I've done a lot of research on this topic (you can ask Jerry Beck, Michael Barrier, Mark Kausler, David Gerstein, or a number of other animation researchers about my credentials), and based on that, I can say Eddie Larkin's comments are right on the money. A couple of things though:
- The January 1954 date is when the studio resumed its normal operations. It had been on a six-month hiatus so that WB could use up some of its very extensive backlog, going back anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Therefore, all of the cartoons released through the end of 1955 (and including even some 1956 entries) were NOT created with widescreen in mind and should be presented open-matte. I have tons of documentation proving when they were in production.
- Once the studio resumed normal operations, the artists really didn't follow this widescreen mandate as a rule. Take a look at the Daffy Duck "Super Stars" disc. In DUCKING THE DEVIL (released in 1957), there is a pan shot of Daffy calling out to the Tasmanian Devil in the distance. When matted, Taz is completely cut off. In PEOPLE ARE BUNNY (1959), Bugs's ears and feet and Daffy's feet that are animated and not on holds are routinely chopped off by the matting. You just don't plan a scene in animation this way.
- This problem is less frequent once you get further chronologically. Chuck Jones always drew his character layouts in Academy ratio. It was up to guys like Maurice Noble and Bob Givens (wonderful background layout artists) to reconfigure them to fit widescreen. They got more successful later on.
- There was also an infamous incident in Hollywood (I forget at which theater) where they had two nights of Warner cartoons with Friz Freleng in attendance. They matted the later ones the first night, and Friz had an absolute shitfit. When told that's how they were instructed to present them, Friz screamed, "I worked at that [...] studio for thirty years, we didn't make them to look like that! We only did it that way on the Pink Panthers!" The second night all of the titles were presented in Academy ratio.
- For the sake of argument, there should at least be an option for the cartoons, of both 1.33 and 1.75, because it's pretty clear the filmmakers were wildly inconsistent with following these technicalities.
- MisterLime is being utterly disrespectful to Bob Furmanek. Nobody's perfect and nobody has all the answers. Maybe this guy isn't an official representative of Olive Films, but he's par for the course for a small outfit that's actively refusing free advice from learned historians.
Edited by ThadK, June 03 2013 - 10:04 PM.