bgfishingduo bgfishingduo

Original MGM Cartoon title art

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.

I can’t post them all here, but click thumbnails below to enjoy a few scans from this cache. Yes, they are for sale. If interested contact Mike right now.

  • These are amazing. Checking through the Van Eaton Gallery’s site I see they have some original Winsor McCay “Gertie The Dinosaur” art. Ooh, if only I had the spare bucks…

  • Pablo

    Wow, those are absolutely beautiful! Jerry, how I would love a complete boxset of the restored MGM shorts…

  • Roberto Severino

    This is exactly the reason WHV should start releasing their non Tom and Jerry MGM cartoons on DVD, which includes the Harman-Ising films, all the Tex Avery cartoons (maybe include Droopy again), and the other films that Hanna-Barbera made at the studio (Officer Pooch, etc.). I’d love to see “Blitz Wolf” have its title cards properly restored. Jerry, have you tried convincing them to start restoration work on these films, and also the post 1943 Popeye cartoons?

  • VinceP

    I’m a total sucker for a nice title card! So freakin’ cool! Thanks Jerry!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Jerry, you look cute holding up that Count Screwloose title card!

  • Pez

    I sure hope Mike got a high quality scan to archive before those beauties start selling. Some collectors don’t like to share once they own the art. Thank you Jerry and Mike for sharing this with the cartoon fans of the world.

  • Kristjan

    IT is quite clear that studios would have saved the animation historians lots of headache if they would have left the cartoons intact when reissued and I still don’t get why they wanted to re-do the titles since they were clearly no improvement over the original titles as in the above case of The Fishing Bear. Probably one of those bad side effect of the UPA fashion.

  • Rooniman


  • F Flood

    The drawing style of the Count Screwloose title card reminds of the style of drawings seen on the Terry-Toon lobby cards of the mid-1930’s. Leonard Matlin has an example in OF MICE AND MAGIC, and accurately states that the drawings have more skill and life than the films they advertised. Could this have been done by Dan or George Gordon?

  • Polyvios

    If there is only a way to go back in time and stop these negatives to these old cartoons from being lost forever. That way we could restore them easily.

  • Ted

    Mike Van Eaton has provided me with and allowed me to post the ’39 title cards on my blog, including the Peace on Earth card:

  • Randy

    “The Fishing Bear” was reissued in 1947 so UPA would have had no influence on the new title design. M-G-M just seems to have wanted the titles on reissued cartoons to be consistent with the look of the new cartoons they had in release at the time. Perhaps they thought audiences would be less likely to notice they were watching an “old” cartoon.

  • Neat stuff, Jerry —thanks for sharing!

  • Jeff

    We want the old MGM Cartoons back on Boomerang. Like “House of tommorrow, car of tomm.” and such.

  • Martin Shellabarger

    Is there any estimate of how much of our cartoon history is at risk, and how much has been transferred to disc?