My recent reprinting of Boxoffice Magazine’s annual short subject issue for 1964-65 proved so popular, I think I’ll feature these on a semi-regular basis. This week I’ve decided to take a look at the 1961-62 season (Boxoffice issue dated November 27th, 1961). That was the year MGM released the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry’s, Loopy DeLoop was riding high at Columbia and Paramount made a new animated “two-reeler”, sort-of.
Warner Bros. was so close to closing their cartoon studio – and the Looney Tunes were now so well established on network TV – that the studio didn’t even take out ads to promote the new shorts they would be distributing. Their cartoons that year – which included Chuck Jones’ Nelly’s Folly in late ’61 and Jones’ Louvre Come Back To Me and Freleng’s Honey’s Money in ’62 – were probably the best Hollywood shorts released that year.
Click the thumbnails below to enlarge and read. What a cover on this issue, huh? With Loopy DeLoop, Deitch’s Tom & Jerry and Munro, and an awful stock shot of Woody Woodpecker. A real appealing bunch.
Note the story on Abner The Baseball – with a great publicity image by Irv Spector (I’d love to find an original glossy still of that). I have an original Paramount print of Abner and it’s a full twelve minutes or so (a TV titled version is embed for your enjoyment, below), nowhere near the length of a traditional “two-reeler” – but that’s how they are advertising it. I guess its almost double the length of an average six minute Modern Madcap, so I suppose that gives them some bragging rights. The story goes that Seymour Kneitel was a huge fan of Eddie Lawrence’s recorded routines and invited him in to adapt this bit. That led to Lawrence adapting several other of his established comedy skits and characters for Paramount Cartoon Studios the next few years, culminating with his Swifty and Shorty series. The best way to enjoy these is to just shut your eyes and listen to Eddie’s monologues. He’s terrific.
The MGM piece makes the most of Snyder and Deitch’s Academy Award for Munro, as does Paramount’s article (which classifies Munro as a “Noveltoon“). I’ve embed it below along with one of their Tom & Jerry cartoons from ’62 for comparison. On the next page Terrytoons promotes the fact that they’ve entered a few cartoons in foreign film festivals – and won awards! For Hector Heathcoate!
On the following page, note the blurb about Larry Harmon preparing two-reel theatrical Laurel and Hardy cartoons. Thank the Lord these never came to pass. On the same page a classy Terrytoons half-page advertisement.