I’m back to my Thursday postings this week – but first an update: The Gulliver Travels BluRay is finally coming back next week from replication, ending the longest Thunderbean wait ever. I can’t wait for you to see it.
On this week’s cartoon front, here is a strange little stop motion short, Dolly Daisy in ‘Hearts and Flowers’.
When I’m working on one of the DVD collections, I’m often asking for specific things from the collectors I’m talking to. The thing that I always hope happens as I’m asking is for the collector to say “…by the way, I have this other
film…” This usually leads to adding an additional film to the set, but always happily so.
One of those cases was this short. While trying to hunt down the ‘Kinex’ shorts for the Stop Motion Marvels‘ set, Mark Kausler mentioned he had THIS film. Originally It was a 35mm print that had started to deteriorate. Mark had the foresight to have a 16mm reduction print made of it. Without doing so this film would perhaps have been lost, since no other materials have shown up on it.
Dolly Daisy in ‘Hearts and Flowers’ was originally released by Warner Brothers as part of its ‘Vitaphone Varieties‘ series, with sound. That series was mostly live action musical shorts. Warner Brothers doesn’t appear to have any material on this film. The Vitaphone soundtrack hasn’t shown up as of yet, but there’s always hope.
Howard Moss, who directed this short, was one of the earliest stop motion animators, producing a series called ‘MoToy Comedies’. One of his early efforts is here, from the Library of Congress:
My good friend Ken Preibe had an informative post about Howard Moss and ‘Cracked Ice’, another short that shows up on Stop Motion Marvels here.
I had guessed originally that Hearts and Flowers could be a much earlier film, and that perhaps the soundtrack was added later. I wondered if we would ever see one of these with an original soundtrack.
One has finally turned up from around the same period as this one, called ‘Buzz Saws and Dynamite‘ starring “Mugzee”, a character that Moss had used since the late teens. His replacement animation techniques are interesting and creative, sometimes more than bizarre.
It turns out these shorts were animated for the early sound era. ‘Buzz Saws‘ is much more bizarre than I can describe here. I hope to have it transferred finally in the coming week. Sadly, this 16mm sound print is well into stages of Vinegar Syndrome, all curly and unfriendly. It’s been soaking for months in a can in my basement. I’m looking forward to another Stop Motion set of films sometime soon.