “Barney Bear” cartoons, co-directed by Michael Law [sic] and Preston Blair.

October 10, 1946
Cartoonist Tex Avery has been signed to a new term contract with MGM after completing five years with the studio. He is currently working on a series of shorts burlesquing Shakespeare, the first of which is “Romeo at Joliet.”

December 6, 1946
For the first time in the history of its cartoon studio, MGM is announcing, by title, the complete program comprising 16 subjects, at the beginning of a sales season.
Launching the 1946-47 schedule, under the production guidance of Fred Quimby, will be “Henpecked Hoboes,” introducing George and Junior, new pen-and-ink stars. Leading the line-up on the slate of the three-time Academy Award winners, Tom and Jerry, is “The Cat Concerto.” Others in the T&J group include “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse,” “Cat Fishin’,” “Part Time Pal,” “The Invisible Mouse,” “Salt Water Tabby,” and “Kitty Foiled.”
Additional releases on the lengthy program are “Red Hot Rangers,” “Hound Hunters,” “Slap Happy Lion,” “King Size Canary,” “What Price Fleadom,” “Little Tinker,” “The Bear and the Bean,” and “The Bear and the Hare.”
Fourteen cartoons have been completed and are now at Technicolor for prints.

January 27, 1947
Fourteen nominations of Short Subjects for the Academy Award presentation night, March 13, were announced yesterday by Jean Herscholt. Preliminary screenings won the nod for five one-reelers, four two-reelers, five cartoons. ...
Cartoons: “The Cat Concerto,” Fred Quimby, MGM; “Chopin’s Musical Moments,” Walter Lantz; “John Henry and the Inky Poo,” George Pal-Paramount; “Squatter’s Rights,” Walt Disney; and “Walky Talky Hawky,” Edward Selzer-Warners.

January 31, 1947
With famous musical compositions planned for MGM cartoons, Pete Smith’s decision to stick to comedy and John Nesbitt’s Passing Parade story on “Paricutin,” MGM’s short subject program for late 1946-47 will offer innovations, according to Fred Quimby, head of MGM’s short subject department.
Compositions from Brahms, Foster, Schubert, Strass and Tschaikowsky, will be used in a series of musical cartoons following the unusual audience reception of the current “The Cat Concerto,” which features the “Second Hungarian Rhapsody.”

February 10, 1947
U-I has started a drive to get 25 percent more for cartoon rentals, and Walt Lantz, who makes the product in question, hopes it succeeds. The alternative may be going out of business, he says, because of rising costs but static rentals.
Other cartoon makers face the same spectre, says Lantz, who is president of the Cartoon Producers Assn., and MGM and Warners, who also make subjects here, are conducting the same drive.

March 14, 1947
Academy Award winners.
Cartoons: “The Cat Concerto,” MGM, Fred C. Quimby, Producer.

April 18, 1947
MGM is preparing to make a series of live-action and animated cartoon subjects, utilizing a new process developed by the studio, Fred C. Quimby, head of the short subjects department, said yesterday. While declining to reveal the mechanics of the new process, Quimby said that it had been devised after extensive experiments and that the results were far better than anything seen to date. The new series will be two reels in length and will feature Margaret O’Brien, Elizabeth Taylor and Butch Jenkins.
Quimby said that MGM was not effecting and retrenchment in the making of its shorty subjects, despite the fact that rentals for shorts were not keeping pace with features in view of the skyrocketing production costs. He warned, however, that the future of the cartoon industry rested with the exhibitors and that unless exhibitors, as a whole, were willing to pay more for them, cartoons, by necessity, may be halted. He said that a few circuits realized the situation, and had upped their shorts terms, but that theatres as a whole resisted attempts to get higher rentals. MGM, Quimby said, was going ahead with making high-quality shorts and cartoons on the premise that only by making the best will it be possible to convince exhibitors that the subjects deserve higher rentals. Five musicals for the Tom and Jerry series are now in work.
The subject of shorts is expected to play an important part in MGM’s forthcoming sales meetings.

April 24, 1947
Beginning May 7, the MGM cartoon team of “Tom and Jerry” will be making 32 simultaneous Manhattan appearances. “The Cat Concerto” is playing with “Monsieur Verdoux” at the Broadway; “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse” is showing at the Capitol with “Duel in the Sun,” and 30 Loew’s theatres in New York and will open May 7 with “Salt Water Tabby.”

May 23, 1947
For the first time in the history of the short subjects department, MGM finds it necessary to order four answer prints on each cartoon produced in order to cover the first runs in Los Angeles and New York. Previously one answer print, held in New York until release dates provided the quota, would suffice, but the demand has increased in such a measure that the additional prints are now required.

June 2, 1947
William Delatorre and Richard Shaw, former members of Walt Disney’s staff, have joined MGM’s cartoon department where they will direct the Barney Bear Technicolor cartoon series under the supervision of Fred Quimby.

July 15, 1947
With 70 percent in Technicolor, MGM will release during the 1947-48 season a total of 48 short subjects, in addition to 104 issues of News of the Day, according to an announcement yesterday by Fred C. Quimby.
The Technicolor Pictures include two of four two-reel “MGM Specials,” 16 MGM Cartoons,: six FitzPatrick Traveltalks,” six “MGM Gold Medal Reprint Cartoons,” and two of six John Nesbitt Passing Parade reels, a total of 34 in color compared to 14 in black and white.
Of the 48 shorts on the new season schedule 26 have been completed, including Golf Medal reprints.

August 14, 1947
MGM cartoon studio will close production on Saturday for the annual two-week vacation for the entire staff. They will return to work Sept. 2 when a heavy production schedule has been set.

October 27, 1947
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has increased the series schedule from eight to 12 for the 1947-48 season.

December 19, 1947
With the cooperation of MGM, the film story of “Operation Highjump,” the navy’s recent exploration of the Antarctic under command of Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd, has been prepared for the screen. The expedition, the largest and most successful ever to penetrate the icy continent, was photographed in detail by navy photographers. Their exposed film was made available to MGM to be whipped into a feature-length picture, with the necessary editing, inserts, commentary, color, music and sound. From the original 150,000 feet of film, MGM editors have brought the picture down to 5500 feet.
O.O. Dull was producer on the documentary. Explanatory sequences with animated maps and charts were supplied by the MGM cartoon department, under the direction of Fred Quimby.

7 comments:

  1. That "Dog" in TREE SURGEON's a donkey! (Maybe Baba Looey's dad..) otherwise very good article on the mid 40s Metro releases.

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  2. There was indeed a Tom & Jerry called "Mice Follies"--it's the one where Jerry and Nibbles turn the kitchen into a skating rink--but it ended up not being released until 1954 (copyrighted '53).

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  3. Very interesting read. For one thing, I had no idea "Mouse in Manhattan" was initially intended to have live-action backgrounds. Clearly plans were changed, but I suppose the live-action Traveltalk footage was still used as the basis for the background art in the film.

    "November 7, 1944
    With the recent installation of rear-view projection on MGM cartoon studio cameras, Producer Fred Quimby announces that more than 1,000,000 feet of Technicolor film photographed all over the world for the James A. FitzPatrick Traveltalk series now becomes available for cartoon background material.
    Technically, the method to be used corresponds with the process screen now employed for live-action production and will permit cartoons to feature authentic locales.
    The first subject to have the advantage of the new device will be “Mouse in Manhattan,” of the Tom and Jerry series, co-directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The cat and mouse stars will caper in front of actual scenes showing many of New York’s famous landmarks."

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  4. "Love Boids" was the working title for "Flirty Birdy". "Strange Innertube" was nearly the release title for "Innertube Antics". There is a one sheet poster in existence for "Strange Innertube". "Forever Embers" must have been the working title of "Red Hot Rangers", and "Tennis Racketeers" was no doubt the working title of "Tennis Chumps".

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  5. "Strange Innertube" was also the title of one of Hal Roach's "Taxi Boys" shorts.

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  6. Hail movie piracy, the only way to watch "Little Ol' Bosko and the Pirates" since 1946!

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  7. Worst Aid was probably the working title of The Tree Surgeon, a much better title might I add! I have never heard of the Vine Street project brought up twice but I doubt it's existence, considering that MGM had a habit sometimes of announcing things that never were to truly happen

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