The Doof Museum of of Culture and History, established in 2005
Media and Performing Arts
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Music-Toons Animation Studios
There were only a handful of animation studios in the late 1920s, such as the great animation studios like Max Fleisher and Walt Disney, making animated cartoons which were shown as a novelty before main feature movies in theaters all over the country. The country went wild for their cartoons. A small but prolific studio was Music-toons Productions, whose production during a five year run in 1929 almost topped Disney in bookings, only to see everything go up in smoke in 1933. One of the main characters was the Doof.
It all began when two identical twin brothers from New York, Guido and Salvador Campilli, came west, looking for the golden goose in the glamorous world of movies. The brothers knew from a young age that all they wanted to do was to make movies so they told the family that they wanted to run a movie studio. The family could not refuse them. Because of the family’s Hollywood ties, Salvador and Guido were given a small animation studio. Music-toons production was opened for business in the fall of 1925.
It wasn’t long before Music-toons cartoons were being shown in most of the movie houses in New York. The cartoons were becoming popular. Media critics were generous and one named Music-toons, “The little studio that could”. The cartoons were not only cheap but they were good. Some of this success would be due to the fact that the studio had under contract an artist who was a top notch storyboard artist, animator, background artist, cel painter and a budding director. This jack of all trades name was Lester Cloud. Cloud was a talented young naive visionary of animation direction and his unique character development was way ahead of its time. Cloud quickly established for the studio a line of of characters that to this day critics say transcended the cartoon medium.
Soon Music-toons were being featured in theaters across over the United States. It seemed like every movie theatre had to show them. Music-toon cartoons were making a lot of money for the Campelli brothers and that was making the family back home very happy. Then something happened and a change came over the brothers. More money started being transferred from the general funds into the brothers personal expense accounts. The family back home took notice the profits of the studio were dipping and this information got back to the brothers. They now wanted the studio to step up efforts and make cartoons half the time. They sent out the sales force to increase bookings. The overworked underpaid writers, who then gave the most skeleton of storyboards to the animators. The animators cut costs by recycling cels from other movies. Although the studio cut their costs by 30%, Salvador and Guido were spending suitcases full of money, betting on the ponies and nights out with female company. The brothers were prone to have terrible arguments and money was spent to pay for damage from their public fights. The family of Guido and Salvador became very distressed. A short time later on a moon less night, the family came to visit. The brothers moved back home and an associate of the family took over the operations. Within a week, a fire broke out in every single building on the lot at the same time and almost everything was destroyed. The Los Angeles police department reported that they found the fire was accidental.