More Leon Clippings

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Fibber Fox
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More Leon Clippings

Postby Fibber Fox » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:30 pm

This is the third in our little series of newspaper pieces on the Schelesinger studio. There are a few others, all little squibs mentioning a gag in a cartoon in current release ('Meatless Flyday' is one I can remember).

The other piece I didn't post was an article on the premiere of 'Snow White.' Leon was there and was quoted praising Walt Disney and hoping the movie would make a ton of money for him.

The stories played fast and loose with capitalisation of words back then.

May 15, 1937, Unbylined
Hollywood, May 15.—Movie cartoons are subjected to as many “must nots” as feature pictures with human characters. Every one of the 200-odd cartoons made every year (by nine companies must be submitted to the Hays office for moral inspection.
Leon Schlesinger, who makes the Looney Tunes, finds that the children who see his pictures invariably make reports to their parents, very often, make reports to him. Censorship is what it amounts to.
He doesn’t use scarey characters any more because, in one picture, he had a monster that was the heavy. The monster frightened the children—as well as Porky the Pig and the letters of protest looked like a star’s fan mail. He's found out, too, that it is very, dangerous to kid dialects.
Schlesinger’s pictures have run afoul of the official censors only once. One of his artists didn’t put enough grass on a hula dancer’s skirt. All of the scenes of the dancer had to be remade . . . with considerably more skirt. Once his animators forgot to put skirts on the lady pig—a natural slip—and one that wasn't noticed until Schlesinger’s stenographers looked at the picture. They wrote memos to the boss about it.

Feb. 12, 1937, Louella Parsons column
Don’t miss that hilarious merrie melody cartoon of Leon Schlesinger’s, “CoocoonutGrove.” It’s a wow.

Feb. 22, 1938, Louella Parsons column
HOLLYWOOD.—Leon Schlesinger, who walked out of the academy in a huff because he didn’t like certain policies in regard to the “shorts” awards, is going to follow Walt Disney Into the full-length cartoon feature field. His idea is an “animation” of “RipVan Winkle.” Schlesinger is now en route back to Hollywood from a South American trip, and will stop in New York to confer with Warner executives to decide definitely whether to proceed.

March 24, 1938, Louella Parsons column
Never though I’d be in the movies again but here I crop up in “The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos,” and before you start laughing, that’s a Leon Schlesinger merrie melody cartoon and a take-off on radio broadcasts. All the little animals impersonate dial headliners so you can't say “Louella Possum” isn’t in good company with Ben Birdie, W. C. Fieldmouse, Andy Bovine, Alexander Owlcott, Grace Moose, Ruby Squealer, Sophie Turkey, Jack Bunny, Canary Livingston, Lanny Hoss and Bing Crowsby! In fact, they tell me we little animals will be seeing you at Warners’ Hollywood this week on the same bill with “Jezebel”— and in other cities as well.

[size=100][font=Times New Roman][size=100][font=Times New Roman]Feb. 20, 1939, Harrison Carroll, King Features
Isn’t it something new under the Hollywood sun for a cartoon company to go on location? Leon Schlesinger is sending Jimmy Swinnerton, a supervising director and three staff artists to the Grand canyon to study backgrounds for a new cartoon series. "The Canyon Kiddies.” It’s based on Swinnerton’s drawings in Good Housekeeping.

March 3, 1939, Paul Harrison, NEA column
Leon Schlesinger is burlesquing “Angels With Dirty Faces” with a cartoon called “Slugs with Dirty Mugs.” [sic]

Feb. 19, 1940, Jimmy Fidler column
Art fans should put “Canyon Kiddies,” the latest Leon Schlesinger animated on their “must see” list—background scenery, painted by Jimmy Swinnerton, is an eye-full.

April 3, 1940, Paul Harrison, NEA
At Leon Schlesinger's cartoon studio, some of the boys thought up a rib that lasted two weeks. A youngster there handled thousands of sheets of celluloid, the “cells” on which animations are painted. He had to dust and stack them, and on dry days the dusting caused small sparks of static such as you can generate from a cat.
So somebody told him that this was very dangerous work, because the celluloid might ignite and explode and blow the whole studio to Kingdom Come. The only precaution, said the gagster, was to ground himself.
They got a long piece of wire and wrapped one end around the youngster’s bare right leg, under his trousers. The other end was tossed out the window and connected to a water pipe that came from the ground. The fellow worked that way, dragging the wire around, carefully reconnecting himself whenever he came in. People from other departments would drop in to watch him and comment on his bravery. In that way, everybody got to know the kid and like him, and the other day he was given a better job.

June 3, 1940, Paul Harrison, NEA
With Walt Disney devoting his talents to features and allowing hisshort subjects to sag under artistic emphasis which neglects story values, I’m becoming still more of a fan for the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies of Leon Schlesinger. The producer is one who believes that cartoons should be made for laughs.
I've just previewed a Porky Pig and Daffy Duck vehicle called “You Ought to Be In Pictures” which is the first film in more than 20 years, so far as I know, to combine cartoon characters with real people. Of course the effects are many times better and different than away back in the days of the “Out of the Inkwell” series.
This isn’t a series, anyway. Schlesinger never does a stunt more than once. It deals with the ambitions of Porky, who decides he’ll quit cartoons for higher dramatic art — maybe as Bette Davis’ leading man.
He trots into Schlesinger’s office, gets a release from his contract, drives to Warner's studio, eludes the gateman, crashes a busy sound stage, is tossed out on his ear and after some further disillusionments finds himself back at his old job and glad to be there.
All these things happen with the hand-drawn characters of Porky and Daffy mingling with normally photographed people and backgrounds. The process is too tricky for descript on.

June 21, 1940, Louella Parsons column
The National Parks Division of the Department of Interior has asked Leon Schlesinger’s permission to use scenes from his Merry Melodie cartoon, “Cross Country Detour” as a part of their campaign to educate tourists on proper national park behavior. Requested scenes show a bear hitting a tourist over the head with a “Don’t Feed the Bears” sign. Officials feel this humorous treatment may do more to keep persistent bear-feeders from injury than all the serious warnings issued in the past.

Feb. 8, 1941, Erskine Johnson’s Hollywood
Leon Schlesinger will soon introduce a new Merrie Melodie cartoon character named “Quentin Quail.”

April 11, 1941, radio listings
Leon Schlesinger, producer of “Merrie Melodies,” animated movie cartoons, is to be the guest of Al Pearce and His Gang over CBS Friday from 9:30 to 10:00 p.m.
Arthur Q. Bryan and Mel Blanc, regular members of the gang, will re-enact Schlesinger’s cartoon short, “The Wild Hare,” with Bryan as the hunter and Blanc as the hare. They did the voice parts in the film.

May 19, 1941
HOLLYWOOD, (AP)—Leon Schlesinger, maker of movie cartoons, closed his studio in a dispute with the AFL screen cartoonists guild, on the eve of a national labor relations board hearing into labor conditions at Walt Disney studio.
Schlesinger’s attorney, Harry G. Sadicoff, issued a statement saying Schlesinger had agreed to many requests of the employees made in December, but since “as a result of outside influences the monetary demands were increased about 300 per cent.”
Sadicoff said about 200 employees are involved. Pay ranges from $25 to $200 per week.
The Disney hearing involves collective bargaining demands of the cartoonists’ guild and an independent union.

May 20, 1941
HOLLYWOOD—(AP)—A strike of the Studio Cartoonists Guild against Leon Schlesinger Studio was settled Tuesday night with granting of wage increases.

May 28, 1941, Erskine Johnson’s Hollywood
The Hays Office code governing animated cartoons is even stricter than for human film behavior, because of kid fans. A new Leon Schlesinger cartoon showed a quail giving a Bronx cheer. The censors objected and changed it to a whistle.

June 27, 1941, Erskine Johnson’s Hollywood
Plot of a new Leon Schlesinger cartoon, “Hollywood Steps Out,” revolves around Ciro’s. A sign over Ciro’s, in the cartoon, says: “DeLuxe Dinners $50—Six Months to Pay.”

Oct. 29, 1941, Louella Parsons column
“Dumbo,” my favorite cartoon elephant (and New York reviewers seem to share my enthusiasm) is going to have a rival. Walt Disney’s playful big-eared pet will have to vie with “Horton,” the cartoon elephant sponsored by Leon Schlesinger in a Merrie Melodie short. For the first time in his career, Schlesinger has bought a ready-made property in the funny little book for children, “Horton Hatches the Egg.” The book and illustrations by Dr. Seuss tell the story of big-hearted Horton who agrees to sit on the nest of Mayzie. the lazy bird, so she can get away for a vacation. Well, Horton will have to do himself proud to hatch as funny a cartoon as “Dumbo.”

Nov. 18, 1941, United Press
In Hollywood, Leon Schlesinger announced that his animated cartoon character. Bugs, would sing “Any Bonds Today?” as part of a one-reeler designed to plug Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau’s Christmas sale of defense bonds.

Nov. 27, 1941, Hedda Hopper column
Bugs Bunny, animated star of Leon Schlesinger’s “Merrie Melodies” and “Looney Tunes,” will give his all to the government this Christmas by singing the national song hit “Any Bonds Today?” It’s a real Christmas present from Schlesinger to Uncle Sam.
He’s got the entire staff working to complete the film for December release, and will distribute 7500 prints throughout the states, shouldering the entire expense for the defense savings drive.

Dec. 9, 1941, Louella Parsons column
NEW YORK, (INS)—Movie cartoons are getting bigger and better. Not only is Walt Disney postponing everything to get “Peter Pan” under way, but along comes Hugh Harman, formerly of Harman-Ising, announcing a full length color feature of “King Arthur’s Knights.”
Several studios planned the round table adventures with real actors against real backgrounds, but with the world topsy-turvy the obstacles are too great. Besides real people could never convey the fairy-tale charm of the cartoon [unreadable] King Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Gareth, Lunette, Sir Modred and the others so “real” to the youngsters.
I would like to stage a one-woman campaign that Hollywood pay real tribute to these artists like Disney, Harman and Leon Schlesinger who give the world such perfect entertainment with their color cartoons. With the Legion of Decency once again in arms about suggestiveness in certain films, these boys are a credit to the industry with the clean productions which young and old can see and enjoy.

Dec. 25, 1941, Louella Parsons column
Leon Schlesinger of “Merry Melodies” fame, made his employees happy today by giving them defense bonds ranging from $25 to $1,000. Rose Joseph, who handles his press work, received a $500 bond.

May 3, 1942, Thomas F. Brady, New York Times
The film cartoon industry is feeling the pinch of war economy because of a shortage of nitro-cellulose, the transparent material on which drawings are made so that they can be photographed through each other. Old celluloids are being cleaned and resurfaced for continued use, but even so their life is short, and, according to Leon Schlesinger, producer of “MerrieMelodies” and “Looney Tunes” for Warners, a substitute is being sought. In the matter of pigments, Schlesinger has found that some are now too scarce to obtain, while others have been abandoned because they stain the celluloids so badly that they can not be cleaned off.

[font=Verdana][size=84](A fellow named Bruce Peacock in the Regina Leader-Post took this same article, word-for-word, and put it under his byline six days later).[/font][/SIZE]

May 17, 1942, Paul Harrison, NEA
Picture patrons who see a new Merrie Melody called “Horton Hatches the Egg” are likely to figure that an astonishing dearth of plot material also has hit the animated cartoon field. Because this one deals with the birth of a little flying elephant, and there also is some circus background as a further reminder of Walt Disney’s “Dumbo.”
Actually, this Leon Schlesinger production is taken straight from Dr. Seuss’ juvenile best-seller published in 1940, and the Schlesinger studio began work on the pink elephant named Horton hatched months before “Dumbo” was released. The coincidence is remarkable, but there really is no essential duplication of story.
I saw some other shorts at the time the patient and faithful Hor ton was on view. In the newest Looney Tune, “Saps and Chaps,” there's a shot depicting "the very early west” and to prove it the camera pans up on the Mount Rushmore monument to reveal the carved faces of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt as little boys.

Sept. 5, 1942, Paul Harrison, NEA
For fans who figure that war pictures are growing a bit too grim, there’s ten minutes of relief in one of Leon Schlesinger’s new Looney Tunes—“The Ducktators.” It starts with the hatching of a freak black egg, and out hope little Adolf with a “Heil!” A misfit and a hoodlum, he’s joined by a fat duck named Messosilin, and then by Hirohito, “who makes a silly Axis of himself.” They’re always picking on the Dove of Peace, who finally gets good and mad and gives ‘em their comeuppance.

Oct. 17, 1942, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
Leon Schlesinger, long a leader in new ideas in the film cartoon field, now comes out with another. A forthcoming satirical “Merrie Melodie” cartoon will be titled, “Coal Black an de Sebben Dwarfs.”

Dec.19, 1942, Robbin Coons, Wide World Features Writer
[on meat rationing affecting Hollywood]
What I’m really worried about, though, is Porky Pig. If bacon gets any scarcer, Leon Schlesinger might have to keep Porky under wraps for the duration.

Jan. 2, 1943, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
Bugs Bunny, Leon Schlesinger’s cartoon flash, will wear the garb of a Marine and putleathernecking in his new Merrie Melodies, “Super Rabbit.” Bugs will be right at home. He’s been a Marine sergeant since last September when he was “recruited” through Lieut. Col. Newton Barkley, commandant of the U. S. M. C. recruiting station at Dallas, Tex.

Jan. 30, 1943, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
For the first time in years Leon Schlesinger has topped Walt Disney in the short subject popularity race. A trade magazine’s poll to be announced soon rates ‘em this way: (1) Pete Smith. (2) Leon Schlesinger. (3) Walt Disney.

Apr. 13, 1943, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
Now we’ve heard everything. For a scene in a new Leon Schlesinger cartoon, “Wise Quackin’ Duck,” Daffy Duck does a strip tease, getting down to his “down” when someone tries to roast him in an oven. But when the Hays office censors looked at the picture, they not only modified the strip tease, but ordered the studio to put pants on Daffy Duck. Daffy duck?

May 5, 1943, Virginia Vale, Western Newspaper Union
Pola Negri, who years ago was one of the head glamour girls of the silent movies, is returning to the screen in the Unjted Artists film, “Hi Diddle Diddle”; she'll play an operatic star, the wife of Adolphe Menjou, a role from which Menjou’s real wife, Veree Teasdale, retired because of illness. Martha Scott has the leading role. Animated sequences by Leon Schlesinger, the film cartoon creator, will begin and end the picture.

Aug. 27, 1943, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
When you see a new Leon Schlesinger cartoon, “Corny Concerto,” you'll probably marvel at the sound of bubbles bursting to the melody of “The Blue Danube.” Treg Brown, the sound man who created the novelty, nearly knocked himself out doing it. He created the bubble bursting sounds by making a sound box of his mouth and rapping himself on top of the head.

Nov. 6, 1943, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
For the first time in film history a cartoon star is being loaned to a rival studio. Leon Schlesinger is farming out his cartoon flash— Bugs Bunny— to George Pal to share honors with Jasper in the puppetoon “Jasper Goes Hunting.” Right in the middle of the picture, Bugs will turn to the audience and shout, “Hey, I’m in the wrong picture.”

Mar. 1, 1944, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
You’ll probably recognize the voice for a Victor Moore caricature in Leon Schlesinger’s “Merrie Melodie” cartoon, “Ain’t That Ducky.” Moore himself dubbed in the dialog.

April 27, 1944, Erskine Johnson, NEA column
Watch closely for those gremlins in a new Leon Schlesinger short, “Russian Rhapsody.” They’re caricatures of Schlesinger and his staff.

June 22, 1944, INS
Leon Schlesinger, creator o£ numerous animated cartoons—including “Merrie Melodies,” “Bugs Bunny” and “Porky Pigs”—announced today an agreement had been reached for the sale of his studio to Warner Brothers for an undisclosed sum, reportedly several hundred thousand dollars.
Schlesinger indicated he plans complete retirement from the motion picture short subject field when the agreement is signed and the sale becomes final July 1. His future activities will be confined to by-products of the film cartoons, such as comic books.

F. Fox

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