John Foster and Mannie Davis (1930)

Good Old Schooldays is a 1930 American film produced by The Van Beuren Corporation and released by Pathe. The film, which features Milton and Rita Mouse, was directed by John Foster and Mannie Davis. Synchronization by Gene Rodemich. The film takes place inside of a schoolhouse, and is part of the series entitled Aesop’s Sound Fables, though its plot has no relation to the actual Aesop’s Fables of 600 BCE.

Harry Bailey & John Foster (1930)

Traditional Animation from Van Beuren Studios Aesop’s Fables

Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures

Directed By John Foster, Harry Bailey & Produced By Amadee J. Van Beuren

Animated by Vet Anderson, Harry Bailey, Eddie Donnelly, and Jim Tyer

Van Beuren Studios was a New York City-based animation studio that produced theatrical cartoons as well as live action short-subjects from the 1920s to 1936.

Burt Gillett & Tom Palmer (1935)

6th cartoon in the Rainbow Parade Cartoon series By Van Beuren Productions.

Music by Winston Sharples

A girl is sewing in her playroom when a boy sneaks in and lets loose a horde of mice into her doll house. She discovers them and is fascinated by them, one in particular who can speak. They chat for a while, and the mouse tells them a story of a wizard friend who tried one day to make a potion that would render all things beautiful. He turns lizards into doves and a toad into a squirrel successfully, but when his back is turned another bottle accidentally opens up and spills into the beauty elixir. When he tries it on a batch of caged mice, they turn into little devils that chase him around his shop. They wreak havoc and eventually turn him into a giant rabbit, but he’s then saved by the doves, who mix a potion that reverts him to his human form and the devils back into mice.

Paul Terry (1928)

Dinner Time was one of the first publicly shown sound-on-film cartoons and premiered in New York City in August 1928, three months before Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie, which premiered on November 18th, 1928. However, Dinner Time was unsuccessful and Disney’s film would go on to be widely touted as the first synchronized sound cartoon.

Dinner Time is an American animated short cartoon produced by Van Beuren Studios. The musical score was composed by Josiah Zuro. The film is part of a series entitled Aesop’s Fables and features the Paul Terry creation Farmer Al Falfa who works as a butcher, fending off a group of pesky dogs.

Otto Messmer (1919)

Otto James Messmer was an American animator, best known for his work on the Felix the Cat cartoons and comic strip produced by the Pat Sullivan studio.

The extent of Messmer’s role in the creation and popularity of Felix is a matter of ongoing dispute, particularly as he only laid his claim to the character after the death of Sullivan, who until that time had received the credit. However, most prominent comics and animation historians support Messmer’s claim, as do the veterans of the Sullivan studio.

Felix the Cat is a funny-animal cartoon character created in the silent film era. The anthropomorphic black cat with his black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first character from animation to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences. Felix was also the first cartoon to be merchandised and soon became a household name.

By the late 1920s, with the arrival of sound cartoons, Felix’s success was fading. The new Disney shorts of Mickey Mouse made the silent offerings of Sullivan and Messmer, who were then unwilling to move to sound production, seem outdated. In 1929, Sullivan decided to make the transition and began distributing Felix sound cartoons through Copley Pictures. The sound Felix shorts proved to be a failure and the operation ended in 1932. Felix saw a brief three-cartoon resurrection in 1936 by the Van Beuren Studios.