S. C. MacPeter
2023-05-26T18:42:53Z
Thanks to a foreign archive, I was given limited, private access to a few rare/previously lost cartoons. Besides a Dinky Doodle, and an early Terrytoon missing from CBS' TV Package, were two Krazy Kats, one from 1926 by Bill Nolan, and one from 1927 seemingly outsourced to John Terry (who did such according to Larry Silverman). I'm not sure if I'd be held liable if I shared any images, but when I know if I can, I will.

The first one I watched was 1927's HIRE A HALL, by John Terry. It was AWFUL. The first three and a half minutes are dedicated to Krazy Kat practicing giving a speech in an empty second floor apartment, to an audience of props. He occasionally sips water from a can (Only one intertitle, at the beginning of him practicing, translating roughly to "Ladies and Gents, I hereby present Krazy Kat, nicknamed "The Boob"). Meanwhile on the floor above, two kitties play with bananas, taking the bananas off the peels, using the peels to slide down a plank held up by a chair so it can be used as a slide. On two occasions, they pour banana oil and applesauce into Krazy's water can via a hole in the floor. He then takes a sip and seems to find it more tasty. Besides this, both parts have nothing to do with each other and most of the footage is boring, of Krazy giving this silent speech to no one, while nothing remarkable happens.

After this, we focus on action outside the apartment of Walter the Ostrich (Herriman character)  and a Horse wearing a cloth at a shoe shop (selling just Horse Shoes). He does something to piss off Walter, who kicks his butt to the point of leaving a mark in his cloth. People in the apartment watch and laugh from their windows. After one more scene of Krazy giving his speech, the horse drinks some water outside. Krazy sees this and laughs at the buttmark. The horse gets mad and throws his horseshoes at Krazy, missing him. One of these hits Walter, who doesn't believe in bad luck, walking under a randomly placed ladder near a tree. He goes to the apartment to chase down the Horse, Krazy jumps out the window to join him. They hit him with an egg, and then the horse hides inside a giant stack of hay. The last 20 seconds are a bit splicy, but it seems that the horse escapes without them seeing, and they spent the rest of the day and night waiting for him to come out. I seriously wonder why anyone may of thought all the speech action was entertaining

The one I saw by Bill Nolan, SHORE ENOUGH, is much more entertaining and even better animated, but is hindered by really bad racism. Its mostly a chase around a segregated beach/boardwalk between Krazy (seemingly portrayed as African American) and a stereotyped African American, who Krazy scammed as a hot dog vendor. Highlights are at a mirror maze, a trick house, and a gag involving chasing each other inside the sand. The big problem is how it ends; Krazy tricks the man into sticking his head through an African Dodger game, tying his neck into a knot to trap him there, and throwing baseballs at him, Iris out. I'd probably enjoy this one much more if there wasn't as much racism, but at least it's a much more exciting cartoon than HIRE A HALL. Not much to say on it otherwise
S. C. MacPeter
2023-05-28T14:49:59Z
By the way, if any of you have questions on the films, and anything else I saw with the Krazies, feel free to ask and I'll answer as well as I can
Will Tragus
2023-05-30T04:59:19Z
I'm quite surprised that John Terry made such a bland cartoon. I'd really been impressed by Terry's beautiful and very clever Joys and Glooms cartoon when he was working for Paramount, so it's a real disappointment to know that he'd already lost much of his imagination by then.
Will Tragus
2023-05-30T20:09:24Z
Originally Posted by: S. C. MacPeter 

By the way, if any of you have questions on the films, and anything else I saw with the Krazies, feel free to ask and I'll answer as well as I can



Do you know the animator who subcontracted the disappointing Stomach Trouble, released in 1927 ?
S. C. MacPeter
2023-05-30T20:26:56Z
Originally Posted by: Will Tragus 

I'm quite surprised that John Terry made such a bland cartoon. I'd really been impressed by Terry's beautiful and very clever Joys and Glooms cartoon when he was working for Paramount, so it's a real disappointment to know that he'd already lost much of his imagination by then.



The JOYS AND GLOOMS  cartoon that exists wasn't done for the Paramount Magazine. John Terry seemed to of been the least successful in creating recurring series for the Paramount Magazines, compared to Frank Moser and Otto Messmer who created appealing stars Bud and Susie and Felix. John started with one offs at the beginning of the Magazine's run and did two short lived series before he stopped contributing in Fall 1920. It seems from 1921-23 he mostly freelanced, including IFS which is who John did the cartoon for. I'm not sure which other Krazies John C Terry did, copyrights do not credit him. But at the very least the others during the period at the very least have ideas that may have inspired comedy

Originally Posted by: Will Tragus 

Do you know the animator who subcontracted the disappointing Stomach Trouble, released in 1927 ?



That one wasn't subcontracted, done by Bill Nolan & co. As far as I know Nolan did not subcontract Krazies to anyone else. At least six FBOs were done by Ben Harrison and Manny Gould, Mintz subcontracted them as a cheaper alternative before giving them the full contract. Make sure to watch STOMACH TROUBLE  at 1.3 if you can as EYEFilm did upload it at a framerate too slow
nickramer
2023-05-31T14:33:44Z
Does this archive have any more of these Winkler Krazy Kats or are those the only two?
S. C. MacPeter
2023-05-31T15:48:10Z
Originally Posted by: nickramer 

Does this archive have any more of these Winkler Krazy Kats or are those the only two?



Yes, a few more. Mostly FBOs, two Paramounts. I even helped to identify three they had listed. It is unfortunately, too expensive for me to get scans of the ones they didn't do themselves. Still many, many more Krazy Kats from this period that need turning up, let's hope it happens
Will Tragus
2023-06-02T20:59:50Z
Originally Posted by: S. C. MacPeter 

Originally Posted by: Will Tragus 

I'm quite surprised that John Terry made such a bland cartoon. I'd really been impressed by Terry's beautiful and very clever Joys and Glooms cartoon when he was working for Paramount, so it's a real disappointment to know that he'd already lost much of his imagination by then.



The JOYS AND GLOOMS  cartoon that exists wasn't done for the Paramount Magazine. John Terry seemed to of been the least successful in creating recurring series for the Paramount Magazines, compared to Frank Moser and Otto Messmer who created appealing stars Bud and Susie and Felix. John started with one offs at the beginning of the Magazine's run and did two short lived series before he stopped contributing in Fall 1920. It seems from 1921-23 he mostly freelanced, including IFS which is who John did the cartoon for. I'm not sure which other Krazies John C Terry did, copyrights do not credit him. But at the very least the others during the period at the very least have ideas that may have inspired comedy

Originally Posted by: Will Tragus 

Do you know the animator who subcontracted the disappointing Stomach Trouble, released in 1927 ?



That one wasn't subcontracted, done by Bill Nolan & co. As far as I know Nolan did not subcontract Krazies to anyone else. At least six FBOs were done by Ben Harrison and Manny Gould, Mintz subcontracted them as a cheaper alternative before giving them the full contract. Make sure to watch STOMACH TROUBLE  at 1.3 if you can as EYEFilm did upload it at a framerate too slow



Indeed, Joys and Glooms was not produced for Paramount Magazine.
It's rather strange that IFS always preferred to delegate the Joys and Glooms series to an independent animator rather than produce it in-house, especially as the duration of these films was generally much shorter than that of other IFS series.

And thank you for your advice to speed up the framerate of Stomach Trouble, it greatly improved my viewing of the cartoon, which has therefore risen in my esteem.
S. C. MacPeter
2023-09-26T05:45:12Z
UPDATE: I recently obtained a fragment or cutdown of a Bill Nolan Krazy Kat in 8mm. I attempted to project it earlier today but the gate in my projector wasn’t working. Its a retitled bootleg and I’m not sure which one it is, but likely a first season title, given the fact that the 1925-26 titles were not copyrighted, and all of the silent Winkler Krazies I know to of circulated in home-use gauges were only from this season, too. More soon
S. C. MacPeter
2023-09-30T18:02:06Z
I got back my scan today, its three minutes long, and definitely has pieces snipped from the film, although a lot still happens. It is not a good enough scan/print to share entirely, but some photos will be shared in a short time, in the meantime here is a rundown of the action:

Krazy Kat waits by a tree for his lover (the same flapper Kat in SCENTS AND NONSENSE) with flowers, saying "SHE SAID SHE'D MEET ME HERE.", to which we see she is behind the tree, and they spend the next 20 seconds in a small chase around the tree. When they calm down, Krazy gives a big sigh, the girl throws a kiss, and they start kissing behind the tree with their tails wagging. As this goes on, Ignatz walks by, grabs Krazy's tail and begins chasing him.

A small jumpcut occurs to Krazy giving Ignatz a wave (I assume something happened to Ignatz that made him fall behind) and jumping on a rocking horse, which becomes a real horse and takes Krazy away. Jumpcut again, to Ignatz with a crying boy (Ignatz may of heckled the boy?) who shouted PA and walks away. Ignatz uses the speech balloon, and the P and A inside of it to make a balloon racer of shorts. Krazy sees this and has a question mark that he transforms into a slingshot to pop the balloon. Ignatz falls and has a star next to a sleeping man. Ignatz uses some pepper to make him sneeze while on the star to throw himself back at Krazy.

During this, Krazy jumps off the horse as it falls down the edge of a hill to go another hill on the right of the screen, leaving Ignatz on the hill on the left. Ignatz uses a nearby spider's string to make a platform to cross the edge, although Krazy cuts part of it with another question mark, but the part on his end just falls down and the other half stays up, so Ignatz uses it as a diving board to jump over. Another jumpcut(?) to Ignatz looking for Krazy, and sees what he thinks is him sitting on a rock, so he throws a smaller rock at him. It turns out to be a stereotypical black lady, Krazy laughs at the scene. Ignatz soon sees Krazy and begins throwing bricks at him from a brickpile that he expertly dodges. Ignatz gives up when he is out at bricks and Krazy laughs, disturbing a monkey on top of the tree next to him, who throws a coconut. It knocks out Krazy, and my footage ends there (no idea if the film actually ends here; replacement end title is added quickly).
S. C. MacPeter
2023-09-30T20:42:49Z
Here are the photos, in order, as promised. I heavily cropped and watermark all but one of them due to a recent trend of people taking whatever they find on forums, FB, etc and uploading them to Youtube for content, hope you all understand. Here they are in order

UserPostedImage
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UserPostedImage
2024-02-05T23:57:45Z
Does anyone know if any of the Krazy Kat cartoons produced by Bill Nolan tried to be faithful to the comic strip?

I know that the Bray Studios Krazy Kat cartoons directed by Gregory La Calva in the early 1920s tried to adapt stories from the comic strip, such as The Awful Spook (1921), but unfortunately the series was abruptly cancelled following La Calva's departure for the West Coast.
S. C. MacPeter
2024-02-07T15:20:48Z
I don't have plots on most of the first season of Winkler Krazies, but with the information I know from a few places, I can guarantee that nobody probably thought to do a literal adaptation, instead pulling elements when needed (like characters such as Ignatz and Walter the Ostrich), especially since it was intended to be a cheaper replacement to the Felixes that were changing contracts to Educational. Earlier Krazy cartoons are interesting in their inconsistency to be faithful; they were certainly by their look more than later cartoons, but stories could go either way (THE AWFUL SPOOK is indeed pulled from a Herriman storyline, while something like LOVE'S LABOR LOVE doesn't quite fit)
Farnitoon
2024-02-08T17:53:07Z
Charles Mintz relaunched the Krazy Kat series with the aim of creating a new character to rival Felix the cat, and even went so far as to hire animators who had previously worked on Felix to ensure that this new series would go in the direction he wanted. In this context, there was little point in the cartoon being faithful to George Herriman's comic strip, and I think Mintz probably even insisted that Bill Nolan make Krazy Kat look as much like Felix the cat as possible.
HectorJeckle
2024-02-08T23:15:19Z
Originally Posted by: Farnitoon 

Charles Mintz relaunched the Krazy Kat series with the aim of creating a new character to rival Felix the cat, and even went so far as to hire animators who had previously worked on Felix to ensure that this new series would go in the direction he wanted. In this context, there was little point in the cartoon being faithful to George Herriman's comic strip, and I think Mintz probably even insisted that Bill Nolan make Krazy Kat look as much like Felix the cat as possible.



According to Bob Coar, the Krazy Kat series of the early 1920s was also revived by John Bray to capitalize on Felix's burgeoning popularity by offering the public another feline character, so the idea of Krazy Kat as a Felix imitation is much older than you might think.

Quote:

Attempting to exploit the success of Felix, John Bray cut a deal with William Randolph Hearst to revive KRAZY KAT. It didn’t work.[...]
Sullivan merchandised the Felix image for dolls, postcards, and ceramic toys. Hearst’s King Features Syndicate took advantage of the craze, licensing production of dolls of Krazy Kat.



https://cartoonresearch....tion-felix-the-cash-cow/ 

Quote:

I don't have plots on most of the first season of Winkler Krazies, but with the information I know from a few places, I can guarantee that nobody probably thought to do a literal adaptation, instead pulling elements when needed (like characters such as Ignatz and Walter the Ostrich), especially since it was intended to be a cheaper replacement to the Felixes that were changing contracts to Educational.



A publicity brochure produced in 1925 suggests that the main comic strip characters probably appeared in some of Nolan's Krazies.

Krazy Kat brochure
Krazy Kat brochure

S. C. MacPeter
2024-02-09T22:05:26Z
Originally Posted by: HectorJeckle 

According to Bob Coar, the Krazy Kat series of the early 1920s was also revived by John Bray to capitalize on Felix's burgeoning popularity by offering the public another feline character, so the idea of Krazy Kat as a Felix imitation is much older than you might think.



I don't believe this mainly because trade ads promoting the return of Krazy to the screen begin right before FELINE FOLLIES was released to theaters, which means it was probably a coincidence. All that said, I've read a review for FELIX THE HYPNOTIST (1921) that calls the character Krazy Kat, the earliest confusion I've seen between both and possibly the start of being able to see Felix and Krazy as replaceable with one another

Quote:

A publicity brochure produced in 1925 suggests that the main comic strip characters probably appeared in some of Nolan's Krazies.



I've seen this, but I'm not sold on characters appearing perhaps more than once. Ignatz appears in quite a few until mid 1927 when he is entirely phased out by TOPSY TURVY. Miss Qwak Qwak appears in a few early Paramount Krazies and serves as a love rival to Krazy and (black furred) Igantz in RAIL RHODE (which almost sounds like weird fanfiction...) but otherwise besides Walter the Ostrich in HIRE A HALL, its hard to tell, especially since copyrights to my memory don't recognize characters beyond Krazy, Ignatz, and Qwak Qwak

All this said, I've come to a conclusion that the Winkler Krazies were probably not that good, Nolan or Harrison-Gould or otherwise. They don't sound nearly as inventive or funny compared to other series of the period, and many of them (especially by the Paramounts) end with Krazy beaten up, or either embarrassed or exhausted to the point of collapse. In reading the 1928 copyrights, out of 26 cartoons, only about 3 or 4 don't outwardly end with one of these endings. The comedy within the films mainly seem to be using Krazy as the world's whipping boy for no special reason, more sad than funny I would suspect. Many of the stories themselves should've had lots of potiental, but their cheapness probably lead to a style that promoted less ambition to their execution, unfortunately. I'd like to say I'm wrong, but from what I've seen, its sadly not the case
S. C. MacPeter
2024-02-09T23:00:06Z
As a quick followup, this is the one I've found to be the most interesting of the Paramount Krazy Kats. Its execution sounds generic, but the villain of the cartoon is quite interesting, for a reason I'm sure is popping into your head now. I also expect this interesting discovery to be repeated without a lot of the context above needed to understand it

UserPostedImage
Tommy Stathes
2024-02-10T18:19:12Z
Originally Posted by: S. C. MacPeter 

Originally Posted by: HectorJeckle 

According to Bob Coar, the Krazy Kat series of the early 1920s was also revived by John Bray to capitalize on Felix's burgeoning popularity by offering the public another feline character, so the idea of Krazy Kat as a Felix imitation is much older than you might think.



I don't believe this mainly because trade ads promoting the return of Krazy to the screen begin right before FELINE FOLLIES was released to theaters, which means it was probably a coincidence.



I have to agree with you, and for the simple reason that I feel B.C.'s statement is misleading, or not really thought through. All along, Hearst/IFS/Bray were making joint arrangements for their multiple potential cash cows and probably regardless of what anyone else was doing. Krazy was already a famous property—new decisions to animate the character again in 1919/1920 (first Bray release is January '20) likely would not really have been predicated so much on the early success of a still brand new Master Tom-turned-Felix. It would be fairer to say that Terry (and later Disney, especially through Winkler's urging) were doing more to directly capitalize on Felix's success by strongly emulating Felix with their own cute & clever cats in 1921-1922 and beyond.
DudleyDud
2024-02-20T06:31:00Z
Originally Posted by: S. C. MacPeter 

I've seen this, but I'm not sold on characters appearing perhaps more than once. Ignatz appears in quite a few until mid 1927 when he is entirely phased out by TOPSY TURVY. Miss Qwak Qwak appears in a few early Paramount Krazies and serves as a love rival to Krazy and (black furred) Igantz in RAIL RHODE (which almost sounds like weird fanfiction...) but otherwise besides Walter the Ostrich in HIRE A HALL, its hard to tell, especially since copyrights to my memory don't recognize characters beyond Krazy, Ignatz, and Qwak Qwak

All this said, I've come to a conclusion that the Winkler Krazies were probably not that good, Nolan or Harrison-Gould or otherwise. They don't sound nearly as inventive or funny compared to other series of the period, and many of them (especially by the Paramounts) end with Krazy beaten up, or either embarrassed or exhausted to the point of collapse. In reading the 1928 copyrights, out of 26 cartoons, only about 3 or 4 don't outwardly end with one of these endings. The comedy within the films mainly seem to be using Krazy as the world's whipping boy for no special reason, more sad than funny I would suspect. Many of the stories themselves should've had lots of potiental, but their cheapness probably lead to a style that promoted less ambition to their execution, unfortunately. I'd like to say I'm wrong, but from what I've seen, its sadly not the case



I also think that the Krazy Kat series produced by Winkler and Mintz isn't very successful, because it simply imitates the other successful Felix and Mickey series, which is a real waste when you consider that the comic strip has a rich universe that could have been widely exploited in the cartoons.

On the contrary, the Krazy Kat cartoons produced by Bray are without doubt the most successful film adaptations of the feline, with a fine effort to retranscribe the spirit of the comics as faithfully as possible, and what's more, despite their simplicity, these cartoons remain infinitely more inspired than Charles Mintz's (including his one unimaginative Krazy Kat cartoon where he tried to be faithful to the comic strip's character designs).

It's a shame Bray didn't produce more Krazy Kat cartoons, because the series really had great potential and I'm sure it could have been as popular as Felix.
DudleyDud
2024-02-20T06:43:57Z
Originally Posted by: Tommy Stathes 

I have to agree with you, and for the simple reason that I feel B.C.'s statement is misleading, or not really thought through. All along, Hearst/IFS/Bray were making joint arrangements for their multiple potential cash cows and probably regardless of what anyone else was doing. Krazy was already a famous property—new decisions to animate the character again in 1919/1920 (first Bray release is January '20) likely would not really have been predicated so much on the early success of a still brand new Master Tom-turned-Felix. It would be fairer to say that Terry (and later Disney, especially through Winkler's urging) were doing more to directly capitalize on Felix's success by strongly emulating Felix with their own cute & clever cats in 1921-1922 and beyond.



I read on THE BRAY ANIMATION PROJECT that you and your colleagues own all the Krazy Kat cartoons from the Bray era. Do you plan to publish them one day on the Internet or on DVD?