Capt'n Sailorbird
Produced by Saul J. Turell
Script - Israel M. Berman
Coordinator - Paul Killiam
© 1959 Magic Screen Pictures, Inc.


Capt'n Sailorbird was a series made up of imported foreign cartoons that were dubbed into English. The Capt'n Sailorbird character appeared in newly animated openings to introduce each cartoon.  This same technique was utilized in 1958 by Jayark Films for it's Bozo's Storybook series, and in 1960 by Flamingo Telefilms for it's Nutty Squirrels Presents series.

The purchase and dubbing of the foreign cartoons was coordinated for the Sailorbird series by Paul Killiam, later known for his pioneering revivals of silent films in the 1960's. Killiam, along with producer Saul J. Turell, syndicated The Capt'n Sailorbird series through Sterling Films to U.S. TV stations, who then inserted the cartoons into local kid's shows.  190 episodes were distributed, with the longer cartoons serialized into several parts.

On this page I have posted some of the messages I've received regarding Capt'n Sailorbird.


Jim wrote:
When I was a kid (late 50's-early 60's), I remember
watching a daily cartoon program called Captain
Sailorbird. Actually, it consisted of several short
animated cartoons, along with a longer "serial" cartoon
that continued the same plot from one day to the next.
I recall that one of the serials involved a giant
robot, created by some evil scientist (I think). Does
anyone else recall Captain Sailorbird? Several Internet
searches have turned up nothing. Thank you. 


John Cragg wrote:
Here's a couple of obscure ones, both from the early 60's.
Bobo the Hobo was a creepy, possibly claymation, figure
on a swing in the opening credits. This wasn't a show by
itself, but was shown during a local kids program. The
theme music was something like "Turn your frown upside
down and you will have a smile." It was so eerie, at least
one neighborhood kid had nightmares over it.


Mr. E from Alpha Centauri might be part of Captain Sailorbird,
a strange anthology type of shorts show during local kids
programs. I don't remember what this character was other
than its name. Can anybody help with these. Thanks. 


Ken Layton wrote:
In the early 60's here in the Seattle, Washington area
Channel 13 used to show some B&W cartoons called
Magic Screen which featured old stories and fables.
They looked like they were animated overseas and at the
end a narrator would voice over "this cartoon has been
selected for showing on the Armed Forces network"
or something to that effect. The cartoons were introduced
by a cartoon character, Captain Sailor Bird. The introductory
animation looked alot like it might have been done by Sam
Singer productions.
Anyone have any info on these?


In response to Ken's post I would like to say that, after viewing the Capt'n Sailorbird intros, I don't believe the animation was done by Sam Singer. I'm not sure who did it, but it just doesn't look like Singer's work to me. Ken also mentioned the "Armed Forces" voiceovers. These were not a part of the Sailorbird episodes that I have, but they do appear on several 16mm Bozo's Cartoon Storybook films that I have. This 1958 series from Jayark Film Corporation featured foreign cartoons dubbed into English for the U.S. TV market, just like the Sailorbird series. Jayark Film Corporation had begun marketing the Larry Harmon Bozo the Clown cartoons in 1958, the same year that they started the Storybook cartoons. The Bozo's Cartoon Storybooks were distributed to local stations along with the Bozo cartoon package.

 Alfons Moliné
who has been a tremendously helpful resource to
this web site on so many occasions in the past, wrote:

"... you are asking for info on the cartoons which were shown on the "Capt´n Sailorbird" show.  Well, I can tell you that the "Johnny Little and the Giant" is actually a French feature, "Jeannot l´Intrepide" (a.k.a. Johnny the Giant Killer, released in the U.S. on home video in the 80´s) directed in 1949 by Jean Image. It was probably segmented into several parts and shown on "Capt´n Sailorbird" as a serial.

A viewer said on the web page that he recalled having seen on that program another cartoon about a giant robot. I think it might be another French feature, "La Bergère et le Ramoneur" ("The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweeper", a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderbird", also released in the U.S. on home video) directed in 1953 by Paul Grimault. Loosely based on a H.C. Andersen tale, this film showed the two title characters, with the help of a bird, trying to vanquish a giant robot built by a megalomaniac King.

It is mostly possible that other cartoons shown on this program -and/or similar children´s shows- were European imports -mainly from Russia and other Eastern European countries- re-dubbed and re-filmed with new titles -which made difficult to find out their actual origin- for U.S. distribution to local T.V. stations. One package of such material, "Cartoon Classics", is mentioned on Jeff Lenburg´s "Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons" (1991 edition). Syndicated in 1958 by Radio and Television Packagers, its list of episodes contains a few titles that I have been able to identify as Russian featurettes made in the 50´s, such as "The Ice Witch", "The Magic Antelope" and "The Wild Swans". Another viewer claims to have watched "Mr. E from Tau Ceti" on "Capt´n Sailorbird", which also appears on the "Cartoon Classics" list of episodes."


Johnny Little and The Giant




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September 4, 2000

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