Title: Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
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richiedoo
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(Date Posted:11/24/2005 16:34)

Hi folks...I'm sure many of us are familiar about the long time tradition Ch.11 had in showing March Of The Wooden Soldiers during the holidays. Usually for Thanksgiving and again for X-mas. There's one thing I would like to know that I've always been curious about with that movie. Before it was colorized, it had been shown in many different "mutilated" prints with certain parts cut here and there. Theatrically, the movie ran at 79 minutes. The TV print was cut to about 73 minutes. Most of the same parts were usually cut from the CH.11 version and amazingly, the same parts were cut from initial black and white copies found on VHS video in the 80's. Here's the thing, why is it when they colorized the movie, suddenly the original print containing restored footage suddenly surfaced out of nowhere, meanwhile, the black & white version was always sadly "chopped up"? I always paid close attention to the movie every year it was on since I was a kid. Ch.11 always showed an edited copy almost every holiday that I can remember during the black & white years until someone finally got a hold of a master copy. What took them so long and why all the neglect of a pristine copy if it was in fact available. Something just never sounded right somewhere. Can anybody explain?
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Mr Audio
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(Date Posted:12/10/2005 21:25)

Hi richiedoo,

The reason is the movie is actually called "Babes In Toyland", not "March Of The Wooden Soldiers". The "March of..." title was first used as a reissue title and was cut for pairing on double bills long after its inital release. This version was the one that made it into TV syndication initally. All subsequent theatrical and home video releases used the negative from this version.

However, when it came time to do the colorized version, in an effort to get as close to the original as possible, the original negative of the uncut "Babes In Toyland" surfaced and was used as the basis for THAT version.

The reason you don't see a complete black and white version is for reasons of copyright. Because the whereabouts of the original "Babes In Toyland" elements were unavailable for so long, the film fell out of copyright with this title, instead being renewed under the "March of The Wooden Soldiers" title. In order to re-copyright the original, it had to be considered some how new and different and by colorizing it, Hal Roach Studios were able to "retrieve" and re establish ownership of the film. (Stupidly, Hal Roach Studios sold all the rights to their films to TV syndicators in the early fifties thinking there wasn't much worth to their properties.)

It's interesting to note, that only the first TV airing of the colorized version was called "Babes In Toyland". Subsequent airings and home video sales of the colorized version were retitled "March of The Wooden Soldiers" due to people not realizing what film it was!
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richiedoo
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(Date Posted:12/13/2005 01:23)

Hi Mr. Audio

  Thanks for the interesting reply. As a dedicated L&H fan I was well aware of the fact that Babes In Toyland was the original title for what is now know as "March". Interestingly, a friend of my brother's who I believe was a member of the "Sons Of The Desert L&H fan club, had actually obtained a somewhat inferior print of the movie with the Babes In Toyland title card to it. It's the black and white version but is kind of mutilated in that it's a "patched" copy. It's clear that after the opening credits, there were various cuts and patches made probably from different TV prints with the idea of making as close to a "complete" movie as possible. This was the most complete version I ever saw prior to the colorized version being released. I like to think I have some kind of rarity since this was apparently the title card used theatrically and no doubt has not been seen since unless some other TV stations showed it once or twice.

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maxx151
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/11/2010 08:35)

Hi CHip

Here is the down low on BABES IN TOYLAND - Hal Roach did not like the film, he had written his own scenario for the film, he paid RKO "real money" for the rights (RKO was hoping to make the film), Hal Roach wrote the scenario on the traion trip back to California from NYC after purchasing the rights.   According to Roach Stan Laurel hated his story concept saying "It is no good we don't wear our derby's) which Roach shot back "you dod not wear the derbys in "Fra Diavolo" (1933).   The fighting got so heated between Roach and Laurel he told Laurel to go make the film and he backed off while Laurel and his team of writers proceeded to mak the classic film.  Henry Brandon (Barnaby) stated in interviews Roach and Laurel fought all the time while making the film. 

Roach sold most of his films to various firms - including tv broadcast, home collector markets for 16mm and Super 8mm to Blackhawk Films etc.   I have BABES full length uncut under the MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS title on Super 8mm which I bought in the 1970's!!!!!  MGM retained BONNIE SCOTLAND and FRA DIAVOLO - MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS was BABES re-issue title when Lippert Pictures reissued the film in the early 1950's and that is when the film was re-edited not for TV!!!  WPIX used to show the film uncut from the late 1960's to about mid 1970's and it was aired at 1pm Thanksgiving - which was great because the Macy's parade coberage ended at 12noon and we would eat lunch then switch on WPIX and watch MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS.

In the 1970's it was discovered the songs in the film had copyright issues and the musical sequences featuring Victor Herbert's songs were cut.  I have a complete VHS tape bought from Movies Unlimited in 1990 - in the late 1990's the film was restored and colorized.   The best print today on video is in the HOLIDAY CLASSIC box set from MGM HOME VIDEO - the set includes POCKET FULL OF MIRACLES, THE BISHOP WIFE (both films are simply the same discs that looked great from the last video release just repackaged) but the real prize is "BABES IN TOLYLAND" which was taken from a great print maybe even a dupe negative or better, the film has never looked better (except for some print damage on the right side of the screen when the soldiers march into toyland).


What intersting is the film was originally released through MGM in 1934 and now through the varios corportation changes and games the movie business is famous for the film is now back under the MGM umbrella!             
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/11/2010 21:46)


Yes, the acrimony between Hal Roach and Stan Laurel is legendary. And while I can totally sympathize with Stan Laurel's desire back then to have more creative control over their pictures, the fact of the matter is that he and Babe (Oliver) Hardy had their greatest success under the tutelage of Hal Roach. 

While it's easy for many to decry the old Hollywood studio system of the past and the powerful movie moguls that ran the studios like Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, Jack Warner, William Fox, David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Harry Cohn, Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Herbert J. Yates, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, the fact of the matter is that these men were responsible for making the greatest motion pictures the world has ever known. That's exactly why this period is known as the Hollywood's Golden Age. It's an era that will never be duplicated...





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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/11/2010 23:11)

Chip Bravo!  You really know you movie trivia and facts!   On Roach and Laurel - it was a great relationship resulting in some of the best films made but they really did have a rollercoaster ride in their ups and downs.  Also ego played a factor, Roach said that Laurel was no good at story and had Laurel given an inch on that Roach said he would have continued with them.  There is no denying the fate of Roach's studio took a major spiral down once L & H left the studio.  Of course WWII had an impact on the studio but had the team stayed on the lot during the 1940's who knows?  Roach's studios history might have been different.

On your very insightful take on Hollywoods Golden Age without getting into politics what helped destroy the movie industry was the Divorcement Decree when the U.S. Government ordered the studios to sell their movie theaters.  What people do not realzie today is that the studios were born out of the need for theater owners to supply their houses with films.  Hence Loew's eventually creating MGM and MGM supplying the parent company with 52 feature films a year - plus short subjects, cartoons, newsreels etc.  The same with Paramount and Fox.  And look at the classic films that were produced year in and year out - they made a heck of a lot of better films and more films that have stood the test of time.  The after the war stars like Jimmy Stewart became free agents making films for the highest bidder - not all of these stars made good career decisions resulting in some duds, then tv came along full blast and further eroded the film business.  MGM was the last holdout finally divorcing the firm from their theaters in 1959 - MGM was on the brink of bankruptcy and it took 1959's BEN HUR to postpone the end of their greatest era.

Of course other factors helped ruin the film business where today it depends on one or two blockbusters to pay the bills - but there is no denying the US Government helped bring down the film business.   
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/12/2010 03:10)


I agree wholeheartedly; the government ordered divestiture is what primarily led to the end of the studio system, and hence, the Golden Age of Hollywood. The major studios could probably have continued the fight in the courts for years if RKO chief Howard Hughes hadn't sold out and made an agreement with the feds, but once he did, the writing was on the wall.





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richiedoo
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/13/2010 12:48)

Hey Chip, how are you? Been away for a while but i'm back! You mentioned in your post about David O. Selznick briefly above. I'm not sure it was a standard in all his movies, but would you know if the picture of the mansion shown during the "David" logo at the beginning of the movies was David's actual home or was it a picture of the studio where he supposedly worked?
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/14/2010 00:13)


Welcome back, Rich.

That Colonial building seen in the logo at the beginning of David O. Selznickā€™s movies was the office building of the Selznick International Studios located at 9336 Washington Boulevard in Culver City, Ca.



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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/18/2010 10:55)

Hey Chip


Do you know where the house (picture you posted) from MR BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE is located?  I have been told it is indeed in CT where the story of the places the house or is it CA?????? 


Best
Bob 

 

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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:03/18/2010 13:45)


It depends on which house you are talking about. If you're talking about the house that author Eric Hodgins built (which was the inspiration for his book and then later the RKO movie), then that house is located on Indian Hill Road in New Milford, Connecticut.

However, if you are referring to the actual house that was used in the 1948 movie, then that house was built by RKO on land leased from 20th Century-Fox north of Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains of California. By the way, in 1974 20th Century-Fox sold this land (which encompassed 2,000 acres) to the state of California. It is now known as Malibu Creek State Park.


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richiedoo
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:05/03/2010 04:47)

Hi folks...getting kind of warm to fire up the YL but never to warm to chat about xmas! Anyway, getting back to "March" I remember noticing the difference in the title cards and opening credits used for the movie before it was colorized and after the colorization. Although the "March" title card was the re-issue from "Babes In Toyland" it seems as though there were 2 reissue title cards and opening credits for the "March" title. The opening used on Ch.11 and VHS copies in the 1980's just used the opening of the title only. After the movie was colorized it contained a more complete beginning including the MGM logo as well as a disclaimer showing the movie was approved by what would probably be considered today as the MPAA. I like to think the latter would be the original reissue title card used immediately after the ""Babes" title was dropped.
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RE:Question About March Of The Wooden Soldiers
(Date Posted:05/14/2010 09:29)

For all the fans of the classic BABES IN TOYLAND clicck on the link below and scroll down to the picture of a great prop from the film



http://www.catsafterme.com/blog/archives/1764
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