Mike Van Eaton has unearthed the original art to a rare Looney Tunes promotional book from 1939 – apparently created exclusively either for motion picture exhibitors or merchandising licensees. He sent me scans of the pages (below; click on each to see a larger image).

1939 was an interesting year for Leon Schlesinger’s studio. The text page here refers to Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies as being “constantly before the public as they are played in over 8500 theaters throughout the Unites States and Canada”. Wow. If it were only so today. Note that “Elmer” (nee Egghead) was promoted as the star of Merrie Melodies, while Bugs Bunny was considered only as an “incidental character” (see the last page). Were they really planning further cartoons with “Spunky” (from Now That Summer Is Gone), “Patrick Parrot” (From I Wanna Be a Sailor), “Little Eva” (from Uncle Tom’s Bungalow) or “Fluffnums” (from “Porky’s Romance”)? I don’t think so. And for some reason Sniffles rates both a full page portrait (by Charlie Thorson) and is included with the “incidental characters” as well.

Van Eaton is selling most of the pages individually. He has the originals on display at his gallery in Sherman Oaks, California. Contact Mike directly if you are interested in acquiring some of these pieces.


Jerry Beck

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