Another whirlwind week here. I’m attempting to be caught up with current thing again this week, but it’s a challenge! The good news is nearly everything is moving along wonderfully, if not quite as fast as I’d like it to.
In Thunderbean News:
We’ve been pretty heavy on the Thunderbean news as of late. There continues to be a lot of projects in the mix, and I’m very much enjoying so many of them getting finished. Here is status of some of these:
This next week I’ll be reviewing the current state of the Flip the Frog materials we’ve cleaned up here, and move them along to ‘final’ status. There’s a few that need to be sent around to the Thunderbean ‘brain trust’ to make sure we didn’t miss anything, from titles to sound to footage to contrast.
Rainbow Parade issues tend to dominate my ‘issues’ these days. This last week I was able to borrow some wonderful prints of the cartoons that I can’t get in 35mm from Mr. Mark Kausler. The scans resulting from them are generally pretty great, with more being done this coming week on a Lasergraphics scanner.
Sadly, one film, Parrotville Old Folks (1935) has an odd problem that consists of some kind of old coating coming off the print! The great hope is that some additional cleaning can remove this stuff and we can end up with a cleaner version, but here’s where it stands currently. As we talked about the condition, Mark’s summation was “They’ll ALL be gone someday”. And, of course, he’s right. None of these old rental prints was intended to last anywhere near this long as it is, and even through I sound like a broken record on this one point, so I’m grateful for the collectors like Mark that save this stuff for all of us.
• The Award Winning Cartoons special set is just about wrapped.
• Vintage Education is finished as of tonight. Pre-orders will go out this next week, and It will be available on Amazon soon.
• The Snappy Video Party disc featuring ‘Reefer Madness’ is nearly done (mostly not animated but featuring one infamous animated short).
• Missile to the Moon is all finished, with the pre-orders finally complete and out the door. Here it is on Amazon, at least for a little while!
..and, two new pre-orders:
In other news, there are two new Blu-ray titles in pre-release, both upgrades from older Thunderbean titles: Grotesqueries and Aesop’s Fables, Volume 1. Both are in association with The Blue Mouse Studio (Chris Buchman and Rex Schneider) and are coming right along (and the HD scans are really looking terrific on both). They are available by themselves or together for a better deal- until June 15th. Each has a bonus disc in pre-order.
And, onto this week’s cartoon: A is for Atom (1952):
This 15 minute short, produced for General Electric, does a pretty good job explaining some fairly complex ideas, presenting them to a (presumedly) High School Audience. It is produced by John Sutherland productions. I think this one is a little bit lesser seen that some of the other educational shorts made by Sutherland.
The film, made just seven years after the first (test) Atomic Bomb and the bombs that were dropped on Japan, covers this fact very simply, ignoring the *actual* use in wartime, proudly announcing the birth of the ‘Atomic Age’ and, being General Electric, the use of Atomic energy and how it works.
Early on, with a graphic of the United Nations in display, the issue of military use is addressed, with “There is no denying that since that moment, the shadow of the Atom bomb has been across all our lives; all men of good will earnestly hope that a realistic control of atomic weapons can and will be achieved”.
The film is simple in its overall design and moves right along through what is pretty dry subject matter for most people (and fascinating if you are an emerging young scientist). The animation use is kept (for the most part) to simple cycles, and this works pretty well in this particular type of film.
Carl Urbano directs, with Arnold Gillespie and Emery Hawkins listed as the animation team. Gerald Nevius and Lew Keller get credit for Art Direction, with Tony Rivera as production designer.
The source print here is a 1953 16mm Kodachrome print. It appears on the ‘Mid Century Modern, Volume 2” DVD and the new Blu-ray (not yet released).
Have a good week everyone!