The Hollywood short was practically dead by 1964. But you wouldn’t know it by reading the Hollywood trades. When BoxOffice Magazine printed its annual Short Subject issue in late 1964, the Pink Panther was about to revive (ever so slightly) the interest in cartoon subjects for another few years; Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes were “under new management”; Terrytoons and Walter Lantz trudged on; and Disney and Columbia limped along (primarily) with reissues.
Posted below are the relevant pages from the November 30th issue of BoxOffice (pardon the moire patterns; click thumbnails to enlarge). The full page advertising here may be the most publicity these films ever received – that’s certainly true of Paramount’s “all-star” line-up, consisting of of such “unforgettable” characters as Goodie Gremlin, King Artie and Homer Ranger.
Interesting that Columbia was still reissuing serials, Three Stooges and Mr. Magoo, as well as hyping its 1963 Oscar winner The Critic. Universal and MGM were still releasing newsreels. As far as theatre owners were concerned, it might as well be 1953. The biggest news in retrospect was the establishment of the United Artists short subjects department, which picked up several live action films to accompany the series of Pink Panther cartoons they commissioned from DePatie Freleng. UA’s shorts turned a tidy profit for almost 20 years. I should know, I worked for UA from 1978-1984 and got a chance to meet Arthur Reinman before he closed the department and retired in 1982.
Going through the trades is like looking at a time capsule. It’s another piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle that is the history of animation.