Thursday, June 08, 2006

Do Some Research, WENN

There was a riotous post from the World Entertainment News Network (WENN), London-based provider of news and innuendo to IMDb. It was in response to the announcement that Warner Home Video would be bringing forth the first authorized DVD release of Popeye cartoons.

WENN decided to challenge the statement that there were 220 Popeye cartoons made for TV between 1960 and 1962. Guess what, Wenn? This is correct and is an irrefutable fact.

Al Brodax and King Features contracted with Paramount Cartoon Studios (then being run by Seymour Kneitel) for an impossible 370 cartoons to be released to television, including 220 Popeyes and 50 each of Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey, and Snuffy Smith.

The cartoons were jobbed out to several studios around the world. There were three different production units in Los Angeles alone, headed by producers Jack Kinney, Gerry Ray and Larry Harmon, all doing Popeyes (Kinney's first Popeye, "Barbecue For Two", just may be the worst cartoon ever made). Gene Deitch's studio in Prague did some Popeyes and farmed others out to Halas and Batchelor in Great Britain. Deitch also did all but two Krazy Kats. H&B also did about half of the Beetle Bailey series.

For their part, Paramount did the balance of the Popeyes and Beetle Baileys, the two Krazy Kats that Deitch did not do ("Mouse Blanche" and "Keeping Up With Krazy") and all the Snuffy Smith cartoons - all the while maintaining a theatrical release schedule. And every single one of those cartoons was directed by Seymour Kneitel.

The whole project was finished by 1963.

The next year, Seymour Kneitel dropped dead of a heart attack.


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