Sunday, December 10, 2006

Leon Schlesinger

The Early Days at Warners

Warners' producer of cartoons, Leon Schlesinger (from 1930-1944) released a 5-minute pilot film named Bosko The TalkInk Kid (1929) - the first synchronized talking animated short/cartoon (as opposed to a cartoon with a soundtrack), with a little black boy character named Bosko who actually spoke dialogue. [The character of Bosko slightly resembled its major competitor at the time - Disney's Mickey Mouse, and many of the studios also had similar characters, such as Lantz' Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (see below), or Columbia's Krazy Kat.] At the end of the cartoon, Bosko went back into the inkwell and said, "So long, folks!" - the origination of the famous "That's all, folks!" end title. The Bosko pilot was drawn by two ex-Disney animators -- Hugh Harman (1903-1982) and Rudolf Ising (1903-1992), who began to make the first cartoons for Warner Bros.
Thanks for Tim Driks
Fox's TerryToons Cartoons

The animation studio TerryToons was established in 1929 by newspaper cartoonist Paul Terry (1887-1971) and Frank Moser (1886-1974). They began producing cartoons by 1930 (until 1935) that were distributed by Fox Pictures. The titles of their first 25 films were all food items, such as: Caviar (1930), Pretzels (1930), Spanish Onions (1930), Indian Pudding (1930), Roman Punch (1930), and Hot Turkey (1930).

The most famous and valuable cartoon character from TerryToons was Mighty Mouse, a Superman-like mouse superhero that first debuted as a prototype "SuperMouse" in the short The Mouse of Tomorrow (1942). In a couple of years, the more recognizable Mighty Mouse was born and renamed in an appearance in The Champion of Justice (1944). He became known for his yellow costume, red cape, and his anthem song, with the words "Here I come to save the day!" Later, CBS-TV took the Mighty Mouse cartoons and packaged them into a very popular Saturday morning television show called Mighty Mouse Playhouse, beginning in 1955 and lasting for a record eleven years. Mighty Mouse was the first cartoon character ever to appear on Saturday mornings.

The other most famous of TerryToons characters were Heckle & Jeckle, identical black crows who first appeared in the mid-40s in The Talking Magpies (1946).

Columbia Pictures Cartoons

- Krazy Kat -

The character of Krazy Kat was featured in a long-running series of black and white cartoons produced by Columbia Pictures Corp. beginning in 1929 through to 1935 (in 1935 they became Technicolored), although the cartoon Kat had already been established as early as 1916 by International Film Service, Inc. with their Introducing Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse (1916). The first Krazy Kat cartoon was Ratskin (1929), followed by Canned Music (1929).
Thanks for Tim Driks
Other Disney Cartoon Characters

The cartoon character Pluto was first introduced (unnamed) in 1930 in the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Chain Gang (1930) and named Rover in The Picnic (1930). It took another short before he attained his familiar name. Eventually, Lend a Paw (1942), with Pluto in the lead role, won an Oscar for Best Short Subject: Cartoon. Goofy debuted as an extra in Mickey's Revue (1932). [Recently, he was featured in his own full-length film, A Goofy Movie (1995).] A sailor-suited, web-footed Donald Duck was introduced in 1934 in the Silly Symphony The Wise Little Hen (1934) (with his brief opening words "Who--me? Oh no! I got a bellyache!"), and then in Orphan's Benefit (1934) (this also marked Donald's first appearance in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and with Goofy - of course, this was the first time that all three characters appeared together). Mickey Mouse made his color film debut in The Band Concert (1935). Donald's female partner, Daisy (first named "Donna Duck") was introduced in Don Donald (1937).

Thanks for Tim Dirks.