Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ah, those Oscar-nominated shorts

At the beginning of this year's 31 Days of Oscar, I mentioned that TCM runs shorts that are Oscar-nominated. Now, as far as I know, this morning's Jungle Safari wasn't Oscar-nominated. At least, looking through the Oscar website's list of films nominated in the short subjects back in 1950 doesn't show anything that looks like Jungle Safari. And coming up in future days are a lot of shorts that are just promo featurettes for various movies coming up in the TCM lineup, so those shorts wouldn't have been nominated either.

The big problem TCM has in trying to run only Oscar-nominated shorts is the relatively small number of them, and even more so the number to which they have the rights. TCM, as I understand it, doesn't have the rights to any of the animated stuff that was part of the library of films Ted Turner bought when Turner wound up with the packages from MGM, Warner Bros., and RKO. Those, I think, are over on Cartoon Network now, where the Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes shorts show up from time to time. I could swear I commented not too awful long ago that it's not that big a deal that the one-reel shorts wind up on a commercial channel; after all, between the shorts is a logical place to put commercials. When I was growing up, at least Universal's Woody Woodpecker shorts were packaged in a three shorts in a half-hour package, which came out just about to the maximum amount of commercials allowed. The upshot, of course, is that TCM can't show them in any case, so that cuts out an entire category of Oscar-nominated movies from which they can choose.

I was going to ask whether RKO did any animated shorts, but IMDb's search function isn't working. They don't have an option for RKO as one of the studios, and when I tried to select MGM as the studio, figuring I'd look at the URL in the search result and substitute in RKO where MGM was mentioned as the studio, the search yielded as the top result The Three Little Pigs, which is a famous Disney animated short. MGM wasn't even listed as a distribution company. Disney does its own videos and DVDs, while the original theatrical release was distributed by United Artists.

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