Animation History
November 2, 2015 posted by Jerry Beck

Paramount Cartoons 1963-64

Paramount-shorts63-64

Something new has been added. The Comic Kings are out and Swifty and Shorty have been added to the mix. The question is: Why?

Why nine cartoons (an odd number)? Why the sudden boost in the number of theatricals? I do not have all the answers – but I speculate that Swifty and Shorty was Paramount’s response to the current spate of prime time television cartoons – “Illustrated radio” as Chuck Jones has coined them – where, like Calvin and The Colonel, they recruited vocal comedians to do routines that work as radio, but not necessarily as cartoons in the classic sense.

swifty-shorty250I love Eddie Lawrence – and Seymour Kneitel did too. Lawrence was a versatile voice artist, a funny writer and clever in coming up with comic situations. Thus the Paramount powers-that-be decided to transform Percy and Ralph into the alliterative Swifty and Shorty and took a chance committing to 16 shorts (not counting the previous four Percy and Ralph’s – making an even 20), perhaps hoping to crash the networks with their own series of adult-skewing animated comedies by flooding the market in Spring-Summer 1964.

Swifty and Shorty are a mixed bag. The ones written by Lawrence – some are routines lifted directly off his old comedy records – are very funny to listen to. Seriously, turn off the picture, sit back and just listen. Hilarious stuff here. Panhandling On Madison Avenue, Call Me A Taxi (embed below), The Once Over… you can hear what they were going for. Visually, I am not so impressed. The images exist to support the dialogue, and they just barely do that.

As for the 63-64 theatrical Noveltoons and Modern Madcaps – the series designations no longer have any real meaning. Goodie Gremlin and miscellaneous funny animals now populate both series, perhaps hoping Harvey Comics would one day purchase these from Paramount as Harveytoon filler material.

muggy-doo4Among titles of note this season:

Hobo’s Holiday, a desperate attempt to salvage something left over from the Fleischer/Famous catalog – the bouncing-ball Screen Song! This one-shot attempt is done with such little enthusiasm it was probably booed off the screen.

Harry Happy, a final shot at an “adult-skewing” Modern Madcap, featuring a fellow with a scary bi-polar personality; a borderline wife-beater. Funny? No. Disturbing? Yes.

Muggy-Doo Boy Cat – Paramount filled out their release schedule with a pick-up of an independent film – this time a TV pilot by Hal Seeger based on his 1953 comic book (drawn by Irv Spector). Myron Waldman animated and the best that can be said is that it’s certainly more visually “energetic” than the other Paramount theatricals of the era.

Let’s take a closer look at the theatricals:

Six (6) Noveltoons

GRAMPS TO THE RESCUE (9/63) Kneitel/Reden. Skat the Cat tries to get Gramps back to Texas with a phony telegram about striking oil.
HOBO’S HOLIDAY (10/63) Kneitel/Reden. A hobo riding the rails gets off in the town of Utopia. An attempt to revive the Screen Songs with a sing along about “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”.
HOUND FOR POUND (10/63) Kneitel/Tafuri. A dog with no license is given a chance by the dog catcher to find himself a new home.
THE SHEEPISH WOLF (11/63) Kneitel/Tafuri. A Wolf gets a job as a sheepdog.
HICCUP HOUND (12/63) Kneitel/Pattengill. When the evil Gremlins give a dog a bad case of hiccup, Goodie tries to cure the problem.
WHIZ QUIZ KID (1/64) Kneitel/Taras. TV executives come up with a kid’s quiz show with questions they believe no one can answer – until they meet their first contestant, Ollie the Owl.



Six (6) Modern Madcaps

HARRY HAPPY (9/63) Kneitel/Taras. Harry Happy has a split personality – Upbeat and personable at work, but at home he becomes a mad tyrant screaming orders to his harried wife.
TELL ME A BADTIME STORY (10/63) Kneitel/Reden. Goodie The Gremlin tells his nephew some bedtime stories about the Fountain of Youth and Indians.
THE PIG’S FEAT (10/63) Kneitel/Taras. Mr. Harmonica tells a group kids a story about a pig family that keeps their home spotless.
SOUR GRIPES (10/63) Kneitel/Reden. A fox reading some Aesop’s Fables decides to prove that foxes can steal grapes – from Luigi’s Vineyard.
GOODIE’S GOOD DEED (11/63) Kneitel/Pattengill. When the Gremlins go out on Boy Scout Day to do bad deeds, Goodie follows along to undo the damage.
MUGGY-DOO BOY CAT (12/63) Hal Seeger/Myron Waldman. “Boy Pest With Osh”. Junkman Muggy-Doo convinces his pal Osh to try his hand at becoming a TV Star.


Nine (9) Swifty and Shorty Cartoons

The introduction of Swifty and Shorty in Paramount's in-house trade newsletter, "Paramount World". (click to enlarge)

The introduction of Swifty and Shorty in Paramount’s in-house trade newsletter, “Paramount World”. (click to enlarge)

PANHANDLING ON MADISON AVE (4/64) Kneitel/Taras. Based on one of Eddie Lawrence’s recordings. Shorty panhandles on Madison Avenue until he meets Swifty.
FIZZICLE FIZZLE (4/64) Kneitel/Klein. Swifty runs Shorty through a rigorous physical fitness program.
SAILING ZERO (4/62) Kneitel/Taras. Swifty and Shorty attend a boat show at the convention center, where Shorty wins a door prize of a 35 foot catamaran.
FIX THAT CLOCK (5/64) Kneitel/Pattengill. Swifty and Shorty are repairing a giant clock on top of a skyscraper.
A FRIEND IN TWEED (5/64) Kneitel/Dressler. Swifty is a lazy salesman at a men’s clothing store; Shorty comes in and wants to buy a new suit.
THE ONCE OVER (6/64) Kneitel/Reden. Shorty gets the works when he goes for a haircut at Swifty’s Barber Shop.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE (6/64) Kneitel/Tafuri. Shorty gets lunch at Swifty’s Quick Lunch restaurant.
CALL ME A TAXI (7/64) Kneitel/Taras. On a rainy day, Shorty hails a cab and gets the ride from Hell in Swifty’s taxi.
HIGHWAY SLOBBERY (7/64) Kneitel/Pattengill. Shorty needs a ride to work so Swifty offers to drive him there.

The first page of the script for PANHANDLING ON MADISON AVENUE - with notes written in by Seymour Kneitel. (Thanks to Ginny Mahoney)

ABOVE: The first page of the script for PANHANDLING ON MADISON AVENUE – with notes written in by Seymour Kneitel. BELOW: The other six pages of the script. Click thumbnails below to enlarge and read. (Thanks to Ginny Mahoney)

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The New Casper Cartoon Show

On March 29th 1963, Harvey Comics (aka Harvey Funnies, Inc.) entered into an agreement with Paramount to produce 26 new Casper cartoons for a new ABC Network Saturday morning series to debut on October 10th, 1963. The cartoons were contractually obligated to be based on stories from the Harvey comic books.

According to the contract, the cartoons had to be of “a quality and quantity of animation at least equal to that of the sixty-two (62) animated Popeye motion picture cartoons heretofore produced by Paramount for King Features.”

Harvey selected which stories to adapt. The total cost by Harvey to Paramount for the 26 new cartoons was $78,000 – this included the fifty-two 1960-62 Modern Madcaps, Noveltoons and Abner The Baseball which were contractually added to the deal for $1. (one dollar)!

new-casper-agreement-top-sheet

Paramount retained the rights to character names (Professor Schmaltz, Kozmo, Goodie Gremlin, etc.) and the theatrical rights to the cartoons (as they had the 1950-59 cartoons). This explains why Kozmo is referred to as “Sammy Spaceman” in the comic book ad below. (Jeepers and Creepers were apparently sold lock, stock and barrel to Harvey).

This ad appeared in issues of Harvey Comics in the fall of 1963 - It publicizes the syndicated Harveytoons, as well as the New Casper Cartoon Show on ABC, using obscure characters from the 1960-62 Modern Madcaps!

This ad appeared in issues of Harvey Comics in the fall of 1963 – It publicizes the syndicated Harveytoons, as well as the New Casper Cartoon Show on ABC, using obscure characters from the 1960-62 Modern Madcaps!

The New Casper Cartoons – 26 cartoons – In Alphabetic Order

THE ABSENT MINDED ROBOT Kneitel/Tafuri. Casper meets Robbie the Robot and helps him to overcome his forgetfulness.
BEDTIME TROUBLES Kneitel/Harriton. Casper helps an insomniac bear get to sleep.
THE BORED BILLIONAIRE Kneitel/Place. Casper helps Big Bill the billionaire escape from Greedy Gertie the Witch.
CITY SNICKER Kneitel/Culhane. Casper’s city cousin Spooky comes to the country for a visit.
COLD WAVE Kneitel/Culhane. Casper chases some Martians who have stolen the heat generator from the sun.
THE ENCHANTED HORSE Kneitel/Place. Casper tries to retrieve Nightmare the horse from Ali Booboo, who has stolen her.
THE ENCHANTED PRINCE Kneitel/Golden. Casper and Wendy help Prince Pippin get his palace back from an evil sorcerer.
THE GREEDY GIANTS Kneitel/Culhane. Casper sets out to get the magic “Potion of Motion” for Willy The Weeping Willow.
GROWING UP Kneitel/Whittier. The Ghostly Trio give Casper a potion that makes him grow into a giant.
THE HEART OF GOLD Kneitel/Whittier. Casper helps Mr. Midas get rid of his golden touch.
KINGS OF TOYLAND Kneitel/Place. Casper visits a toy shop and falls under the influence of a magic witching hour when all the toys come to life.
LITTLE LOST GHOST Kneitel/Whittier. Casper helps a lost ghost named “Something”.
THE LONESOME GIANT Kneitel/Culhane. Casper and his forest friends help a lost giant named Hugo.
THE MAGIC TOUCH Kneitel/Place. Casper makes a bumbling magician think he has his magic touch back.
MOTHER GOOSE LAND Kneitel/Golden. Casper protects Mother Goose Land from The Ghostly Trio.
THE PROFESSOR’S PROBLEM Kneitel/Golden. Casper helps a professor prove there is a Man In The Moon.
RED ROBBING HOOD Kneitel/Golden. Casper helps Red Robbing Hood regain his kingdom from his evil brother.
SMALL SPOOKS Kneitel/Taras. The Ghostly Trio shrink to the size of insects to scare the bug world.
SUPER SPOOK Kneitel/Place. Casper’s strong cousin “Powerhouse” comes for a visit.
THE TIMID KNIGHT Kneitel/Place. Casper helps a cowardly knight.
TWIN TROUBLE Kneitel/Golden. The Ghostly Trio get a mean girl to impersonate Wendy – and the witches find a mean ghost to impersonate Casper.
A VISIT FROM MARS Kneitel/Taras. Casper goes sightseeing with Marty the Martian.
THE WANDERING GHOST Kneitel/Harriton. Casper goes into a book to help Ulysses in his travels.
WEATHER OR NOT Kneitel/Culhane. Casper helps a groundhog find his shadow.
WENDY’S WISH Kneitel/Golden. Wendy wishes for red dancing shoes.
THE WITCHING HOUR Kneitel/Harriton. Witch Weevil takes her revenge on Casper and Wendy by making her house and furniture come to life during the witching hour.

casper-ratings-63

The ratings (above) for The New Casper Cartoon Show declared the program a smash hit. It remained on the ABC Network Saturday morning for six years (through 1969)!



Seymour Kneitel (1908-1964)

On Thursday July 30th 1964 Seymour Kneitel passed away from a heart attack in his home. He was in the middle of production of the 1964-65 season of Noveltoons and Modern Madcaps.

Kneitel was a strong animator in his prime and the key creative during his years at Famous and later as a Paramount Cartoon executive. Much more about Kneitel and Famous Studios can be found on Ginny Mahoney’s Seymour Kneitel tribute blog.

Kneitel was the final surviving partner in Famous Studios and his death – years before the passings of Max and Dave Fleischer – was a shock to his colleagues, the artists and the studio. Paramount cartoons would go on without him, but it was the end of an era.

kneitel-obits

NEXT WEEK: Paramount Cartoons 1964-65

(Special Thanks to Ken Layton, Mike Kazaleh and Ginny Mahoney)

46 Comments

  • One gag on Small Spooks was a scene featuring a “stereotypical” Japanese Beetle running and screaming in terror in Japanese. And Casper challenged his uncles The Ghostly Trio to “pick on” The Will o’ the Wisp who was a little too much for The Ghostly Trio.

    Also new characters were added to The New Casper Cartoon Show including Nightmare the Ghost Horse and Wendy’s aunts.

  • The main problem with “Harry Happy” is that it just made no sense. It seemed there was a kernel of a good idea there, a commentary about the average working man’s public personality and indoor personality. It’s an actual issue that could be skewed if done right. But then it’s obvious they just gave up and said “lets throw in some random gags and call it a day”

    Not to mention there’s really no message outside of pure nihilism since they obviously didn’t care enough to have a coherent theme or irony. Even that might be excused if the gags were funny, which they really aren’t

    I agree that the script and voicework alone makes the Swifty & Shortys worth watching.

    Lastly, has there ever been a more apt name for such an obnoxious character than “Muggy”? He’s like an amalgamation of every annoying funny animal trait imaginable.

    • The main problem with “Harry Happy” is that it just made no sense. It seemed there was a kernel of a good idea there, a commentary about the average working man’s public personality and indoor personality. It’s an actual issue that could be skewed if done right. But then it’s obvious they just gave up and said “lets throw in some random gags and call it a day”

      I’m surprised the ending wasn’t Harry coming back to the shrink with a shotgun as payback for losing his wife, but they really didn’t go far with this one.

      Not to mention there’s really no message outside of pure nihilism since they obviously didn’t care enough to have a coherent theme or irony. Even that might be excused if the gags were funny, which they really aren’t

      The Modern Madcaps were certainly running out of steam at this point, I can see why the line between them and the Noveltoons was blurred at this point forward.

      I agree that the script and voicework alone makes the Swifty & Shortys worth watching.

      I’ll give Jerry props for including “Call Me A Taxi” here, as that’s my favorite of the bunch too. It certainly fits the limited animation they had to work with then.

      Lastly, has there ever been a more apt name for such an obnoxious character than “Muggy”? He’s like an amalgamation of every annoying funny animal trait imaginable.

      The days of “Funny animal” type comics had all sorts of odd names for these days. Muggy Doo would later appear on TV, though this time as a “Boy Fox” on The Milton the Monster Show.

  • If Paramount was “hoping to crash the networks with their own series of adult-skewing animated comedies,” they were way behind the trend. The idea of prime-time cartoons lasted one season–1961-62–and after a bunch of dismal failures that year, the networks never really entertained the idea, other than last-place ABC giving a third and fourth chance to Screen Gems via Hanna-Barbera. All kinds of interesting animation ideas floated in the trades never came to pass. By 1965, “cartoons” meant “Saturday morning.”

    • What I wrote about Paramount trying to crash the networks with their own adult-skewing series was speculation on my part – how else to explain the existence of Swifty and Shorty? – but the Paramount Cartoon Studio imitating the competition a year or two or three after some success elsewhere was par for the course. They had done this over and over again throughout the fifties – late to the game with 50s-UPA-style, eager to establish a Gerald McBoing Boing or Ralph Phillips, and generally following trends established elsewhere.

      Based on several news clippings and other evidence, Paramount Pictures seemed to demand that the Cartoon Department come up with a series they could place on the networks. That was the trend for animation studios at that time. I wonder if there is a ‘smoking gun’ some where (I don’t have it) that indicates that Swifty and Shorty was initially intended to be a TV series.

      I recall asking Ralph Bakshi, years ago, about his short time at Paramount and he told me point blank that Paramount considered every cartoon short to be a TV pilot. There is no question this policy began around 1960.

    • I recall asking Ralph Bakshi, years ago, about his short time at Paramount and he told me point blank that Paramount considered every cartoon short to be a TV pilot. There is no question this policy began around 1960.

      Oh yeah, could you imagine a TV show based on “The MIni-Squirts”? I could!

  • The stress of having to handle both TV production and the theatricals just seemed to take whatever creative life was left out of the latter this season. The level of animation also was cut back in some of the shorts to where they don’t even look as good as the studio’s TV product (it really does seem as if they spent more money on hiring the singers and musicians for ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountain’ than they did on the actual animation in “Hobo’s Holiday”).

    It would also explain why Kneistel leaned so heavily on Lawrence’s work, because the dialogue in the Ralph & Percy shorts had been strong enough to overcome the limited animation in those first four shorts. But in the S&S cartoons that didn’t rely as much on Eddie’s fast talking repertoire and instead needed some animation to get the story across ended up about as weak as the studio’s other efforts

    • The stress of having to handle both TV production and the theatricals just seemed to take whatever creative life was left out of the latter this season. The level of animation also was cut back in some of the shorts to where they don’t even look as good as the studio’s TV product (it really does seem as if they spent more money on hiring the singers and musicians for ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountain’ than they did on the actual animation in “Hobo’s Holiday”).

      I bet. Those people would’ve been stuck doing another commercial jingle that day if it wasn’t for Paramount needing some ‘service’.

      It would also explain why Kneistel leaned so heavily on Lawrence’s work, because the dialogue in the Ralph & Percy shorts had been strong enough to overcome the limited animation in those first four shorts. But in the S&S cartoons that didn’t rely as much on Eddie’s fast talking repertoire and instead needed some animation to get the story across ended up about as weak as the studio’s other efforts.

      Really did. At least in “Call Me A Taxi” they got to stretch that out given the confined situation of the two being in a cab most of the time.

    • Really did. At least in “Call Me A Taxi” they got to stretch that out given the confined situation of the two being in a cab most of the time.

      “A Friend in Tweed” also has some good verbal banter, but that was the irony/problem for the series. The more claustrophobic the setting was and the more they had to rely on Lawrence’s dialogue, the better the cartoon was — which really was the end point of where Famous/Paramount had been going since about late 1948, when the timing and pacing started to be blanded out.

      The less you needed to rely on funny animation movement or reaction shots, the stronger the story and dialogue had to be, and that trend continued as the 1950s and early 60s went on. With the best of the Ralph & Percy/Swifty & Shorty efforts, the animation is pretty much besides the point — it’s good illustrated radio, but it’s still illustrated radio — and in the cartoons that do employ more motion and less talk, what comes in-between the lines is uninspired and cheaply done.

  • “Popeye Champions” for 1963-64:
    1) “Beach Peach”
    2) “Jitterbug Jive”
    3) “Popeye Makes a Movie”
    4) “The Fly’s Last Flight”
    5) “How Green Is My Spinach”
    6) “Gym Jam”

    Paramount must have liked “How Green Was My Spinach.” It had already been reissued once before, back in 1957-58.

  • Oh boy… Screen Songs Hobo’s Holiday…

    …that is quite an experience. I wonder if 70% of the film’s budget went into the final two minutes, instead of the previous four. There was actually SOME creative stuff going on as our happy hobo jumps from letter to letter. The choice of music would have fit well in a 1960s cocktail lounge populated by tired-but-nicotine-addicted business men in their forties or over (back then… when that demographic favored Percy Faith’s wall-to-wall instrumentals over Phil Spector’s wall-to-wall rock).

    Watching many non-Pink Panther, National Film Board of Canada and Zagreb cartoons of the 1960s on TV and video in the 1970s and 1980s (since that trio assortment represented the “good stuff”of the decade), I would get tired and dreary… and eager to change the channel while still wanting to be a completest and watch everything “theatrical” from that era based on my Leonard Maltin OF MICE AND MAGIC book… circa 1982. I did like Swifty and Shorty a little, at least the panhandling title, even though I could not really distinguish one from the other.

    Oh well… things will get a little better later in the Post-Culhane-Bakshi years I guess.

    • Oh boy… Screen Songs Hobo’s Holiday…

      …that is quite an experience. I wonder if 70% of the film’s budget went into the final two minutes, instead of the previous four. There was actually SOME creative stuff going on as our happy hobo jumps from letter to letter.

      I’m sure it was an easy time for Morey Reden to simply worry about timing those 5 or 6 drawings of the guy while having the words and elements rendered/masked perfectly for the final effect, but they’ve done that well two decades previous. It’s pretty easy to see the trick if you pay attention.

      The choice of music would have fit well in a 1960s cocktail lounge populated by tired-but-nicotine-addicted business men in their forties or over (back then… when that demographic favored Percy Faith’s wall-to-wall instrumentals over Phil Spector’s wall-to-wall rock).

      Thanks for reminding us of that Mad Man era I’m sure plenty wished to be in! Don’t forge there was still a middle aged crowd that was still being mostly catered to during that time, 18-34 be damned!

      Watching many non-Pink Panther, National Film Board of Canada and Zagreb cartoons of the 1960s on TV and video in the 1970s and 1980s (since that trio assortment represented the “good stuff”of the decade), I would get tired and dreary… and eager to change the channel while still wanting to be a completest and watch everything “theatrical” from that era based on my Leonard Maltin OF MICE AND MAGIC book… circa 1982.

      I liked Zagreb Film. At least Professor Balthazar had a unique look unlike what was seen on Saturday mornings in the 70′s. Much of Culhane’s era at Paramount made me think of Zagreb Film in a lot of ways too, at least in breaking out of this nearly 8-9 year old mold they were stuck in.

      I did like Swifty and Shorty a little, at least the panhandling title, even though I could not really distinguish one from the other.

      It’s two people going back and forth. Just change the setting/professions and it’s another cartoon! I think I liked the earlier Ralph & Percy entry “Penny Pals” more since there’s some good action to go along with the dialogue.

      Oh well… things will get a little better later in the Post-Culhane-Bakshi years I guess.

      It does, sad it’s rather short, though Post almost stayed close to the script as far as animation went.

    • Hate to go too far off topic, but the Zagreb stuff of the sixties is really, REALLY good. They were, after all, taking over the spot previously held by Disney, Warner and UPA. The Oscar win for ERSATZ in 1962 did prompt struggling cartoon studios like Paramount’s to imitate them a bit in style, if not always in the expressive animation.

      I do have some of the DVDs from Rembrandt, although the one that I wanted, featuring the ’56 PLAYFUL ROBOT, isn’t available because of technical issues. Oh man… if only Turner Classic Movies (which at least bothers with Vault Disney every three or so months) decided to air a cluster of these with their gawdy Eastmancolor prints restored back to their original greatness… I would have died and gone to heaven.

      Reading some of the discussions here about how bad theatrical shorts, namely the cartoons, got in the sixties, I still remind myself that this era was populated by so many international prize-winners (both animated and live-action) shown before the main features. Unfortunately I am still a bit too young to have experienced all of this, but I was in school through much of the seventies when the 16mm classroom film was at its zenith… and commonly shown were many previously released theatrical shorts. The great tragedy is that so many of these are still long forgotten today in this modern age of DVDs and youtube.

    • Hate to go too far off topic, but the Zagreb stuff of the sixties is really, REALLY good. They were, after all, taking over the spot previously held by Disney, Warner and UPA. The Oscar win for ERSATZ in 1962 did prompt struggling cartoon studios like Paramount’s to imitate them a bit in style, if not always in the expressive animation.

      True. Just imagine how much more interesting those cartoons could’ve been had they not skimped on the animation.

      I do have some of the DVDs from Rembrandt, although the one that I wanted, featuring the ’56 PLAYFUL ROBOT, isn’t available because of technical issues. Oh man… if only Turner Classic Movies (which at least bothers with Vault Disney every three or so months) decided to air a cluster of these with their gawdy Eastmancolor prints restored back to their original greatness… I would have died and gone to heaven.

      Would be nice. I’ve been told elsewhere Zagreb Film hadn’t taken much care of these particular shorts too well themselves, hence the discoloration we seen lately. It would have to take someone with an eye to know what they use to look like to do an excellent job on that collection if they ever do a new HD transfer.

      Reading some of the discussions here about how bad theatrical shorts, namely the cartoons, got in the sixties, I still remind myself that this era was populated by so many international prize-winners (both animated and live-action) shown before the main features. Unfortunately I am still a bit too young to have experienced all of this, but I was in school through much of the seventies when the 16mm classroom film was at its zenith… and commonly shown were many previously released theatrical shorts.

      I bet. I was around during the tail end of that era.

      The great tragedy is that so many of these are still long forgotten today in this modern age of DVDs and youtube.

      It is sad in some way. There’s a few that made their way to YouTube, either from the filmmakers themselves, other times it’s from those fans who have VHS rips or even simply done their best to capture the image from 16mm prints in their collection.

  • Well researched — but not well enough: How come no mention of the two Jacky’s Wacky World shorts I wrote, storyboarded and co-directed with Howard Post during that period (The Story of Geo. Washington and A Leak in the Dike)? And no mention of the magnificent job Al Eugster did on the G. Washington short? Unforgivable!

    • Jack,

      We are doing these Paramount posts in chronologic order. Today is 1963-64. Your two Jacky shorts will be covered next week – they both came out in 1965!

    • Didn’t you also do “My Daddy the Astronaut”?

    • My Daddy The Astronaut was done by Shamus Culhane and was not related to the Mendelsohn pictures. We’ll discuss that one in a few weeks.

    • Oh don’t worry Jack, it’s coming! I will give a shout out to “And So Tibet” too since I absolutely loved this one too!

      My Daddy The Astronaut was done by Shamus Culhane and was not related to the Mendelsohn pictures. We’ll discuss that one in a few weeks.

      I feel like Culhane’s tenure is going to need plenty of discussion and execution given the fact he pretty much dismantled the studio from the inside out. I can see why the main heads of the company hated him.

  • The idea of using the graphic letters ‘T’ and ‘V’ for visual lip synch while uttering ‘tv’ on the track around 2:48 in “Muggy Doo Boy Cat” was done before by Terrytoons in at least one Tom Terrific episode.

    • And Bob McKimson did it earlier in “Half-Fare Hare”, when the hobos see Bugs Bunny and say “It’s FOOD!”, with their lips spelling out each letter.

    • Tony, that gag was inspired by this ad campaign –

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-YO5gzw6xg

  • Jerry, sorry for the scolding. At my age, the mind plays tricks with chronology. Hope I’m forgiven.

    • You are very forgiven! I hope you will fill us in on the details of making those shorts, next week!

      Thanks Jack!

  • Wasn’t Max Fleischer still with us when Seymour passed away?

    • Yes. I mention that in the post. Both Max and Dave were still alive, and for many years to come.

  • Jerry:
    The Paramount people were really tv orieneteed, Just like Warner Bros.they had to make do with lower budgets on their animation. It’s too bad they did, because there were some pretty funny toons Most of them could compete with the regular tv fare, but probably looked really poor on the big screen.Having said that, I still wouldn’t miss seeing any of them. Thanks for the postings!

    • I’m sure it’s an interesting experience for newcomers to come into watching these for the first time and learn the deal behind it. I never had that experience firsthand watching these two decades bac, they just sorta popped up on cable TV and were something different for that time.

    • Actually, Paramount’s executives weren’t “tv-orienteered” at all–not quite yet.

      Of the major motion picture studios, Paramount was among the last to get into television production with both feet–and that not until they had bought out Desilu around 1966 or ’67.

      Up until 1963, Paramount still owned KTLA (Channel 5, Los Angeles). Once they sold that station to Gene Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters, they felt they could get into television production without having to answer to the FCC or to anti-trust charges.

      There appears to have been one pilot around 1959, of a space show that was a collaboration between Paramount and CBS. It didn’t sell, but the pilot exists, and is notable for showing both the Paramount mountain and the CBS animated “eye” trademark–at the same time!

    • Paramount had been leasing its facilities and crew for TV production, notably on “Bonanza” which used many of the studio’s feature-film personnel.

  • Did Paramount switch back to Technicolor or were they still in their Eastman Color mode?

    Did they shoot the New Casper Cartoon Show in Technicolor?

    • They were back to Technicolor by then. I have a few “Swifty and Shorty” shorts on 16mm, struck during this era, and they’re all in Technicolor.

    • Nice to hear they did, though interesting they didn’t feel the need to credit “TECHNICOLOR” under the mountain otherwise.

    • (My apologies to Jerry for this off-topic comment)

      Charles, will you be reviewing the recently released The Barkleys / The Houndcats DVD collection?

  • Perhaps the change of Kozmo’s name was more to avoid confusion with the Archie Comics character “Cosmo the Merry Martian.”
    And wasn’t Muggy-Doo featured on “Milton the Monster”?

  • I remember as a kid only seeing this early 60s Paramount drek at drive-ins, along with the new crappy road runner cartoons with the tinny sounding music. It was much better if they’d pull out a Popeye ‘Champion’, which were crap in comparison to early Famous, but at least they had some life to them. This was a terrible time for animation, personified by the likes of Hal Seeger and those Gene Deitch Tom and Jerrys. It was about time for theatrical cartoons to die from cheapness.

    • They sure did! I recall Jerry likes to joke on this era simply simply because drive-ins were pretty much where most of these shorts ended up in anyway. That sort of life/spirit was certainly gone then.

  • As for the 63-64 theatrical Noveltoons and Modern Madcaps – the series designations no longer have any real meaning. Goodie Gremlin and miscellaneous funny animals now populate both series, perhaps hoping Harvey Comics would one day purchase these from Paramount as Harveytoon filler material.

    I’m surprised that didn’t happen. These past two seasons of shorts would certainly fit in well given the few recurring characters still used like Skit & Skat or Goodie Gremlin. Though could you imagine, after Paramount shut down the studio in ’67, the remaining films were sold to Harvey? I could just picture the editor at Harvey having to sort through the final year’s worth from Culhane and Bakshi, scratch his head and say “What the hell is this crap? This ain’t HARVEY!”

    • Hobo’s Holiday, a desperate attempt to salvage something left over from the Fleischer/Famous catalog – the bouncing-ball Screen Song! This one-shot attempt is done with such little enthusiasm it was probably booed off the screen.

    I hope it was! Even for being swansong of these type of shorts, it’s a pretty abysmal one plot-wise.

    SOUR GRIPES (10/63) Kneitel/Reden. A fox reading some Aesop’s Fables decides to prove that foxes can steal grapes – from Luigi’s Vineyard.

    I actually kinda liked this one personally. I recall Nickelodeon aired it only once during it’s Sunday morning program “Total Panic” back around 1990. I suppose the fact the fox bought the farm at the end is what kept it off the air since.

    Harvey selected which stories to adapt. The total cost by Harvey to Paramount for the 26 new cartoons was $78,000 – this included the fifty-two 1960-62 Modern Madcaps, Noveltoons and Abner The Baseball which were contractually added to the deal for $1. (one dollar)!

    Given the circumstances, the 1962-67 could’ve just been given away to Harvey if Gulf+Western thought differently.

  • Norma MacMillan (better known for her role as Sweet Polly Purebred in Underdog) and Bradley Bolke (better known as the voice of Chumley Walrus in Tennessee Tuxedo and Jangle Bells in The Year Without a Santa Claus) provided the voices in the Casper segments on The New Casper Cartoon Show while Arnold Stang, Jackson Beck,Jack Mercer,Mae Questel, Sid Raymond and others did the voices in the Modern Madcap cartoon segments.

    • Jack Mercer voiced Spooky in the New Casper Cartoon Show cartoon entitled “City Snicker”.

  • “The Pigs’ Feat” is sort of a jawdropper. It’s a fable about why pigs wallow in mud, beginning with the obsessively clean and tidy pigs being spurned by the other animals for being ugly. Then one piglet stumbled into some mud and emerged beautiful, so all the pigs went on a desperate search for the magic beauty mud … and they’re still trying to find it.

    What makes it bizarre is that the pigs are drawn as appealingly as the other animals, with not even a token signifier of “ugly” — except for dark skin. When the one piglet becomes “beautiful”, he’s simply recolored with a standard caucasian skin tone. Clearly no racial interpretation was intended, but it’s boggling that nobody saw what a loaded visual metaphor it was.

    • That’s an interesting observation to make here, coming on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement too

  • The “Popeye Champions” were obviously the 1956-’57 releases….and the last of the theatrical series. From then on, all rights and distribution reverted to A.A.P./United Artists.

    • Yes, the Popeye cartoons were sold to AAP, but Paramount retained theatrical reissue rights to the films for a number of years afterward.

  • The independently produced Muggy Do Boy Cat has the most interesting visuals and cleverest dialogue. I especially liked the jokes about the hustles that go on in show business. The New “Yawk” accents give this one a lot of character. Although, it’s technically not a Famous cartoon, it still has some of the feel and sound of a Famous production. Hal Seeger was a former Fleishcer employee.

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