Jlewis

A Shortie Checklist: Paramount

26 posts in this topic

Oooooh I wish it was so easy. Hopefully this post will help not just you, but others, in starting your great archeological dig. Yup... it will be quite a dig! Yet don't give up. The more you discuss a film of interest online, the more observant eyes will be around to guide you in the proper direction.

I used to get so many questions about the Paramount shorts of the forties and fifties, in particular. One of the quickest responses I can give is to always keep your eyes open on eBay because so many vintage shorts were made available on 16mm and can easily be "digitalized" by old movie enthusiasts, especially films that the major entertainment companies don't think are worth battling over for copyright status.

The UCLA archive has quite a few vintage Paramount shorts from multiple decades and I hear they sometimes make DVD copies for a fee. It is always worth emailing them to find out. First, of course, you have to check if your title is in their search engine. Sadly yours was not, but something else of great interest to you could still pop up there: https://cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwebv/searchBasic

According to Jerry Beck on the Cartoon Research site, Harvey Comics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Films) not only acquired their fifties cartoons, but also the bulk of the live-action subjects from the same period. Yes, these would likely include your title, if it is still available. Over the years, they have been owned by different mother-companies, the latest being Dreamworks Classics/NBC Universal and I guess this is one place to start emailing questions: http://classics.dreamworksanimation.com/ They did release many old Casper shorts on DVD through Sony in 2006 since there was enough interest in them.

Paramount did regain the rights to many old shorts, but it will require much pushing and shoving to get them as motivated in dusting off the vaults since fewer modern Americans are excited over Pacemakers as they are Jack Ryan.  On the plus side, they are doing a great job with Republic Pictures' library and have released some interesting stuff through Olive Films like the ol' Betty Boops. Kino Lorber (https://www.kinolorber.com/) put out a cluster of the late-'20s-'30s material on DVD over the years. The Jerry Fairbanks reels of 1935-49 are owned by Shield (http://www.shieldspictures.com/index.html) which put a few titles on iTunes.

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