Beginning next week in this Monday slot, I will continue my series of Academy Award posts – about the cartoons submitted that didn’t get an Oscar nomination. For this temporarily-final Monday Miscellaneous entry (I promise these ‘clippings’ posts WILL return) we will look at several other press releases and news clippings for non-Hanna Barbera TV cartoons in the early 1960s.
Apparently when he couldn’t sell The Jolly Genie as a series, he did what Warner Bros. did with Philbert – he released the pilot as a theatrical featurette in 1964. At 40 minutes he clearly padded the film with more footage – how much animation, and what kind of animation, we do not know.
In the photo below, that’s Scotty Morrow (from Lassie, My Three Sons) and Dana Dillaway (Leave It To Beaver, The Twilight Zone) as the kids, and Buddy Douglas (Lidsville, Pufnstuf and… Bakshi’s Coonskin!) behind the mask as Ali Poo, the Genie. I’d love to see this.
NEXT WEEK: Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1953
The “Mosman” referred to in the “Alvin” memo is likely John E. Mosman, who was a vice president and broadcast manager at JWT in the late 50s and early 60s. He had previously been with the Maxon firm as late as about 1954.
These are great. Thanks! Especially like the one for Alvin.
The Alvin Show aimed at adults??? They must have watched Calvin & the Colonel by mistake! (got any Calvin & the Colonel press releases Jerry?)
WPIX in New York ran the Mel-O-Toons around 1963, on the Merry Mailman show featuring Ray Heatherton (Joey’s dad). But if you were a kid, you pretty much had to be home sick to see them, since Ch. 11 dumped them in the 11 a.m.-12 noon time slot, and saved their better cartoons for the early morning and afternoon hours.
Thanks for telling me. I never watched Merry Mailman – but was aware of its existence.
KHJ TV 9 (now KCAL) used to show Mel-O-Toons too but I can’t remember what kid show that broadcasted Mel-O-Toons. Mel-O-Toons was also released as part of the Cartoon Craze series which sold for a $1 at WalMart.
When I was little, my grandma had a bunch of Mel-O-Toons on video. Here’s a few of them that I grew up on:
David and Goliath
The Red Shoes
WalMart had as part of the Cartoon Craze DVD series Mel-O-Toon Vol 1 & 2 that were sold for $1.
Around 1963-64,KTLA (5) had these :”Mel-O-Toons” shorts,and ran them in an 8:30-9:00 AM weekday slot.
I remember some of them ending, not with the usual Mel-O-Toons music, but with an incredibly nasal, adenoidal voice telling us something to the effect tat “This cartoon has been selected for viewing by our armed forces overseas’.
And I thought that the Eighth Amendment forbade cruel and unusual punishment!
I’m finding this material quite interesting — thank you for posting these items.
I never encountered any Mel-O-Toons until I saw a few on WGN in the early ’80s. [That said, I don’t recall hearing the familiar voices of Art Gilmore or the immortal Freberg in any of these.]
As there are varying reports as to why PHILBERT wasn’t picked up by ABC, it would be interesting to see any back-in-the-day details about the show.
I did manage to watch “THE MERRY MAILMAN”, but I don’t at all recall the MEL-O-TOONS appearing therein, though the music that opens the individual cartoons does sound familiar. Apparently, most of these are in the public domain now, and you can find these sprinkled amid so many public domain Noveltoons or Famous cartoons on various compilations; that is how I was reacquainted with the cartoons, but the situations don’t sound familiar enough that I would know what the characters looked like or whether the animation was at all pleasing. Thanks for this history, though. As always, I wish I could actually read the articles.
The other cartoons on The Merry Mailman in late 1963-64 were the Trans-Lux Mighty Hercules efforts. In the few chances I did get to see them when I was home sick, I counted the minutes until 12 noon arrived and Rocky & His Friends began on Ch. 11.
Format Films seems to have also taken on TV Spots’ workload in the Variety rundown….
After:”The Mel O Toons”left”The Merry Mailman”..the staffers at WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC..reran the films
without a host..for a time in the mid 1960’s.
Dinky Pinky is Stan Freberg. Wonderful to hear him.
I agree, cool to hear some new Freberg stuff.
I’m trying to figure out if there’s any prints of The Jolly Genie that survived the ravages of time? If it did I would love to see it on DVD in the future.
And I’m wondering what happened to Keenan,Invisible Boy,Sir Lion And The Lion,Cat Tales and Shaggy Dog Tales that were planned pilot shows to be broadcasted if they’re were picked up for Network broadcast or for syndicated broadcast on TV or not?
YouTube has a half hour (In three parts) of a late 1960s episode of WJW-TV 8 Cleveland personality Franz The Toymaker with comercials..You hear the endings of a few Melo-Toons..
The title of Format’s pilot cartoon is actually “Sir LOIN and the Dragon” and it exists, I’ve seen prints of it for sale. The Mel-O-Toons were really sparse animation-wise, about the same amount of action as a “Spunky and Tadpole”. They used Children’s Records of the early 1950s for the soundtracks, such as ” Omnicron and Nudnikron”, which was an RCA Victor “Little Nipper” record, and “Gossamer Wump”, narrated by Frank Morgan, which was a Capitol record. I’ve often wondered if they actually PAID for the rights to use these records, or just pirated them. I never saw the Mel-O-Toons on St. Louis TV as a kid, and I’m glad I didn’t. These ugly-looking films would have destroyed my enjoyment in visualizing the pictures conjured up by the old children’s records, The early 1960s were good times for independent production of TV cartoons, but within just a few years, Hanna-Barbera and Filmation became vertically integrated with the Networks and froze out most of the Lone Rangers.
General Foods “bought” the entire half-hour “ALVIN SHOW” for the fall of 1961, with Alvin and cast appearing in integrated commercials for Jell-O and Post cereals.
“Dinky Pinky” was an exception in the “Mel-O-Toons” series; it had BETTER animation than most of the other episodes.
Ah, the Mel-O-Toons………..I saw these while I was in high school.
I’m guessing that Walter Lantz’s “Beary Family” TV series was to include “Space Mouse” and “Sam & Simian” as the other segments, and that’s where those pilots originated. “Fowled-Up Birthday,” the first theatrical Beary release, was probably the lead-off cartoon in the TV pilot episode. Lantz organized a second company, Walter Lantz Television, Inc., to produce these pilot episodes.
The producers of Mel-O-Toons may or may not have needed to clear permission to use the kiddie records as their sound tracks then, as statutory copyrights on records did not exist until 1971-72, and as their market was TV broadcast. Stations airing the cartoons were probably covered under their blanket ASCAP/BMI licenses for the musical works, etc., so the composers were paid arbitrarily via that method.
It was then possible for sketchy record producers (are there any other kind??) to assemble and release LPS of pop songs dubbed directly from then-current hits; their asses were covered as long as they paid ASCAP and BMI for the song rights. Lots of these LPS were sold by mail order, maybe the most famous or notorious was “The Beatles, Alpha-Omega” set.