MGM CARTOON ORIGINAL TITLES
Here's a lost original title. This is the ORIGINAL on-screen Tom & Jerry title card of the 1940s. Most 1940s T&J cartoons that have been released on TV and home video are reissue prints with replaced/updated title art and credits (see proof below). This original portrait has not been seen since 1940s.
Cartoon Network.com posted these pencils (below) for other, earlier Tom & Jerry opening title cards. A version of the one on the right can be seen at the begining of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1941), minus those rings in the center. Were these titles painted and used at the begining of the early forties TOM & JERRY'S? No film footage has been found as of yet - but it proves that what we see today are not the original opening titles.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE WATCHING AN MGM REISSUE PRINT:
One way to tell if you are watching a reissued MGM cartoon with replaced titles is to look on the lower right hand corner of the ANIMATORS and MUSIC credit title. Note the reference to PERSPECTA SOUND. This title, at left, is from LITTLE QUACKER (1950 - note the copyright roman numerals). Perspecta Sound was not introduced until 1954.
Perspecta sound was introduced in 1954 and the last films made in the process were released in 1957. Perspecta, for those unfamiliar with it, was an optical sound system that created an ersatz stereophonic effect from a monophonic soundtrack. This system was initially promoted by Paramount Pictures Corp. in conjunction with its VistaVision photographic process. Perspecta sound system was used extensively by Paramount and M-G-M, with a few Warner Bros and Universal films also mixed in the system.
For more information on Perspecta Sound, check WIDE SCREEN MUSEUM.com
Below is a complete set of opening titles for TOM AND JERRY IN THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL (1950). The first row shows the original titles from 1950 (the titles were super-imposed over a pan down of the starry night time sky). The second row are the less attractive reissue titles from several years later. (Thanks to Thad K. for providing these rare film frames)
THE SHOOTING OF DAN McGOO (1945):
Many small changes were made to MGM cartoons for theatrical reissue. Unfortunetly, due to a warehouse fire, all the original negatives (and prints) of the 1930s and 40s cartoons are lost forever. Surviving nitrate prints are the only remaining record of the way these cartoons were originally shown. Case in point - Tex Avery's THE SHOOTING OF DAN McGOO. Compare the original frame (at left) with the theatrical reissue frame at right.
These two are from the original print - the Wolf offers Red some rare cigarettes!
Here is the shot on the re-release print:
Even the end title was replaced! Here is the original (left) followed by the bland re-issue title:
(Special Thanks to Mark Kausler and Pietro Shakarian for the frame grabs above)
BOSKO: When Harman and Ising began producing cartoons for MGM, they continued producing films with Bosko, their star from Leon Schlesinger's Looney Tunes. At first Bosko appeared as he had in the Warner Bros. releases. Here's a Spanish magazine ("Lecturas" courtesy of Ernesto Pfluger) announcing Bosko, Harman and Ising's arrival at MGM at MGM (with musician Scott Bradley and actress Cecilia Parker):
But after a few cartoons, Harman & Ising redesigned him to be a more realistic human black boy.
MORE TO COME. PLEASE CHECK BACK AGAIN IN THE COMING WEEKS.
Written, compiled and copyright © 2003 by Jerry Beck
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