Lots still going on; look for stills later this afternoon on the IAD (Internet Animation Database) forum from both official and ‘special’ sets tomorrow, after a very full scan session. Things are arriving tomorrow as well from scans done elsewhere. We’re working to get as many of the ‘special’ sets does this year as well as some of the official sets as well.
Grotesqueries is finished and will be available soon. The Snappy Video Party disc is finished and shipping now all the pre-orders. More pre-orders are on their way out of the country, finally. I’m flooded with requests for this set, so we’ve put it up on Amazon, for likely a limited time. It’s mostly live action, but it does feature the infamous animated short, Buried Treasure, made by three studios to show after the famous 1926 Winsor McCay party. I didn’t think I’d be offering this set to a bigger audience, but it will be available for at least a little while, here.
If you look under the most obscure rocks in animation history, you find a lot of forgotten and beat up film. It’s always surprising to me to see that independent producer Ted Eshbaugh’s efforts always seems to show up in the least expected places. A little while back, our own Johnathan Boschen sent me a list of productions that Eshbaugh was involved in, and I was struck at how unrelated and unexpected the whole list was; being a tiny producer, it would of course be expected that commercials and industrial films would be a big part of the output of this particular studio, but Eshabugh’s work really takes the cake (made with Cushman’s Flour). I’ve been a little obsessed with finding Eshbaugh shorts that haven’t shown up yet, When A Fable of the New Deal showed up, I was amused and surprised.
My guess is that this fully animated Eshbaugh short, like so many of his other productions, involved something novel: a color ending on an otherwise black and white production.
I’m guessing this little short was produced to show around the country at some sort of local gatherings— perhaps at social clubs, churches or schools.
This short, A Fable of the New Deal is a fully animated political commercial, featuring the oddly familiar Ted Eshbaugh animated whimsy. In Eshbaugh’s ‘political’ animated cartoon world, the Democratic platform is destroyed by its own swallowing of the NRA (National Recovery Act), sending the Donkey representing the party into a dizzying disastrous bucking fury (thanks to a ‘liberal’ added dose of Russian Vodka).
Even though we are far removed from the actual politics of the 30s, the message they are trying to portray is pretty clear: FDR’s New Deal and the government’s various policies were not working, and change was needed. Alf Landon (and his running mate Frank Knox) were of course unable to capture the imagination of the voting public, but understandably; the economy seemed to be heading the right direction (although very slowly), More importantly, a lot had happened policy-wise in FDR’s administration, and many of these new policies were very popular with the American public. Social Security, the end of Prohibition, new laws to support unions and new regulations that included sick leave and unemployment benefits for workers are all things we take for granted now in this country, but in 1936, it was a safe bet that these new policies would be at least in some jeopardy under a new administration. Under these particular circumstances, even a full Technicolor Eshbaugh production probably wouldn’t have been as able to get the vote, at least not as easily as we are all convinced to drink tea or buy Cushman’s Flour or Bordon’s Milk.
In any case, all efforts were ineffective, and Landon lost 31% to FDR’s 61%, a landslide by any measure.
One can’t necessarily deduce Eshbaugh’s personal politics from this politically sponsored short, but it’s amusing to see that attacking the other side with 30s cartoon humor was not out of the question back then. I especially like the ‘wink’ here, and in all cartoons, honestly.
This likely only existing print of A Fable of the New Deal was scanned by Thunderbean and appears here courtesy of The Library of Congress, who continue to preserve America’s film history; the amazing people there love films as much as we all do.
Have a good week everyone!!