Animation History
July 2, 2014 posted by

Columbia’s “Color Rhapsody” Stock Posters


I’m a big fan of theatrical cartoon posters from the golden age of cartoons. While doing some research last week I stumbled onto the online archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and found that they had posted their holdings of Columbia Color Rhapsody posters. To save you some time, I’ve posted a group of them here (in somewhat alphabetical order below – the ones above are from the three Tito and his Burrito cartoons). You can’t click to enlarge – this is the size they have them online – but we can still see the images and title cards (one benefit of these posters is that the individual title treatments were lifted from the original titles – of which many are now lost).

The Academy doesn’t have all the Rhapsodies, but these 30 stock sheets are fascinating unto themselves. The use of a stock poster to publicize cartoon shorts (as well as serials and newsreels, etc.) was not new or unique to Columbia Pictures. Creating a colorful border and printing the center space with a black & white (or duotone) “snipe” allowed the studio to ballyhoo each subject – while saving a bundle over the previous route of painting a new publicity image for each cartoon.

The juxtaposition of the title and a scene from the film makes the cartoons seem more exciting than they actually are. Note there are a couple of rare titles amongst the Academy’s cache: There’s Something About A Soldier and Rippling Romance are two I’m personally dying to see. Most of these cartoons are currently being telecast as part of Antenna TV’s Totally Tooned In, weekend mornings at 9am EST/6am PST.



  • Jerry:
    Too bad they can’t be enlarged.It’s a real tresure trove! Thanks anyway for the post!

  • Those are pretty nice looking! If only the cartoons lived up to what was advertised…

  • These are great!”Up’n Atom” looks promising, as well as “Song of Victory”

    • “Song of Victory” is quite an achievement–played completely straight a la “Peace on Earth.” I made up new prints and attached them to FROM HERE TO ETERNITY for its 50th anniversary reissue in 2003; alas, I later learned most of the exhibitors had cut them off and kept them. So somewhere out there are 10 or 11 nearly new 35mm prints! 🙁

    • That’s quite interesting Mike. Don’t suppose we’ll see any 16mm blowdowns anytime soon.

  • Jerry-thanks for another fine post (as usual). I also enjoy the old cartoon posters as they usually have such interesting/sometimes strange artwork. And speaking of “Golden age cartoons and Columbia Pictures”, as you were, I’m still very much waiting to see more of the Magoo pencil tests you have!!
    Keep up the good work. I check this blog first every day and am never disapointed

    fellow GA cartoon lover— dja

  • Kind of ironic that these Color Rhapsody posters are largely black and white in the center.

    • I get the impression they just made a bunch of copies of the base template in color and then simply printed them over with the B&W press for each cartoon short they needed it for.

  • I remember “Wise Owl” — presuming that’s the one about a hungry owl versus a bunch of dopey dancing bats — turning up before a showing of “Georgy Girl” back in the 60s. It was a Columbia movie, but somehow doubt the studio packaged that cartoon with it.

    • Columbia was reissuing cartoons well into the 1960s, so that probably just happened to be the cartoon the theatre had booked when GEORGY GIRL came out. I can’t imagine Columbia would have sold that movie paired with a Color Rhapsody.

    • The cartoon probably wasn’t “packaged” with the feature; rather, the exhibitor simply booked “a cartoon” along with the feature when he placed his order with the Columbia exchange. I went to a local theatre to see Columbia’s theatrical re-issue of Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES in the early-mid 70’s, and the “Columbia Favorite” PICKLED PUSS ran with it!

  • Agreeing with Mr. Andy Decker’s comment. These would be even more SUPERB if they could be viewed “larger.” /:o)
    And to: Mr. Beck. “Thank You,” as always, for what you do, sir, AND for sharing & posting photos of rare animation history. /:o)

  • Go to You Tube and type in “Columbia Color Rhapsody” for a lot of these.

  • Really nice!!!! I can see where these are especially valuable for those of us that NEVER saw the original artwork of the titles to some of these that we’ve only seen as COLUMBIA RE-PRINTS with those rotten single frame titles. I can see the original art work of DOG CAT CANARY—–but Prof. Small and Mr. TALL only has frame screen captures made into a matrix—and SMall and Tall was a PHANTASY not a Rhapsody…..NONETHELESS…..Very sweet Jerrry!!

  • Sheee-

    If only the Academy could enlarge ’em! And-WOWEE- Rippling Romance?! NICEEEE!

  • I recognize most of the Columbia cartoon titles, as they are featured on “Totally Tooned In” (on Antenna TV). However some of the other shorts in those posters haven’t been seen on TV for one reason or another (e.g. WWII references, ethnic stereotypes, etc.); they include ” Rocky Road to Ruin”, “There’s Something About A Soldier”, “Hot Foot Lights”, “Wacky Wigwams”, and “Song of Victory”. Here’s hoping that I’ll get to see them on some other medium.

  • Saw PROF. SMALL & MR. TALL on Internet Archive:

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