MGM Animation/Visual Arts was an animation studio established in 1962 by animation director/producer Chuck Jones and producer Les Goldman as Sib Tower 12 Productions. It is noted for productions such as Tom and Jerry, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and The Phantom Tollbooth, all released to theatres and/or television by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The studio was founded after Jones was fired from his thirty-year position at Warner Bros. Cartoons, where he served as a director on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. In 1963, Sib Tower 12 received a contract from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to produce a new series of Tom and Jerry cartoons. These shorts proved successful, and MGM purchased the Sib Tower 12 studio and renamed it MGM Animation/Visual Arts in 1964. This studio continued with Jones' Tom and Jerry shorts until 1967, after a total of thirty-four cartoons.
In addition to the Tom and Jerry cartoons, Jones worked on two one-shot theatrical shorts. The first, The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (1965), was an abstract piece based upon a children's book by Norton Juster. It won the 1965 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. In 1967, Jones collaborated with fellow Warner Bros. alumnus on The Bear that Wasn't, an adaptation of Tashlin's 1943 children's book about a bear whom no one believes is actually a bear.
The studio also turned to television, producing three highly acclaimed TV specials. The first was a 1966 adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which has become a mainstay of the holiday season. In 1969, Jones became the first to adapt Walt Kelly's Pogo to animation, creating The Pogo Special Birthday Special. The third was another Seuss adaptation, Horton Hears a Who!, which first aired in 1970.
The studio's most ambitious work was its 1970 feature film The Phantom Tollbooth, adapted from another Norton Juster book. MGM closed the animation studio in 1970, and virtually all of the staff followed Jones to his new venture, Chuck Jones Productions.
The MGMA/VA library, along with the rest of the pre-1986 MGM library, was bought by Turner Entertainment in 1986. Turner merged with Time Warner in 1996, so now WB owns distribution rights to the MGMA/VA library - all the ironic given that their firing of Chuck Jones helped keep MGM in the animation business through 1970.
MGM's roaring duo. (appointments of John Symes as president of MGM Worldwide Television Group and James Griffiths as president of International Television Distribution and MGM Networks)
Oct 01, 1997; MGM has restructured its television organization and renamed it the MGM Worldwide Television Group. John Symes has been named...