The image above left is the original art, for the original title card of Rudolf Ising’s 1940 MGM Cartoon, The Fishing Bear. The image above right is the original art for the reissue print of the same cartoon in the 1950s. MGM did that. They re-did the titles when they reissued a cartoon. Unfortunately the original negatives to their pre-1952 cartoons no longer exist, so finding original nitrate film prints – or the incredibly rare original art – is a big deal to those of us who regularly research cartoon history.
Both these pieces above were recently acquired – along with 18 other astounding MGM animation originals – by my favorite gallery owner Mike Van Eaton. Mike’s my favorite because when he gets stuff like this he calls me over to look at it and help him identify it. This mother-load of MGM Holy Grails includes background art from such films as Abdul The Bulbul Ameer, Blitz Wolf, Farm of Tomorrow and Good Will To Men; and title cards from Peace on Earth, The Goose Goes South, Dance of The Weed and Milt Gross’ Jitterbug Follies.