"I wonder what happened to Brian Cartoons. Seemed they ONLY existed for that one show [Diver Dan]..."
Brian Cartoons, Inc., was an animation company established in 1955 as a part of Louis W. Kellman Productions, a producer of commercial and industrial films based in Philadelphia. Along with producing the making the popular "Diver Dan" TV series, Brian also created the first animated film produced in Philadelphia. The company was named after Kellman's son.
Although the goal was to produce animated cartoons, records and press articles of the time suggest that only one theatrically released cartoon was completed before the "Diver Dan" series. "Li'l Davy and Dan'l Coon", a seven minute color cartoon was listed in film magazines and screened in at least one theater in the Philadelphia area.
|The Brian Cartoons production - "Li'l Davy and Dan'l Coon" listed in the August 22, 1956 edition |
of the Motion Picture Herald. Click HERE to see the full cartoon listing.
The cartoon was about the childhood of Davy Crockett and a raccoon friend, most likely made to capitalize on the Disney/Fess Parker/Davy Crockett craze of the time. If this cartoon still exists, it is not cataloged in any known film archive or library collection. Perhaps it is in the hands of a private collector or historian.
Diver Dan was the creation of Philadelphia cartoonist and puppeteer J. Anthony "John" Ferlaine. The new series was based on an underwater fantasy comic strip idea that was never syndicated. Ferlaine was also a longtime art director at WCAU-TV the local CBS affiliate station. He produced a live-action marionette pilot for this new series in 1956 titled "Fish Tales" using WCAU-TV talent. When the series was not picked up, Ferlaine partnered with Martin B. Young of Young Development Inc, (Young Productions, Inc as subsidiary) a local TV producer, and Louis W. Kellman of Brian Cartoons, and the rest is history.
|Snippet from a February 1961 Philadelphia Tribune ad for the new Diver Dan series. Note that it the series was filmed by "Louis Kellman-Brian Cartoons"|
It was easier to find out what Brian Cartoons did before Diver Dan that after. For now, what productions Brian Cartoons made after "Diver Dan" are unknown, but the company was listed in production directories as late as 1969.
Louis W. Kelleman passed away in the 1988 at the age of 82, Martin Young in 2000, and John Ferlaine in 2011 at age 90.