Animation &Animation Artifacts &Commentary &Layout & Design 12 Feb 2013 07:16 am

MGM Hounds – redux

- Cable TV has changed and not for the better, just toward the more corporate. In the old days you could turn on the Disney channel and catch some Disney animated shorts – the classic kind, not the Flash kind. You could see some of the 60s Paramount cartoons on Nickelodeon. You could tune into TNT and see early MGM cartoons. Today, if you’re lucky, you might see one of the more popular Harman-Ising shorts sandwiched in between two late-Droopy cartoons on Boomerang’s MGM show.


(Click any image to enlarge.)

I was a big fan of those Harman-Ising MGM cartoons. The sheer opulence of the productions was staggering to watch. For over a year, I taped an early morning program on TNT trying to grab all of the Harman-Ising shorts they aired. I was able to capture about 90% of them. It’s unfortunate that no DVD has been released of these gems so that collectors like me can feel satisfied. The Turner transfers were pretty good, and a simple DVD release of these would be worth a lot to me.

Not too long ago, I was able to buy a couple of drawings on ebay from the Harman-Ising shorts. There wasn’t much competition for them, and I was able to afford them.

One drawing is from the odd series featuring the “two curious pups.” I had an old Blackhawk 8mm copy of this short (in an edited version) and would run it back and forth still frame. I’ve captured some stills of this very scene to give you an idea of what’s happening.

The Pups’ Picnic (1936)


I don’t know who animated this scene,
but the drawing is a beauty, as far as I’m concerned.
The paper siize is 9¾ x 12 w/two round holes.

Mike Barrier just contributed the draft (below) to this film. It indicates that Pete Burness animated this scene. (I did buy the drawing from the Burness estate.)


PupsPicnicDraftsm

6 Responses to “MGM Hounds – redux”

  1. on 12 Feb 2013 at 7:52 pm 1.Nat said …

    What a find! I loved watching Harman-Ising cartoons as child, and am saddened that so few people seem to remember them. Two of my favorites growing up were The Blue Danube and Peace on Earth.

  2. on 13 Feb 2013 at 12:57 am 2.Pilsner Panther said …

    The trouble with the Harman-Ising cartoons is that they’re beautiful but bland, which is probably why they’re not well-remebered. When I was a kid watching cartoons on TV and one of them came on, I’d think “Oh no, not one of THOSE things!” It was exactly the same reaction I had when I was watching the Three Stooges and they showed one of the Joe Besser shorts. Give me Avery! Give me Clampett! Give me laughs!

  3. on 13 Feb 2013 at 11:45 am 3.Joel Brinkerhoff said …

    Harman-Ising did beautiful films not doubt. I agree they may be considered bland, but no more so than some of Disneys’ Silly Symphonies and this may explain why both are largely forgotten today.

    I think our sensibility have changed quite a bit today and people have become impatient with older works. Many young people don’t understand movies like “Citizen Kane” and wonder why older films are held in such high regard.

    I think it’s because they don’t have or care about the history and pioneering of animation and film-making and are only seeing through modern eyes.

  4. on 13 Feb 2013 at 1:34 pm 4.Pilsner Panther said …

    I certainly care about the history of animation, but another thing I don’t like about Harman-Ising is their preachiness. “Peace On Earth” is the most glaring example, and if there’s one thing that animated cartoons AREN’T an appropriate medium for, it’s Sunday School lectures. I don’t care how visually gorgeous those cartoons are, my reaction is always going to be, “Yecch!”

  5. on 14 Feb 2013 at 12:08 pm 5.RodneyBaker said …

    I’m curious about the draft…

    I recall Don Bluth suggesting they had created a great many ways to fill in a square to indicate the progression or completion of a scene/sequence on their production charts. In this draft I can’t help but wonder if the original was colored in (to indicate degree of completion)… and what (if anything) does the diagonal line mean.

    I note this because many other drafts don’t keep track of the progress and yet this one seems to do just that.

  6. on 14 Feb 2013 at 3:25 pm 6.Michael said …

    This draft looks rougher than the Disney drafts I’d seen. It looks like a work in progress, and they probably did mark it up as they went along. It also might have been a copy that belonged to the director or some one of the production crew who got to mark up his own personal copy. (Though copies being at a premium back then, I’m not sure who would have one.)

    The copy came in very light form and I had to darken the type in photoshop to make it legible. There’s a good chance the original was done with colored pencils.

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