Terrytoons was a studio in New Rochelle, New York that produced animated cartoons for theatrical release from 1929 - 1972. Terrytoons was founded by Paul Terry and operated out of the "K" Building in downtown New Rochelle. The studio created many popular cartoon characters including Heckle and Jeckle, Mighty Mouse, Gandy Goose, Sourpuss, Dinky Duck and Luno. The "New Terrytoons" period of the late 1950s through the early 1970s produced such characters as Hector Heathcote, Hashimoto-san and Deputy Dawg as well as The Mighty Heroes. Ralph Bakshi got his start as an animator, and eventually as a director, at Terrytoons. Terrytoons were originally released to theaters by 20th Century Fox (which is owned by The Walt Disney Company). The Terrytoons library were later purchased by the CBS Corporation.
Before Terrytoons Edit
Terry first worked for Bray Studios in 1916, where he created the Farmer Al Falfa series. He would then make a Farmer Al Falfa short for Edison Pictures, called "Farmer Al Falfa's Wayward Pup" (1917), and some later cartoons were made for Paramount Pictures.
Around 1921, Terry founded the Fables animation studio, named for its Aesop's Film Fables series, in conjunction with Amadee J. Van Beuren. Fables churned out a Fable cartoon every week for eight years in the 1920s. In 1928, Van Beuren, anxious to compete with the new phenomenon of talking pictures, released Terry's Dinner Time (released October 1928). Van Beuren then urged Terry to start producing actual sound films, instead of post-synchronizing the cartoons. Terry refused, and Van Beuren fired him in 1929. Almost immediately, Terry and much of his staff started up the Terrytoons studio.
Through much of its history, the studio was considered one of the lowest-quality houses in the field, to the point where Paul Terry noted, "Disney is the Tiffany's in this business, and I am the Woolworth's." Terry's studio had the lowest budgets and was among the slowest to adapt to new technologies such as sound (in about 1930) and Technicolor (in 1938), while its graphic style remained remarkably static for decades. Background music was entrusted to one man, Philip Scheib, and Terry's refusal to pay royalties for popular songs forced Scheib to compose his own scores. Paul Terry took pride in producing a new cartoon every other week, regardless of the quality of the films. Following the success of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Paul Terry considered doing an animated feature film adaptation of King Lear starring Farmer Al Falfa. However, after seeing the failure of Max Fleischer's Mr. Bug Goes to Town, and the additional failures of Disney's Pinocchio and Fantasia he decided to abandon the project. Until 1957, screen credits were very sparse, listing only the writer (until 1950, solely John Foster; then Tom Morrison thereafter), director (Terry's three main directors were Connie Rasinski, Eddie Donnelly and Mannie Davis), and musician (musical director Philip A. Scheib).
Terrytoons' first distributor was Educational Pictures, specialists in short-subject comedies and novelties. The Fox Film company (later known as 20th Century-Fox) released Educational shorts to theaters in the 1930s, giving the Terry cartoons wide exposure. Farmer Al Falfa was Terry's most familiar character in the 1930s; Kiko the Kangaroo was spun off the Farmer Al Falfa series. Most of the other cartoons featured generic animal characters. One of the stock designs was a scruffy dog with a black patch around one eye; Terry ultimately built a series around this character, now known as Puddy the Pup.
Paul Terry may have realized that Educational was in financial trouble, because he found another lucrative outlet for his product. In 1938 he arranged to release his older cartoons through home-movie distributor Castle Films. Educational went out of business within the year, but 20th Century-Fox continued to release Terrytoons to theaters for the next two decades. With a new emphasis on "star" characters, Terrytoons featured the adventures of Super Mouse (later renamed Mighty Mouse), the talking magpies Heckle and Jeckle, silly Gandy Goose, Dinky Duck, mischievous mouse Little Roquefort, and the Terry Bears.
Despite the artistic drawbacks imposed by Terry's inflexible business policies, Terrytoons was nominated four times for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film:All Out for V in 1942, My Boy, Johnny in 1944, Mighty Mouse in Gypsy Life in 1945, and Sidney's Family Tree in 1958.
Changing hands Edit
The studio was sold outright by the retiring Paul Terry to CBS in 1955, but 20th Century Fox (TCF) continued to distribute the studio's releases. It became a division of the CBS Films subsidiary. The following year, CBS put it under the management of UPA alumnus Gene Deitch, who had to work with even lower budgets.
Deitch's most notable works at the studio were the Tom Terrific cartoon segments for the Captain Kangaroo television show. He also introduced a number of new characters, such as Sidney the Elephant, Gaston Le Crayon, John Doormat, and Clint Clobber.
Before Deitch was fired in 1965, Bill Weiss took control of the studio in 1958. Under his supervision, Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse went back into production. Besides the three core directors of the Terry era who were still involved as animators and directors, two Famous Studios stalwarts joined the crew, Dave Tendlar and Martin Taras. Other new theatrical cartoon series included Hector Heathcote, Luno and Hashimoto-san. In addition, the studio began producing the Deputy Dawg series for television in 1959. Another television production for the Captain Kangaroo show was The Adventures of Lariat Sam, which was written in part by Gene Wood, who would later become the announcer for several TV game shows, most notably, Family Feud.
Phil Scheib continued as the studio's musical director through the mid-1960s when he was replaced by Jim Timmens and Elliott Lawrence.
The most notable talent at Terrytoons in the 1960s was animator/director/producer Ralph Bakshi, who started with Terrytoons in the 1950s as an opaquer, and eventually helmed the Mighty Heroes series. Bakshi left Terrytoons in 1967 for Paramount, which closed its cartoon unit later that year. He would later go on to produce Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures for television in 1987.
After the departure of Bakshi after 1967, the studio petered out and finally closed in 1972. However, the film library was still regularly re-released to theatres by Fox, thus ensuring its existing cartoon library a long life in TV reruns. Its last short was an unsold TV pilot called Sally Sargent, about a 16-year-old girl who is a secret agent.
The Terrytoons cartoons (especially Mighty Mouse and Deputy Dawg) were syndicated to many local TV markets, and they were a staple of after-school and Saturday morning cartoon shows for over three decades, from the 1950s through the 1980s, until the television rights to the library were acquired by USA Network in 1989. They have seen relatively little air time since then.
In the 1970s, the CBS Films properties were spun off to create Viacom, which itself re-merged with CBS in 1999.
In the late '70s, Filmation Studios licensed the rights in order to make a new Mighty Mouse series. Later in 1987, Ralph Bakshi produced Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures which lasted for two seasons. Bakshi and John Kricfalusi inspired the staff to try to get as much Jim Tyer-style drawing in the show as possible. Tyer, a stand-out Terry animator of the original cartoons with a unique style, became a strong influence on the artists of the Bakshi series. are late's 90s, Nickelodeon in appeared The Curbside
In 2002, the Terrytoons characters returned to television in original commercials for Brazilian blue cheese (for what is now America's Dairy Farmers) and a fine wine.
Through the years that have followed since the last Terrytoons TV series material in 1988, the rights have been scattered as result of prior rights issues and corporate changes involving Viacom (the ownership and distribution history is noted below). However, some Terrytoons shorts are believed to be in the public domain, and have been issued on low-budget VHS tapes and DVDs. The first official release of any Terrytoons material by CBS DVD has been announced (Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures was issued January 5, 2010).
Licensing and merchandising Edit
Among the many licensed Terrytoons products are comic books, with the company's characters initially licensed to Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics, in the early 1940s. Later, St. John Publications took over the licensing, publishing comics featuring such characters as Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, Gandy Goose, Dinky Duck, and Little Roquefort. The first such St. John comic was Mighty Mouse #5 (Aug. 1947), its numbering taken over from the Timely run. St. John's Terrytoons comics include the field's first 3-D comic book, Three Dimension Comics #1 (Sept. 1953 oversize format, Oct. 1953 standard-size reprint), featuring Mighty Mouse. According to Joe Kubert, co-creator with the brothers Norman Maurer and Leonard Maurer, it sold an exceptional 1.2 million copies at 25 cents apiece at a time when comics cost a dime.
- CBS Television Film Sales (1953-1958, underlying rights to library).
- CBS (1953-present, underlying rights to library).
- CBS Films (1958-1968, 2007-present, underlying rights to library).
- CBS Enterprises (1968-1971, 1995-2006, underlying rights to library).
- Viacom (1971-2019, underlying rights to library).
- Viacom Productions (1974-2004, 2017-2019, underlying rights to library).
- News Corporation (1985-2013, underlying rights to library).
- Carolco Pictures (1991-1993, underlying rights to library).
- Paramount Communications (1994-1995, underlying rights to library).
- Westinghouse Broadcasting (1994-1999, underlying rights to library).
- Westinghouse Electric Corproation (1994-1999, underlying rights to library).
- Paramount Television (1994-2006, 2012-2020, underlying rights to library).
- CBS Corporation (1995-2000, 2005-2019, underlying rights to library).
- Bain Capital (1997-2003, underlying rights to library).
- Fox Television Studios (1997-2014, underlying rights to library).
- Westinghouse Licensing (1998-present, underlying rights to library).
- Westinghouse Electric Company (1999-present, underlying rights to library).
- IDT Entertainment (2003-2007, underlying rights to library).
- Lions Gate Entertainment (2003-2008, underlying rights to library).
- Starz Entertainment Group (2005-2009, underlying rights to library).
- Starz Media (2005-2013, underlying rights to library).
- Fox 21 (2005-2015, underlying rights to library).
- Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation (2005-present, underlying rights to library).
- CBS Paramount Television (2006-2009, underlying rights to library).
- Liberty Starz (2009-2013, underlying rights to library).
- CBS Television Studios (2009-present, underlying rights to library).
- 21st Century Fox (2013-2019, underlying rights to library).
- Starz Distribution (2013-present, underlying rights to library).
- Starz, Inc. (2013-present, udnerlying rights to library).
- Fox 21 Television Studios (2014-present, underlying to library).
- Fox Corporation (2019-present, underlying rights to library).
- ViacomCBS (2019-present, underlying rights to library).
- The Walt Disney Company (2019-present, underlying rights to library).
- Paramount Television Studios (2020-present, underlying rights to library).
- Theatrical rights:
- Educational Pictures (1930-1938).
- 20th Century Fox (1936-2020).
- Vestron Pictures (1986-1992).
- Carolco Pictures (1991-1993).
- Viacom Pictures (1991-1999).
- Paramount Pictures (1994-present).
- Artisan Pictures (1998-2005).
- Lions Gate Films (2003-2008).
- Lionsgate Films (2005-present).
- CBS Films (2007-present).
- Walt Disney Pictures (2019-present).
- Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2019-present).
- 20th Century Studios (2020-present).
- Home video and DVD rights:
- Children's Video Library (1983-1988).
- Vestron Video (1983-1992, 2016-present).
- CBS/Fox Video (1983-2001).
- CBS Video (1983-2006).
- CBS/Fox Children's Video (1984).
- Playhouse Video (1985-1990).
- Video Treasures (1985-1998).
- Carolco Home Video (1991-1993).
- LIVE Home Video (1991-1995).
- Fox Video (1991-1998).
- Family Home Entertainment (1991-2005).
- LIVE Entertainment (1994-1998).
- Paramount Home Video (1994-2006).
- Paramount Home Entertainment (1994-2011, 2019-present).
- Anchor Bay Entertainment (1995-2017).
- 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (1995-2020).
- Artisan Home Entertainment (1998-2005).
- Family Home Entertainment Kids (1998-2005).
- CBS DVD (1999-present).
- Fox DVD Video (2000-2002).
- Lions Gate Home Entertainment (2003-2008).
- Lionsgate Family Entertainment (2005-present).
- Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2005-present).
- Starz Home Entertainment (2007-2008).
- CBS Home Entertainment (2009-present).
- Paramount Home Media Distribution (2011-2019).
- Buena Vista Home Entertainment (2019-present).
- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (2019-present)
- 20th Century Studios Home Entertainment (2020-present).
- Television syndication rights:
- CBS Television Film Sales (1953-1958).
- TCF Television Productions, Inc. (1953-1958).
- The CBS Television Network (1953-1967).
- CBS Films (1958-1968, 2007-present).
- 20th Century Fox Television (1958-present).
- Viacom Productions (1974-2004, 2017-2019).
- CBS Entertainment Productions (1984-1995).
- Vestron Television (1987-1992).
- 20th Television (1989-present).
- Group W Productions (1994-1996).
- Paramount Domestic Television (1994-2006).
- Paramount Television (1994-2006, 2012-2020).
- Eyemark Entertainment (1995-2000).
- CBS Productions (1995-2012, 2015-2017).
- Artisan Television (1998-2005).
- King World Productions (2000-2007).
- Lions Gate Television (2003-2008).
- Lionsgate Television (2005-present).
- CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007).
- CBS Television Distribution (2007-present).
- CBS Television Studios (2009-present).
- 20th Century Fox Television Distribution (2011, 2013-present).
- ABC Signature Studios (2019-present).
- ABC Studios (2019-present).
- Disney-ABC Domestic Television (2019-present).
- Disney Television Studios (2019-present).
- Walt Disney Television (2019-present).
- Paramount Television Studios (2020-present).
Cartoon series Edit
- Main article: List of Terrytoons animated shorts
TV series Edit
- Tom Terrific 1957
- Mighty Heroes 1966-1967
- Deputy Dawg 1959-1963
- The Astronut Show 1965
- The Hector Heathcote Show 1963
- The Adventures of Lariat Sam 1961-1962
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) - Oscar the Timid Pig from How Wet Was My Ocean, and Looey Lion from The Temperamental Lion make cameos in the final scene with other famous toons.
- In 1941, The Studio had about 200 Staff Members
- The Studio (The Background Department Anyway) appeared in the Heckle and Jeckle short. Satisified Customers
- In 1936, A Whole lot of Former Van Beuren Alumni Came to Terry for work. One of those workers included MGM/Hanna Barbera Animator. Carlo Vinci
- According to Nat Falk's How to make Animated cartoons. When Paul Started the fables studio. He had 19 Workers.
- This studio also had Joseph Barbera (Another Beuren Alumni) And Bill Tytla.
- Jump up^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American animated cartoons (Rev. ed.). New York: New American Library.
- Jump up^ Sidney the Elephant at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015.
- Jump up^ Gaston Le Crayon at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012.
- Jump up^ Clint Clobber at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012.
- Jump up^ Maltin, L. (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (Rev. ed.). New York: New American Library.
- Jump up^ Zone, Ray (n.d.). "1950s 3-D Comic Book Checklist". Ray3DZone.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009.
- Jump up^ Joe Kubert interview, "A Myth in the World of Comics", UniversoHQ.com, n.d. WebCitation archive.