Jack Theakston wrote:While I'm somewhat in agreement that not all of the post-widescreen era WB cartoons are blocked for 1.85-1 (although the titles most certainly are), I must point out that the facts do not jive with the above. In a survey that was taken in December, 1953 by BoxOffice magazine, it was shown that 58% of theaters in the U.S. were running widescreen in some form or another. By September, 1956, this number was estimated to be in the 90-95% range. Many, many industrial photos show interiors of theaters in even the smallest towns made a conversion during that era.
For what it's worth, I've run many original 35mm prints of the WB and other series to study this. While WB's practice is questionable, nearly every other studio was blocking their animation for either 1.66 (early Paramount WS cartoons), 1.75 (early MGM WS cartoons), or 1.85-1 (everything after about 1954).
Ragged_Clown wrote:This is my understanding, as well. Widescreen became the dominant format very quickly (or, that is, Academy fell out of fashion quickly after the varying widescreen ratios were introduced), and it was rare for major studio films from the mid-50s onward to be composed for Academy. I don't know whether this holds true for cartoons of the period. Thad's screen grabs certainly do not suggest 1.85:1 was the intended ratio, but perhaps those frames were cherrypicked because the compositional problems were more pronounced and visible than elsewhere on the shorts?
I'm guessing that if any of these post '54 shorts were meant to be matted in theaters, it would have been at 1.66:1, since they seem uncomfortably cramped at 1.85:1. (Actually, aren't widescreen HDTVs 1.78:1? If so, then the image is too cropped for any ratio other than 1.66:1.)
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