May 4, 2013 posted by

The Jerry Report

Here’s a bit of an update of what’s been going on this past week with ye old webmaster.

In addition to running two websites, I’m putting the finishing touches on a Spongebob art book which should be out in September – and I’ve just started work on a new ART OF book, for a forthcoming animated feature coming out next year. I can’t announce which film its for, but believe me you’ll hear plenty about it in 2014.


I’m very proud of my two websites – both are humming along quite nicely. I hope you occasionally check in on the other one, Animation Scoop. This week we posted John Korty’s Q&A at The Cinefamily discussing his feature Twice Upon A Time (1983), Ruth Clampett’s promo video for her animation studio-set romance novel; and exclusive production art from Pixar’s latest short The Blue Umbrella.

Beyond the internet, this week I saw the new Blue Sky film Epic, (I liked it a lot), saw Iron Man 3 (liked it too, though I have some questions concerning story points at the conclusion), and I showed 16mm movies at my once-a-month gig with Janet Klein (first Thursday of every month).

Of course I did a whole bunch of professional stuff that I can’t discuss publicly – including finding out that a highly anticipated DVD animation compilation planned for the fall won’t be coming out until next year – and on the flip-side, I learned that a long-delayed cartoon set will now be coming out later this year. Sorry I can’t talk about what these are – but I’ll give you the heads up as soon as I can.

technicolor200I’ve just set my next cartoon show at The Cinefamily. If you live in the LA area, I hope you’ll consider spending the afternoon with us on Saturday May 18th. Starting at 4:30pm, I’ll be running a whole program rare Technicolor 35mm prints (from private collectors). I’m not going to announce all the titles (don’t want to get in trouble), but I think if seeing 35mm Tech of such titles like Hold The Lion Please, Mr. Money Gags, Hot Rods, The Helpful Genie and maybe The Uncultured Vulture will turn you on – well, you should come because the titles I can’t announce will blow you away.

Oh what the heck… here’s The Uncultured Vulture (1947). Not a good cartoon, not technically in Technicolor. It’s in two-color Cinecolor. It’s from the last days of the Screen Gems studio, shortly before Columbia closed it for good, and directed by Bob Wickersham. It’s cartoons like this that explain why the studio closed. (Thanks to Thad Komorowski for posting it on You Tube)

So that’s The Jerry Report for this week. We now resume our regular Cartoon Research postings…


  • I’m still waiting for your lavishly-illustrated tome “The Art of ‘Lo, the Poor Buffal'” myself.
    “Boxoffice” magazine must have really buried the story of the demise of the Columbia studio. I’ve not been able to find a reference to it anywhere in its 1946-47 editions.

    • Michael Barrier mentions that the Screen Gems studios closing was noted in the May 28th 1947 issue of Variety.

      Researchers have to look beyond just Boxoffice Magazine. Have you checked the union’s Top Cel? No one industry trade covered it all – though Variety came close. Someday Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Motion Picture Herald, etc. will all be online. For now, historians should consult physical bound copies preserved in public libraries in New York (Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library) and LA The Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library).

    • At least we still have libraries Jerry.

  • Uugh!! the teases!!
    Is TCM still doing a follow up project, since Jolly Frolics sold well for them?

  • I’m guessing that one of the delayed sets involves a certain cat and mouse team which had a problem.

  • I was thinking maybe, the theatrical shorts of a certain ‘near sighted’ older gentleman.

  • The Variety archive is already online and has been for some time. It’ll cost you either $600 a year or $60 a month to access it, though. One of those reality checks for people who expect this type of material to all be available online for free, as opposed to content owners, who disagree with that expectation.

    • That’s why I suggest researchers visit the two public libraries listed above to be able to view this material for free.

  • Pretty much the only saving grace of the Screen Gems cartoons was The Fox and the Crow series, which likely allowed the studio to persist at Columbia than it otherwise would have. Interestingly enough, some of the earliest cartoons made by UPA (and directed by John Hubley) were about The Fox and the Crow, which Columbia used to test UPA’s abilities.

  • I think I know what one of those long delayed DVD set is and I think its not Warner related.

  • Maybe this “long-delayed cartoon set” coming later this year could be either Tom & Jerry or Woody Woodpecker.

  • Variety is available on microfilm in many large public and university libraries. If you have one within driving distance of you that has it, that’s an option. And since searching Variety’s archive online is free, you can look there for whatever you’re interested in and if anything comes up, just note down the issue information for the next time you’re at the library.

    Another valuable resource is your library’s interlibrary loan. If a library anywhere in the country owns a book, magazine, journal, etc., chances are good that you can borrow it via interlibrary loan. It’s a valuable service libraries offer that is too seldom ultilized. The research librarians can also guide you to databases the library has that can aid you in finding what you need.

    As someone who has spent way too many of his vacations unspooling microfilm at the Library of Congress, I understand the frustrations of having only sporadic access to the resources more readily available to those who live in New York and Los Angeles. My point is that not living in New York of Los Angeles doesn’t have to limit your research options to just what’s available on the web. It can be done if you’re dedicated enough and are willing to do a little work to get what you need.

    Re: the DVD releases Jerry teased us with. I’m not even going to speculate. At this point I don’t believe any classic animation is coming out until I’m actually holding the Blu-ray (or DVD) in my hot little hands.

    Thanks to Thad for posting THE UNCULTURED VULTURE. It was pretty awful, but it was interesting to see–once. Columbia’s poor cartoon studio just never got it together. The Fox and Crow are hit-and-miss, but some of those cartoons aren’t bad. I’ve always found the characters too obnoxious to really warm to.

  • Could the “long-delayed” set be Mr. Magoo?

    • I hope!

  • I’ll not drool on and on about possible DVD releases, but I will say that there is still much to mine in the Walter Lantz vaults. I thoroughly enjoy that OSWALD cartoon that features, prominently, the old tune “I Got a Million Dollar Baby (At a Five-and-Ten Cent Store)”, and I’d love to get more such cartoons from the Lantz vaults, someday. Even though these were not quite up to the quality we got from Tex Avery or even Harman & Ising at either Warner Brothers or MGM, there is always something curious or amusing or both in older Lantz cartoons before the creation of WOODY WOODPECKER…and don’t get me started on video companies pushing back their products another year and then another and another…unless it involves *GENUINELY* searching for that pristine print that everybody is being told does not exist. There is always a glimmer of hope, there.

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