Thursday, December 9, 2010

BoxOffice, December 9, 1939

This BoxOffice entry will show no OCR garbling, because I hand transcribed it before the mag disappeared from Issuu, in case I got sick of doing them or was short on time at the end of the year. It also means a photo!

"Pinocchio" Hits On Lincoln's Birthday
New York - "Pinocchio" will probably hit key city first runs to coincide with Lincoln's birthday, February 12. The feature length cartoon is expected to average about five weeks at downtown de luxers with just enough span to reach neighborhoods around Easter, when juvenile trade is particularly heavy."

"Many Openers Are Set on "Gulliver"
New York - Robert H. Gillham, publicity and advertising director for Paramount, returns Monday from Miami where he has spent the last few days on the advance campaign for the opening of "Gulliver's Travels" at the Sheridan, Miami Beach, December 18.
Among the other opening set for the Technicolor animated feature are the Paramount, New York, and Newman, Kansas City, Mo., December 20; Paramount in Los Angeles and San Francisco, a day later; Denham, Denver; Michigan, Detroit; Paramount, Seattle; Palace, Milwaukee; Majestic, Houston, and Alabama, Birmingham, all on December 22. On December 23, the following openings will take place: Uptown, Toronto; Stanley, Philadelphia; Palace, Rochester; Keith's, Syracuse; Penn, Pittsburgh; State, Cleveland; Great Lakes, Buffalo; Fox, Atlanta; Saenger, New Orleans; Malco, Memphis, and Majestic, San Antonio.
The Strand, Providence, premieres December 24, and the Paramount, Miami, and COlony, Miami Beach, Christmas Day. On December 28, the Metropolitan, Boston; Allyn, Hartford; Fox, Spokane; the Des Moines and Roosevelt, Des Moines, and State, Portland, Me. On December 29, the Paramount, SPringfield; Paramount, New Haven; Capitol, Worcester; Rialto, Tacoma; Lyceum, Duluth; Criterion, Oklahoma City; Strand, Scranton; Comerford, Wilkes Barr. On the day before New Year's, the Capitol, Little Rock.

20th C. Fox wants to soak consumers more per ticket for big movies, including Pinocchio and Gulliver's Travels.

p27, photocut
"Meets a Bally -
Jessica Dragonette, who shares the co-starring role with Lanny Ross in "Gulliver's Travels" meets Dave Ballard, eight-foot giant who is ballyhooing the feature-length cartoon."

p30 Jam Handy production supervisor W. Halsey Johnson going to NY from Detroit.

"Swinnerton Does Cartoon Backgrounds With Oils
Three "firsts" have been chalked up by Leon Schlesinger with the launching of "The Mighty Hunters," initialer in a series of one-reel "Canyon Kiddies" technicolor cartoons which he is producing for Warner release.
It is the first time a noted artist has contributed to the manufacture of an animated cartoon. Schlesinger has James Swinnerton, painter and cartoonist, under contract and Swinnerton created the screen characters, collaborated on the story and painted all the backgrounds.
For the first time, authentic natural backgrounds have been incorporated. Swinnerton, director Charles M. Jones and several writers visited the Grand Canyon several months ago to sketch scenery and absorb local color - incidentally, the first location trip ever undertaken by a cartoon unit.
It is the first time oil paintings have ever been used exclusively for background material. Schlesinger believes the solidity, depth and color effects achieved with oil will give the reel the same advantage an oil painting has over a water color."

"George Thomas and Ed Churchill, Paramount studio publicity men, are in town in connection with the exploitation of "Gulliver's Travels." Churchill is accompanyin the life-size figures of Popeye and Gulliver on their nation-wide tour via the air lanes..."

"Ten Ballyhoo Men in Field For "Gulliver's Travels"
Hollywood - Paramount has sent ten men into the field in an exploitation campaign for "Gulliver's Travels," to be released December 22, and the Great Victor Herbert" which hits theaters December 29.
(list of PR guys)
In addition, Rufus Blair, who handles out-of-town contacts for the Paramount publicity department, is swinging around the country and Ed Churchill is touring with a life-sized rubber model of Lemuel Gulliver."

p84: The Harper Theater opens in Detroit; I believe it is now Harpo's

p86: A building built by and named after my great grandfather and his brothers is mentioned

p87: " "Duke" Clark, Paramount branch manager, is running a department store up in his exchange, and all of the articles on display are tieups to exploit "Gulliver's Travels" which is scheduled for Christmas release."

p108: Florida offers tax breaks to film makers; mentioning Gulliver
the following is a separate story:

p108: "Miami's Plans Expand for "Gulliver" Premiere
Miami - Every succeeding day brings news of bigger and more exciting preparations for what will unquestionably be Miami's most significant world premiere the gala presentation of the first all-Miami made full-length Technicolor feature animated cartoon, Max Fleischer's "Gulliver's Travels" at Miami Beach's Sheridan Theatre, December 18.
Flying south for the premiere will be, among other major lights of the theatrical world, Jessica Dragonette and Lanny Ross, whose singing voices are heard as the princess and the prince in this fantasy of the world of Lilliput.
Ted Husing is to be master of ceremonies at the premiere itself and at the big charity ball at the Roney Plaza Hotel which will follow the performance. The ball, being sponsored by the Miami Herald, to swell the funds of its annual "Mile of Dimes" for the local Milk Fund, is the personal brain child of the paper's Miami Beach society editor, Mrs. Helen Rich.
The palm gardens of the big ocean front hotel are being transformed into Lilliputian Land for the premiere ball during which an original sketch by Louis Jambor, the artist who created the whimsical, gay background designs for "Gulliver's Travels" will be auctioned off. Jambor, who is to have a one-man show at the Collins Memorial Library gallery in January, will autograph the sketch and present it personally to the successful bidder.
The particular significance of this premiere hinges on the big question marks in the mind of the entire moving picture world over the boxoffice future of the animated cartoon, not to mention the feasibility of Miami-made motion pictures.
It is expected that the premiere will serve as a springing board for a Florida campaign to lure more animated cartoon studios down here."

Short Subject Reviews

"One Mouse in a Million"
20th Century-Fox (Terry-Toons) 7 Mins.
The fable of the mouse hanging a bell around a cat's neck forms the basis for this cartoon. With the aid of vanishing cream, the mouse succeeds in his venture and is welcomed as a hero. It is only moderately entertaining."

Peace On Earth
MGM 8 Mins.
Cartoons are meant to be gay and diverting. Hugh Harman scores on both points in addition to turning out an entirely relevant and pertinent animated subject in Technicolor. With Christmas marked with warfare in Europe and elsewhere, the cartoon pokes, with sensitivity, a gentle jibe at the stupidity of th human race. The time is Christmas Eve and grandpa rabbit greets his grandchildren with the words: "Peace on earth and good-will to men." The youngsters are curious to know about this creature, man, now extinct. Grandpa proceeds to tell them how wars destroyed them. The tale is summed up when the owl points to the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," and remarks that man was too doggone stupid to follow the rules. Animation is well handled. Here is a short ideally tuned as material for the holiday program."

"A Wicky Wacky Romance
20th Century-Fox (Terry-Toons) 7 Mins.
A diverting bit of cartoon nonesense in Technicolor. Scene is in South Seas where a pirate crew kidnaps the sweetheart of a mouse. A brave lad is the mouse and he single handedly vanquishes the crew and rescues his girl."

"Hour of Shorts
Austin, Tex. - "One Solid Hour of the Season's Best Short Subjects" ws emblazoned across the Capitol front and also in newspaper ads in connection with the showing of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." Shorts were a "March of Time," a Ted Husing Spotlight, a Popeye cartoon, a Merrie Melodie, and an Our Gang comedy."


  1. "It is expected that the premiere will serve as a springing board for a Florida campaign to lure more animated cartoon studios down here."
    Guess that didn't pan out too well.

  2. It is the first time oil paintings have ever been used exclusively for background material. Schlesinger believes the solidity, depth and color effects achieved with oil will give the reel the same advantage an oil painting has over a water color."

    I will agree on that -- the oil backgrounds used in the Schlesinger color cartoons in 1940-41 really are unique and beautiful to look at, especially the restored Technicolor versions on the Golden Collections and the WHV Academy Award DVD.

  3. I was thinking in terms of the Fleischer studio eventually going bust. But yeah I guess Disney would count as a big deal in Florida. But that wasn't until much later. Is the Florida studio still in operation? I thought they closed it down.