THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
May 2, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

“Boy Meets Dog” by Walter Lantz

Starting today, I’m going to devote each Thursday here on Cartoon Research exploring the film vault of Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Animation. Steve is graciously allowing us in to view his secret (and not-so-secret) stash of rare prints and restorations of classic cartoons – some he has released on DVD, others he has yet to – and in some cases, films he has no intention to release. Some weeks I’ll give some background on the film, other times Steve will fill us in personally on his discoveries. I hope you’ll make it a point to drop by each week, on Thunderbean Thursday.

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“Mental, Dental, It’s Inconsequental!”

Boy Meets Dog is a seven minute commercial for Ipana Toothpaste disguised as a Walter Lantz Cartune. Many of these theatrical commercial animations are obscure, some are lost, but this one is most common – though you’ve never seen it look as good as this Steve’s restoration below. Steve reconstructed the complete film by transferring collector Craig Davison’s very good (but missing titles) Kodachrome original and inserting the original Ipana plugs from animator Mark Kausler’s 1981 Mizzell Films print (with sound, but with the Ipana section silent).

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This is a second cartoon that adapted Gene Byrnes popular comic strip Reg’lar Fellers. The first was the final Ub Iwerks’ ComiColor cartoon, Happy Days (1936). Boy Meets Dog was produced by Walter Lantz and released in March 1938. Castle Films purchased it soon afterward, cut out the Ipana references and original titles and released it to the home movie market.

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Boy Meets Dog is less about a boy meeting a dog than it is about the boy’s mean-tempered father getting a severe musical lesson in dental hygiene by some wallpaper gnomes. Burt Gillette supposedly directed. Billy Bletcher and Danny Webb are two of the most recognizable voices on the track (Keith Scott, any others sound familiar?). If anyone else has information or material to share about this cartoon, please do in the comments below. This version of Boy Meets Dog will be released next week on Thunderbean’s long-in-the-making Oswald and Other Cartoons from the Walter Lantz Studio DVD set.

Bonus Reading Material: Courtesy of Steve Stanchfield, this rare article about the short from a 1938 issue of Business Screen (click image below to enlarge and read):

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Bonus Artwork: Courtesy of the collection of Cartoon Research reader Martin Almeyra (click thumbnails below to see larger image):

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21 Comments

  • What a strange cartoon! I found Ub Iwerks’s ‘Happy Days’ to be more enjoyable, even if his Comicolor were mostly pretty bland. They were lovingly crafted though, and pioneered the use of the multi-plane camera before Iwerks returned to do special effects for Disney (and other productions, like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds). Perhaps the best remembered Comicolor cartoon is Ballon Land, which was a runner up for The 50 Greatest Cartoons List.

  • Jerry:
    What a great find! Really good restoration work,too! I especially like the pixies that sound like Fred Allen and Joe Penner! I’m also a Billy Bletcher fan! I’ll definitelty be making Thunderbean Thursday a regular habit!

  • Another GREAT Steve Stanchfield’s complete restoration! Fantastic news that finally Steve will release this rare cartoon along with some Oswald the Rabbit cartunes I’m waiting for a long time to have them on DVD. What’s going on with you guys at Universal?.

    • “You guys at Universal”?

      Like the situation at Warner Bros. (and Sony, Paramount, etc.) , dvd sales figures today do not warrant the financial burden of restoring and marketing classic cartoons on the disc format. That said, I saw my Universal Home Entertainment colleagues at last weekend’s TCM Fest in Hollywood and, though WW Vol. 3 is not on the agenda, they know who to call should they ever want to go down that road again. ;)

    • “Like the situation at Warner Bros. (and Sony, Paramount, etc.) , dvd sales figures today do not warrant the financial burden of restoring and marketing classic cartoons on the disc format.”

      Think about that before you rip cartoons off the official releases and pirate them on sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, etc., folks.

  • Darn it! Why did I just order the IAD version??

    • Thanks for getting it from the IAD.. it’s the final version, plus a bonus disc of other rare cartoons that won’t be available after this week… you’ve helped make it possible to keep doing these sets!

    • So, I thought they were going to be on Amazon. That’s why I said that…….

    • What’s IAD?

    • They’re referring to the Internet Animation Database Forums (http://www.intanibase.com/forum/index.php), in my opinion the successor forum to the defunct Golden Age Cartoons (GAC) forum.

  • Someone had this to say for an unrelated YouTube clip but I thought I’d pass it along (though I don’t suppose it would save lives)…

    “The version I had on VHS as a kid had the toothpaste ad in it, complete with announcer. So somehow, that version still existed and made it to a tape released in the 80′s,. The father sees and hears the ad through the window after the puppy wakes him up. My tape got lost years ago, so I’ve been looking everywhere for a version that contains the ad for nostalgia’s sake. Hoping somebody who sees this comment might know where to find it. Thanks :)”

    • I don’t think there’s ever been a version with the announcer. Burbank Video I believe is the one that used the print with the Ipana Plug in it- that print was the one Mizzell (sp?) films released in 1981 or so- silent at the ad…

    • You could be right there, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of those cheap ADR efforts a video company did to cover over the silent part like that.

  • Thats another wonderful Thunderbean DVD. That is worth your money. Even if some of the material is dull, the rarity of some of these cartoons and restoration are worth your $.

    • I’m talking about some of the material found on Thunderbean is many DVDs not this particular Lantz set.

  • Wow! Digging through Steve’s secret stash? This is certainly a weekly feature that will be cool to see!

  • Speaking of “Reg’lar Folks”, has there been a recent book that reprinted the comic strips?

  • It’s obvious that Lantz and musician Frank Churchill had a healthy budget (supplied by Ipana) for a short cartoon, because this film boasts one of the largest mixed choral-vocal groups outside of Disney’s SNOW WHITE. I don’t know the identity of other voices in this cartoon but I believe it’s female singers speaking for a couple of the kid roles. Billy Bletcher is a great sadistic Dad, and Dave Weber does all the other adult roles, based on then-popular radio names. He imitates Fred Allen as the prosecutor, Joe Penner as the court stenographer, and Tommy Mack as the judge. He also does the Ed Wynn and Joe Twerp voices. When the female chorus sings alone it sounds like The Rhythmettes and I’m pretty certain Paul Taylor put the singers together as I recognize several from his Kraft choral group who were regulars on Crosby’s NBC KRAFT MUSIC HALL at the time.

  • @ Keith Scott: I would hae thought that Kent Rogers was responsible for one or two of the voices not attributable to Billy Bletcher, because Rogers did do extensive work for Lantz. It is truly amazing how many Lantz cartoons had fallen into the public domain and, although I hate to see this sort of thing happen, it is always possible that Steve Stanchfield will know where to find it. Can’t wait for that DVD release.

    • Bletcher was only the father in this. Dave Weber did all the male roles. True, Kent Rogers began working for Lantz and ended up as the voice of Woody Woodepcker for a few entries, but Weber was a few years older and preceded him in the years 1937-39. Both their cartoon careers were interrupted (and ended) by war service.

  • The musical director, Nathaniel or Nat Shilkret also had his own dance band in the 1920s and early 30s.

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