Saturday 12 February 2022

MGM Odds and Ends Part 4

Some time in December 1956, the top people at MGM decided to close their cartoon studio.

You won’t find the news in the Hollywood Reporter.

Daily Variety ran an article on December 13, 1956, but the only reference to the closure in the Reporter was in an editorial about three weeks afterward saying MGM “will probably reactivate the cartoon department” to attract TV commercial work (it never did).

The last five years of the MGM cartoon studio were ones of ups and downs. The studio still won Oscars. It provided segments for the features “Dangerous When Wet” and “Invitation to the Dance.”

But it dumped Tex Avery’s unit in March 1953 in what the Reporter indicated was a studio shutdown, though it seems the Hanna-Barbera unit continued working. The studio kept publicising it was creating one or two new units and would be making Barney Bear cartoons again. Barney never did come back and only one unit started. Several of Avery’s cartoons were remade by Mike Lah in CinemaScope, with the bottom part of the animation chopped off and new backgrounds by Don Driscoll.

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were made producers in 1955, but the Reporter doesn’t mention that their predecessor, Fred Quimby, was shoved out the door. Readers were told he went on an extended vacation instead.

Here’s the Reporter’s coverage of the studio from 1953 to the end. Quimby is still announcing imaginary cartoons. A few others had their names changed, and you’ll probably recognise which ones. School Daze, for example, became Blackboard Jumble. One wonders if the Church Mouse cartoon turned into Good Will To Men. Oh, and there's something really familiar-looking about the meece in the publicity art for that short.

I don’t know where Hanna and Barbera got the idea Blue Cat Blues was the first MGM cartoon with a narrator. Had they forgotten their own Oscar-winning Johann Mouse?

The "Mr. Q" character voiced by Daws Butler looks a lot like TV host Robert Q. Lewis.

January 15, 1953
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has signed Tex Ritter to do the narration for “First Texas Bad Man.”

January 30, 1953
Alex Romero, MGM choreographer, supplies the dance routines done by Jerry Mouse in the Tom and Jerry cartoon, “Johann Mouse.”

February 10, 1953
Academy Award nominations
Cartoons, Short Subject
“Johann Mouse,” MGM: Fred Quimby, producer.
“Little Johnny Jet,” MGM: Fred Quimby, producer.
“Madeline,” United Productions of America-Columbia: Stephen Bosustow, producer.
“Pink and Blue Blues,” United Productions of America-Columbia: Stephen Bosustow, producer.
“Romance of Transportation,” National Film Board of Canada (Canadian): Tom Daly, producer.

February 17, 1953
Fred Quimby has put “Tail of the Vienna Woods” into production at MGM as a follow-up to “Johann Mouse,” cartoon tribute to the Waltz King.

March 5, 1953
MGM has started an immediate shutdown of all short subjects production, at least until June, and possibly longer. The studio has a year’s backlog of product, including shorts completed by Fred Quimby, Pete Smith and James FitzPatrick.
There will only be a slight reduction of personnel, who will devote all their time to ideas and new developments of production.

March 20, 1953
Academy Award Winners
Cartoon: “Johann Mouse,” MGM; Fred Quimby, producer.

March 24, 1953
Fred Quimby has started a sequel to MGM’s Academy Award cartoon winner, “Johann Mouse,” titled “Tail of the Vienna Woods.”

May 29, 1953
MGM is going wide-screen in its short subjects, too. Fred Quimby, head of the shorts department, said that all shorts production will be converted to accommodate wide-screen showings. The pictures which were photographed conventionally are being recut and reframed, and all new product will be shot with wide-angle lenses.
The shorts, which also will be suitable for standard screens, include the cartoons, Pete Smith Specialties and FitzPatrick Travel Talks.

June 24, 1953
MGM will release only one-reel subjects in its shorts program for the year beginning Sept. 1, 1953, according to an announcement by Fred Quimby, MGM shorts head. There will be four different series of subjects, in addition to 104 issues of News of the Day.
In the lineup will be 38 releases, 28 of which will be in Technicolor. The remaining 10 will be the one-reel Pete Smith Specialties. Technicolor subjects include 16 MGM cartoons, four FitzPatrick TravelTalks and eight Gold Medal reprint cartoons.

July 1, 1953
Producer Arthur Freed has set the first week in August for the start of “Sinbad the Sailor,” final sequence of “Invitation to the Dance,” teaming Gene Kelly and Fred Quimby’s MGM cartoon characters.

July 14, 1953
MGM cartoon head Fred C. Quimby to Honolulu on vacation, with department starting mass vacation Saturday [18].

July 16, 1953
Red Coffey, nightclub and TV personality, was signed yesterday by MGM shorts producer Fred Quimby to be the voice of the little duckling featured in Tom and Jerry cartoons.

August 13, 1953
Gene Kelly will start work today on the “Sinbad the Sailor” cartoon-and-live action number for “Invitation to the Dance,” following a selection of material prepared by the MGM cartoon department under Fred Quimby. In the number, Kelly will enact the role of Sinbad.

MGM shorts head Fred Quimby, back from Hawaiian vacation, put “Romance of the Islands” on the drawing boards and started preparing “Puppy Tails” and “Design for Living.”

October 16, 1953
Gene Kelly yesterday completed filming of his “Sinbad the Sailor” cartoon and live action sequences, final musical story in MGM’s “Invitation to the Dance.” Previous sequences of the Technicolor picture in which there was no dialogue, were filmed in England.

October 22, 1953
Fred Quimby has signed a choir of 40 to sing “Rock of Ages” and “I Have to Tell the Story” for MGM’s new Tom and Jerry subject, “The Church Mouse.”

October 26, 1953
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon head, has signed guitarist Shug Fisher to lead a hillbilly group providing music for a new Tom and Jerry Western, “Pecos Pest.”

November 4, 1953
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has started “Ski Kids” in the Tom and Jerry series.

November 6, 1953
Dell Publishing Co. is adding the big and little bulldog characters, Spike and Tyke, to its Tom and Jerry Comic Book, published by arrangement with Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer.

December 1, 1953
MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby has concluded an agreement with Robert S. Callender, v.-p. of Western Printing & Lithograph Co., extending the contract for publishing and distributing the Tom & Jerry comic books, as well as for other coloring books. Quimby has also re-signed Red Coffee to do the Lucky Ducky voice in the new Tom & Jerry short, “Down Hearted Duckling.”

December 2, 1953
Shug Fisher and his Hillbillies have been signed by MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby for “Pecos Pest.”

December 3, 1953
Fred Quimby has started production on two new Tom and Jerry cartoons, “Ivan Whoa Whoa” and “Robin Hoodwink,” the first MGM cartoons to be designed from the start for wide-screen technique.

December 10, 1953
Producer Fred Quimby has rushed MGM’s “TV of Tomorrow” into immediate release to cash in on the current interest in TV and color. Subject covers, humorously, the coming of color TV, plus a few extra cartoon guesses as to the TV set of the more distant future.

December 16, 1953
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has set the Tom and Jerry project, “Posse Cat,” to accompany the Christmas release of “Kiss Me Kate” at Loew’s State Theatre.

December 18, 1953
Fred Quimby has put “South Bound Duckling” on the MGM Cartoon drawing boards.

Richard Charlton has optioned Joseph Barbera’s science-fiction comedy, “The Maid and the Martian,” for his American Productions. A revised version of the play, which was staged for 10 weeks at the Gallery Stage here, may get a break-in at Charlton’s and Ann Lee’s Sombrero Playhouse, Phoenix, during the “winter strawhat” season there.
Barbera, with Bill Hanna, writes and directs the Tom & Jerry MGM cartoon series.

December 21, 1953
MGM installed CinemaScope lenses in its cartoon department over the weekend, and the studio’s cartoon producer Fred Quimby has scheduled three animated subjects to be made three ways—in C-Scope, normal and MGM wide-screen.
Subjects are “Touche Pussy Cat,” “South Sound Duckling” [sic] and “Brave Little Mouseketeer.”

December 23, 1953
Walter Lantz has signed Tex Avery, long time cartoon producer at MGM, to a 20-year contract as executive producer on all of his productions. Avery, veteran in the cartoon field, made the “Droopy” series at the Culver City plant.
In addition to producing all the Woody Woodpecker and Chilly Willy Cartunes for Lantz, Avery also will supervise all animation as well as the creation of new characters for the Lantz organization. Avery’s first association with Lantz began in 1929 and lasted until 1935.
The 20-year pact, as prepared by the law firm of Wright & Garrett, as a gag calls for a daily option clause.

January 6, 1954
“When Mousehood Was in Flower,” to be made in both normal and wide-screen, is a new Tom and Jerry MGM cartoon just put into work by cartoon producer Fred Quimby.

February 2, 1954
A new Tom and Jerry cartoon, “That’s My Mommy,” has been put on the MGM drawing boards by Fred Quimby. Little Duck again is co-starred, with radio’s Red Coffey providing the voice of the duck.

February 3, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has put on the drawing boards the fourth cartoon for CinemaScope, the Tom-and-Jerry “The Solid Brass Band.”

February 9, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has assigned every animator not immediately required for Tom and Jerry cartoons to work on the one-reel cartoon sequence for the feature musical, “Invitation to the Dance.”

March 12, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has set June 15 as the finishing date for the cartoon sequence of “Invitation to the Dance,” with Gene Kelly as director and star.

March 25, 1954
New York.—Panavision, Inc., is conducting experiments with both MGM and Columbia on a new anamorphotic taking lens and already has told Columbia an optical printing lens for anamophotic developing, it was disclosed here yesterday by Robert Gottschalk, president, as Panavision’s Super Panatar variable anamophotic lens was demonstrators for exhibitors here at RKO’s 86th St. Theatre with “very good” results....
The Gottschalk lens showed up very well stretching a 1.33 to 1 “Tom and Jerry” to CinemaScope size.

April 28, 1954
“MGM’s Kartoon Karnival,” a 150-foot trailer designed for promotion of cartoon matinees, is being made available to exhibitors by MGM. Also in production is a special title to precede the cartoons comprising the “Karnival.”

May 19, 1954
New York.—MGM’s short subject release schedule for the year starting Sept. 1 includes 45 one-reelers, in addition to 104 issues of News of the Day, according to William B. Zoellner, in charge of short subject and newsreel sales.
The slate is to be headed by 16 Technicolor cartoons produced by Fred Quimby. Four of this group will be available in CinemaScope....
There also will be eight Gold Medal Reprint Cartoons.

June 1, 1954
MGM’s cartoon studio today will complete the conversion of its standard cameras to CinemaScope, according to producer Fred Quimby. Four painted and inked subjects are awaiting the CinemaScope camera treatment—“Touche, Pussy Cat,” “Southbound Duckling,” “Brave Little Mouseketeer” and “Pet Peeve.”

Producer Fred Quimby has put the 25th “Droopy” cartoon on the MGM drawing boards. It is titled “Deputy Droopy,” for 1955 release.

June 15, 1954
New York.—A cartoon carnival, made up of various cartoon series distributed by MGM, is being made available for general showing, according to William B. Zoellner, sales head for short subjects and newsreels. Exhibitors can made their own selections from various MGM series to package the special shows.

July 8, 1954
Perspecta Sound will be used for 18 regular MGM cartoon releases during the 1954-55 season, according to producer Fred Quimby. Of this group, 11 will star Tom and Jerry.

July 15, 1954
Because of the increasing demand for CinemaScope short subjects, MGM will add two units to the cartoon production staff following the annual vacation, Aug. 27-Sept. 20, according to Fred Quimby, cartoon producer.
The cartoon studios now have four CinemaScope subjects in work—“Touche Pussy Cat,” “Brave Little Mouseketeer,” “Pet Peeve” and “Southland Duckling” [sic].
The new units will resume production of the “Droopy” and “Barney Bear” series, both of which were held in abeyance during the filming of the “Sinbad the Sailor” cartoon sequence for “Invitation to the Dance,” starring Gene Kelly. This will be completed before the vacation.
The group making the future sequence is the regular “Tom and Jerry” unit, which will start an eight-subject program for the 1954-55 season when work is resumed in September.
Entire MGM slate again will comprise 16 releases.

July 29, 1954
Members of the Cartoon Producers Assn. and the IASTE Cartoonists Local 839 have reached agreement on a new four-year contract calling for a 5 percent general salary increase, an additional 2 percent upward adjustment in the lower pay brackets, and a pension plan following the industry.
Wage hikes are retroactive to March 15, and in two years the pact may be reopened on wages, hours and working conditions. Signatories are MGM, Warners, Walter Lantz, Walt Disney and United Productions of America.

August 2, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, has signed Paul Freese [sic] for the “voice” of “Cellbound.” Sandra Descher has recorded narration for “The Little Church Mouse” with vocal score by Robert Mitchell Boys Choir.

August 4, 1954
Fred Quimby, head of MGM short subject production and cartoon producer, has been signed to a new long-term contract on the occasion of his 30th year with the company.

August 25, 1954
MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby and his entire staff start their annual vacation this weekend, returning Sept. 20.
Mr. and Mrs. Quimby leave tonight aboard the Lurline for Hawaii. Before the vacation starts the cartoon studio will have completed the cartoon sequence of the Gene Kelly-starring vehicle, “Invitation to the Dance,” produced by Arthur Freed. Also finished will be several standard cartoon subjects, in addition to “Pet Peeve” and “Southbound Duckling,” second and third of MGM’s CinemaScope cartoons for next season.

October 6, 1954
Arrangements have been completed by MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby for use of cartoon characters, in addition to Tom and Jerry, for special platters for children by MGM Records.

October 11, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, will put on the drawing boards this week “Tom and Cherie,” starring Tom and Jerry, latest in the series using the French accent of child actress Marie Francois.

October 22, 1954
New national short subject release dates for MGM include five cartoons produced by Fred Quimby, “The Flea Circus,” Nov. 6; “Downhearted Duckling,” Nov. 13; “Pet Peeve” (CinemaScope), Nov. 20; Dixieland Droopy,” Dec. 4, and “Touche Pussy Cat (CinemaScope), Dec. 18.

November 29, 1954
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, puts “Tom and Cherie” on the boards today, with 10-year-old Marie Francois as the voice of the little French mouse.

January 7, 1955
Fred Quimby, MGM cartoon producer, with Christmas barely out of the way, has started his animators on a special project for next Christmas. Subject is “Peace on Earth.”

February 4, 1955
For the first time since the Tom and Jerry cartoon series was launched, producer Fred Quimby will use a human narrator as the voice of Jerry in “Blue Cat Blues” soon to go into production.

March 16, 1955
In collaboration with star-director Gene Kelly and producer Arthur Freed, cartoon producer Fred Quimby is preparing six traveling exhibits to be used in promotion of MGM’s “Invitation to the Dance.”

April 12, 1955
Charles Reagan, MGM sales manager, and Fred Quimby, short subjects head, have set national short subject releases as follows:
MGM CinemaScope cartoons, “Pet Peeve,” April 23; “Pup on a Picnic,” April 30; “Touche Pussy Cat,” May 21.

May 2, 1955
MGM cartoon producer Fred Quimby has engaged radio and TV star Paul Frees to do a “Strange Interlude” voice sequence for the new Tom and Jerry Cartoon, “Blue Cat Blues.”

May 16, 1955
New York.—Six CinemaScope cartoons in Technicolor, six other cartoons in Technicolor, 14 Gold Medal Reprints in the same color...will be released by MGM in the new season starting in September.

May 31, 1955
MGM is doubling the output and personnel of its cartoon department, with Hal Elias promoted to manager of the department and the writing-directing team of Joseph Barbera and William Hanna upped to full producer status. The promotions were made by E.J. Mannix, studio general manager, and Fred Quimby, head of shorts production and producer of the company’s cartoons, on the eve of the latter’s leaving on his first extended vacation in 30 years at MGM.
All 18 cartoons on the increased schedule will be in CinemaScope and Technicolor.

June 9, 1955
Scott Bradley has completed a special Christmas score for “Peace on Earth,” MGM cartoon which producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are rushing to completion for release Thansgiving Day. The Robert Mitchell Boy’s Choir were signed to sing familiar music.

June 14, 1955
Dawes Butler [sic] of TV’s “Time for Beany” has been signed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, MGM cartoon producers, to represent the grave-voiced bulldog “Spike” in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

June 15, 1955
Charles Lunard and Helen Lewis, night club dance team, have been signed by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera to create the choreography for “Down Beat Bear,” a Tom and Jerry cartoon at MGM.

June 22, 1955
The MGM cartoon studio closes Friday for its annual vacation, reopening July 12. Producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera will complete three cartoons before the closing this week.

August 1, 1955
Producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have put two new productions on the MGM cartoon drawing boards, “Barbecue Brawl” and “Timid Tabby.”

August 10, 1955
Venice.—Committee running the Venice Film Festival, opening Aug. 18, has asked MGM to enter “Blackboard Jungle.”...
In the shorts division MGM, under the America quota, has nominated its cartoon “Field and Scream.”

September 8, 1955
“Good Will to Men,” MGM’s most ambitious cartoon effort of the year, has been set for Dec. 23 release.

September 15, 1955
Two John Nesbitt “Passing Parades” and two Robert Benchley one-reelers will be reissued by MGM...
New standard width MGM cartoons set for release are “The First Bad Man,” Sept. 30; “Smarty Cat,” Oct. 14; “Deputy Droopy,” Oct. 28; “Pecos Pest,” Nov. 11 and “Cellbound,” Nov. 25.
Cartoons in Cinemascope are “Tom and Cherie,” released this week, and “Good Will to Men,” Dec. 23.

September 22, 1955
Howard W. Hanson, MGM animation supervisor, was married yesterday at Ensenada to Vera Ohman, former background artist at the studio.

September 23, 1955
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, MGM cartoon producers, have launched a new series which will elevate the father-and-son bulldog team, Spike and Tyke, to stardom in their own right.

September 27, 1955
A second cartoon unit has been organized by MGM to increase output of animated shorts from nine to 18 annually.
Cartoon producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera continue making the “Tom and Jerry” and “Spike and Tyke” series, and the studio has signed Michael Lah to direct the additional nine subjects starring “Droopy” and “Barney Bear.”

October 7, 1955
With the starting of a second unit which will double MGM’s cartoon output, producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have launched a program to develop new technicians in all branches of the cartoon business.
They will audition all artists, trained or untrained in cartoon techniques.

October 13, 1955
MGM cartoon producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are following up the current craze for “blues” music with a new Tom and Jerry cartoon, just put on the drawing boards, titled “Blue Cat Blues.”

October 14, 1955
Red Coffey, night club comedian, planed in yesterday from an engagement in Montana to again to the voice of the “Duckling” in the MGM Tom and Jerry cartoon, “The Egg and Jerry.”

October 28, 1955
MGM Records have scheduled an extensive list of Christmas records for immediate release...A new record will be marketed in the children’s series featuring Tom and Jerry of the MGM cartoons. It is “Tom and Jerry Meet Santa Claus,” with “Tom and Jerry in Nursery Rhyme Land” on the reverse side.

October 31, 1955
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, producers of the MGM cartoons, have signed Bill Thompson of the “Fibber McGee and Molly” shows to do the voice of Tom’s fearful cousin in a new “Tom and Jerry,” “Timid Tabby.”

November 3, 1955
Manuel Paris and Pilar Arcos, Spanish-speaking stars, have been signed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, MGM cartoon co-producers, to narrate the dialogue for “Mucho Mouse,” being made at the request of Loew’s International as the first film to be made here originally for the Spanish-speaking market, with domestic distribution to follow.

November 11, 1955
The MGM cartoon department has reached its highest level of activity since 1952, with producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera having 12 subkects in various producing stages.
By September, 1956, Hanna and Barbera expect to achieve their goal of 18 cartoons under the new expansion plan which went into effect Nov. 1. This will double MGM’s 1954 release of nine. Hanna and Barbera will produce and direct all cartoons starring Tom and Jerry and Spike and Tyke. They also will produce the Barney Bear and Droopy subjects to be directed by Michael Lah.

November 16, 1955
MGM cartoon co-producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have signed Alvaro F. Mollner, chancellor of the Spanish consulate in Los Angeles, to act as technical adviser for the cartoon “Micho Mouse,” first Hollywood picture, short or feature, to be made for special release in Spanish-speaking countries.

November 21, 1955
Homer Brightman has been signed to a new contract by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera to continue writing stories for MGM cartoons.

November 22, 1955
MGM cartoon producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have engaged Julie Bennett and Daws Butler to be the voices of “Mr. and Mrs. Q” in their new Tom and Jerry subject, “Tom’s Photo Finish.”

November 25, 1955
New York.—The Radio City Music Hall has broken a long standing precedent by booking MGM’s Tom and Jerry cartoon, “The Flying Sorceress,” with that studio’s musical, “Kismet.” Due to the length of the theatre’s stage shows, cartoon shorts have not been included in its bills.

MGM cartoon music head Scott Bradley today conducts the MGM orchestra for the score of “Muscle Beach Tom.”

December 14, 1955
New York.—The Protestant Motion Picture Council, largest single film reviewing organization, which normally confines its coverage to feature pictures, breaks precedent with unqualified indorsement of the MGM cartoon, “Good Will to Men.”
Subject, co-produced by Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, is set for Dec. 23 release.

December 22, 1955
MGM cartoon department composer Scott Bradley has completed the score for “Down Beat Bear,” Tom and Jerry subject.

December 29, 1955
Daws Butler yesterday completed his assignment as the voice of Droopy in the new MGM cartoon “School Daze,” produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

February 2, 1955
MGM yesterday engaged Homer Brightman to prepare a cartoon story board for a new Droopy cartoon, “Sheep-Wrecked.”

February 20, 1956
Academy Award Nominations
Cartoons (1000 Feet or Less)
“Good Will to Men,” MGM; Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, producers.
“The Legend of Rock-a-Bye Point,” Walter Lantz Production, U-I; Walter Lantz, producer.
“No Hunting,” Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio; Walt Disney, producer.
“Speedy Gonzales,” Warner Bros. Pictures, Cartoon Division, Warner Bros.; Edward Selzer, producer.

February 23, 1956
Second unit of the MGM cartoon department, installed last October, now is in full swing, according to producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Director Michael Lah is working on “Grin and Share It,” “Sheepwrecked,” “Sir Droopy Knight” and “Blackboard Jumble,” all starring the hound dog Droopy.

March 8, 1956
MGM sales manager Charles Reagan yesterday announced the following national release dates for MGM short product:
CinemaScope cartoons, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, producers-directors, “The Egg and Jerry,” March 23; “Busy Buddies,” March 24...Gold Medal cartoons, “House of Tomorrow,” March 16; “Doggone Tired,” April 6; “Counterfeit Cat,” April 27.

April 20, 1956
Ed Barge, animator on Oscar-winning MGM cartoons, and two former MGM artists, Morrie Zukor and Ron Maidenburg, have been added to the staff of Animation, Inc., it is announced by president Earl Klein. Barge will be a director.

July 3, 1956
“The Battle of Gettysburg,” special three-reel featurette, produced by Dore Schary and directed by Herman Hoffman, will highlight MGM’s short subject releases for 1956-1957, starting in September. New “junior feature” setup also will include 12 Tom and Jerry, Droopey [sic] and Barney Bear cartoons in CinemaScope and Technicolor, produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera; 18 Gold Medal reprint cartoons in Technicolor, and 104 issues of News of the Day.

July 12, 1956
MGM’s cartoon department will take its annual mass vacation from Aug. 3 to Aug. 20, following a policy in force many years.
Only a few technicians will stay on the job to supervise improvements in facilities of the department headed by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and business manager Hal Elias.

August 6, 1956
The 75 employes of the MGM cartoon studio, headed by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and business manager Hal Elias, began their 18th annual mass vacation over the weekend. Department will reopen Aug. 20.

August 16, 1956
Production resumes Monday on eight CinemaScope and Technicolor cartoons when the MGM cartoon department, headed by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and business manager Hal Elias, return from their annual mass vacation. Cartoons are the Tom and Jerry subjects, “Mucho Mouse,” “Tom’s Photo Finish,” “Scat Cats,” “Royal Catnap” and “The Vanishing Duck”; Spike and Type [sic] in “Give and Tyke” and Droopy in “One Droopy Knight” and “Grin and Share It.”

August 17, 1956
New York.—“The MGM Cartoon Carnival,” a program of 11 famous cartoons and short subjects, has been booked for a three-week engagement at the Plaza Theatre starting Aug. 28. On Sept. 17 “Lust for Life” premieres at the house.
Program includes seven “Tom and Jerry” cartoons, two Robert Benchley shorts and two of the “Passing Parade” series.

August 27, 1956
Julie Bennett of the Sid Caeser TV show is here to do a voice job for MGM cartoons.

September 19, 1956
Beverly Hills Police Department yesterday refused MGM a permit to put up bleachers for the “Lust for Life” premiere at the Fox Beverly Theatre on Friday night. So the “bleacherites” will have to be standees.
Studio revealed yesterday that it will run its Technicolor CinemaScope cartoon, “Millionaire Droopy,” at the premiere and also for the regular run of the picture. In addition, “Droopy” will be billed with “Lust” at the Fine Arts.

September 25, 1956
Plans for a busy schedule of cartoon-making at MGM, with seven new ones for the 1956-57 season and 12 more for the 1957-58 semester, are in the works, according to department head Hal Elias. The figure will be supplemented by 18 reprints for release by next spring, with a staff of about 70 working on the assignments.
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera will continue to produce and direct the 14 “Tom and Jerry” shorts this year and next, while Michael Lah will work on the new “Droopy” series, along with a couple of others.

October 3, 1956
“Much[o] Mouse,” MGM cartoon starring Tom and Jerry now being completed by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, will have its first showings in Latin countries shortly after Jan. 1, with domestic release not scheduled before July.

October 26, 1956
Cockney accent specialist Lucille Bliss was tabbed yesterday by MGM shorts producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for their CinemaScope-Technicolor cartoon, “Robin Hood-winked.”

November 14, 1956
“Cartoonia Suite,” an orchestral composition by Scott Bardley [sic], will have its premiere Friday night at Barnum Auditorium, Santa Monica, with Arthur Lange conducting the Santa Monica Orchestra. Bradley has composed all musical scores for MGM cartoons since 1938. He also prepared scores for many features.

January 24, 1957
New York.—Loew’s Inc. has sold a five-year lease on domestic TV rights to over 900 MGM shorts to Lou Chesler and Eliot Hyman’s Associated Artists Productions for $4,500,000, it was reported here yesterday. No official confirmation was available at either Loew’s or AAP, indicating announcement still awaits formal signing of contracts.
Deal is said to include all MGM shorts with exception of the “Tom and Jerry” Cartoons. There are about 1000 such shorts but it is believed some negatives may be unusable and others may be tied up by contingent claims.
Loew’s Inc. was asking $6,000,000 for the shorts, including the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. MGM expects to realize between $300,000 and $400,000 theatrical film rental from the “Tom and Jerry” festival reissue program and currently playing theatres.

February 18, 1957
Release schedule for nine MGM cartoon shorts has been set by general sales manager Charles M. Reagan as follows:
MGM CinemaScope cartoons—“Top With Pops,” Feb. 22; “Give and Tyke,” March 29; “Timid Tabby,” April 19.
Gold Medal cartoons—“Tennis Chumps,” “The Bear and the Hare,” Feb. 15; “Saturday Evening Puss,” March 8; “Garden Gopher,” March 22; “Little Quacker,” April 5; “The Chump Champ,” April 26.

April 3, 1957
In addition to its regular theatrical program, the MGM cartoon department has set up a division to work on TV commercial spots. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are co-producers on the projects.

May 17, 1957
MGM cartoon department this week completes three CinemaScope and Technicolor subjects, “One Droopy Knight” and “Sheepwrecked,” starring Droopy, and “Happy Go Ducky,” a Tom and Jerry, for release after Jan. 1.

May 23, 1957
Scott Bradley, music composer for MGM cartoon department, is scoring two Technicolor and CinemaScope cartoons for 1958 release, “Droopy Leprechaun” and “Tot Watchers.”

May 24, 1957
New York.—MGM, which is discontinuing production of “Tom and Jerry” cartoons, will reissue a number of these shorts with every program. The company has found the reissues gross as much as 85 percent of the new productions. MGM may use Tom and Jerry for a feature in future and for industrial purposes.

June 26, 1957
Scott Bradley, musical composer for MGM Technicolor and CinemaScope cartoons, completes scoring this week for “Droopy Leprechaun” and “Tot Watchers.” Bradley and his wife leave early in July for a trip around the world.

July 8, 1957
H. B. Enterprises, Inc., with George Sidney as president and William Hanna and Joe Barbera as vice-presidents, has been organized with offices at Kling Studios to produce cartoon films for theatre, TV and industry....
Hanna and Barbara [sic] just wound up a 20-year association at MGM where they created, wrote and directed all the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon, seven of which won Academy Awards. The team recently entered the TV commercial field. New company plans eventual production of feature-length animated films along with the shorter theatrical and TV product.

A number of cartoons were in the planning stages when the studio was told to shut down. New cartoons that had been assigned production numbers were Lost and Hound and Pick Up Pups (Droopy), Lionhearted Mouse, Cowboy Cat and Bird Mouse (Tom and Jerry). A couple of CinemaScope remakes were also cancelled. Bird Mouse may have become the basis for the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Little Bird Mouse at the Hanna-Barbera studio.

Suffice it to say, Tot Watchers was the last new cartoon released by Metro. Almost a year before then, Bill and Joe, their four animators, three background artists, two layout people and others who had been at MGM picked up and left, then made TV cartoon history.

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