Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cartoons of 1939 Part 1

Walt Disney was looking for something new throughout the '30s, so it's no surprise he was looking at television.

TV stations had been on and off the air since the late '20s--mostly off--but the 1939 World's Fair in New York brought about a great interest in the medium. NBC was operating a small TV network at the time and as we can by the pages of The Film Daily for 1939, Disney felt it had possibilities for the cartoon medium. Of course, he jumped in fully--to his great benefit--with ABC at the time his Disneyland theme park was about to open.

What else happened in the cartoon business in the first half of 1939?

Warner Bros. was big on patriotism in its shorts programme. It scheduled five two-reelers in Technicolor: "The Monroe Doctrine" "Nathan Hale" "The Father of His Country" "Old Hickory" and "Teddy, the Rough Rider." Cartoon producer Leon Schlesinger got on board with "Old Glory." The trade publication went to lengths to mention the names of the narrator, chorus and arranger, thanks to Rose Horsley's publicity handout. Schlesinger had okayed a Canyon Kiddies series but, for reasons unknown, only one cartoon was made.

The Fleischers were getting "Gulliver's Travels" together and quietly shelving Betty Boop, replacing her black-and-white series with the Stone Age cartoons. Considering the income that was to be had from Gulliver marketing, I can see why the studio didn't go with a Popeye feature; revenue would have to be shared with King Features, the sailor man's owner. The newspaper also mentioned the work of some industrial animators, including a company which put together a stop-motion short for the oil industry, and Lawson Haris' Animated Films, Inc., the place Ub Iwerks directed before going back to Disney.

So here are news and reviews for the first six months of 1939.

January 6, 1939


In wake of his arrival this week in New York from the Coast, Leon Schlesinger, short subjects producer for Warner Bros, at whose home office he is currently discussing preliminary plans for his program of "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" for the company's 1939-40 line-up, stated the "Merrie Melodies" series next season is virtually certain to include several subjects delineated by Jimmie Swinnerton, creator of "Canyon Kiddies," whom Schlesinger recently signed to a contract.

Production will start on the initial "Canyon Kiddies" short on Feb. 6, and the picture will require approximately one year to complete, Schlesinger declared.

Current season's production on the announced 26 "Merrie Melodies," all of which are in Technicolor, and the 16 "Looney Tunes" in black-and-white, is running slightly ahead of schedule at the Coast studio, he added. Within the next three weeks, Schlesinger plans to return to the Coast. This is his ninth year with Warners.

January 9, 1939


Final figures for the last week of the recent Kent Drive by the 20th-Fox sales forces show record biz for the Terry Toon short subjects. [no figures in story]

January 11, 1939

A baby girl weighing seven pounds was born to Rose Josephs, director of publicity for Leon Schlesinger, at the Bellevue Hospital. In private life Miss Joseph is the wife of David Horsley, radio commentator.

January 18, 1939


World premiere of Max Fleischer's first full-length Technicolor cartoon feature, "Gulliver's Travels" will take place in Miami next Christmas, Neil F. Agnew, Paramount general sales manager, announced last night.

W. R. Lynch, general manager of I Paramount Enterprises, has signed the contract with Paramount Pictures, thus assuring Miami the debut of the cartoon produced at the new Fleischer Studio in Miami.

January 25, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood -- Leopold Stokowski has been signed to an 18 months' contract by Walt Disney to direct and record music for the producer's concert feature. Recording for the film will be started by Stokowski in April in Philadelphia with the philharmonic orchestra there. Deems Taylor will act as an narrator and technical adviser on the film.

Phil M. Daly column, New York

* * * ORIGINAL watercolor by Walt Disney . . . one of the scenes painted on celluloid in production of "Snow White" . . . has been acquired by curator Harry B. Wehle for the Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . late in March the Julien Levy Gallery will hold an exhibition of the original watercolors used in initial steps of Disney's "Ferdinand the Bull"

February 3, 1939


Ted Eshbaugh Studios, Inc, announce that for the first time, a 16 mm. color cartoon with duplicating prints has been produced, using the Kodachrome process. The cartoon is titled "Mr. Peanut and His Family Tree" and was made for the Planters NutWILL REISSUE IN 1940

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is to be withdrawn from distribution in the U. S. and Canada the end of April, according to a joint announcement by Walt Disney and RKO Friday. While no reason for the action was given in the announcement, it is understood that the re-issue value of the picture will be increased if distribution is suspended at this time.

It was indicated that "Snow White" may be re-issued about this time next year with the same sort of first-run openings that it enjoyed when first produced.


RALPH RAINGER and LEO ROBIN, songsmiths, leave today for Miami where they will complete the score for Paramount's feature-length Max Fleischer cartoon, "Gulliver's Travels."

February 7, 1939


Albany--The Mayflower Pictures Corp., Ltd., of England, capitalized at EUR50,000 in 5s par value shares, has filed a certificate of statement and designation in the office of the Secretary of State to enable it to do business in New York State. Walt Disney Productions of Los Angeles, chartered under California laws, with capital of $2,000,000 in $10 shares, has also filed a certificate of statement and designation in the office of the Secretary of State to enable it to do business in New York State.

February 9, 1939


Dismissal of the $300,000 suit brought by Adriana Caselotti against Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., and RCA Manufacturing Co. will be sought by the first named defendant in New York Supreme Court today.

Motion will be heard by Justice Ferdinand Pecora. In her action, Miss Caselotti, Snow White's voice in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," charged that her voice was taken from the sound track of the cartoon feature and used for recordings.


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood -- Leon Schlesinger has started production on the initial "Canyon Kiddies" cartoon. Jimmy Swinnerton, recently signed to a long term contract, will create the characters and collaborate on the story and draw his inimitable backgrounds. The initial subject as yet untitled will be as a "Merrie Melody" of the 1939-40 program as Schlesinger has room for only one subject on this series. Schlesinger will probably do a series for the 1940-41 schedule.

February 15, 1939

"Oilympic Games," first commercial short series produced by the J. Walter Thompson agency to plug Shell Petroleum Corp. products, after what was described as a successful tryout in 150 theaters recently, is now being tested in 600 more houses to determine audience reaction to this type of advertising, it was learned yesterday.

Agency has plans to make a larger number of shorts this year than in 1938 with majority of clients said to be definitely interested in screen advertising. At the present time, two additional shorts for Shell are in production.

Shorts already produced have been made by Rowland Reed Productions and Animated Cartoons. It is possible that some of the new shorts will be produced in New York by firms here, it was learned.

February 21, 1939

Phil M. Daly column, New York

* * * MOVING of the Fleischer Studios from New York to Miami has resulted in the formation of a Miami Power Boat Squadron . . . the local charter has been granted by the U. S. Power Squadron, Inc . . . of the charter members of the new unit, eleven are to be found among the personnel of the Fleischer Studios, including the new commander, John E. Burks.

February 24, 1939


Outstanding Shorts--Cartoon, Ferdinand the Bull." (Walt Disney).

Special awards were made to Walt Disney for his production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" which is recognized as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new field for the motion picture cartoon;

March 1, 1939


Production on an animated cartoon for theatrical purposes will be started by Charles B. Hastings, cartoon producer, within the next two weeks. Short will be in color. Hastings recently completed "Better Days for Dixie," another short in a series he is doing for the U. S., with one-reeler scheduled to be released by the Department of Agriculture.

March 6, 1939

Ralph Wilk column, Hollywood

Walter Lantz has started a school for screen cartoon animators; Myrna Myling is in charge.

March 9, 1939


French version of Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" will have its U. S. premiere at the Waldorf April 8, prior to U. S. and Canadian release, RKO said yesterday.

March 15, 1939


Formation of a new license department headed by Harry Royster was announced yesterday by Lou Diamond, Paramount shorts chief.

New department will arrange merchandising tieups with novelty and toy manufacturers for exclusive use of Gulliver character items in connection with the forthcoming "Gulliver's Travels," Max Fleischer Technicolor feature cartoon scheduled for release next December.

Royster for many years has been associated with the Paramount theater division at the home office handling exploitation on feature attractions.


. . .Of the 68 one-reelers, 42 will be produced by Leon Schlesinger; they will include 26 Merrie Melodies in Technicolor and 16 Looney Tunes in black and white. . . Uncut are "Merrie Melody" and "Looney Tune" series.

March 17, 1939


Jules Levy, RKO Radio's general sales manager, yesterday declared that all available prints of Disney's "Snow White" in the 38 exchanges of U. S. and Canada would be booked solid for Easter Week.

March 20, 1939


Serious dramas, lighter features, animated cartoons, travelogues, educational pictures, industrial films, scenic films and outright comedies are others to be shown without admission charge.. . . A specially produced Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon will be shown at the National Biscuit Co. exhibit. The Petroleum industry exhibit will feature a cartoon made with rubber puppets.

March 21, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood--Leon Schlesinger will personally supervise the production of "Old Glory," a Merry Melodie cartoon in Technicolor, starring Porky the Pig, a patriotic one-reeler which will be directed by Charles M. Jones. Pix is for Easter release.

March 22, 1939


Easter week will find every available print on Walt Disney's "The Ugly Duckling" booked solid, according to predictions by Short Subjects Sales Manager Harry Michalson of RKO Radio Pictures.

March 23, 1939


Lou Diamond, Para, shorts head, said yesterday that mule team of Hunky and Spunky will be featured in five forthcoming Color Classics, to be made in Technicolor by Max Fleischer.

March 30, 1939


Miami, Fla.--"Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp," a two-reel Technicolor Cartoon and the first cartoon to be completed in its entirety at the newly acquired Miami home of the Fleischer Studios, will have its world premiere at the Sheridan Theater next Tuesday.


Miami, Fla.--Plans have been announced for the immediate erection of a 250-seat air-conditioned cafeteria by the Fleischer Studios.

March 31, 1939


. . .Paul Terry, producer of Terry-Toons, told the convention that he would deliver 26 cartoons, 10 in Technicolor. Cartoon characters, Captain McDoodle, the two-headed giant, and Gandy Goose, will be continued.

April 4, 1939


LEO ROBIN and RALPH RAINGER are en route from New York to the Coast after completing the music for the Para.-Fleischer full-length Technicolor cartoon, "Gulliver's Travels."

April 6, 1939


Suit was filed yesterday in Supreme Court by Modest Altschuler against RKO Radio Pictures, Walt Disney Enterprises, Walt Disney Productions, Irving Berlin, Inc., and Frank Curchill [sic].

Plaintiff asks $250,000 damages, plus injunction and accounting of profits, claiming he is composer of "Russian Soldier's Song," which, he alleges was plagiarized by the Frank Curchill composition, "Whistle While You Work," in the Disney picture "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Answers on file carry defendants' denials of charge, and their claim that Altschuler's song is uncopyrighted.

Miami--Hampton W. Howard, p.a. [publicity agent] for the Fleischer Studios, Inc., and Edna Root Von Ehrbar, artist employed by the studio, were married here by Rawls Johnston, chief clerk at the county judge's office.

April 10, 1939


Philadelphia -- Attorneys for S. Tutleman served subpoenas filing suit against Leopold Stokowski, Walt Disney, Walt Disney, Ltd., RKO, Deems Taylor and the Philadelphia Orchestra Association in Common Pleas Court No. 1. Plaintiff claims he conceived the idea of a production synchronizing symphonic music of classical renown with animated cartoons from a prepared scenario and that he suggested the plan to Stokowski.

Tutleman further charges Stokowski got Disney to use the method and he is trying to restrain the production of the use of the plan and method. Preliminary hearing is set for April 14 on plea for an injunction.

April 19, 1939


Miami--"Stoneage," series of 12 cartoons, will be presented as part of the 1939-40 Fleischer Studios lineup for Para, release.

April 26, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood--Leon Schlesinger has had his option as producer of cartoons taken up for another year by Warners. He has been with studio for past nine years. His 1938-39 schedule of 26 "Merrie Melodies" and 16 "Looney Tunes" starring Porky Pig will be completed and shipped to New York by June 1. "Old Glory," a special patriotic cartoon, will be included in this group. The producer already has 15 pictures in production in 1939-40 schedule which calls for 42 subjects.


Donald Duck may shortly commence a television career if a deal, understood to be currently under discussion between Disney interests and NCS representatives, is closed.

Revelation of the deal came in the wake of a check by The Film Daily to ascertain whether there might not be impending a rift in the united front which the majors are presenting against the supply to NBC and CBS of pix for telecasts in the metropolitan area.

Check followed reports that the March of Time's new issues are being considered for telecasting on NBC's evening programs. It established that there is no such intention on the part of the reels' producers.

It was also learned that only certain back issues of M of T had been furnished to NBC for experimental telecasts in the past, when there were only some 75 receivers in the New York area.

Now that television is being put on at least a semi-public footing, no new releases of M of T are being considered for supply to NBC.

April 28, 1939


GE is plugging its new Handy Phone Inter-Office Communication System's economy via a physical attribute of Walt Disney's renowned Mickey Mouse. Promotional experts of GE point to the fact that Mickey has only four fingers instead of five, and that the time and energy saved by excluding delineation of the extra digit results in a saving of thousands of dollars annually by Disney. Moral is that time and energy saved via the GE phone device will result in annual economies, too.

May 3, 1939


NBC today will televise the Walt Disney cartoon, "Donald's Cousin Gus."

Announcement to that effect yesterday by RKO confirmed a Film Daily story on April 26 that NBC and Disney interests were discussing such arrangements.

Debut of the Disney subject via television precedes the national release date by 16 days, the reel being scheduled for pix houses on May 19. This is apparently the first instance of a motion picture of the []re entertainment type going over []e facilities before advent in film theaters. Availability of the pix to NBC, it is understood, is on a basis which is primarily promotional in the interests of product turned out by the Disney organization.

May 16, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood--Walter Lantz, Universal cartoon producer, has signed Willy Pogany, internationally known portrait painter and sculptor. Pogany will have charge of the backgrounds for Lantz's forthcoming Technicolor cartoons and will also design new characters for the Lantz staff company. Lantz will make 13 cartoons during the coming year, four of which will feature Andy Panda. The first one is being completed now and is called "Life Begins for Andy Panda."

May 17, 1939


Probability that Walt Disney will put in work for or during the 1939-40 season two full-length cartoon features in color, in addition to the already announced "Pinnochio," is disclosed by sources close to Technicolor, with which company Disney has an exclusive color contract.


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood -- Hal Horne, Eastern representative for Walt Disney since December, 1937, was elected vice-president in charge of distribution and a member of the Board of Governors of Walt Disney Productions, it was announced yesterday.

Horne, now in California where he has been conferring with Walt and Roy Disney concerning next year's productions, will arrive in New York on Tuesday.

May 26, 1939


Yonkers -- Raymond A. (Dick) Freil, 45, a pioneer in making animated film cartoons and former motion picture scenarist and director, who had been associated with Fox Film, Famous Players and Paramount, and who also did art and picture work in London, is dead here. In addition to writing scenarios, he had played in Mack Sennett comedies and had directed Richard Dix and Johnny Hines in features.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Estelle Walker Freil; a son, Richard; his father, two brothers and five sisters.

May 29, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood -- Leon Schlesinger is scoring the music to the screen first patriotic cartoon short, "Old Glory." Music is by Karl Stalling [sic] arrangements by Milton Franklin [sic] and a 50-piece Vitaphone Symphony orchestra. Narration by John Deering who did a similar chore on Warners' "Confession of a Nazi Spy."


Miami--Expansion of the Fleischer Studios has been announced by Hamp Howard, director of public relations. Two additional buildings nearby have been rented to which have been transferred the scenario and story departments, the library, lyric writers and research department.

More than 400 persons are now employed at the studio, with a weekly payroll of about $18,000. A cafeteria to accommodate 200 opens this week.

June 1, 1939

Phil M. Daly column, New York

ON those Universal cartoons turned out by Walter Lantz, plenty of time and money are being spent . . . that new character "Andy Panda," for instance, has cost $25,000 to date . . . including the services of 50 animators for one month, 40 inkers and painters for a month, 6 background men, a cameraman, director, writers, materials and drawing expense . . . six months research to study the antics of Mei-Mei in the Chi Zoo. . . .that's how 25 grand is spent for 8 minutes or less of cartoon on the screen.

THE next year will witness a revolutionary change in the cartoon field. The motion picture cartoon, which in the past has been solely comedy, will lean towards fantasy and the expression of classical symphonies accompanied by their music. Poetic classics also will be interpreted in moving cartoons.

For the coming season, in which we will produce eighteen Technicolor shorts, my partner, Hugh Harman, and myself have planned, in addition to "The Little Goldfish," several fantasies and classical scores. "The Art Gallery," our second cartoon for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, will be a fantasy in which great artistic works come to life. We also are planning a novelty presentation of the "Blue Danube Waltz," and later in the season we might even bring the immortal "Gray's Elegy" to the screen. --Rudolph Ising, M-G-M Cartoon Producer.

I FIRMLY believe that cartoons are the motion picture industry's greatest argument against double features.

Currently, increased argument for single bills is prevalent everywhere. Many remedies have been offered for the situation, but personally, perhaps because I am a motion picture cartoonist, I prescribe cartoons as the answer.

In the past year, entire motion picture programs have been made up of cartoons.--Hugh Harman, M-G-M Cartoon Producer.


Leon Schlesinger, producer of "Merrie Melody" cartoons in Technicolor and "Looney Tune" cartoons for Vitaphone, has completed work on "Old Glory," considered the first patriotic cartoon ever to be released in the industry.

Filmed in Technicolor, the cartoon features Porky Pig, who is making his color debut, and tells the story of Porky's search to find the true meaning of pledging allegiance to the flag. Porky meets up with a cartoon character of Uncle Sam who explains the history of the United States to him by means of flashbacks. A cavalcade of American historical characters appear before Porky's eyes. The film will be released on July 1 for Independence Day bookings.


Lou Diamond, Paramount shorts subject dept. head, has announced the formation of a licensee department, under the supervision of Harry Royster, to negotiate with leading manufacturers for merchandising rights to characters in "Gulliver's Travels," Technicolor cartoon feature now being produced by Max Fleischer.

A comprehensive advertising and exploitation campaign is being lined up by Paramount and the picture will be exploited with numerous novelties, toys and clothing -- all geared to offer direct tie-ups to key cities when the picture is made available.


Miami, Fla.--More than 400 persons are now employed at the Fleischer Studios, Inc., here, with the payroll approximating $18,000 weekly, according to Max Fleischer. Further expansion plans are under consideration to meet growing demands for cartoon productions, Fleischer stated.


TerryToons, Inc., production budget for 1939-40 will hit an all-time high, it is announced by Paul H. Terry. TerryToons are released by 20th-Fox.

Ten of the forthcoming 26 TerryToons will be made in Technicolor, says Terry. Featured characters will be the Two-headed Giant, Gandy Goose and Captain McDoodle. "More stress will be put on the ability of the exhibitor to exploit each individual TerryToon in planning our future productions," adds Terry.


Miami, Fla.--Dan Cupid has been doing a land office business at the Fleischer Cartoon Studios since their removal from New York to Miami. Mildred Conroy, studio receptionist and John Wadworth, animator, were the first couple. Since then no less than eleven marriages have taken place in which either the bride, the groom or both are employes of the studios. And there are several more scheduled for the coming bride's month of June. And all this in less than six months time! "Moon Over Miami" must be responsible.

June 7, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Hollywood -- Cartoon Films Ltd., is producing the "Foolish Fantasies," a series of 13 cartoon subjects to be released annually by Grand National. Cartoon Films Ltd., has a five year contract with Grand National and is now negotiating with a major company for the distribution of a second series of cartoons.

June 9, 1939

PARA. SET ON 52 OF 58 TITLES FOR 1939-40

Shorts lineup will include 12 Popeye cartoons, 12 Stone Age cartoons, 6 Color Classics. . .

June 12, 1939


West Coast Bureau of THE FILM DAILY

Los Angeles -- With production past the half-way mark on the feature-length Technicolor cartoon, Max Fleischer's forthcoming "Gulliver's Travels," Lou Diamond, head of Paramount's licensee department on this feature, at the close of the company's three-day sales session here, announced the signing of contracts with 22 additional manufacturers who will sponsor novelties ranging from Valentines to candy and from sweatshirts to pajamas based on characters to appear in it.

The company's licensee department is negotiating with 20 additional manufacturers on other articles suitable for this outstanding tie-up.

June 16, 1939


Miami, Fla.--Sam Parker of Miami has been selected from some 500 applicants to pose and speak for the animated drawings of "Gulliver" in the feature-length cartoon now under way in the Fleischer Studio.

June 19, 1939


Museum of Modern Art Film library will show 22 films in a survey of animated cartoons and puppet films, Tuesday at 2:30.

June 20, 1939


RKO Radio's 1939-40 lineup will embrace two specials, Walt Disney's second feature-length Technicolor cartoon, "Pinocchio," and the first March of Time full-length feature, "The Ramparts We Watch," 52 additional features, six George O'Brien Westerns and 198 shorts, the company's sales convention at the Westchester Country Club, Rye, was informed yesterday by Ned E. Depinet, vice-prexy.

The two specials will be sold separately. Distribution deal for "Pinocchio" was closed yesterday by RKO's prexy, George J. Schaefer, and Roy Disney, representing his brother. It will probably be released for the Christmas season.


Philadelphia -- Suit brought by Mark S. Tutleman, seeking to restrain Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney from producing "Fantasia" has been dismissed without comment.


Two-thirds of Walt Disney's schedule of short subjects for next year have already been completed, Hal Horne, vice-president in charge of distribution for Walt Disney, stated at the RKO Radio Sales Convention now in session at Rye. Twelve of the shorts, out of the seasonal eighteen, are finished while two others are in production now.


Miami, Fla.--Thomas A. Moore, and Alyce Carroll, Fleischer Studio employes, were married in the Church of the Little Flower, Coral Gables. After a wedding trip to Cuba the couple will reside in Coconut Grove.

June 21, 1939


[At the RKO convention] Hal Horne, Disney vice-prexy, showed working models from "Pinocchio" during his talk devoted largely to the cartoon's far-flung exploitation campaign already well under way. Commitments for magazine space indicated that "Pinocchio" will far exceed that which accrued to "Snow White," the Disney executive said. Disney character merchandise is showing an annual gross of $35,000,000, Kay Kamen, Disney merchandising executive, told the assembly. Kamen said that in New York alone the enterprise he is president of has a payroll of $100,000 a year.


Fifty-six manufacturers are already preparing to promote merchandise based on Walt Disney's second full length production, "Pinocchio" which will be released by RKO Radio Pictures before the end of this year, Kay Kamen, merchandise representative for Walt Disney, stated yesterday at the RKO Radio Sales Convention.

Manufacturers of practically every type merchandise will promote "Pinocchio" articles. These include:

Store jewelry, pottery figures, dishes, tableware, party favors, wooden toys, music, clothes, games, jewelry, framed pictures, booklets, dolls and banks, pencils, masquerade costumes and masks, hair ornaments, books, handkerchiefs, children's knives, forks and spoons, tumblers, modeled soap figures, candles, boys' neckwear, mufflers and belts, sweat shirts, woven labels, balloons, chewing gum, lolly-pops, metal containers, glassware, valentines, records, gasoline, oil, umbrellas, and raincoats.


Walt Disney has decided to make 1939-40 a Donald Duck year on his short subject production schedule, Hal Horne, vice-president in charge of distribution for Disney, stated at the RKO Radio sales convention now in session at the Westchester Country Club. Twelve of the fourteen shorts in production now. Home revealed, will star Donald and plans are under way to present him in several more.

June 27, 1939


Detroit -- Demand for animated cartoons in the industrial film field is growing rapidly, according to Jamison Handy, president of Jam Handy Picture Service. Work in this department, upon cartoons and upon animated process drawings has increased so heavily that Jam Handy is taking a lease on a new building to serve as enlarged studios for this department.


January 18, 1939"ON WITH THE NEW" (Betty Boop)

Paramount 7 mins. Wild Life

The lively story of Betty Boop's adventures with a new job. She gets fed up on being the general dishwasher and order-filler in a hash house, and quits to take a job in charge of a baby nursery. But the babes prove to be tough kids who run Betty ragged. She is glad to run away from it all and go back to her nice, quiet job in the hash house. A Max Fleischer cartoon.

"I'M JUST A JITTERBUG" (Walter Lantz Cartune)

Universal 8 mins. Action-Filled

Walter Lantz's Cartune is an enjoyable, lively, action-filled affair in which the well-known characters in fairy tales step out of their books and pictures to become Jitterbugs or horn tooters. A number of Jitterbug versions are presented in a very entertaining fashion. Vic McLeod's story was animated by Hicks Lokey and Merle Gilson. Alex Tovy [sic] directed and the music was contributed by Frank Marsales and Chuck Lowry.

January 20, 1939


Paramount 7 mins. Fair Popeye Reel

Trouble starts for Popeye with his first appearance in this reel and he is still behind the eight ball when it ends. He unintentionally knocks down a cop with his car and gets a ticket. He parks in front of a fireplug, blocks the entrance to a fire house and accidentally slugs a policeman after he has already dropped a flower pot on his head. Popeye decides that enough is enough and voluntarily locks himself up. A fair number. Max Fleischer produced and Dave Fleischer directed.

"DOG GONE MODERN" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)

Vitaphone 10 mins. Fun in Color

Kids and their elders will gain mutual amusement from the adventures of two pups who gain entrance into a modern, model house with all its strange mechanical appointments. Meddling of the invading hounds with automatic buttons and switches lets loose a Wizard-of-Oz sort of carpet sweeper; a dishwasher; and other labor-saving devices which Producer Leon Schlesinger has been sufficiently keen as to exaggerate with good satire. At the finale, the duet of dogs are glad to escape. Footage's appeal is heightened by employment of Technicolor.

"SOUP TO MUTTS" (Walter Lantz Cartoon)

Universal 7 mins. Novelty Gag

An amateur show is given by Dogland, with prizes of good things to eat. A mechanical applause machine shows the entertainers who win by hitting the jackpot. A cat horns in, disguised with a dog skin. The machine rings him up as the big winner, but he loses his disguise at the crucial moment, and he is out of luck.

"I'M JUST A JITTERBUG" (Walter Lantz Cartoon)

Universal 7 mins. Fantasy

A Jitterbug show is staged in a country schoolroom at night, the leader being a drawing that comes to life, and assembles all the woodland musicians like the frogs. Jack and Jill and other story book characters join in. Meanwhile the cuckoo in the clock is trying to sleep, and protests at the noise. Getting desperate, the cuckoo finally comes out with a shotgun, and extinguishes all the noisemakers.

January 24, 1939


Paramount 7 mins. So-So Cartoon

Betty Boop and her pup, Pudgy, board a ski train for a winter sports resort. Betty goes skating, but is annoyed by a skiier. Pudgy, in the meanwhile, has been prancing about on the ice and gets marooned on a cake that floats toward a waterfall. The skiier picks up Betty and they pursue Pudgy, with everybody safely rescued at the end of the reel. Produced by Max Fleischer and directed by Dave Fleischer.

February 2, 1939


Columbia 6 mins. Fair Cartoon

The erstwhile Scrappy is overwhelmed when he discovers that he is being given a surprise birthday party by his friends. An uninvited little girl crashes the party and literally proceeds to completely disorganize the proceedings. She becomes so unruly that the other guests leave, but she and Scrappy settle their differences and wind up by eating the whole birthday cake themselves. It's a fair number. Produced by Charles Mintz.

February 9, 1939

"PEACEFUL NEIGHBORS" (Scrappy Color Rhapsody)

Columbia 8 mins. War Fantasy

A war fantasy, with the two rival families of hens symbolizing the embattled nations, disputing their separate territory. Two doves in a nearby tree are trying to make peace. The war starts with all the heavy armaments in action. The doves hit on the idea of loading the shells with flowers and perfume and such, in place of the deadly powder. So when the war starts, the rival armies are bombarded with sweet and lovely gifts instead of having their heads blown off. A cute idea. Probably a little far-fetched, but quaint and cute just the same. Produced by Charles Mintz. Directed by Sid Marcus.


Paramount 7 mins. Fight Stuff

A contest between Popeye and Bluto to grab the customers for their rival penny arcades. Wimpy is the only customer who shows up, so they keep stealing him back and forth to look at their attractions. Finally there is a battle royal between the two rivals. Wimpy rushes out to the ticket booth and collects a lot of dough selling tickets to the "battle of the century."

February 16, 1939


Paramount 7 mins. Dog Antics

The adventures of Betty's pup Pudgy when his mistress decides to buy a little monkey from an organ grinder, after the monk has raised the devil and almost ruined the doggie. The total misery of the pup comes when he has finally quieted the monk, and thinks Betty will soon return and get rid of it, to learn that she has been out negotiating to buy the monk from its owner. And the pup is supposed to act happy about his new playmate. A Max Fleischer cartoon.

"ALWAYS KICKIN'" (Max Fleischer Color Classic)

Paramount 7 mins. Donkey Tricks

An adventure of the mama and baby donkeys, Hunky and Spunky. Spunky tries to make friends with some birds in a tree as they journey through the mountains. He tries to imitate them by flying from a cliff, and nearly breaks his neck. But the ridicule of the birds turns to admiration when he rescues a little baby bird from a hawk that carries it off to its nest on top of a cliff.

March 16, 1939

"THE MAGIC BEAN" (Walter Lantz Cartune)

Universal 7 1/2 mins. Mildly Amusing

This is a travesty on "Jack and the Beanstalk," wherein Jack's well-known role is essayed by a small mouse. Latter sells the family cow for a handful of Mexican jumping beans; is upbraided by his mother, who, as in the fairy tale, tosses the medium of exchanges out the window; and a great beanstalk transports the mouse to fanciful realms in the sky. On a cloud island lives the giant,--in this instance a huge bloodthirsty cat. The latter's castle is invaded by the mouse who tries to make off with the hen that lays the golden eggs. Yarn ends on a silly angle. It's mildly amusing.


Vitaphone 7 mins. Funny Squirrels

The adventures of three squirrels who find a book all about the career of Robin Hood. So they decide to emulate the ancient hero, and as merry outlaws of the woods start on adventure bent. A fox reads the book they have discarded, and starts to take advantage of their make-believe game. He lures the two older squirrels into a log cabin, locks them in and prepares to make a nice meal. The younger squirrel rescues them and as his reward insists on being Robin Hood.

March 9, 1939

"PORKY'S MOVIE MYSTERY" (Looney Tune Cartoon)

Vitaphone 7 mins. Thrills

Mystery thriller in a movie studio, with Porky as Mr. Motto the great Oriental detective in search of the Invisible Man who has been standing the studio on its ear. Finally, Porky overcomes the phantom with jiu jitsu. The villain turns out to be a famous comedian of the screen. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

April 13, 1939


Paramount 8 mins. Clever Cartoon

Clever cartoon, with Betty Boop as the nurse in a hospital for sick and injured automobiles. Betty must be part nurse and part mechanic in order to minister to her patients, who go through all the actions of sick human patients. Some catchy songs are sung by Betty as she restores broken-down taxis, spiffy limousines and a police car with sore feet to perfect condition again.

April 14, 1939


M-G-M 9 mins. Jazz Contest

A contest is staged for the best jitterbug. But the sponsors are not on the level, so a couple of tough eggs from the Citizens Fair Play Committee sit in a box and cover the show with gats. The various contestants do their stuff, including a songstress, two penguins, Mother Goose, Little Boy Blue, Bo Peep, etc. The Wonder Dog tries to cop the main prize by imitating an ostrich who is leading with a fan dance. But the deception is uncovered, and the finish has the sponsors fleeing from the angry contestants and the citizens committee.

April 21, 1939

"ONE ARMED BANDIT" (Walter Lantz Cartune)

Universal 7 mins. Meller Flavor

A modern version of the old villain-and-the-mortgage theme. Pappy has a yen for gambling, and loses all his money in a slot machine run by the villain. Then he mortgages his house, and loses that. His daughter comes along and pleads with the villain, but no dice. Then the hero enters, and takes the villain's measure, saves the house, and wins the gal.

"LITTLE TOUGH MICE" (Walter Lantz Cartune)

Universal 7 mins. Gangster Stuff

A Dead End type of drama, with Baby Face mouse in trouble with the big tough mouse and his pals. When he returns from the grocer's with his basket filled with eats, they take them away from him. Baby Face turns the tables on them after they have eaten a package of popcorn, and he turns a blow torch or them with disastrous results as they swell up.

May 5, 1939

"THEIR LAST BEAN" (Terry -Toons)

20th Century-Fox 7 mins. Clever

Turning the tables on the hunters is the idea in back of this very clever cartoon, in which little Willie Fox goes out and lures the hunters and their pack of hounds away from the club house, and then sneaks back and grabs the feast to which they were about to sit down. Thus Willie and his brothers and Papa Fox have plenty of good things to eat, a sweet revenge for the time the hounds busted into their home and stole their meagre fare of a can of beans. Produced by Paul Terry.


20th Century-Fox 7 mins. A Pip

An elaborate effort in the cartoon field with a beautiful Technicolor production in which the Rooster and his wife are awaiting a happy event. When the chick arrives, Mr. Rooster struts his stuff, and takes all the credit. But the hawk swoops down and carries the chick away as he is revelling in his presents showered upon him by the delighted neighbourhood birds. Then the police air squad goes into action, and in a battle formation they bomb the hawk to the ground, and then in another formation they bring the chick safely back to earth and his parents. The bird technique is something new in cartoons, and is cleverly handled. Produced by Paul Terry.


Joseph Losey 21 mins. Effective Commercial

Here is a real innovation in American-made commercial pictures. This short, produced by Joseph Losey, for the petroleum industries for showing at the New York World's Fair, is in Technicolor and employed a novel use of puppets. The subject very effectively shows the various uses of oil. One of the highlights is the song "Something to Sing About" by Oscar Levant. In addition to being the producer, Losey also wrote the screenplay.


M-G-M 8 mins. Amusing Cartoon

We meet a little goldfish imprisoned in his little goldfish bowl, all alone. He enviously eyes the pages of a book on a nearby table that shows pictures of the deep sea. He falls asleep and dreams that he is washed out of the bowl, down the sink and into the ocean. After his hair-raising escapes with the monsters he encounters he is very glad to find he is still in his bowl when he wakes up.

May 11, 1939


Paramount 22 mins. Classy Fun

This is a special in Technicolor featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl. Popeye is a poor chap in Bagdad in ancient times, and Olive is a princess. A magician induces Popeye to go into a cave and steal the Aladdin Lamp for him, but Popeye soon learns of the trick played on him, and again gets the lamp in his possession. The genii of the lamp appears when he rubs it, and this begins a series of exciting adventures, with Popeye making wishes, and the genii carrying out the orders. In this way the hero becomes a prince, meets the princess, loses her to the magician who temporarily gets hold of the magic lamp, but in the finale Popeye triumphs again and wins the princess for keeps. Produced by Max Fleischer.

"SMALL FRY" (Color Classic)

Paramount 7 mins. Funny Fish

Based on the pop song, "Small Fry," the amusing adventures of a little fish are presented. The youngster tries to be a grown-up fish and join the Big Fry A.C. So the big fish have fun with him by putting him through a terrifying initiation, and he is glad to sneak home to mother and remain a "small fry." A Max Fleischer cartoon.

May 12, 1939


Paramount 7 mins. Dog Interest

Feeling sorry for the dogs cooped up in a pet shop, Popeye planks down $500 for the lot, and lets them loose. They have a tough time trying to get food, and finally the dog catcher nets them all and carts them off to the pound. Popeye rushes there, and pays for their licenses, then brings them back to the pet shop again, where all hands are happy. A Max Fleischer cartoon.

"THE HAPPY TOTS" (Color Rhapsody)

Columbia 7 mins. Lovely

Nice phantasy of the woodlands, with the Happy Tots in festive mood as they assemble for a day of fun at the King's palace. There they find their host has lined up a marvellous entertainment for them, with his court jesters and an Ocarina band and many other novelties. Produced by Charles Mintz.


Columbia 7 mins. Poor

Short deals with the frantic antics of a worm to escape his fate as a fisherman's bait. The worms sad story makes the fish very sorry and they ruin the fisherman's day. Produced by Charles Mintz.

May 17, 1939

"DONALD'S PENGUIN" (Walt Disney)

RKO Radio 7 mins. Pet Peeves

A present of a young penguin is sent to Donald Duck from Admiral Byrd in the Antarctic. The explorer's name is spelt "Bird," which may be an error or a gag. If an error, it's the first we have noted in a Disney cartoon. Donald finds the young penguin gets into more mischief than a pup. First there is the matter of three goldfish in a bowl, which finally disappear into the penguin's stomach. Enraged, Donald gets his shotgun, but is unable to shoot when the penguin looks so sad. The accidental discharge of the gun blows a hole in the side of the house, and Donald is grief-stricken at thinking the penguin is killed. When the culprit shows up behind the door, Donald is so happy to find him safe that all is forgiven.

"BEACH PICNIC" (Walt Disney)

RKO Radio 7 mins. Summer Fun

Donald Duck and his dog Pluto go to the seashore for a nice quiet picnic. But the ants, appearing as a band of painted Indians, swoop down on the chocolate layer cake, and start to move it away by pieces. Pluto meanwhile gets mixed up with some flypaper which Donald has placed to capture the marauding ants. First thing Donald knows he is stuck on the flypaper along with Pluto, as the ants proceed to steal the cake without interference.

May 18, 1939

"BELIEVE IT OR ELSE" (Merrie Melody)

Vitaphone 7 mins. Funny Satire

A satire on the well-known comic strip, there are some good laughs in this short. There is one "doubting Thomas" throughout the picture who does not believe anything he sees on the screen and it winds up by the fellow being still unconvinced after he has been sawed in half as a volunteer subject when they ask for somebody to help them perform the trick. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.


RKO Radio 7 mins. Fast Work

Clever ice skating technique, with Donald Duck showing his three little nephews how to play a fast hockey game. First he gives them a solo exhibition, playing two entire teams all by himself, and performing extraordinary feats that have the kids gasping. But when he gets brash, and says he can beat them with his eyes blindfolded, they take the sucker on. And they practically murder him, and run Donald so ragged that he is all in at the close.

May 19, 1939

"PETE-ROLEUM AND HIS COUSINS" (Animated Puppet Film--Commercial)

Joseph Losey 25 mins. Novelty Puppet Technique

Clever novelty sponsored by the Petroleum Industry, the film being designed for showing at the World's Fair primarily. Here is a very ambitious puppet film, done in Technicolor. It seems to open up a new field for the use of flexible puppet characters, three-dimensional sets and a somewhat revolutionary sound system. The story is a phantasy of the oil industry, employing 40 individual characters. These puppets have heads and bodies shaped like oil drops. They are four inches high, and composed of flexible armatures with rubber skin faces that assume any expression desired. Each puppet motion had to be laboriously photographed by the stop-action camera. The average production rate was 15 feet of film a day. The unusual sound system employs two interlocking sound tracks on the screen and in the rear of the auditorium. One sound track represents the voices of the screen characters, while the other delivers the taunts and wisecracks of an audience heckler. Very effective. The action of the phantasy starts with the covered wagon days, and comes down through the different periods to the present streamlined travel in air, on water and land, all showing how the use of oil has smoothed the road of comfort and progress. There is one central character, Pete-Roleum, and he engages in a conversation with the heckling voice from the audience. He and his cousins, under the heckling, quit the earth, which starts to drop back into ruin without the aid of oil in the manifold human activities. Then they return at the pleading of the heckler, who sees his mistake. Here is a film that shows interesting possibilities for some Hollywood producer, an interesting variation on cartoons that seems capable of provoking great public interest. The producer, Joseph Losey, originated the Federal Theater's Living Newspaper series. The sets and puppets were designed by Howard Bay, and they are a distinct advance in technique in their field.

May 24, 1939


RKO Radio 7 mins. Clever

A new shock for Donald Duck, when his Aunt Fanny sends his cousin, Gus Goose, to visit him from the country. Gus is supposed to be very dumb, but he is pretty smart when it comes to food. Gus arrives just at dinner time, and before Donald can protest, he starts gobbling up all the food. He has a clever technique about eating, which is almost an art. The spaghetti he knits into a sock and swallows it before Donald can get a piece. Every time Donald starts to grab some food, Gus beats him to it. The last thing on the table is the plate of green peas, which Gus coaxes to him by playing his flute like an Indian fakir charming a snake. Frantic, Donald chases his cousin out of the house, only to discover him later in the ice box enjoying a cold lunch.

May 31, 1939


Paramount 7 mins. Lively

Adventure on the farm, with Betty getting rid of the scarecrow, at which all the crows invade the place and almost run her off the land. Pudgy the little poodle fights valiantly against them, until he sells Betty the idea of making the scarecrow come to life by getting inside the ragged clothes. Soon the crows are on the run, and all is peace once more. A Max Fleischer cartoon.


Vitaphone 7 mins. Amusing Cartoon

Porky's father sends him to the fairgrounds to buy a load of grain for the farm. Porky stops to listen to a horse auction and, to his amazement, discovers that he has purchased a racehorse which turns out to be an old plug. However, Porky enters the nag in the big race that afternoon and through a number of accidents he wins the race. Produced by Leon Schlesinger.


Paramount 11 mins. Novelties

Nice variety of subjects, starting with a trip through the Fleischer studio in Miami, showing the interesting mechanics in back of the production of "Popeye." Then there is shown a radio-controlled plane, a British invention. Another interesting subject covers a novel school for adults. Modern gadgets for a workshop are very interesting. Done in Cinecolor.

June 1, 1939

"BOLA MOLA LAND" (Lantz Cartoon)

Universal 7 mins. Tourist Fun

Kidding the travel cruises. The ship goes to Bola Mola Land. The journey is made by way of the famous Horn. When the tourists reach their destination, they find the natives all set with steaming kettles for their lunch, but the tourists are going to be the lunch. That ends the tour right there, as the travellers quickly embark on the boat for home. There is a running comment that explains the "travel reel" just like they do in the regular travel pictures.

June 5, 1939


M-G-M 8 mins. Classy Novelty

Real novelty employing the cartoon technique, done in Technicolor. The setting is an art gallery, with a statute of Nero as the central figure. Nero is opposite a painting of ancient Rome, and decided he will do his "fiddling while Rome burns" historical stunt. But he has no matches. He persuades the three celebrated "Hear-see-speak no evil" monks to get the matches from a nearby painting of still life. Nero starts the conflagration, with startling results as the various famous paintings start to burn. Mona Lisa shrieks for help, Venus de Milo gets a hot foot, Winged Victory soars away, and many other figures in classic paintings go through their antics. Very clever, and finely executed from the technical point. Produced by Hugh Harman.

June 19, 1939

"OLD GLORY" (Leon Schlesinger)

Warner Bros. 10 mins. Stirring Entertainment

Leon Schlesinger's "Old Glory," a "Merrie Melodie" subject, the first patriotic cartoon yet screened, is stirring entertainment. Into its 10 minutes it packs much of historical significance--the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere's ride, the Spirit of 1776, the Constitution of the United States, pioneers venturing to the West and an excerpt from President's Lincoln's Gettysburg address. "Porky Pig" rebels at learning the Pledge of Allegiance, but when "Uncle Sam" appears and impresses him with the deeds of the country's early day patriots, "Porky" feels ashamed and hurries to memorize the pledge. Charles M. Jones handled the direction, Robert McKimson animation, John W. Burton technical supervision, Carl W. Stalling musical direction and Milton Franklyn musical arrangements. John W. Deering was the narrator, and the Paul Taylor group was used for the vocal chorus.

June 23, 1939

"POLAR PALS" (Looney Tune Cartoon)

Vitaphone 7 mins. Cool Number

Good Summer subject with the North Pole as the locale. Porky is up there acting as protector of all the wild animals. When the bad hunter comes along and tries to trap them, Porky goes to work with various cunning maneuvers and finally succeeds in getting rid of the hunter pest for good.

June 28, 1939

"NICK'S COFFEE POT" (Terry-Toon)

20th-Century-Fox 7 mins. Lively Action

Bugville attends the opening of Nick's Coffee Pot, which is run in the style of a night club, with floor show and everything. The hero and heroine are a kitchen boy and waitress, and the villain is a spider who kidnaps the girl. This calls for an attack by squadrons of bugs from sea, land and air, and finally the hero single-handed rescues his loved one. Plenty of imaginative action went into this clever cartoon.

"A BULLY ROMANCE" (Terry-Toon)

20th Century-Fox 7 mins. Mexican Love

Gandy the Goose pays a visit to Mexico where he has a grand romance with a beautiful senorita. But her father disapproves, and sics a ferocious bull after the suitor. Forced to play toreador, Gandy is having a tough time, but by skill and cunning manages to get the best of the argument, and win the senorita in spite of dad's opposition.

"HOBO GADGET BAND" (Merrie Melody Cartoon)

Vitaphone 7 mins. Good Number

A bunch of hoboes from a jungle camp hop a freight, and improvise an orchestra show in a box car. They finally hook up with a broadcasting station and are going great guns on the air. But again they hear the whistle of a through freight, and in the midst of signing a nice contract rush off to board the train. Produced by Leon Schlesinger. Story by Jack Miller.
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