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Columbia Classics

Following in the footsteps of Warner Home Video and Universal Pictures, Sony has started a new Columbia Classics archive program, making available dozens of old movies previously unavailable on DVD. For animation fans, this could be a gold mine… emphasis on the word “could”.

The studio is sitting vivid masters of all their UPA cartoons, and their libraries of Charles Mintz Scrappy, Krazy Kat and Color Rhapsodies are all restored. The 1940s Screen Gems cartoon shorts they hold include rarely seen work by Frank Tashlin, Dave Fleischer and John Hubley, with characters such as The Fox & Crow, Li’l Abner and Tito & Burrito. Columbia also has several independent works, such as Mel Brooks’ Oscar winning The Critic and anime features like Jack and The Beanstalk (1974).

The studio is taking requests on what they should offer through this program. I’d like to encourage our readers to check out the site and offer some suggestions. The Columbia cartoon library has been neglected for far too long. This might just be the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to unlock the vault.

  • Anthony D.

    Already put in a request (along with Sam Raimi’s Crimewave)!

  • Bob

    Let’s cross our fingers!

  • Mr. Pencil

    Scrappy’s Ghost Story!

    • Bob

      One of the best Scrappys ever.

  • I’m submitting my request as soon as I finish this comment! This would be a perfect venue to release these cartoons, especially unedited cartoons as these MOD releases won’t reach the general public!

  • John

    I just put in a request for any cartoons, comedy shorts and serials from Columbia.
    Also asked for a release of THE GOOD HUMOR MAN, which is one of my favorites. It’s written by Frank Tashlin and is chock full of wonderful cartoon-like gags, much like Tashlin’s scripts for THE FULLER BRUSH MAN and THE FULLER BRUSH GIRL.

  • Cyber Fox

    I submitted my request
    though i wanted to see a fully remastered release The Monkees’ film “HEAD” in it’s original widescreen ratio

    • Criterion is releasing a restored HEAD in November:

      In addition to the UPA, Mintz and Screen Gems cartoons, I’m making requests for the Columbia Serials, B-Westerns and non-Stooge Comedy shorts.

      • Cyber Fox

        i mean HEAD as a single release

  • Why can’t Paramount have an burn-on-demand archive- then finally we get to see the classic Fleischer/Famous/Puppetoons shorts restored. No french titles, no muted Technicolor or faded Eastmancolor, no UM&M/NTA titles (not sure if Betty Boop’s titles survive due to UM&M negative cutting), and NO more BUYING public domain DVD’s!

    • James E. Parten

      It’s not as simple as all that.

      Paramount sold its pre-1948 shorts library, exclusive if the Popeye cartoons, to UM&M, which got bought up by NTA, which eventually evolved or elided into Republic Pictures Home Video. And RPHV either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what they are sitting on!

      The Popeye shorts were sold separately, probably due to some involvement of Hearst, Inc. (through its King Features division).

      Then there’s the package usually referred to as “Harveytoons”. Harvey comics got rich in the 1950’s with comic-book adaptations of Casper and Little Audrey (as well as other characters of their own creation, such as Richie Rich). They bought the large package of Paramount color cartoons, and syndicated them much during the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

      It is thus possible that the only cartoons that Paramount actually owns the rights to are those after 1958 or so. Do we really need burn-on-demand copies of the usual “Swifty and Shorty” or “Honey Halfwitch”, just so we can get the occasional gem such as “Abner the Baseball”??

  • The cartoons would be nice, but I want me some Andy Clyde!!

  • Terry Walsh

    Columbia has a vast audience eagerly awaiting the DVD release of ALL of the incomparable UPA theatrical cartoon shorts

    I hope that Columbia will get on the band wagon and start offering the theatrical “Mr. Magoo” shorts.

  • This great news! Not only that maybe this will help the UPA documentary that T. Busustow is producing!

  • w

    Thanks for the heads up, Jerry! Request submitted.

  • Jerry, do you know if Columbia fully restored “The Little Match Girl” with its original titles?

    • They have restored THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL from the original negs, and it looks beautiful — but unfortunately the original negatives have reissue titles spliced in.

      Columbia, like Warner Bros. and their Blue Ribbon reissues, altered their original negs to make re-release prints.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        That’s the one thing that saddens me of the whole deal, those reissue titles.

  • Robert Schaad

    Great News!!

  • The Scarlet Pumpernickel

    Will the song “Animal Crackers In My Soup” be featured again in “Animal Cracker Circus”, or will we still get to hear that horrendus overdubbing?

  • Robert Reynolds

    Are the Ham and Hattie shorts in Columbia’s possession? I know Trees and Jamaica Daddy was on one of the VHS releases, but I’ve never seen any of the others.

  • The Scarlet Pumpernickle – The versions of the cartoons used on Totally Tooned In were edited or in some rare cases re-dubbed just for that series. Columbia has all the cartoons used on that show with their original soundtracks intact.

    Robert Reynolds – Yes, Columbia has all the Ham and Hattie cartoons.