The danger signs begin in earnest, with this entry spanning eight months of 1944. The increasing juvenility of the Famous cartoons cost them the widespread market the competition’s had. Kids liked ’em well enough, but did anyone else? Fare like the Little Lulu series and the Raggedy Ann special Suddenly It’s Spring guaranteed an exclusive small-fry engagement. Only the warhorse Popeye continued to maintain general audience appeal thanks to ten years of familiarity.
It’s not like Famous was incapable of making successful cartoons similar to the darkly cynical or risqué ones that were filling the WB and MGM release schedules. See Cilly Goose and We’re On Our Way to Rio for the proof. An indifferent Paramount always threatened to shutter Famous, so it was safety first under that baleful cloud—experimentation and departure from formula were too risky.