Monday, March 19, 2007

Rare Columbia Cartoon Titles - Phantasies/Fables

Hi everyone, and welcome to my last Columbia Cartoon Titles post.

When the Krazy Kat and Scrappy cartoons were becoming out of favour with cinemagoers in 1939, the Screen Gems studio decided to bring in two B&W series, the Phantasies and Fables (there weren't much difference between the two), which were initially a mix of one-shot and Krazy/Scrappy cartoons (who both had star billing on the opening titles).

The first Phantasy to be released was Scrappy's The Charm Bracelet (released 1st September 1939), but the following opening title was taken from the one-shot (hence no character billing) The Wallflower (3rd July 1941), the last cartoon to have this title:

The following endcap was used from the The Charm Bracelet, right up until As The Fly Flies (17th November 1944):

The first Fable was Krazy Kat's Little Lost Sheep (6th October 1939), but the following screenshot were taken from Mouse Meets Lion (25th October 1940):

The closing title was used throughout the Fables series, right until its swansong cartoon The Bulldog & The Baby (3rd July 1942):

At the start of 1941, the Proud Lady also appears at the start, and the Phantasies/Fables title cards were slightly amended to reflect this. These series of titles were used right until the end of Frank Tashlin's reign in 1942 (towards the end, the credits were moved to the cartoon title):

When Dave Fleischer took over as producer in 1942, the Fables series was dropped, and a new set of Phantasies opening titles appeared in The Gullible Canary (18th September 1942). The titles, although in B&W, are in the same style as the Color Rhapsodies:

The first handful of shorts have their story titles incorporated into the opening titles, while later ones will have their own individual style:

Later, in 1943, another new set of Phantasies titles was introduced, starting with Dizzy Newsreel (27th August 1943). It is assumed that the Color Rhapsodies had similar-looking titles (no original copies exists to confirm this):

Like the previous set, several of the earlier cartoons have their story titles incorporated into the opening titles:
In 1945, sometime after Dave Fleischer left, the Screen Gems studio decided to scrap the Proud Lady in its opening and closing titles. The first Proud Lady-free Phantasy is Goofy News Views (27th April 1945), in which the cartoon starts immediately with the 1943 Phantasies title, and finishes with a plain-looking endcap below:

Later that year, the last set of new B&W Phantasy titles were introduced. The first to introduce this new opening title is Simple Siren (20th September 1945):
A new end title was introduced a year later, first used on Snap Happy Traps (6th June 1946). It featured the WB-inspired rings (which, I have to admit, are a bit hard to see). This was used until 1947:

In 1947, Screen Gems was the last cartoon studio to fully-switch to colour, but to keep their costs low, they decided to make all their Phantasies in the cheaper two-colour Cinecolor process. A new set of opening titles was introduced, in which the style was the same as the Color Rhapsodies. The screenshots were taken from Leave Us Chase It (15th May 1947):

The endcap:
That's it! Hope you enjoyed seeing these rare Columbia Cartoon titles. If you would like to see some more, be sure to check out Jerry Beck's Columbia page on his Cartoon Research website (click here to go directly onto that page).

And there will be more Columbia cartoon-themed posts very shortly. Stay tooned!


Craig D said...


I'm enjoying your on-going "Field Guide to Columbia Cartoons!"

That's so cool the Professor Tall and Mr. Small were festured on the title cards! (Or was it Professor Small and Mr. Tall?)

Duck Dodgers said...

Marvellous series of posts, Lee!

Hope more will come!

I do have a series of title cards from Screen Gems efforts coming from restored cartoons.

What do you say if I link to your posts and you link to mine?
Like the idea?
I'm going to do the post today, with the help of my very good friend mmm...donuts.

Lee Glover said...

Sure, Andrea. I'll post a link on my blog shortly.