I wasn’t going to announce this just yet – because its still over two months away – but since the information has already leaked and beginning to spread, there’s no reason to hold back. Turner Classic Movies will present a an evening of rarely televised animated films on Sunday night October 21st 2012. Yours truly Jerry Beck will co-host with TCM’s Robert Osborne this unique program block – six hours total – which will include restored UPA cartoons, Max Fleischer’s two feature length films, a selection of silent era cartoons from the collection of Thomas Stathes and Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 masterpiece, The Adventures of Prince Achmed.
Classic animation – which I define as theatrically-released studio or independent animated shorts and features from 1906 through roughly 1976 – has almost no outlet on television today. There is a smattering of Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry and sometimes Popeye on Cartoon Network, and a few classic TV broadcast channels (Antenna TV, This TV, KTV) with a several offbeat offerings. While much is on You Tube or other internet outlets, this is not the way to see or present such material. Public screenings at museums and repertory theaters (of the kind I do in Los Angeles at various venues) and festival retrospectives, are significant – but they do not reach the mass audience who do not know what they are missing: the incredibly entertaining legacy of animation history.