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Original Titles to MGM Cartoons: Re-created

Discussion in 'MGM' started by Zavkram, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Zavkram

    Zavkram Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member New Member

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    Recently, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel in which someone has uploaded numerous re-created opening and end-title sequences for MGM cartoons made before 1951. I don't doubt that original nitrate prints for some pre-1951 titles may still be floating around out there; but for the most part these cartoons exist today only in their theatrical re-issue formats.

    A number of these re-creations appear to be spot-on; although others are questionable because it's uncertain as to whether or not the lettering on the title-cards is authentic (for example, the one that was done for "His Mouse Friday"). The only way to be certain is if original prints or original artwork can be located for comparison.

    It looks as though these have been done digitally, using mock-ups of surviving artwork and also frame-grabs from prints and videos. Some are more seamless-looking than others.

    Here's one that was done for "The Million Dollar Cat".

    According to sources like Thad K., Jerry Beck and others, the credits on the T&J cartoons of the early and mid-40's were apparently different from what we see on the re-issue prints: For one thing, "William Hanna" and "Kenneth Muse" were listed as "Bill" Hanna and "Ken" Muse, respectively, on the earlier cartoons.

    It's not clear just why, at one point, the studio insisted on using the full names of the animators in the cartoon credits. This may have been at the insistence of Producer Fred Quimby or perhaps one of his bosses, but that's only conjecture on my part. It's especially confusing as the studio appears to have always used the short form of Ray Patterson's name on every one of the cartoons for which they gave him screen credit.

    Notice, also, that the main "Tom and Jerry" title card is different from what we're used to seeing. That card is especially rare and a copy of it was posted several years back on Jerry Beck's "Cartoon Research" page.

    The one that was done for "Sleepy-Time Tom" is particularly impressive in it's seamless presentation. All of this, of course, begs the question: why hasn't Warner Bros. Home Entertainment made more of an effort to restore some of these original titles in a similar manner (at least in cases where original titles are known to actually exist)? From what I've seen thus far, it would appear that it is indeed possible to do this in a way that calls little or no attention to the process used.

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