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Found 2 results

  1. Like RKO, Pathé, Fox & Education, this list is done by SERIES... unlike my lists for Universal, MGM, Warner and Paramount that are done ALPHABETICAL. Columbia Pictures is one of the better documented studios in terms of its short subjects. Granted, once you pass the realm of the two reel comedy short featuring The Three Stooges, there isn't a whole lot being discussed. Yet progress is being made... and there has been a nifty website dedicated to Columbia's shorties for a while (and getting updated periodically) and this is something we do not have with the other studios. You can see it here: http://columbiashortsdept.weebly.com/ The listings below are NOT to be taken as any kind of improvement or replacement for that great site. You will find no pictures HERE and I only give the most BASIC credit information. Columbia is, of course, most famous for its comedies, but it also made many nifty documentaries, travelogues, sports reels, jazz shorts and... of course, multi-chapter serials (as late as 1955!) and animated cartoons that I am not including here (since I am sticking strictly to the “live-action” non-serial material). Nonetheless I will give a nod to Columbia's toons... Charles Mintz (married to Margaret Winkler, who handled Walt Disney's cartoons of the twenties and famous for getting into a three-way battle with him regarding Oswald the Lucky Rabbit that also involved Universal) headed a Krazy Kat cartoon series that Columbia began distributing in 1929, followed by Scrappy, “Color Rhapsodies” and... after Mintz's passing in 1940 and more changes in management... the Fox & the Crow. The company, known as Screen Gems during its second decade, closed shop in early 1947 with enough 6 to 8 minute shorts “on the shelf” for Columbia to release on a reduced scale during the next two seasons. Walt Disney distributed his Mickey Mouse and “Silly Symphonies” tentatively in 1929 (The Skeleton Dance was booked in some Columbia “block booking” programs) before the studio became his official distributor at the start of 1930. Disney (who apparently wasn't fond of Harry Cohn) left and joined United Artists in the summer of 1932 just before he started releasing his “Silly Symphonies” in Technicolor. (In 1934, Mintz-Screen Gems began their “Rhapsodies” in a two color system before Disney's monopoly on the three color system was lifted.) UPA... United Productions of America... revolutionized American animation in the forties with a more modern “anything goes” style of graphics that contrasted from the Disney “chocolate box illustration” style (as critic and historian Leslie Halliwell humorously called it). Columbia started distributing their “Jolly Frolics” with a revamped Fox & Crow in 1948, then scored big with Mister Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing. UPA later branched into television production and was always making commercials and industrial films early on, but Columbia handled their theaters-only contract through the release of the feature 1001 Arabian Nights in 1959. When UPA didn't renew their Columbia theatrical contract in order to focus on features and TV, William Hanna and Joe Barbara decided to get “back into” the theatrical business after two years of TV work (and still continuing their empire created there) with a series of Loopy De Loop. 48 titles were released from 1959 through 1965. The National Film Board of Canada distributed a couple of their 'toons through Columbia in the late sixties... and there were the occasional independent production also picked up that decade. One title of importance was Sam Weiss' Little Boy Bad (1964). Columbia took great pride in its short subjects, which often boasted better production values than the even higher-up-on-the-totem-pole studios which forked over the big bucks on their features. Although few Columbia feature films were in color prior to the forties, their shorties were dabbling with the process in the “Color Sensations” as early as 1929. More important... and this accounts for the company's enduring reputation... was its commitment to the 2-reel comedy long after Mack Sennett and Hal Roach stopped making them in the thirties. Columbia kept the Three Stooges employed through as late as 1958, even if the later titles economized with a higher ratio of “lifted” material from earlier ones. Other studios like RKO (with Edgar Kennedy and Leon Errol) and Warner Brothers (with the decade and a half run of “Joe McDoakes” one-reelers) may have (arguably) boasted a more consistent high standard of quality, BUT they were never as prolific as Columbia... and Columbia certainly was capable of knocking 'em out of the park with all of their creative personnel. In the travelogue and documentary arena, there were still “extras” released with the features as late as the seventies with one covering Norman Rockwell earning a shortie Oscar in a decade when the major studios were seldom nominated for anything not feature length. One reason the studio maintained plenty of shorts for possible theatrical release as late as it did was due to its involvement in the 16mm educational market with the Learning Corporation of America, which I also included here (just their Columbia-backed shorts). Again... Key references used are the same as with the other lists: BoxOffice, Film Daily and Motion Picture Herald Magazine back issues (latter two found on the Internet Archive), the IMDb.com site, Motion Pictures 1912-1939 (1951), Motion Pictures 1940-1949 (1953), Motion Pictures 1950-1959 (1960) and Motion Pictures 1960-1969 (1971). Then there’s Leonard Maltin’s The Great Movie Shorts (a.k.a. Selected Short Subjects, Crown, 1972), The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931 by Edwin M. Bradley (McFarland) and other books worth searching out such as Ted Okuda's The Columbia Comedy Shorts (McFarland), first published in 1986 at a time when The Three Stooges were dominating the wonderful world of VHS as they were on television. ************ The way these are structured are as follows... -Title first -Producers, directors and only the most important credits for space reasons are listed in (). If a series was consistent with its credits, I just list them once up top. -“bw” obviously means black and white, although it could have been colorized for home video (i.e. Three Stooges). Also the approximate... very approximate... running time in minutes or “m”. A 1 reel film ranges from 6 to 112 minutes (and I am not certain if you see this listed) and 2 reels run under 24 minutes. -Release date or copyright date ©, which is close enough... and occasionally both if I happened to be in the mood. If I have a filming date that is significantly earlier than release time, I have added that () -If a plot is available, along with supporting cast members performing, I have included it after the date in italics. ************ All Star Comedies (Broadway Comedies) This is just my personal "assortment" featuring stars who only “headlined” one or two shorts each. When Do We Eat? (Alfred J. Goulding) / bw-20m / March 19, 1934 Starring Lou Holtz. Lou's theatrical troupe must make money as a nudist restaurant. Supporting cast includes Bud Jamison, Luis Alberni, Adrian Rosley, Benny Baker, Arthur Treacher, Julia Griffith & others. His Old Flame (James Horne) / bw-18m / January 25, 1935 (filmed '34) A local citizen (Charles Murray) decides to run for town mayor, on a "family values", but an old girlfriend has some steamy love letters. With Geneva Mitchell, Billy Gilbert & others The Captain Hits The Ceiling (Charles Lamont) / bw-19m / July 6, 1935 Franklin Pangborn argues with his sea captain, not realizing he's a potential father-in-law. With Bud Jamison, Geneva Mitchell, Arthur Houseman, James C. Morton, Arthur Rankin, Phyllis Crane, William O'Neal & Stanley Blystone. Unrelated Relations (Del Lord) / bw-18m / January 9, 1936 (filmed '35) Monte (Monty) Collins and his new wife are moving into their new home. All is going well until her family decides to drop in for a visit. With Louise Caver, Tommy Bond, Mary Foy, Ken Hollis & others The Champ's A Chump (Sam White) / bw-19m / June 20, 1936 Big Boy Williams joins a college in order to get a boxer's contract. With Louis Prima, Fred Kohler, Shirley Chambers & James C. Morton Oh Duchess! (Charles Lamont) / bw-16m / October 9, 1936 Starring Polly Moran. A fish marketer poses as "royal" for her daughter's beau. With Jack Lipson, Mary Blake, Symonia Boniface, Vernon Dent, Eva & Robert McKenzie & Al Thompson Sailor Maid (Charles Lamont) / bw-19m / February 12, 1937 Starring Polly Moran. An immigrant seeks an American husband. With Eddie Laughton, Theodore Lorch, Frank Mills, Cy Schindell, Al Thompson & Black-ie Whiteford Oh, What A Knight! (Charley Chase) / bw-18m / November 22, 1937 Starring Herman Bing. A barber is mistaken for a rich woman's new servant. With Louise Stanley & Claud Allister Cuckoorancho (Ben K. Blake) / bw-17m / March 20, 1938 Starring Joe Besser. Two wanderers are mistaken for rich tycoons by a Mexican rancher. With Lee Royce, Charles Master, Lolita Cordoba,Willis Clare & Ned McGunn's Dancers Half-way To Hollywood (Charley Chase) / bw-18m / July 1, 1938 Starring Tom Kennedy & Johnny Arthur. A struggling screenwriter and his buddy make a movie in their backyard about his boss, which causes trouble with him as an unsuspecting visitor to the set. With Ann Doran, Harry Holman, Cy Schindell, Beatrice Blinn, Bobby Burns, Doodles Weaver, Al Thompson, Beatrice Curtis, Victor Travers A Star Is Shorn (Del Lord) / bw-17m / April 21, 1939 Starring Danny Webb. A Hollywood agent tries to hook up “Miss Maple Syrup” with an astrology obsessed producer. With Mary Treen, Raymond Brown & Ethelreda Leopold Black Eyes And Blues (Jules White) / bw-17m / April 18, 1941 Starring Roscoe Karns. Once again Roscoe's wife is seeking a divorce in Reno. With Dorothy Appleby, Elsie Ames, Don Beddoe, Lynton Brent, Richard Fiske & others French Fried Patootie (Wee Wee Fifi) (Jules White) / bw-18m / June 27, 1941 Starring Alan Mowbray. Two ex-soldiers attend a war convention with their wives and one must hide an old flame he meets. With Lorin Raker, Mae Busch, Greta Granstedt, Johnny Kascier & Kitty McHugh Love In Gloom (Jules White) / bw-19m / August 15, 1941 Starring Henny Youngman, running a "Meet A Mate" agency. With Al Shean and the Radio Rogues. Half Shot At Sunrise (Del Lord) / bw-17m / September 4, 1941 Starring Roscoe Karns. Roscoe's wife leaves him on account of his practical joke making. While away, he gets involved with a pretty refugee clothes gatherer. With Ann Doran, Bobby Larson, Symona Boniface, Marjorie Kane, Marion Martin & others Three Blonde Mice (Jules White) / bw-16m / January 22, 1942 (filmed '41) Starring Alan Mowbray. When a cop stops him for speeding, Alan tries to get out of it by claiming that he is rushing home to his expectant wife. When the cop decides to follow him home to check up on his story, Alan has to come up with a wife and child. With Dorothy Appleby, Monte (Monty) Collins, Bud Jamison & others Groom And Bored (Del Lord) / bw-16m / April 9, 1942 Johnny Downs has to find a way to keep his marriage a secret from his boss, who feels that marriage is not good for business. With Arthur Q. Bryan, Marjorie Deanne, Helen Lynd, Bud Jamison, Walter Soderling, Fred Toones & others Kiss And Wake Up (Jules White) / bw-18m / October 2, 1942 Johnny Downs breaks up with his angry fiance before their marriage and tries to make up by making her “jealous” with his buddy in drag. With Adele Mara, Frank Sully, Etta McDaniel & Betty Blythe Two Saplings (Harry Edwards) / bw-19m / March 5, 1943 Starring George Givot & Cliff Nazarro. Two Greek restaurant owners foil a bank robbery. With Gwen Kenyon, Ann Evers, Vernon Dent, Mabel Forest & Monte (Monty) Collins Shot In The Escape (Jules White) / bw-19m) / August 6, 1943 Starring Billy Gilbert & Cliff Nazarro. The boys make the error of aiding a lady on a muddy street, only to cleaned off at her place when the jealous husband arrives. With Grace Leonard, Kathryn Keys & Barbra Slater Quack Service (Harry Edwards) / bw-18m / September 3, 1943 Starring Una Merkel & Gwen Kenyon. The duo get jobs as process servers, and are assigned to serve papers on a prominent local doctor (Stanley Brown). With Monte (Monty) Collins, Vernon Dent, Dudley Dickerson, Bud Jamison, Blanche Payson, Snub Pollard & Al Thompson Garden Of Eatin' (Harry Edwards) / bw-19m / October 22, 1943 Slim Summerville is in the pokey after being mistaken for a kidnapper and must deal with an angry mob. With Bobby Larson, Chester Conklin & Christine McIntyre Bachelor Daze (Jules White) / bw-17m / February 17, 1944 (filmed '43) Starring Slim Summerville. Two buddies battle over a town widow. With Emmett Lynn, Minerva Urecal, Vernon Dent, Frank Sully, Victor Travers, Al Thompson & Charles Dorety Crazy Like A Fox (Jules White) / bw-19m / May 1, 1944 Billy Gilbert starring in a remake of Andy Clyde's AM I HAVING FUN? With Billy as a taxi driver. With Jack Norton, Black-ie Whiteford, Esther Howard, Dan Seymour, Heinie Conklin, Judy Malcolm & Christine McIntyre Wedded Bliss (Harry Edwards) / bw-17m / August 18, 1944 Starring Billy Gilbert & Vernon Dent. Billy tries to fix a friend's marriage. With Frank Lackteen & Christine McIntyre Silly Billy (Jules White) / bw-18m / January 29, 1948 (filmed '47) Starring Billie Burke. Billie invites the father of her daughter's fiance to her home, under the mistaken impression that he is her daughter's fiance. With Virginia Hunter, Myron Healy, Tim Ryan, Ruby Dandridge, Emil Sitka, Black-ie Whiteford, Cy Schindell. Billie Gets Her Man (Edward Bernds) / bw-17m / September 9, 1948 Starring Billie Burke. Billie thinks her daughter is pregnant and must decide if she should remarry an old chum, now a millionaire. With Patsy Moran, Dick Wessel, Emil Sitka, Gay Nelson, Jimmy Lloyd, Andre Pola, Symona Boniface, Stanley Ince, Cy Schindell, Harold Brauer, Johnny Kascier, Wanda Perry, Teddy Mangean, Virginia Ellsworth, Dee Green, Maudie Prickett, Charles Heine Conklin. French Fried Frolic (Jules White) / bw-18m / December 8, 1949 (filmed Oct) Starring Wally Brown & Tim Ryan. The boys get tangled with French girls (Christine McIntyre and Nanette Bordeaux) who need husbands to fool a rich uncle (Emil Sitka). Also Grace Lenard & Kathleen O'Malley Innocently Guilty (Bert Wheeler) / bw-15m / August 21, 1950 Starring Bert Wheeler. Through a series of misunderstandings, Bert becomes innocently involved with his boss' wife. With Christine McIntyre, Margie Liszt, Nanette Bordeaux, vernon Dent, Joe Palma, Heinie Conklin, Kathleen O'Malley The Awful Sleuth (Richard Quine) / bw-18m / April 15, 1951 (filmed '50) A soda jerk (Bert Wheeler) is a detective tale buff who doesn't recognize gangster “Memphis Mike” as a customer and confident until he is held captive later. With Ben Welden, Tom Kennedy, Minerva Urecal, Jean Wiles, Vernon Dent & Ralph Volkie Down The Hatch (Jules White) / bw-17m / November 26, 1953 Harry Mimmo is employed by a couple of jewel thieves getting him to carry a stolen ruby out of Italy by ship. With Rita Conde, Maxine gates, Johnny Kascier, Joe Palma, Emil Sitka & Philip Van Zandt Kids Will Be Kids (Jules White) / bw-16m / December 9, 1954 “The Mischief Makers” with Sally Jane Bruce & Emil Sitka. Junior & Highpockets enter their dog Daisy in a pet contest, and she wins doing a dance until a kitty interfers. Tricky Chicks (Jules White) / bw-16m / October 24, 1957 “Girlie Whirls Comedy” featuring Mureil Landers. Two girls at a night club are romantic with investigating agents and try to fool them with fake evidence on some criminals they are seeking. With Dick Wessel, Bek Nelson & Benny Rubin
  2. Once again, I am providing two movie shorties companies for the price of one. Last time I gave you three: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/96727-a-shortie-checklist-rko-and-path%C3%A9-and-fbo/ Like that forum thread, I will list these by SERIES, then chronologically. Maybe Universal and Columbia, my next two for later this year, will be done alphabetical like Paramount, Warner and MGM? I am undecided as to which is less demanding on Yee Fellow Movie geeks. The ONLY connection these two companies have is that one distributed the other company's product between January 1933 and September 1938. Everybody here is already familiar with Fox and 20th Century Fox and, yes, I have an “intro” prepared below. Yet first... let us look at Educational Pictures, shall we? This is one of the great underrated, but highly prolific shorties producers (with quite a few features as well) of the 1920s and '30s. Educational Pictures, as its name implies, started out making or distributing documentaries. Today it is more famous for its NON-educational stuff, namely its one and two reeled comedy shorts. Launched in 1915 and supervised by Earle W. Hammons, the company billed itself later, with the familiar Aladdin's lamp logo, as "the Spice of the Program". When you compare their product with some of the competition, which was often time-filler material, they pretty much lived up to that. However, it is also fair to say that their product, especially their sound films which survived a notorious 1937 vault fire, was wildly inconsistent. When they were good, they rocked the house down. When they were bad, they could be quite painful to sit through. 1920 was a key year for the company. The market for documentaries was unstable, but comedy shorts were booming in popularity. One producer distributing for them, C.L. Chester, launched a series with a chimp named Snooky. In June, they began distributing the 2-reelers of Al Christie, who (at that time) rivaled Hal Roach for the coveted #2 spot under Mack Sennett as top comedy shorts producer. Christie had successfully been distributing his product independently since leaving Universal (at their Nestor and L-KO Kompany facilities) in 1916, but their joining with Educational proved beneficial to both. Christie's pre-Educational comedies need their own separate list, so I left them out of this one for the time being. In 1927, Paramount persuaded Christie to join them for an even better deal (and that is covered on my list for that studio). Christie would return to Educational by heading their New York comedy facilities in the thirties. With Al Christie as its "backbone" and top bread-earner, the in house Educational comedy was officially launched with Lloyd Hamilton (coming from Fox) as their first star. The Hamilton comedies gradually refined their style to a peak of perfection in the mid to late twenties; surviving titles can hold their own against the best of Roach and Sennett even if he's hardly a household name today. Of course, much of a comedy's success depended upon the star involved: Al St. John, Lupino Lane, Monty (Monte) Collins, Lige Conley, Jimmie Adams and Johnny Arthur all did some of their very best (and not so best) work for top producer Jack White and others releasing through Hammons & company. The studio even backed the great Mack Sennett himself between his contracts with Pathé (ending 1928) and Paramount (beginning 1932) and, later still, utilized his services as a director at their California facilities. It was partly due to Sennett's success with sound in 1928 that the other Educational producers had little trouble tackling the new technology. During the thirties, the bulk of studio-oriented short subjects made in the United States were split between California and New York City. Educational made good use of Long Island's Astoria (also used and previously controlled by Paramount), with Al Christie returning as a top producer. With plenty of product coming from both sides, E. W. Hammons kept his new distributor Fox (later 20th Century Fox) well stocked. It is often easy to distinguish between filmed-in-Los Angeles and NYC titles. One type had more outdoor scenes and stronger visual appeal, while the other was claustrophobic (indoors mostly) and more dialogue-driven. Even when the NYC product looked cheap, it did not have cheap talent: Joe Cook, Tom Howard, Bert Lahr, Danny Kaye, June Allyson, the Ritz Brothers and many others (with Bob Hope and Milton Berle also doing one each). It has often been said they got their stars either “on their way up” or “on their way down”. Buster Keaton fell into the latter bracket, but his 2-reelers for the company were among its very best, if a letdown to his silent masterpieces. Educational films of the educational sort continued to flourish along side the comedies and new mini-musicals. In the twenties, these included the many "scenics" backed by Robert C. Bruce (famous later for his Technicolor work for Paramount) and Walter F utter's "Curiosities". Later they were given a most appropriate umbrella title of "Treasure Chests". There is little question that this company boasted the best docu-product in the business, garnishing a few Oscar nominations and encouraging British producers like Alexander Korda (who backed The Private Life of Gannets) to utilize their services on this side of the Atlantic. Two particular specialties were the color travelogue (predating FitzPatrick's Traveltalks at MGM by a few years if done in the more primitive 2-color system Multicolor) and the nature-reel, with the brothers Stacey & Howard Woodard documenting a variety of insects, mammals and sea critters in their popular "Battle for Life". The focus here is on live action shorts, but I did include the full run of "Hodge Podge" one reelers from the Lyman H. Howe Films Company (the name being posthumous). These had both live-action footage (stretching back some years) and animated title sequences. Some like The Wandering Toy (1928) were even 70% animated, but after adapting to sound, they had less animation and more live-action even though the clay animation work was particularly impressive in the early '30s entries. E.W. Hammon's interest in fully animated cartoons began in 1917 with a Helena Smith Dayton project for the SS Film Company, which is sadly lost today but is famous as another pioneering piece of claymation. The following two years saw a cluster of "Katzenjammer Kids" and "Happy Hooligan" produced by John Terry (initially for Hearst's company) and animated by future feature director Gregory La Cava. Subsequent cartoon series include Julian Ollendorf's "Sketchografs" (1922), Herbert Dawley's "Tony Sarg Almanac" (also '22), Earl Hurd's "Pen & Ink Vaudeville" and "Bobby Bumps" (1924-25), John Coleman Terry's Judge's "Crossword Puzzles" (1924-25), Sherwood-Wadsworth "Life Cartoon Comedies" (1926-27) and, by 1927, some part live-action and stop-motion comedies made by Charles Bowers. Without a doubt, Educational's most famous acquisitions were the 1925-28 run of Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer's "Felix the Cat" and Paul Terry's "Terrytoons", launched in 1930 and later taken over to 20th Century Fox. When 20th Century Fox did not renew their contract with Educational in 1938, the company merged with Grand National, a company James Cagney used during his bitter time away from Warner Brothers. Despite big ambitions, this move proved a disaster; the few features did not overcome their costs. A backlog of surviving titles were eventually auctioned off, with Astor Pictures reissuing the Mack Sennett/Bing Crosby 2-reelers quite successfully in the forties. Many surviving films are currently in public domain and some DVD companies like Kino have tried restoring the product for modern viewers. Now... a quick overview of Fox's live action "shorties" During the teens and twenties, William Fox's company maintained a pretty consistent run of one and two-reelers running less than 25 minutes, all supporting its features with Theda Bara, William Farnum and Tom Mix (who also did a few shorts) up through Janet Gaynor in Sunrise and the early talkies. Fox produced his first hour-long feature, Life's Shop Window, in 1914 and also distributed the 1918-23 animated cartoons of Mutt & Jeff (credited to Budd Fisher but animated by the Raoul Barré and Charles Bowers' studio). Sadly, a vault fire in 1937 (a bad year for film preservation) took its toll and, today, probably only one in ten silent shorts survive. What makes the situation even more distressing is that the overall quality of those that do is quite high. Ex-Mack Sennett director Henry Lehrman worked on many of the earliest comedy 2-reelers of the teens and, thanks to his notorious masochistic streak, helped inaugurate Fox's unique style: a combination of glossy production values and sadistic violence that sometimes made the later Three Stooges appear tranquilized by comparison. Sometimes the sets were even more impressive than the features they supported; a simple comedy starring chimps, Grief In Bagdad, almost "apes" the picture it parodies, Douglas Fairbank's Thief Of Baghdad. Apart from chimps and some top human stars like Lloyd Hamilton and Ford Sterling, a bunch of furry stars populated quite a few of these, including lions and kangaroos. Meanwhile, a steady stream of "Fox Varieties" featuring travelogue and human interest material supplemented the program. In 1929, Fox set his sights on merging with Loews/MGM, a company that already had a wealth of "shorties" on its program thanks partly to Hal Roach. This did not pan out as he had planned and ultimately his financial ambitions (combined with an auto accident and the stock market crash) doomed him. (He left his company in April 1930.) At this time, the company dropped its shorts apart from its newsreel. Two years previously, Fox became the second bigwig (following the Warner Brothers) to hop onto the Talkie bandwagon with the sound-on-film Theodore Case and Earl Sponable process. Some of the Fox Movietone Newsreels (which began as Fox News in October 1919) started using the new process to document Charles Lindbergh's flight in 1927. Also using the “Movietone” process were a batch of mini-musicals and mini-comedies to compete with the vast Warner Brothers-Vitaphone catalog. Among them were the first Robert Benchley and Clark & McCullough comedies, which still hold up quite well today, entertainment-wise. Unfortunately, Fox's big move into all talking and all singing one-reelers didn't last very long. Hardly any new shorties were released between mid 1929 to early '31. Predating the cinéma vérité movement of the sixties were the thirties Movietone's "Magic Carpet" travelogues, which differed from the contemporary MGM "Traveltalks", RKO "Vagabond Adventures" and Warner-Vitaphone E.M. Newman shorts in their rather limited use of narration and strong emphasis on “you are there” sound bytes. They remained a staple of the Fox program through the war years, by which time many were also in color. They also set the stage for a basically all-educational program which later included the delightful omnibus "Adventures Of The Newsreel Cameraman", followed by the mostly Technicolor "Movietone Adventures". For comedy there was Lew Lehr’s "Dribble Puss Parade", another spin-off from the newsreel (his various humorous segments there began in 1933). It vaguely resembled the Pete Smith Specialties at MGM but without as much polish. Cartoon fans will recognize his "monkeys is za qwaziest peoples" line... parodied often in Warners' Looney Tunes. By January 1933, the company was also distributing the short comedies and docu-reel "Treasure Chests" from Educational Pictures. For the next five years (through Fox's merge with 20th Century), two reelers featuring Bert Lahr, Buster Keaton and others augmented the Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda spectaculars. Speaking of Shirley, she made her cinematic debut in Educational comedies; those infamously awful and rather questionable "Baby Burlesques". The quality of Educational's product was wildly hit and miss, boasting both the very best and all-time worst in short subject "extras". Co-produced by Educational were Paul Terry's "Terrytoons" (even though they won't get discussed here since I'm focused on the "live action shorts"). When Fox dumped Educational in 1938, they kept the New York (New Rochelle) based animation studio and forced the grade-B producer Terry (who dubbed Walt Disney as "the paté of the business" and himself "the chicken s**t") to start producing some of his 'toons (rather belatedly) in Technicolor. With the arrival of Mighty (Super) Mouse in 1942, followed by Heckle & Jeckle, 20th Century Fox promptly stop complaining about the sometimes poor production values and catered to theater owner demand to keep-them-coming. Fox continued releasing the cartoons very successfully even after the animation shop closed in 1968, with Sad Cat and Possible Possum featured in the later years. 1942 was the year Fox took over the "March of Time" series from RKO. Unfortunately, the studio couldn't figure out what to do with this prize possession, since Fox Movietone already was churning out docu-reels left and right. While RKO placed these two-reel featurettes in all the first run theaters, Fox was a bit more chaotic and less enthusiastic in its distribution. When the market for these types of films shrunk after television, it officially ended in 1951. The initial producer Louis de Rochemont first made his name with Movietone shorts like the "Magic Carpets"; within a year after rejoining Fox, he began pioneering the "on location" style with Fox's feature films such as The House on 92nd Street. The early fifties marked a dry spell for Fox shorts production; an exception being an Oscar winning, but short-lived, color series featuring famous paintings on display. Then CinemaScope arrive to give a big boost. After trying out the wide-screen format on some Alfred Newman orchestra performances (trotting stereophonic sound), it was off to the four corners of the world to document all of the sights in glorious 'scope. Although other studios like Warner frequently put more oomph into their wide-screen travelogues, Fox still made great use of their technology and cranked out more than anybody else, even as late as 1964. A few “specials” straggled along with the continuing Fox features in more recent years. ******** My resources are all covered on my previous blogs: BoxOffice Magazine (scans available online for a while, but a bit harder to access in recent years), Film Daily and Motion Picture Herald Magazine back issues (both found on the Internet Archive), with the IMDb.com site have all been a great help. (I had added many Warner shorties to that latter site.) Equally important are the Library of Congress copyright listings Motion Pictures 1912-1939 (1951), Motion Pictures 1940-1949 (1953), Motion Pictures 1950-1959 (1960) and Motion Pictures 1960-1969 (1971). Also Edwin M. Bradley’s The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931 (McFarland & Company, 2005).

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