Animation History
February 20, 2013 posted by

1940s Columbia Screen Gems Posters

The little studio that couldn’t. Columbia’s poor Screen Gems studio tried its best to compete, but never really came up with a memorable character along the likes of Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker or even Mighty Mouse. The Fox & Crow starred in a wonderful series of comics published by DC for over 20 years – outside of that footnote, the efforts of this studio are long forgotten. Frank Tashlin, Dave Fleischer and John Hubley all toiled there, but each made their mark at other studios, with other characters. But at least the posters are… colorful…

phantasy_poster fable_poster wayofallpests foxcrow_posterr Flippyposter1 abnertoon

The studio was put of of its misery in 1946. It’s last cartoons trickled out till 1949, when by then Columbia had started releasing the works of an independent animation studio – UPA – and the rest is history.


  • The first three posters are interesting in that given the direction cartoons were headed by the time Screen Gems took over from Mintz, the designs look as if the cartoons they were promoting were supposed to be copies of the gentlest, most child-focused of the Disney or Harman-Ising efforts.

    A muddled message for sure (and even odder when you remember that Columbia’s short subjects division by 1940 was the most rambunctious of all the major studios. Any studio releasing Jules White’s violent slapstick shorts shouldn’t have had any problems promoting cartoons in the same vein, but that’s not the message those posters are indicating).

  • That red-headed Li’l Abner is . . . odd. He was a hugely popular comic character, and even if the poster artist didn’t see the shorts he couldn’t have escaped the newspaper and advertising images. It has the look of a $1 VHS box.

    Were these designed in-house, or was there some outfit that contracted? While good-looking posters exist, here and elsewhere I’ve seen specimens from various studios that were hilariously off-model, or ineptly assembled from iconic stock poses.

  • Does a poster for “Little Match Girl” exist?

  • Send me the Flippy poster… I’ll remove the watermark!

  • “The Herring Murder Mystery”. directed by Dun Roman, is among my all-time favorite cartoons and one of the rare instances when the bizarre Screen Gems house style aptly serves the material.

  • Eeyuck… Please don’t remind me of Jules White. Buster Keaton _hated_ the garbage that Jules White put him through at Columbia… “I got so I couldn’t stomach another crummy two-reeler.”

  • Love Fox and the Crow! Sad that the DVD boom lost steam before they got around to Columbia and Terrytoons.

  • Looks like the Flippy poster has a picture of the original title card for “Silent Tweetment” – same for “The Way of All Pests”.

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