As I discussed earlier this summer, cartoons are making a small but encouraging comeback in theaters this year. If you should happen to see Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, you’ll be treated to the second of Warner Bros.’ new Road Runner cartoons, Fur of Flying. (The first, titled Coyote Falls, played with Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and the third, called Rabid Rider, will appear at the head of Yogi Bear in December.) These new widescreen films bring two classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars back to life, and while they transform the graphic characters and backgrounds into sculpted CGI form they remain absolutely true to the spirit of Chuck Jones’ vintage shorts.
Most people who watch the opening segment of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, a faux newsreel called “News on the March,” don’t realize that it is a very precise parody of The March of Time, the innovative documentary short-subject series that played in theaters, while an equally popular radio show of the same name blanketed the airwaves. Both were narrated, in stentorian fashion, by Westbrook van Voorhis, who was imitated almost as often as the public figures whose voices were replicated on the radio series by such versatile actors as Jeanette Nolan, John McIntire, Elliot Reid and, yes, Orson Welles.
Unlike newsreels, which in those pre-television days covered warfare, baseball games, and Presidential speeches, The March of Time provided insightful, often in-depth stories about current trends and—
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