Wednesday, September 29, 2010

125 Hook, Line and Sinker

Title: Hook, Line and Sinker
Studio: Terry
Date: 9/28/39
Story by
John Foster
Directed by
Eddie Donnelly
Music by
Philip A. Scheib
Series: Terry-toons
Running time (of viewed version): 6:40

Synopsis: Gandy and Sourpuss fish separately, Sourpuss does poorly, they team up, and it ends better for Gandy.

Comments: Title over animated water. Gandy plus Sourpuss. Pleasantly colorful. I wonder why the comics made Sourpuss rotten green. Sourpuss's boat rocks, but he stays stock still. Use of gun to encourage worm to go to the hook. Instead of having an effects lens, they seem to have animated the fish in a wavy manner at times. Many are the worm cartoons, few are the gags. Whales are a sailor's natural enemy and must be destroyed. Both the whale and Gandy betray mechanical attributes. Some active camerawork in the whale. It's surprising that the cartoon doesn't end when Gandy dumps the fish. Also surprising: it's not named Hook, Line and Stinker. The music toots right along. The images read well against the grey sky.

Monday, September 27, 2010

124 Land of the Midnight Fun

Title: Land of the Midnight Fun
Studio: Warner Bros.
Date: 9/23/39
Fred Avery
Story by
Melvin Millar
Charles McKimson
Musical Direction
Carl W. Stalling
Series: Merrie Melodies
Running time (of viewed version): 7:59

Synopsis: Travelogue of Alaska, Tex Avery style.

Comments: Second Schlesinger release of the day. The title itself is an establishing background pan (tho the cartoon proper starts in a different locale). Background pan of the ship to a sign gag. I'm not sure, but I think the limp woo-woo of the "little ferry boat" is an orientation joke (ferry being a homophone for fairy, fairy being a homonym for homosexual). So many boat trip cartoons. Salmon is canned, but tuna is not; I think this must be a significant difference in what was in grocery stores between 1939 and now. Joke about LA expanding to really really far away. Swanee River shows up. Also Jingle Bells. "Penguins live entirely on fish"; they also don't live in Alaska. Brass Monkey Club; I should look up brass monkey in a non-Beastie Boys context (later note: there was a saying "cold enough to freeze the tail(whiskers/ears/balls/etc.) off a brass monkey" that had been in use). The eskimo nightclub bit is the clearest precursor to Tex's Red Hot Riding Hood so far this year with its pretty spotlight performance and almost rotoscoped look, tho it's skating (and like Bjork). The cartoon ends with the ship balanced on the Trylon of the New York World's Fair. There's a shot of the rest of the fairgrounds, but I think the bottom of the shot is cut off inappropriately in the viewed print. These travelogue cartoons go with the spirit of the age; it's the step to ditching not just a title character for most of a cartoon, but all characters for most of the cartoon. I don't get the timber wolf joke; he keeps yelling timber and pointing at a tree and cracking himself up, and maybe it's supposed to be funny enough just based on the name. Blatant reuse of animation in reverse (but they re-did effects like ripples to make sense, unlike some studios we could mention).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BoxOffice, September 23, 1939

BoxOffice, September 23, 1939

p. after 17: "Gulliver's

Pinnochio— Walt

Travels Feature length ducpd by Max Fleischer for Par Disney's second

cartoon for"

one page after 40-G: "Several S-W managers are slinging together a batch of Popeye cartoons as "Popeye Follies," and using them as a kiddy attraction "

p41?: "The board of directors of the Society of Motion Picture Film Editors has rejected requests by various independent producers that the established wage scales be reduced in certain instances. The oris preparing to open negotiawith Walt Disney on a working agreement for members of that craft working at the cartoon plant. Screen Cartoon Guild has called a mass meeting for October 2 to vote on a proposal that the group affiliate with a na-"

"Its executive tional labor organization. board has approved plans to apply for a charter in the international studio paint-

The ers local. prises some 350,


SCG membership com-

workers at the Leon Walter Lantz, Charles Katz

and M-G-M cartoon plants. Negotiations by the Screen Readers Guild for a producer bargaining agreement still are snagged over certain clauses in the suggested contract."

one after 47A: "Film notables are marshaling plans to a Children's Aid benefit, to be "Gardenia Gala," lohich tvill be staged at the Biltmore Boiul, September 30 with Mrs. John Nelson James in charge. Patrons and patronesses from the screen colony include the Mischa Auers, Bing and Dixie Crosby, Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney, Preston Foster, Wallace Ford, Al Green, Marjorie Gateson. Mr. and Mrs. Rowland V. Lee, Peter Milne, Robert Taylor and"

p66? "Miss Neagle is as fine as the character she depicts in "Nurse Edith Cavell" (Pronounced "Cavell" as in "cavalcade" not "Cavell" as in "Veil, Vot do you want?"). She was sweet to everyone, including Dick

Calkins, Buck Rogers cartoonist who had crashed the party and wasn't too sober."

p86? "Perhaps it was because he had dictated so many 'steen thousands of words about "Gulliver's Travels." or perhaps became he has not yet been acclimated to Miami's cool nights, or perhaps from the sheer excitement attendant upon the whirl of activities at the Max Fleischer studios where that full-length Technicolor animated cartoon

being rushed for holiday release it was, Walter E. Bradfield,

who has been sent on to the studios here from Paramount offices in Hollywood to supervise the publicity and exploitation for Gulliver, has been confined to his home with a rather painful throat affliction. He

back at his desk, this week, however."

"Eldon Peak, M-G-M office manager, never misses a screening of his company's



p105; Shorts in review is a Lantz fest:

Begins for Andy Panda

(Lantz Cartune)

8^2 Mins.


The Pandas have a son and they name him Andy. Andy is cute, but unfortunately the cartoon fails to project its main

character with any degree of originality of humor. Most of the action concerns itself with Andy's attempts to learn what goes on in the outside world and his adventures with the panda himters."

"Snuffy's Party


(Lantz Cartune)




This cartoon depicting Snuffy Skunk's birthday party, gas masks and all, is below average. Snuffy saves his guests when the dam breaks and then is welcomed to

his own


"Silly Superstition

7 Mins. (Lantz Cartune) Little Blackball tries to convince his dog that it is foolish to be superstitious even though it is Friday the thirteenth. What


meagre program"
(total guess on what to include near the end)

Friday, September 24, 2010

123 Jeepers Creepers

Title: Jeepers Creepers
Studio: Warner Bros.
Date: 9/23/39
Robert Clampett
Vive Risto
Story by
Ernest Gee
Musical Direction
Carl W. Stalling
Series: Looney Tunes
Running time (of viewed version): 8:43

Synopsis: Porky the cop investigates haunted house.

Comments: The tune Jeepers Creepers plays over the title. Establishing background shot, slowly zooms in, cross fades to another background, with sign gags. Cross fades to silhouette shot. It's almost like a checklist of things they had to include. More silhouettes. Another establishing exterior background pan with a "funny" sign and a slow zoom in, followed by a slower shot of the building exterior ith another zoom. Lots of strange quick camera moves with the crazy howling. Colvig-esque ghost voice, but I'm not sure it's him; at least his "come in" sounds like Mel Blanc. Ghost with its bad posture and big butt looks like a shmoo with arms. Nice spiral staircase. The ghost is the main character, not Porky, but he's still in plenty f the picture. Ends with a blackface gag. The bats look strangely Iwerks or Messmer like. Porky's fear takes are ineffective. There are many spirals in the episode.