Animation History
May 29, 2017 posted by Jerry Beck

Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1954

It’s now 1954 and CinemaScope, VistaVision and wide rectangular screen ratios have become the new normal. Mr. Magoo is also the ‘new thing’ on the screen, from the hottest cartoon studio in town, UPA. Embracing the ‘new’ was important to Hollywood in retaliation from the competition of television. TV might be free, but it was in black and white, was small screen, had bad reception and limited entertainment choices. “Movies Are Your Best Entertainment” was the new catch phrase – and the nominees and winner in this category reflected the bounty of entertainment now available at your local movie house.

And thus we continue our research into what cartoons were submitted to the Academy for Oscar consideration but failed to make the cut. This week:

1954

The actual nominees were…

CRAZY MIXED-UP PUP (Lantz) Tex Avery
PIGS IS PIGS (Disney) Jack Kinney
SANDY CLAWS (Warner Bros.) Friz Freleng
TOUCHE PUSSY CAT (MGM) Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera

And the Oscar went to…

WHEN MAGOO FLEW (UPA) Pete Burness


However – submitted, screened, but NOT nominated were:

Academy_Award_trophy175GRAND CANYONSCOPE (Disney) Charles Nichols
TARA THE STONECUTTER (Mayfair Pictures) John Wilson
FIDO BETA KAPPA (Paramount/Famous Studios) I. Sparber
FRIGHT TO THE FINISH (Paramount/Famous Studios) Seymour Kneitel
CASPER GENIE (Paramount/Famous Studios) Seymour Kneitel
RAIL RODENTS (Paramount/Famous Studios) Dave Tendlar
PIZZICATO PUSSYCAT (Warner Bros.) Friz Freleng
BEWITCHED BUNNY (Warner Bros.) Chuck Jones

Here’s the documentation:

Once again an overload of Famous Studios entries – Popeye, Casper, Herman and Katnip, and a Noveltoon – each of which seems a bit out of step with the times. Two good Warner Bros. cartoons, either of which could be interchangeable with the actual selected Warner nominee. A visually spectacular Donald Duck and an arty independent film from John Wilson.

With these posts we ask that you put yourself in the place of the members of the shorts committee – which films would you have nominated? Which cartoon should have won? For your edification and viewing pleasure, here are the cartoons that didn’t make the cut (unfortunately not all of them are online – we will update this post when complete intact copies appear). Enjoy the show!


GRAND CANYONSCOPE (Disney) Charles Nichols

Number #4 on my personal list of “top ten” 1950s CinemaScope cartoons. My criteria is based on how well the wide screen is used (the others on my list are #1 Toot Whistle, #2 Juggler Of Our Lady, and #3 Flebus). The concept here was to place little Donald in a huge location; to use the space to have Donald move around a large proscenium (what’s bigger than the Grand Canyon?). This cartoon was designed to be viewed on a VERY large theatre screen – this You Tube embed, or even your home flat screen, does not demonstrate the desired effect. I ran this film once (in 35mm Tech/Scope) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and it blew the audience away… None of the subsequent Donald Duck cartoons in Scope are as special as this one. And the cartoon earns extra points for the “Spread out folks; This is CinemaScope” gag.


TARA THE STONECUTTER (Mayfair Pictures)

This film isn’t online and I’m not quite sure yet how to see it (but I will continue to pursue it and will post it here if I ever find it). Michael Sporn wrote an outstanding post about its director John Wilson and Tara The Stonecutter, illustrated with beautiful storyboard art. This was Wilson’s first independent short. Based on a Japanese folk-tale, it’s about a poor Japanese stonecutter who wishes to be greater than he is. He is granted his wishes to be emperor – and, later, the sun(!), a cloud and a mountain. He soon learns that being a stone cutter is the greatest thing he can be. Wilson had, before this film, worked for Disney, UPA and with David Hand in England. He would go on to greater glories, including directing the feature Shinbone Alley, early animated music videos, and the opening titles for Grease. Look forward to seeing this short at some point.


FIDO BETA KAPPA (Paramount/Famous Studios) I. Sparber

This was one of Famous Studios first attempts to stylize the look of their cartoons – with a theory to just slightly simplify the background art, and let Irv Spector (and/or Al Eugster) loose to create those angular shaped character designs. I’m sure the studio was quite proud of this one, and though the film has a clever idea about a dog becoming smarter than his master – it suffers from the usual lead-footed direction. “Martin Kanine” (his name a take-off from a popular radio and TV series, Martin Kane, Private Eye) could be a funny character, perhaps, but this is his one and only appearance. The last gag, about lightning striking twice, is pretty good – but not strong enough to sway the Shorts Committee.

Click Here to see an early story board for this cartoon by Irv Spector.


FRIGHT TO THE FINISH (Paramount/Famous Studios) Seymour Kneitel

In an era when Famous Studios is profiting off a friendly ghost – they have the cojones to make a cartoon about actual spooky spirits, hobgoblins and the living dead. Well sort-of. Any cartoon that displays one of the basic laws of cartoon physics – that ladies “vanishing cream” actually makes one invisible – is allright in my book. Essentially a remake of Fleischer’s Ghosks Is The Bunk (1939), but nowhere as good, this is a typical entry in the 1954 releases – and reminder that Popeye was still (along with Bugs Bunny and Mr. Magoo) a huge star among the short subject players. Popeye’s 20th Anniversary might have been my pick to submit to the Academy, but as Popeye says in conclusion, “Loves them ghosks!”


CASPER GENIE (Paramount/Famous Studios) Seymour Kneitel

In a desperate attempt to obtain a friend, Casper pretends to be Aladdin’s Genie and grant wishes to a spoiled brat – who wishes for ice cream, toys, a flying carpet… and that’s just for starters. Luckily (for us) the brat is kidnapped by a “crook”, Bert The Burglar (with his stereotypical bandit mask, voiced by Sid Raymond). Casper almost gets to sleep with Little Billy in the end – but the joke’s on him and the ghost is last seen contemplating spending eternity in a gas lamp (were people still using these in 1954?). An even more burning question: Is that a caricature of Izzy Sparber at the beginning of the cartoon, as the head of the “Friendship Club”?


RAIL RODENTS (Paramount/Famous Studios) Dave Tendlar

Herman and Katnip are railroad tramps who chase each other all over a moving locomotive. Among the indignities the poor hungry cat faces at the hands of the silent psychopathic mouse: he’s squirted in the eye from a novelty diamond ring, then internally flushed out with gallons of water; smacked by a wrecking ball into the refrigerator car, where, entombed in a block of ice, he’s chopped into dozens of tiny ice cubes; and shot via long-range military cannon to the North Pole. Arnold Stang is sorely missed (possibly out in Hollywood shooting The Man with The Golden Arm?). No ‘golden guy’ for Herman & Katnip. Watching these back-to-back with the latest Tom & Jerry, the Academy voters could more appreciate the skill and humor of the MGM series… Touche Pussy Cat must have seemed like an animation masterpiece next to this.


PIZZICATO PUSSYCAT (Warner Bros.) Friz Freleng

UPA influenced Warner Bros. Cartoon – not just by the stylized graphics (which I love) but the story itself, about a modern couple (you can tell they’re modern – they have a TV set) who have a house cat who can play the piano (actually performed by a near-sighted mouse). It’s a variation on the Baby Weems, Gerald McBoing Boing concept, by way of Johann Mouse, filtered through a Freleng lens. Not bad.

(Click lobby card below to watch the cartoon on Vimeo)


BEWITCHED BUNNY (Warner Bros.) Chuck Jones

Though I prefer the follow-up film, Broomstick Bunny (1956), this one has a lot to offer… first and foremost the introduction of Jones’ Witch Hazel (Bea Benaderet) and the incredible art direction by Maurice Noble (and Phil DeGuard backgrounds). Bugs attempts to rescue Hansel and Gretel (“Hansel?”) from the clutches of the witch – and a beautiful relationship ensues. The unfortunately sexist final line (“…but aren’t they all witches inside?”) taints the film for contemporary audiences, but a good cartoon, in a great year, for the Warner Bros. studio.


The earlier posts in this series: 1948, 1951, 1952 and 1953.

45 Comments

  • You gotta admire Paramount’s optimism, although I wonder if they really believed any of these had a chance..

    I’ve noticed in these posts that 20th Century-Fox wasn’t bothering to kid themselves that any of their Terrytoons was Oscar worthy.

    Maybe years of familiarity with the character and far too much repetition of the near-sightedness gags have blunted his impact, but looking back at the cartoons now, it’s hard to see what the big deal was about Mr. Magoo.

    • Some cartoon characters are better seen once in a while – not grouped in a box set or regularly on a half hour series. Sometimes the movie theatre is just the right place for such a character – in short bursts, once a year. It’s easy to watch ten Bugs Bunny cartoons in a row – but can you seriously tolerate watching ten Road Runners back-to-back?

      I have always felt this about certain classic theatrical characters – The Road Runner, Mr. Magoo and The Pink Panther, among others. I feel this way because I am old enough to have experienced seeing these characters first hand, first run in theaters back in the day.

      I still recall the actual laughs of adult audiences to the antics of Magoo, the asides by Jim Backus, the modern graphics of UPA dazzling the screen for seven minutes. Taken in short bursts, these cartoons were delightful and very much appreciated at the time, in their proper original presentation. They were new and felt special.

      It’s hard for people today to imagine how well DePatie Freleng cartoons were accepted in theaters (at least, back in the 1960s). Try to view classic cartoons in the context of their times – not from this post, or off You Tube, or on Boomerang. If you haven’t seen BOO MOON in 3D, or GRAND CANYONSCOPE on a large, wide CinemaScope screen you are NOT seeing them as originally intended or presented – and “hard to see what the big deal was about”.

    • One thing for sure – you won’t get nominated if you don’t submit. Maybe Paramount wants to know how many secret Herman and Katnip fans are lurking in the Academy. Even in a strong field, sometimes weird things can happen!

    • It’s hard for people today to imagine how well DePatie Freleng cartoons were accepted in theaters (at least, back in the 1960s).

      I’ve always liked a lot of the DePatie-Freleng cartoons, at least those from the first few years. Leonard Maltin blew off the bulk of the studio’s output in one sentence (“Unfortunately, the quality of these shorts went straight downhill after the first year, and their always-pleasing graphic design could barely make up for the labored attempts at comedy.”) in OF MICE AND MAGIC, which I thought was kind of unfair. I just reread the book, which is why I remembered that. Actually, Maltin is pretty hard on a lot of animated shorts. He has practically nothing good to say about anything from Famous, for example. Neither are there kind words for much that came out of the Van Buren, UB Iwerks, Columbia and Paul Terry studios. Like Mike Barrier, he pretty much dotes on Disney, Warner and MGM and blows off the rest. Critic first, fan second, I guess.

      I think the reputation of the Magoo cartoons suffers from the theatricals being so hard to see for many, many years, while those godawful made-for-TV Magoo cartoons from the early ’60s were way too easy to see.

      I agree about some cartoon characters being better seen in short doses. I noticed this on some of the Warner cartoon DVD sets. It was never intended that human beings should try to watch every Pepe LePew cartoon, one after the other, in a single evening. Madness lies there.

      I’ve wondered if audiences back in the day, catching a series cartoon here and there, every few months, in theaters were less aware of some of the repetition in the old cartoons that we’re very aware of today. Growing up seeing them on TV everyday, we are all too familiar with how similar the Famous cartoons are to each other. But audiences in the 1950s, catching a Baby Huey or Casper cartoon just every now and then, months apart, may not have been as aware of what is way too obvious to us now.

      Here where I live there’s a theater that, for quite a few years now, has run a classic movie (30s-50s) on Sunday afternoons. They almost always precede the feature with a cartoon. It’s nice to see them on a theater screen, where they belong, with an appreciative audience. It’s a very different experience than watching them alone in your living room on your TV screen. A lot of cartoons that are “meh” in the latter environment come to life on the big screen with a live audience watching.

    • To be honest, I thought this was one of the best Magoo shorts (you got to love the fact that he asked the stewardess at the end why they didn’t show “those cartoons with that near-sighted fellow”) and can see why that won.

  • Maybe we’re a little too sensitive these days. The final line of “Bewitched Bunny” seems more like friendly ribbing than genuine sexism, but others may disagree. Both Warner entries are more interesting than the one chosen – a routine Tweety and Sylvester. The Donald cartoon may be the liveliest thing Charles Nichols ever directed, and deserved a nom. As for the toons that made the cut, “Crazy Mixed Up Pup” would be my choice. Give Tex some Oscar-lovin’ (even though Lantz would get the statue.).

    • True story: a woman in Canada sued Warner Bros, accusing them of sexism because of that line (“Ah Sure , I know. But aren’t they all witches inside?”). Luckily the lawsuit was thrown out of court – but as the say. the damage was done. The final scene was since edited out and relooped on later broadcasts – Bugs saying “Sure Uh, I know. But after all, who wants to be alone on Halloween?”

      But luckily the original version is still being shown in Canada on Teletoon Retro uncensored (most recently in 2015). I don’t know if Boomerang is showing the censored or uncensored version of Bewitched Bunny (its last broadcast on Cartoon Network was on October 3rd, 2004).

    • Back in the 70s, I saw “Bewitched Bunny” in a big college hall as part of a Chuck Jones night. When that joke came, there were laughs, followed by some boos, which triggered more laughs and a lot of adolescent sound effects. It’s such a cheesy, cocktail-napkin line I think it plays more ironic than sexist. One could argue that “Broomstick Bunny” is worse, with a suddenly sexy witch fleeing from a horny genie.

      The biggest laugh that night, hands down, was in “Feed the Kitty”. When the dog thinks his little kitten has been baked into a cookie, he’s posed in the door with a magnificently tragic face. Audience laughed and “awwwwed” at the same time. Then the lady offers a kitten-shaped cookie and his lower lip begins to tremble. It brought down the house.

  • I’m still at a loss why Arnold Stang is absent for a number of the Herman & Katnip cartoons (“Of Mice and Menace”, “Rail-Rodents”, “Robin Rodenthood”, “A Bicep Built for Two”), but it’s not because of “Man with the Golden Arm”. As you well-know, the cartoons were recorded up to two years before the actual release, so the movie didn’t conflict with those particular cartoons’ recordings.

    I was convinced earlier that a Bugs Bunny cartoon never took home the Oscar until 1958 because the cartoons were almost never submitted, but I’ve been proven wrong by these posts. I guess the Academy really was that stupid.

  • Pizzicato Pussycat was unique because of its choice of musical numbers including Waltz Op. 64 No 1 in D Flat Minor aka The Minute Waltz by Fredric Chopin, Libeststram No 3 by Franz Listz – and Crazy Rhythm by Meyer & Kahn and a very jazzy version too which reminds me of the style of the late George Shearing

    And to note: Casper Genie was the final appearance of Little Billy the young toddler boy who for some unknown reason wasn’t afraid of Casper.

    • Casper Genie was the final appearance of Little Billy the young toddler boy who for some unknown reason wasn’t afraid of Casper.

      I always took it that Billy (like all those small animals Casper befriended) was just supposed to be too young to realize that Casper was a ghost.

    • Billy actually had one last hurrah, in 1956’s “Line of Screamage”. We’ll see in two weeks if Famous put that one up for an Oscar…

    • It seems that Stan Freberg was the cat or mouse, or both, if Mel Blanc (who was credited and IS recognizable as the voice of the master and minor music agents/critics) wasn’t. (The mistress is Marion Richman and narrator Norm Nesbitt). Very good cartoon. And unique for the same reasons you mention, Bigg3469.

  • This is actually a fairly consistent list when comparing the quality level of the cartoons nominate to the ones not selected by the Academy. Famous again submitted too many, but just keep ‘Fido Beta Kappa’ on the list and flip it and the others not chosen with the ones that were selected, and in terms of quality there really wouldn’t be that much of a difference.

    And I agree if that was done, “Grand Canyonscope” would have been my pick for the Oscar (and the cartoon where ‘C. August Nichols’ gets to finally indulge in the kind of pure Warners-style nothing-cute-about-it comedy that only Jack Kinney had done previously in the 1940s and which Jack Hannah was only dipping a toe into in the early 50s, while Walt was off building Disneyland).

  • Once again Paul Terry didn’t summit any of his Terrytoons for consideration for Best Animated short in 1954.

    If it were up to me, here’s what I would have suggested to Terry to enter:

    Spare the Rod – starring Mighty Mouse, who is was asked by the parents of Mouseville to intervene and stop a gang of juvenile delinquents from terrorizing the town.

    How To Relax – starring Dimwit Dog in a take-off (rip-off?) on the Disney’s How To series that starred Goofy (as “George Geef”).

    And Blue Plate Symphony – starring Heckle and Jeckle as the owners of a diner dealing with a couple of crooks who try to rob them.

  • “Grand Canyonscope” and “Pizzicato Pussycat” are both great cartoons. They should have been nominated. I’m surprised that they along with “Fright to the Finish” and “Bewitched Bunny” were considered.

    By the way, Jerry, you and Leonard Maltin did the audio commentary for “Grand Canyonscope” on one of the Donald Duck DVDs.

    • Thanks for letting me know. 😉

  • Had a 16mm print of TARA THE STONECUTTER for years, getting rid of it only recently. Very nice.

    The whole Famous-submitting-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink thing raises a couple of questions. Who actually made the choice of submissions at the studio? Were there fees and/or expenses involved with each submission? Having been involved with both sides of award programs in the advertising/public relations world, I can attest there’s a lot of internal politics in play… and the actual creators and management ALWAYS have different ideas on what is award worthy.

    And, after all, FIDO BETA KAPPA is a big step up from those oh-so-square sing-along cartoons!

  • I saw “Chips Ahoy” on the big screen at Radio City Music Hall when Disney released “The Black Cauldron.” The short was fantastic on that huge screen! It made the feature seem very trivial. And maybe it is anyhow.

    • For some reason, I keep thinking Chips Ahoy, one of Jack Kinney’s two cartoons with Chip n’ Dale”, was nominated for an “Academy Award”. Apparently, it wasn’t nor was sent to be nominated. I don’t know why I thought it was nominated. Perhaps, maybe because the short was adapted into a Golden Book (with the chipmunks returning Donald’s model ship back in the bottle at the end).

      And I have to say, seeing all these Disney shorts that either were nominated or not makes me yearn for a “100 Greatest Disney Shorts” book. If the Warner shorts can have one, why not Disney?

  • After seeing “Pizzicato Pusssy Cat”, there was a question: Would Pixar have been inspired by this short to make “Ratatouille”? If anyone at Warner now had the idea of making this animated short in a feature film, some unsuspecting would say it’s almost a copy of the Pixar movie …

  • Stang had also been in LA in ’54 for the final, once-every-three-weeks, season of The Milton Berle Show. But, again, that would have been after this film’s soundtrack was recorded.

    • Actually, that could account for the other cartoons sans Stang (in which Allen Swift voices Herman), absolutely.

  • Guess that little cackle that Bea Benaderet did in the end of Bewitched Bunny (June Foray, who did the original voice of Witch Hazel in Disney’s Trick or Treat wasn’t available at the time – but later returned to do her voice in Broom-Stick Bunny ) inspired her to do the cute whimsical laugh of Betty Rubble in The Flintstones six years later.

    • She used the Betty laugh on radio when she worked for Jack Benny.
      And it wasn’t that Foray “wasn’t available.” She hadn’t been hired at Warners yet.

    • Bea Benadaret’s little “hen” cackle @the beginning of “Of Rice and hen” from 1953 regsarding her own Miss Prossy the hen was my giveaway of it being Bea and n ot June or Mel. BTW Yowp, thanls for confirming my belief that June wasn’t at WB yet, I’ve heard she was in the 1943 Jones short “The Unbearable Bear” (not one of his Three Bears shorts which weren’t even being done yet), that Bea Benaderet was the sleepwalking bear in that one.

      For “Pizzicato Pussycat”, Norman Nesbitt narrates, and Mel Blanc (toiday’s his 109th birthday RIP)and Marian Richman play the couple also seen (with no credits) in “Goo Goo GOliath”…The cat and erudite, piano playing mouse have voices that m,ake me totally uncertain whether Mel Blanc or Stan Freberg are playing both but it seems to be one person playing both roles..

      Finally I LOVE “Pigs is Pigs”{..regarding another person’s comment….) That is dang funny..

    • PS And as you may have guessed, “Of Rice and Hen” has Bea doing the Betty Rubble voice..

  • I became friends with John Wilson when I lived in LA. He was a real gentleman, his opinions were very well informed and sophisticated and the British accent didn’t hurt. I would also love to see Tara The Stonecutter.

    • Plenty of his work needs to be seen!

  • I will have to check out “GRAND CANYONSCOPE” on DVD; I would imagine that it is located on the fourth and final DONALD DUCK volume within the WALT DISNEY TREASURES series, but I wonder if it was released with its full stereo sound intact…and, hopefully, someday, we will have a full stereo, cinemascope copy of “TOUCHE PUSSYCAT” in our collection, although I wish I’d actually seen it this way on the big screen.

  • Dang, Jerry! I would have loved to have seen “GrandCanyonscope” on the big screen. Disney himself was losing interest in shorts at the time it was made, but his artists and writers sure knew how to use color and design and humor while utilizing the latest technology. Great cartoon, and well deserved a nomination over “Pigs is Pigs.” Let me know if you ever have the opportunity to screen it again.
    I had to watch “When Magoo Flew” again since I haven’t seen it in decades. That’s a pretty damn funny cartoon, too. Magoo was a limited character, but when he was good he was really good.
    Even a so-so Warner’s cartoon is always entertaining.
    I have no comment on the Famous Studios cartoons. Many love them, but I never cared for them. I have never seen one that made me laugh out loud, or laugh at all for that matter.

  • OK – I do have something to say about the Famous cartoons. Winston Sharples was one of the great cartoon composers. But their “humor” was basically Punch and Judy – unlikeable characters beating on each other. Especially “Herman and Katnip.” They (to me anyway) are the anti-“Tom and Jerry.” The dynamic between Tom and Jerry was that Tom was very smart, but Jerry was often a little bit smarter. Their battles were battles of wits. Whereas Katnip was merely stupid and cruel, and Herman was just cruel. My 2 cents.

    • Paramount’s best cartoons of the 1950s for the most part were their one-shot cartoons, particularly the ones with Irv Spector as story man. That pretty much fell apart in 1960, after the studio sold all the character rights to Harvey and all the cartoons were pretty much one-shot efforts or tepid attempts to develop new stars

  • In regards to earlier discussions of seeing Mr. Magoo and other characters “in mass” versus by themselves in theaters with a feature, sometimes the feature and accompanying live-action shorts and newsreels may have also made a difference. Although none of the DePatie-Freleng Inspector cartoons got nominated in the sixties like the Pink Panther, they were probably more popular in their day than today thanks to United Artists booking them with 007. (The first entry in the Inspector, for example, was shown alongside THUNDERBALL.) In 1954, Paramount was having a better than average year: only 17 features in release but these included KNOCK ON WOOD, THE NAKED JUNGLE, WHITE CHRISTMAS (in glorious VistaVision), SABRINA, REAR WINDOW and THE COUNTRY GIRL, so the Famous product certainly got all the promotion it needed. This may also explain why the Terrytoons kept chugging away despite lacking Academy love at this time, although Darryl Zanuck was apparently annoyed at how reluctant Paul Terry was to utilize CinemaScope (i.e. TOOT, WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM was shown with HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE as a personal favor from Walt Disney, in addition to Fox’s live-action ‘scope short-subject CORONATION PARADE showing Queen Elizabeth).

    Apparently GRAND CANYONSCOPE made it alongside 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, so I am sure it was the most popular Donald Duck release in late ’54 and early ’55. Although YOUNG AT HEART may not have been either Frank Sinatra’s or Doris Day’s biggest hit, PIZZICATO PUSSYCAT certainly didn’t suffer shown with it in addition to Robert Youngson’s latest A BIT OF THE BEST (taking on the history of Rin Tin Tin in the latest of his enormously popular nostalgic reels even if this one didn’t make the cut like THIS MECHANICAL AGE). I am sure BEWITCHED BUNNY didn’t need much help and could stand on its own, since the accompanying “Sports Parade” short GI HOLIDAY and feature RING OF FEAR were not among Warner’s finest. They also, of course, changed cartoons for features being held over in theaters by popular demand, since nothing was written in stone. I just going by initial runs.

    • Any discussion of a cartoons performance or popularity in regards to what feature it was shown with is not a valid point.

      It’s important to note that with VERY few exceptions (mainly a few Disney films), animated cartoons were NEVER officially paired with ANY specific features – prior to 1987. They also weren’t exclusively shown with same studio features after first run engagements.

    • When i was young, we didn’t go to movies often. Usually,it was Elvis pictures (on which both my mother and my grandmother doted), and usually it was at a drive-in theater.

      I don’t remember a lot of the cartoons I might have seen in these presentations. I do remember that when I myself went to see “The Silencers” (a Columbia release), the cartoon was a Warner Bros. one–one with the new “modular” opening. It might have been one of the Format Films “Road Runner” shorts, but I can’t for the life o’me remember which.

      I remember seeing at least one “Woody Woodpecker” short at a drive-in, but I can’t remember what the short–or the feature–was.

      And I remember going to a Christmas Day “Cartoon Carnival” type of presentation at our small-town theater, and seeing “Parley-Voo Woo”, a very late Paramount “Popeye” short. What I had remembered was that i had only recently seen it on Tom Hatten’s “Pier 5 Club” on KTLA (5).

      It’s just as well that I didn’t go to any 20th.Century-Fox films–and have Luno flying right between my eyes! I’d have probably been spooked right out of my gourd!

    • Well… in the seventies, I remember Disney cartoons intermixed with Three Stooges in theater matinees. Yet this was long after the “golden age”.

    • In case I have gone too far off topic (as I have a few times before by bringing in all of the “live-action stuff”), I should apologize. Just go ahead and remove my post if necessary. Just to be clear, I am not trying to make any points or prove anything… at least it wasn’t my intention. Just speculating on history that I played no part of. Do not have a time machine to go back and see what was really going on with Academy voters, theater patrons and audiences of the day.

  • This film isn’t online and I’m not quite sure yet how to see it (but I will continue to pursue it and will post it here if I ever find it).

    John Wilson’s work seems to be VERY elusive to find anywhere, it’s quite a shame too since it seems like he’s one of those guys who you think really needs to be re-appreciated for the efforts he made in animation history. He just kinda fell through the cracks. Such a shame after his passing, nobody has come forward with an interest to releasing this material at all such as on BluRay.

  • Wait a minute… what’s up with that dialogue in “Grand CanyonScope” where the Indians are referred to as ‘Americans’ – ?? Has that been dubbed in more recently, to satisfy the PC crowd? Or was that REALLY what was on the cartoon’s soundtrack in 1954?? Someone please enlighten me!

  • The music at the end of Pizzicato Pussycat almost sounds Brubeck-ish. Wonder who played the piano for it.

  • Hey, which cartoons were Oscar worthy back in 1939?

    • Hopefully I’ll be able to retrieve the 1939 paperwork one day. It took years (and connections at the Academy) to find the documentation we have.

      I have 1951 to the present. Aside from 1949, the earlier years are much harder to research… but, as an optimist, I hope we will acquire this information in the near future.

  • hum, according to google there seems to be quite few stonecutters films out there, but none, of them
    seems to be exact film mentioned above.

    https://www.google.is/search?q=the+Stonecutter&newwindow=1&tbm=vid&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC17ixr_3UAhVSUlAKHVC_CzgQ_AUICygC&biw=1024&bih=506&dpr=1.88

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