Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back shortly

I was reminiscing yesterday with some online folk about the days when cinemas included a full program of cartoon, advertisements, a film short and the main feature. i understand they were phased out in the USA in the early 60s?

We definitely had a short with "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" Down Under. I can't recall which one, though, though film shorts were still going strong. (Actually, it may have been a documentary about kayaking, if I recall correctly.) We had a 33 min. film short, "The Rocking Horse Winner" (1983), with "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock". If I saw that bloody rocking-horse again, I was gonna scream!

I also remember we stunned director Tim Burton, in a Sydney press conference for "Batman" (1989) when lowly members of a newly-formed Batman fan club had probing questions about his supposedly unreleased b/w "Frankenweenie" short (1984) - which had received a cinema release in Australia. It ran before screenings of Disney's "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" (1985). (It was news to Tim, and we assume he went stomping back to Disney to investigate his royalties!)

So, yeah. We had shorts Down Under until at least 1985, then a break of only a few years... until that first new "Roger Rabbit" short, "Tummy Trouble", released theatrically worldwide with "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (1989).

Pixar has also made the concept of film shorts remain in the public consciousness. Not to mention Tropfest and other short film festivals.

1 comment:

De said...

Well, the general practice of showing a short prior to the film did end in the late 1960s.

Oddly enough, during the first Gulf War back in 1990-1991, a number of theaters were showing "Ali Baba Bunny" before an action or comedy film.

We were also treated to the musical "I'm Mad" starring the Animaniacs before the Tiny Toon Adventures film How I Spent My Summer Vacation in 1992.

As you mentioned, shorts didn't start again until Pixar bundled them with their releases.

"Frankenweenie" never showed in theaters here in the US outside of film festivals. Saw it on DVD several years and nearly wet myself from laughing so much.