Monday, February 26, 2007

Rare Columbia Cartoon Titles - Krazy Kat

All this week, I will present some rare cartoon titles from the Screen gems library, with seperate postings relating to Krazy Kat, Scrappy, Color Rhapsodies, and the Phantasies/Fables cartoons.

To start off, let's take a look at some of the rare Krazy Kat titles. Many of you who are lucky enough to see these very-rare cartoons have seen most of them with Samba Pictures re-issue titles (the majority of Krazy shorts I have are these versions). Thankfully, Columbia Pictures have been restoring these shorts, with some (if not most) of them with their original titles intact. It is from these restored cartoons that most of the following screenshots were made.

Below are the wonderfully-animated 1929-30 title cards, first used on the very first sound cartoon Ratskin (the screenshots are taken from Honolulu Wiles, released on 17th July 1930).

All the cartoons from 1929 (and the first handful of 1930 shorts, too) end with this title card:

Later in 1930, the Winkler brand was added to the closing title card (this was also taken from Honolulu Wiles, the earliest cartoon in my collection to have this endcap):

Towards the end of 1930, a new, static set of title cards were introduced, which featured the title character and his girlfriend Kitty (I personally prefer the previous titles). The earliest cartoon in my collection to have these new titles was The Apache Kid (released October 9th 1930), but the following are taken from The Stork Market (July 11th 1931) as I feel these offer the best-quality images:

And here's the endcap:

The next year, another new set of opening titles were introduced. These were taken from The Restless Sax (December 1st 1931):

The endcap:

These titles were altered in 1932, with a different background and a different style of lettering on the credits and endcap. The following are taken from Russian Dressing (1st May 1933), although the earliest cartoon I have that featured these new titles is The Medicine Show (7th February 1933):

Voila, the endcap:

In 1933, Kitty was dropped from the new set of titles. These have the same background as before, but the credits were incorporated into the opening title, as seen below. These are from Southern Exposure (9th February 1934):

The endcap is the same as the previous version.
Krazy was redesigned later in 1934, from a Mickey Mouse-type design into a more-realistic feline form. To reflect this new design, new titles were issued the same year. However, the following were taken from a 1938 cartoon (there may have been different versions between these years, but I only have the Samba versions covering this period). The earliest cartoon I have that features the following titles is The Masque Raid (June 25th 1937), but for reasons of picture quality, I decided to make screenshots from Hot Dogs On Ice (21st October 1938):
Closing title:

Watch out for the Scrappy titles, which will follow very shortly.
If you're interested in finding out more about the Krazy Kat shorts (and other Screen Gems cartoons), take a look at Pietro Shakarian's website:
Also, my good friend Tom Stathes has made a couple of recent posts about the silent Krazy Kat cartoons. Check them out on , and also check out his other posts relating to the world of silent cartoons. These cartoons are more interesting (and entertaining) than you think!


mikemc said...

As children, my siblings and I watched "Hot Dogs on Ice" in silent black and white on 16mm film.

I have been looking for a reissue so that I can see the color and hear the sound, and so that my sister (who doesn't have long to live) can be cheered up a little. I have located reissues of all of our other films, but can't fins a copy. Does anyone know whether this one has been reissued?


Anonymous said...

Columbia released re-animated color versions of some of the Krazy Kat cartoons to theatres in the early 70s. Some were re-scored with cheezy 70s music. These were not the 60s TV Krazy cartoons.