From October 1937 until August 1941 MGM published a magazine (MGM Short Story, at left) – exclusively distributed to its exhibitors – devoted to its live action and animated short subjects. From Sept. 1941 until the Spring of 1947, MGM continued to promote its shorts inside their more lavish Lion’s Roar magazine (at right).
Back issues of MGM Short Story and Lion’s Roar are highly sought after collectibles. They not only describe each and every cartoon, but occasionally printed a story about producing the cartoons. I have several random pages from various Lion’s Roar magazines spanning 1940 and 1945. Here are two of those behind-the scenes pieces.
The first (below left, click to enlarge) was written when Tex Avery had just joined the staff – replacing Hugh Harman’s unit. MGM is boasting in this article, of being “the first major motion picture studio to establish its own cartoon studio” – and I suppose that could be true (however, my spider-sense thinks Columbia’s Screen Gems beat them to it by a year, and didn’t Universal initially run its studio before selling it to Walter Lantz?).
The second page (below right, click to enlarge) is the first of a double page spread (alas I don’t have the other half). It starts off with a great posed photograph of a “story conference” that never was – with Quimby in the middle, surrounded by a laughing Hanna and Barbera, Tex Avery, Scott Bradley, Carmen Maxwell, Harvey Eisenberg and others. Great stuff… (I apologize for the moray pattern on the images due to my scanner).
Here’s one of the pages that describe individual cartoons from a given month. Note Barney Bear is still referred to as “Mr. Bear” and Hanna Barbera’s latest creation Officer Pooch is touted as their next big hit.
If you’d like to see more pages from The Lion’s Roar, like the one directly above, let me know – I have about a dozen others.