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U. M. & M. TV Corp

U.M.&M. T.V. Corp.

U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. is best known as the original purchaser of Paramount Pictures' pre-1951 shorts and cartoons (excluding Popeye and Superman). The initials stand for United Film Service (which once employed Walt Disney and other animators many years earlier), MTA TV of New Orleans, and Minot T.V. It was founded by Charles Amory in 1951, as a consortium of television stations.

U.M.&M. handled the physical distribution of television series Paris Precinct and Sherlock Holmes, as well as other series. They did not market the show, leaving the actual syndication to Guild Films.

U.M.&M. makes the deal

In 1955, Paramount Pictures announced they were selling their shorts and cartoons, and even a few of their features, including the Max Fleischer animated features Gulliver's Travels and Hoppity Goes to Town. Included were a few other lesser known features, such as It's a Wonderful Life, which Paramount acquired when they bought out Liberty Films.

U.M.&M. won the bid, getting most of the material that Paramount put up for sale. The Popeye cartoons (including his first appearance, the Betty Boop cartoon Popeye the Sailor, and the Screen Song Let's Sing with Popeye) went to Associated Artists Productions (and in succeeding years to United Artists, MGM and Turner Entertainment - today Turner is a division of Time Warner). The Superman cartoons went to Motion Pictures For Television, producers of Adventures of Superman television series (both the Superman cartoons and later television series would end up with Warner Bros. and its subsidiary DC Comics).

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 retitling of the Paramount shorts

At the insistence of Paramount Pictures, U.M.&M. replaced the Paramount logo with their 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 (of which Zukor was the founder).

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 their opening logo and end card "THE END A U.M.&M. T.V. 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.

The end of U.M.&M.

Before all of the shorts could be retitled, National Telefilm Associates bought out U.M.&M., but 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 acquistitions 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 (who still owns Paramount Pictures), and the other called CBS Corporation. As a result, Republic/Paramount owns the theatrical rights — all the more ironic since Paramount originally released the classic shorts in the first place — while CBS Paramount Television, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns the television rights to the U.M.&M. library, and what is now Lions Gate Home Entetainment owns home video rights.

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. The UCLA Film and Television Archive has restored many of the classic Paramount cartoons, complete with their original titles.

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