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U.M. & M. TV Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.M. & M. TV Corporation
TypeFilm distributor
Founded1954; 67 years ago (1954)
Defunct1957; 64 years ago (1957)
FateAcquired by National Telefilm Associates

U.M. & M. TV Corporation was an American media company best known as the original purchaser of the pre-October 1950 short films and cartoons produced by Paramount Pictures, excluding Popeye and Superman. The initials stand for United Film Service (which once employed Walt Disney and other animators many years earlier), MTA TV (Motion Picture Advertising Service) of New Orleans, and Minot T.V.

Operations of the three above-mentioned companies were consolidated into a new company, U.M. & M., in October 1954. The companies were previously producing TV commercials. Matty Fox, head of Motion Pictures for Television, signed a ten-year agreement with U.M. & M. to handle sub-distribution of its TV series.[1]

U.M. & M. handled the physical distribution of the television series Paris Precinct and Sherlock Holmes, and others. It did not market the shows, leaving the actual syndication to Guild Films.


In 1955, Paramount Pictures announced it was selling its short films and cartoons, and even a few of its features, including the Max Fleischer animated features Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Bug Goes to Town.

Represented by A. W. Schwalberg, a former Paramount sales executive, U.M. & M. won the bid in December 1955, buying 1,600 short subjects for $3.5 million.[2][3] U.M. & M. got most of the material that Paramount put up for sale. The Popeye cartoons (including his first film appearance, the Betty Boop cartoon Popeye the Sailor) were sold in April 1956 to Associated Artists Productions (and in succeeding years to United Artists, MGM/UA Entertainment Co., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and finally to Warner Bros./Turner Broadcasting Company). The Superman cartoons were not included in the sale, as their rights had already reverted from Paramount to National Comics when the studio's film rights to the character expired and from 1967 to Warner Bros.; TV rights to those shorts were licensed by National to Flamingo Films, distributors of the Adventures of Superman television series and in 1967 to Warner Bros. Television.

The material that U.M. & M. obtained from Paramount also included many live action short subjects, such as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington shorts from the 1930s. Burns and Allen shorts were also included, as well as an early short, Singapore Sue, featuring a young Cary Grant.

Other short subjects included in the sale included the following:

The latest-released cartoon in the package was the Screen Songs cartoon, Boos in the Nite, released September 22, 1950. A total of 513 animated productions (shorts and features) from Fleischer, Famous, and George Pal were included in the package. The package was eyed by NBC for airing nationally, but this deal apparently fell through. ABC would air a repackaging of many Paramount cartoons released after September 1950 once these cartoons were sold to Harvey Films.

Retitling and marketing the Paramount shorts

At the insistence of Paramount Pictures, who did not want their company name or mountain logo appearing on television at the time, U.M. & M. replaced the Paramount logo with its (usually) blue shield logo, and removed all references to Paramount Pictures, except for the phrase "Adolph Zukor presents". It is believed that U.M. & M. and NTA did not figure that TV viewers would link Zukor's name with Paramount Pictures, which Zukor founded.

U.M. & M. color prints of Paramount cartoons usually have the opening credits listed in yellow print on a red background. Eventually, U.M. & M. started preserving the original credits, but continued to remove references to Paramount, Technicolor, Cinecolor, and Polacolor since the television prints were done in either Eastmancolor or Deluxe. The Eastmancolor prints generally have faded to red.

For the black-and-white cartoons and shorts, U.M. & M. removed the Paramount logos from the original negatives and substituted its opening logo and an end card reading "A U.M. & M. TV Corp. Presentation" for the Paramount mountain. The Paramount copyright was replaced with the U.M. & M. copyright byline, but prints of Betty Boop cartoons have turned up with original Paramount copyright bylines on the Olive Films releases of Betty Boop.

U.M. & M. began marketing the Paramount shorts and cartoons, at the expense of the live-action made-for-television product it was already syndicating. The marketing included a Miss Cartoon girl[4] at their sales table at the NARTB convention in Chicago. Before all of the shorts could be retitled, National Telefilm Associates bought out the U.M. & M. package in May 1956 for $4 million.[5] The U.M. & M. copyright notices continued to be present on the NTA prints. The shorts were syndicated under NTA's Panorama of Entertaining Programs, as well as sold for home movie distribution.

For this reason, the majority of the color cartoons purchased by U.M. & M. appear with NTA titles, though a select few circulate with U.M. & M. openings and closings. Most Little Lulu cartoons circulate with U.M. & M. openings however. A few feature a revised U.M. & M. logo with the original credits intact, though all references to Paramount and Technicolor are blacked out. These prints contain the only titles where the word "Corporation" in the U.M. & M. copyright is actually spelled out, and not abbreviated "Corp."

NTA acquired the Republic Pictures name in 1984, and through several acquisitions was eventually merged into Paramount Pictures, which in turn was owned by Viacom (as it has been since 1994). In early 2006, Viacom split itself into two corporations, one called Viacom (still owning Paramount Pictures), and the other called CBS Corporation. As a result, what would become Melange Pictures, LLC, a division of Viacom, now owns the theatrical distribution on behalf of Paramount Animation — all the more ironic since Paramount Pictures originally released the classic shorts in the first place — while Trifecta Entertainment & Media (inherited from CBS Television Distribution) owns the television distribution on behalf of Paramount Television Studios to the U.M. & M./NTA/Republic/Melange library, and Olive Films (under license from Paramount Home Entertainment) owns the home video distribution. Viacom and CBS re-merged on December 4, 2019 as ViacomCBS.

However, restoration of the original Paramount openings to the black and white cartoons and shorts would be difficult, since U.M. & M. actually altered the original black-and-white negatives, although with today’s CGI technology it is possible to authentically recreate such titles. The UCLA Film and Television Archive has restored many of the classic Paramount cartoons, complete with their original titles.


  1. ^ Box Office October 9, 1954 issue
  2. ^ Adams, Val (1955-12-28). "STUDIO MAY SELL 1,600 FILMS TO TV; Paramount and UM&M Near Accord on Sale of Movie Shorts for $3,500,000 (Published 1955)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  3. ^ Box Office, December 3, 1955, page 36.
  4. ^ Broadcasting April 23, 1956, page 22
  5. ^ Box Office, May 19, 1956 page 22

External links

This page was last edited on 29 May 2021, at 09:51
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