WHAT ABOUT THAD?
April 13, 2015 posted by

Paramount Sales News #46: Popeye and Superman for the Duration

January-March 1943

Paramount planned on bringing Famous Studios back to New York almost from the word go. All in all, the experiment down south was largely considered a failure. Paramount’s plan to out-Disney Disney at animated features was a bust and most of the New York natives were glad to get out of the 24/7 sunshine.

February 3rd’s entry is rather grim—a lot of people were seeking laugher from Popeye to escape the harsh reality of World War II. Given the high level of the Famous product in its initial year, they were sure to get it.

This week’s batch also includes the first appearance of Dan Gordon “wise-guy” creation, Blackie, who would headline the upcoming Noveltoon series later in 1943. Both of the panels appear to be the unsigned work of animator Tom Golden.

We say farewell to Superman this week. In Paramount’s haste to scoop up the property, the executives failed to realize that the cartoons were so expensive that rentals would never recoup the costs fast enough to be profitable. Next week’s column will introduce another licensed character to the Famous roster, as well as the return of a Fleischer “favorite.”

(click images below to enlarge)

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ABOVE: Too Weak To Work released March 19th, 1943; Jungle Drums released March 26th, 1943.

13 Comments

  • I don’t know the general consensus on Blackie the Lamb cartoons, but I really like his debut, “No Mutton Fer Nuttin'”.

  • I love the Blackie Lamb cartoons!

    • Am I the only person who has been referring to “Blackie” all these years as “Blackie The Sheep” or “Blackie Sheep”?

      In doing a little research (model sheets, comic books, the films themselves) I only see the character ever labeled as “Blackie”. Never “Blackie the Lamb” or “Blackie Sheep”. But as the term “black sheep” was/is in common usage, and as Famous had a thing to take cliche’s and expressions and turn them into names and titles, the name “Blackie Sheep” makes some kind-of sense… right?

      blackie

    • Jerry—nah, I’ve always called him Blackie Sheep too. Same reasoning.

    • “Blackie Sheep” makes sense, though he’s always been just plain old “Blackie” to me. (And anyway, it’s not like he comes up in many conversations that are going to require an explanation of who he is.)

    • The newspaper seen near the beginning of “Sheep Shape” calls him “Blackie Sheep”.

    • Ah-ha!! Thank you, Bobby!

    • Jerry:

      I was thinking “Blackie the Sheep” until I did a search to make sure I got the name of his first cartoon correct, and saw that “Blackie the Lamb” was used more often. Guess I should have played the beginning of the cartoon and gotten his name from there after all! And nice catch by Bobby Bickert. (So, where did calling him “Blackie the Lamb” start?)

    • Jeff Lenburg’s The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoon Series/Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons calls him “Blackie the Lamb”.

  • “The Mummy Strikes” is the one that spooked me as a kid. The giant bodyguards were never quite defined as zombies, or reanimated humans, or whatever.

    Revisiting the cartoon, struck by how much plot they crammed into the first few minutes and how much time they filled with still art.

    “King Tush” and the line “Miss Hogan is a free woman” both still amuse me. Years ago, while watching the closing gag where Clark types up the story as Lois watches with bandaged arms, my niece weighed in with “Too bad Superman crushed your fingers so you couldn’t scoop me, Lois.”

  • The death of the Paramount Superman series will create a decades-long absence of superhero cartoons. We won’t see another one from a major studio until Filmation does it’s Superman cartoon in the 60’s.

    Mighty Mouse nicely fills in the gap, but that’s a little different.

    • We certainly had to wait a quite a while for that again.

  • I was wondering were there any Superman shorts that went unmade?

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