Animation History
November 5, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

The Exposure Sheet #17 & #18

October 1939

More fun stuff from the studio in-house newsletter: Avery’s Land of the Midnight Fun played at the Warner Hollywood theatre (at the premiere of Warner Bros. feature Elizabeth and Essex – and its subsequent engagement) and got big laughs. Bios this week include then inbetweeners Lloyd Vaughn and Warren Batchelder and painter Helen Cope.

The model sheet of the Minah Bird from “The Little Lion Hunter” which was released in October 1939

Here’s a bonus – The Little Lion Hunter, mentioned in the next issue (#18) of The Exposure Sheet below – was screened at William K. Everson’s New York City film society “The Huff”, on April 30th 1963. Here are his notes on the cartoon. It’s fascinating to read Everson discussing a cartoon short. He was a revered film historian and professor (at NYU and The New School) who wrote much on all manner of films, particularly horror films, silent films, westerns, serials, etc. – but his opinions on animation are rarely expressed. He comments here, analyzing this cartoon and the Inki series, as well as shedding light on audience opinion back in the 1940s. Also note Everson never mentions Inki’s race. There was no reason back then to do so. In ’63 the depiction of blacks as jungle natives was unfortunately still the norm (even if such cartoon depictions had ceased being made).

This eighteenth edition of The Exposure Sheet also makes note of the arrival of Paul Julian (doing backgrounds for Chuck Jones) and John Arensma (BGs for Freleng) – and contains brief bios for animators Rudy Larriva and Keith Darling, and painters Lois Farlow and Kay Vallejo.

Another Avery spot-gag cartoon “Fresh Fish” was released in early November 1939, about two weeks after Exposure Sheet #18

Next Week: More from November 1939


  • Arensma was born Johannes Galenus Arensma in Britsh North Borneo on Nov. 30, 1896 (He later changed his name to John Datu Arensma). The 1930 Los Angeles census has him as a landscape architect. A Los Angeles Times story from 1961 says he was an art director on ‘Bambi.’ He later worked as an art director and technical director on features, and in television as far back as 1949. He died Dec. 12, 1985.

    • Just a quick “Thanks” for your additional comments on some of the more obscure names mentioned in these newsletters.

      I consider my postings of these newsletters to be just the beginning of further research and I appreciate your efforts here (and on your two fine blogs) adding to our collective knowledge.

    • Hello! I’m Tim Beasley and the happy owner of two of his ‘J.L. Datu’ signed paintings, of 1972, and 1984.. The 1972 is a “Northern California Farm, ” and the 1984 is a “Winter scene with a mountain cabin and buildings.”

      I know he had dealings with the Raymond Burr Art Gallery in the early 1960s and I’d enjoy talking with you about him and possibly any knowledge you might have regarding him. Please call me if you like! 757-589-0903

    • Thanks for the info. John is a distant cousin of mine.

      • Hi Ted, I have hoped to reach any family members of John Datu Arensma as I’m the proud owner of 6 of his paintings!

        Tim Beasley

        • Hi Tim do you know if J.L Datu did a western painting The Man of the Mountain.



  • More Huff Society notes please!

  • My favorite Inki is the prehistoric one. Not so much for Inki or the mynah as for the caveman, chef’s hat balanced on his leopard’s head hood, nonchalantly stirring his dinner.

  • I’m still looking for info on Art Director John Datu…I have a feeling that being a prolific illustrator in Hollywood, he created many “set” pieces that Property Masters would choose for “background scenery” in a wide variety of TV and film productions of the 1950s- 1960s. A case in point…One of classic TV’s hits of the 1950’s, “Highway Patrol” episodes had I do believe 3 of J.L. Datu’s “western” scenes paintings used for this. If you have any knowledge of J.L. Datu, I’d certainly enjoy chatting with you!!! Tim Beasley talk-text 757-589-0903

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