January 7, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Your Favorite Long Lost Original Title Cards

Your favorite long lost original title cards (or not-so-lost ones!), and replacement title cards.

First, brief Thunderbean news:

Now, having two nearly complete masters from looming in progress titles makes it easier to see the next titles. Rainbow Parades is basically done, with a small piece of animation waiting to compile for titles. I’ll highlight that title at some point this month. More Stop Motion Marvels will be sent to replication within a week or so, and will be out this month. Commentaries for the set are the last thing to do and are in progress this week.

Scanning is fast and furious here; lots of 16mm scanning here, and I’ll be traveling to finally get some of the 35mm done to get other projects moving. Getting things to the finish line is going well. The new goal is to have a new ‘Official’ set out each month, and quite a few of the special sets. There is a new special set for the beginning of the year called Cartoon Resolutions. It’s here at the Thunderbean shop for another week.

We’ve also dubbed and put up 25 copies of each of the older ‘special’ sets, available for a week to help with replication on the new titles.

Thunderbean Special Blu-Ray Discs

..and now, onto the cartoons!

I think the newer generations have a really different take on missing titles than everyone else. In an age where things move much faster and so many more films are available, things that seemed impossible to see keep showing up on a pretty regular basis.

One of the funniest things I’ve seen more recently are people making ‘fake’ beat up original titles that they discovered! I really never expected that to happen, but here’s a few of my favorites:

The Tom and Jerry cartoons are especially victims of ‘Fake original titles. Here’s one from ‘8mm’ film. Dig all those little white worms!

..and another! Notice that this one has crazy moving sprockets but a rock steady picture:

..and here’s a whole playlist of ‘em from another industrious fan:

I kind of like the dirt on some of these — they were trying to be subtle with some of it…

Now, here are real titles rather than recreations, from Texas Tom. There’s a pretty good chance this is from a print I was lucky enough to get and scan — but why its so dark here is anyone’s guess:

Here’s one that I think used the Paramount logo from the 16mm print of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” as well as the print of The Friendly Ghost posted recently:

Here’s one using Mark Kausler’s opening titles from a very rare print of Clock Cleaners. It was scanned for inclusion in the beautiful Tashen Mickey Mouse book.

Here’s a Fox and Crow title recreation:

Too bad he didn’t have THIS original title to work with:

Of course, it’s funny in one way, but it also shows that there’s a lot of people that love these films and would love to see the original titles on them. It’s also funny that, now that some things are available with original titles, that there isn’t a lot of thought about all the decades that they weren’t available. I actually love that there’s so much interest in having those films with their original titles.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject as I’ve been doing little fixes on the first half of the Rainbow Parades. There’s a lot of prints in there that I really never thought I’d have original titles for on the set now- but sadly not all. After searching for them for many years, if and when any do show up I’ll be a really happy.

Since the Cubby Bear set, a few more of the films have shown up with original titles. On that set, I had a majority with the originals, but was thrilled recently to scan a print of Goode Knight. Here’s some stills from those titles, including the really fun ‘scroll’ showing the cast!

One of the favorite things this week for me was seeing the original title card from Flip Flap. Even though it’s just black and white, it’s such a nice thing to know it exists.

When doing title recreations, I think it’s important to try and get them as accurate as possible. Now, here are some replacement title cards from some of the recent projects. Many of them are cool in completely different ways.

Here are some Dutch titles from Flip the Frogs. I especially like the oddness of these:

Here’s the Sterling films title from Revolt of the Toys. I always liked this card:

I really like this simple, deteriorating title card from an early Felix the Cat cartoon:

Almost every copy of the Cubby Bear cartoon Gay Gaucho has the Official Films titles. This rare print had the ‘Gutholn’ titles, something I had never seen before.

Here’s one of the more typical ones, from an Official Films print:

This Home Movie ‘Hollywood Enterprises’ title for Fresh Lobster is a really cool card.

And, of course, we’re all familiar with the retitled Columbia Rhapsodies prints. I can’t be sure, but I do know that quite a few of the original negs have all the original titles intact.

What are some of your favorite cards or retitle openings?

Have a good week everyone. More Stop Motion Marvels will be highlighted next week!


  • I cannot wait to get the Stop Motion Marvels set on blu-ray, as a year or two ago, my original copy had developed a crack, and therefore became unplayable.
    As soon as it becomes available, I will purchase the set.

  • The pre-48 Blue Ribbon original titles were the holy grail, because Warners had stripped the animation and director credits along with Carl Stalling’s musical openings. Same deal with the B&W Fleischer cartoons that were part of the UM&M package (plus one Harveytoon), or the re-releated Screen Gems cartoons — the original titles are important because on so many of those the credits for the people who worked on those shorts were completely removed, as opposed to the bulk of the MGM re-releases or the post-48 BR releases by Warners. It’s great to find original titles there, but those re-releases didn’t obscure who made them.

  • Oh, how I have sinned!

  • As a hardcore fan of silent Fables, there’s not enough with original titles! Most have gone the way of the dodo given Commonwealth and Guaranteed pictures. Surviving title cards from the earliest ones only managed to show up recently, dating from before the switch to a precursor to the typical “animator is a director” system in 1926.

  • The title card that intrigues me here is the French one. It means “In search of a good lunch”, but that could describe any number of Felix cartoons. It’s not a literal translation of any English title.

    In my research on the composer Paul Hindemith, I discovered that he wrote what may have been the first through-composed musical score (now lost) to an animated cartoon, which was shown at an arts festival in Baden-Baden in 1927. All sources give the cartoon’s German title, “Felix der Kater im Zirkus” (Felix the cat in the circus). I strongly suspect that the cartoon in question was “Felix Wins Out”, in which Felix is shown playing a “magic flute” (actually a snake charmer’s pipe). This would have opened up many musical possibilities for the composer, especially since Hindemith, as a former concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera orchestra, would have been intimately familiar with Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”. However, there’s a chance that it might have been an earlier Felix cartoon, “Frolics at the Circus”; the German title could apply to either. It bothers me that, for such an important milestone in cartoon music history, we don’t even know for certain which cartoon it was.

    The original title card to that 1923 Felix cartoon reads “Felix Win’s Out”, with a superfluous apostrophe. I’m torn between my desire for the faithful preservation of old cartoons and my abhorrence of incorrect punctuation.

    Translating cartoon titles can be problematic when there’s wordplay involved. Most Bugs Bunny cartoons, for example, have titles that are puns; but since the words for “hare”, “hair” and “air” in other languages seldom sound at all similar, translations of these titles either don’t make any sense, or aren’t funny when they do. The German dubs of Bugs Bunny cartoons that I’ve seen don’t bother to translate the titles at all.

    By the way, my Cartoon Roots videos arrived here in Australia yesterday, just nine days after I ordered them! Thanks for the speedy service!

  • Man everyone (including of course me) is OBSESSED with little darn fickle things called titles. It almost it seems, missing live action titles is rarely talked about in the classic film community other than Disney as a whole. (Star Wars, Muppets, Lost RKOs for regular Disneys, theatrical Fox titles, etc.). The only ones who care about missing live-action titles, it seems, is the Closing Logo community who also LO-O-O-OVES these original titles!

  • Yeah, the reason the we are fickle about it is because these cartoons and films deserve to be shown the way that they did when they were first shown in the theatre. There is this felling of something lost with the reissued titles, from the design to the text. Original titles can tell you something that reissues can’t. I like the fact that some of the channel that I came across look like they could be the original titles for the cartoons!

  • uh oh, looks like i am also a victim of fake titles, filler loo!

  • Love to have the Fox and Crow series on DVD.

  • Wow…I never thought I’d live to see the day one of MY videos would end up on a Cartoon Research article! (The Clock Cleaners video, to be specific.) I never thought I’d see a higher quality version of that Fox and Crow title card, either! Anyhow, for favorite title cards…I love the Paramount openings from 1938-1943. The lettering on some of those titles, man. ESPECIALLY on the Popeyes, very fun to look at. I also like the Merrie Melodies title cards from 1937–it’s incredibly futuristic, wish a font was made of it.

  • Jerry’s analysis of MGM original titles [click here] — while I’d love to see an update! — has some very interesting information that’s worth looking at.

  • Jackson: The other way to look at it is that most of the silent Fables still survive in some form thanks to Commonwealth and Guaranteed Pictures/Stuart Productions. If those outfits hadn’t optioned them, we’d have relatively few to enjoy at all today.

  • Yes, Tommy, indeed, and Commonwealth’s non-sound prints even kept the intertitles and usually the moral message at the end! That’s always lovely. I look forward to seeing if you make a Farmer Al/Terry Fables volume after Dinky Doodle– I will be the one of the first to back it!

    Kudos to your acquisitions of “Sweet Adeline” and the theatrical version of the “Monkey Meat” Terrytoon, too! I don’t think either Commonwealth or Guaranteed/Stuart ever cataloged the former, and I think the latter has some sort of scene deleted from the CBS version? (There is a jump cut after the female monkey singer gets hit with a custard pie.)

  • As a very picky child, I remember being annoyed at generic television title cards: Terrytoons, the Saturday morning Loony Tunes, even the Mickey Mouse Club Mousekatoons (Although I fantasize about keeping my DVDs behind a Treasure Mine facade with a mousekadial).

    The network Tom and Jerry show, to my recollection, kept the full MGM titles. Leo the Lion added class to everything.

    Network shows appeared to be the main culprits. Local cartoon shows tended to have at least plausible titles, aside from replacing the studio with something like NTA or AAP. Public domain Fleischers and Paramounts often had the studio and other stuff blotted out, usually in an ugly fashion. Or they’d be replaced altogether by all-text cards, the equivalent of wrapping candy bars in business envelopes.

  • What’s the origins for the Fox & Crow titles there? Better yet, what short is it from in the first place.

  • O’Connor – It’s from UNSURE RUNTS (1946).

  • I’ve always wonder, is that Fox and Crow title card animated? It looks like it is, but the other one in “Grape Nutty” to my knowledge, isn’t

  • STRUMM – Yes its animated – The Fox and Crow emerge from their separate “O” and shake hands.

  • I don’t have any favorties when it comes to original titles,

    but here is a a youtube channel by Erik, thats dedicated to oriignal Disney titles,

  • That upload of the original Texas Tom titles isn’t remotely representative of how good that 16mm IB Tech print looks. Readers might want to check out “The Telecine Has Landed” – and all the rest of the special BD-Rs, for that matter. Trust me, the special discs are worth owning!

    What Jerry once said regarding the “many” original Columbia color titles that survive is that they’re cut off and sitting in the cans next to the original negatives, which have the reissue titles spliced on. Which, curiously, is a similar situation to what you once reported for the Scrappy and Krazy Kat cartoons. Did Columbia do the retitling of the B&W cartoons for Samba Pictures/Hygo, not long before buying them out?

    Years ago, I, too, used to be all infatuated with original titles, even crafting “recreations” for myself of some things – and paying little attention to the cartoons themselves, or only watching for entertainment’s sake. I’ve since advanced to learn what actual appreciation of the artistic aspects of cartoons is. Sorry kids, but mere zeal for having the films “restored” to have original titles (or a “recreation”/fake thereof) so that they’re then “as originally intended” doesn’t cut it. Real appreciation is actually getting in there and studying those artistic aspects, things such as the styles/sensibilities of directors, the individual drawing and movement styles of animators, etc. Not that I’ve lost my interest in original titles, but that interest is now rightfully secondary to the artists and the cartoons proper. And “recreations” don’t do all that much for me anymore; it may closely resemble the original (or even use stills from the original), but at the end of the day, fake footage is fake footage and is no substitute for the real deal.

    With all that said, high on my want list would be original titles to 1930s-early ’40s Color Rhapsodies, especially the ones that were “integrated” into the cartoon with special transitions; original titles to ’30s Fleischer cartoons whose animation credits were neither included in the U.M.&M. refilmed titles nor recorded in the Copyright Catalog; and the Krazy Kat and Scrappy cartoons that either also had special “integrated” titles, or whose credits are inaccurately represented or outright wrong on the Samba Pictures titles (and there are numerous cases of this).

  • I have probably mentioned this elsewhere, but I would have loved to see original titles on two early Tex Avery MGM classics, “THE EARLY BIRD DOOD IT” and “DUMB HOUNDED”, the latter being the first DROOPY cartoon. In the case of “DOOD IT”, I would have enjoyed hearing the original score as it linked to the jazzier score as we hear it change drastically from the rescoring that is now there, and can you imagine how Droopy might have been introduced? Even though it isn’t an Avery cartoon, I think back to the titles when Petunia Pig was introduced in “PORKY’S ROMANCE”. Tex might have been interested in outdoing himself after his success with “THE BLITZ WOLF”. So it is possible that both cartoons displayed Tex’s penchant and passion for tampering with the opening and closings of his cartoons…oh, and good luck in locating original titles to the RAINBOW PARADE cartoons.

  • –The network Tom and Jerry show, to my recollection, kept the full MGM titles.–

    The 1960s CBS series replaced the theatrical main titles with a simple title card that used the same lettering style as on the Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry’s. There was a new card at the end of the cartoons that gave production credits, but it was on screen very briefly. Look down at your Frosted Flakes and you’d miss it.

    Odd thing about the CBS series is that the cartoons were interrupted halfway through for a commercial. There were no ad breaks in between cartoons. Just in the middle of them.

  • That’s what I thought, thanks Jerry!

  • Is there any record of the credits for the many Columbia Screen Gems cartoons that had their titles removed? I’d be interested to have some idea who was at the studio and when.

  • JOHN V – The copyright catalog list the screen credits on most – but not all – of the Columbia Screen Gems cartoons.

  • I want to see the original opening of Fox and Crow cartoons in action with the original title.

  • Steve,

    Did you receive my payment for The Censored 11 set that you made. I;m eager to get it.

  • No reissue of The Other Betty Boops or Looney Tunes Missing in Action? 🙁

  • Glad to see the print of Goode Knight I found get mentioned here! I haven’t seen the print since I initially screened it, so color me surprised by how good these scans look! I love when stuff like this turns up, and I loved being the one to find it even more

  • Original (special?) titles for Little Blabbermouse:

  • Hey, I was the dude who made the Fox & Crow Recreation! Nice to know I’m being featured here ^^
    I got the prologue (“The wolf sitting next to you” thing) from one of my good friends who has several old prints of Cartoons.

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