Save for the occasional brief cartoon shown before animated films, usually made by the same studio, animated shorts are pretty much a TV-only creature. What many people don't know is that a lot of the cartoons we grew up with were originally created for theatrical release. Keen observers who watch old Popeye cartoons can often catch the spinach-ingesting sailor addressing the theater audience, and Warner Brothers would often plant people in the audience who would "interact" with the animated characters on screen. I would totally be nostalgic had I actually been alive at that time. ASIFA-Hollywood has formed the Animation Preservation Program which seeks to preserve these films so they can be seen on a movie screen as originally intended. Along with the UCLA Film and Television Archives, the group has also launched the "Adopt-A-Cartoon" program in an effort to have the works of such legends as Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker) and Max Fleischer (Betty Boop, Popeye) fully restored. To get a taste of what they're saving, check out this Fleischer cartoon.
[via Boing Boing]