I’m a big fan of theatrical cartoon posters from the golden age of cartoons. While doing some research last week I stumbled onto the online archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and found that they had posted their holdings of Columbia Color Rhapsody posters. To save you some time, I’ve posted a group of them here (in somewhat alphabetical order below – the ones above are from the three Tito and his Burrito cartoons). You can’t click to enlarge – this is the size they have them online – but we can still see the images and title cards (one benefit of these posters is that the individual title treatments were lifted from the original titles – of which many are now lost).
The Academy doesn’t have all the Rhapsodies, but these 30 stock sheets are fascinating unto themselves. The use of a stock poster to publicize cartoon shorts (as well as serials and newsreels, etc.) was not new or unique to Columbia Pictures. Creating a colorful border and printing the center space with a black & white (or duotone) “snipe” allowed the studio to ballyhoo each subject – while saving a bundle over the previous route of painting a new publicity image for each cartoon.
The juxtaposition of the title and a scene from the film makes the cartoons seem more exciting than they actually are. Note there are a couple of rare titles amongst the Academy’s cache: There’s Something About A Soldier and Rippling Romance are two I’m personally dying to see. Most of these cartoons are currently being telecast as part of Antenna TV’s Totally Tooned In, weekend mornings at 9am EST/6am PST.