MGM Shorts Story

MGM

Here’s something you may not have seen. During the 1930s, MGM published a bi-monthly in-house magazine, MGM Shorts Story devoted to its numerous short subjects. Distributed primarily to its exhibitors and Loews Theatre managers, the oversized slick magazine devoted many of its pages to its latest cartoons and occasionally featured a cover story related to its animation studio. The November-December 1939 issue took a closer look at Harman Ising with this article below.

This is basically a studio publicity piece, but its interesting to note Harman and Ising defending their use of animal characters (over humans) and the spin that having no “star characters” frees them to experiment with different ideas. (Click thumbnails below to read):


  • http://www.orphantoons.wordpress.com Kevin Wollenweber

    Well, while you (Jerry) probably know already what I’m going to say, I’ll say it already, anyway–If indeed the ultimate HAPPY HARMONIES collection does make its way to DVD some fine day, a copy of these articles could be inserted either as a special feature or a hard copy booklet. What a terrific find! Tex Avery would have obviously agreed with the belief that having no major characters freed him up to create the unpredictable. I’d go so far as to say that all or most animators don’t like recurring characters because they wanted all their ideas to be fresh. The strengths of all or most animation studios are their one shot cartoons. Both Warner Brothers and MGM have proven this countless times, not that there’s anything entirely wrong with the more formulaic cartoons that, say, Warner Brothers has produced or MGM, but none of these series have ever been totally consistent. If only the heads of the animation studios had enough faith in the artists and knowledge of the art form to let the mind of the visionary run wild. I think even Harmon/Ising would have slowly ditched the “barnyard babies” and given the world of animation much stronger stuff, even for adults!

  • Merv

    Rudy Ising was one of those rare men who could sleep standing up.

  • robert barker

    Talk about unsung heroes of animation. The whole base of the MGM cartoon style is due to their immense talents. Yeah, I hope we can get a good overview collection of Harman-Ising someday.

  • John A

    “If only the heads of the animation studios had enough faith in the artists and knowledge of the art form to let the mind of the visionary run wild. I think even Harmon/Ising would have slowly ditched the “barnyard babies” and given the world of animation much stronger stuff, even for adults!”

    Or maybe not. check over at “Cartoon Dump” to see the creations of “visionaries” Harmon and Ising.

  • Frank Alice

    MGM published this Short Story magazine from Oct. 1937 until the July-Aug. issue 1941. After this magazine was discontinued, MGM carried the shorts into their MGM Lion’s Roar magazine which ran from Sept. 1941 until the Spring of 1947. I have 14 issues of the Short Story magazine and the complete run of the Lion’s Roar. If I can be of any assistance in obtaining a particular article or review, please feel free to contact me.