Thunderbean Thursday is back!
On these first three days that I’m officially ‘off’ for the summer from my full time job (at The College for Creative Studies) The last few weeks of school are always intense here, working nearly around the clock. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this in your own jobs. Happily, the last few days have been all about catching up, and I’m very much enjoying thew flurry of things getting to home plate right around the same time. I’ll do my best to not make every post about all the DVD/ Blu-ray stuff.. but this week it’s packed.
Here is the condensed cream of wheat version of all the things happening:
• The ‘Special’ discs continue to be dubbed and sent.
• Abbott and Costello Rarities is back from replication- and all are getting packed. It’s available on Amazon as of today. The liner notes are not yet back, but we didn’t want to keep anyone waiting any longer, so we’ll be sending those along soon after.
* The Fleischer Classics featuring Gulliver’s Travels Blu-ray/ DVD is now reissued after being out of print for nearly a year. It was requested nearly daily in the last handful of months. You can now order it here.
• Our sister label, Snappy Video (a resurrection from many years past!), has released Tower of Screaming Virgins a strange but well produced Grindhouse-esque swashbuckling feature from 1968. Restored from several 35mm prints. Available here.
• The Popeye and Betty Boop set is done and getting dubbed as well. We’re working on getting all these things out to everyone.
• Also on the live action front, a new set, Hollywood Rarities, continues the Thunderbean ‘Rarities’ line. This is a really cool set comprised of all shorts, some theatrical, some for TV or Home Movie use. I love this particular kind of stuff, and have been looking for a way to put many of these shorts together for many years. Quite a few of these are from the collection of Ted Salter, a British collector who moved to Hollywood in 1950, collecting shorts and features directly related to his great interests. Sadly, many of the shorts were stored close to a furnace in his later home in Ohio- and many had already started deteriorating (sometimes called ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ by collectors). It’s a neat little set, available here at the Thunderbean Website for a few weeks:
The Abbott and Costello Rarities set was great fund to put together- although it always seemed to be the project going on the side burner while all the other stuff kept happening. The project was produced in association with Bob Furmanek and Paul Gierucki. (Click on these frames to enlarge)
My favorite things on this set include a rare 1953 Colgate Comedy Hour featuring Bud Abbott, helped out by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis when Lou was under the weather one week. While I really like all the other stuff on the set, the other big highlight for me is a 35 minute reel of Kodachrome home movie footage taken as the team crossed the US by rail. Amazingly rare and cool stuff. If you were in on the pre-order, there’s a disc included of things that ended up not being on the set- many of those I wish were on the real set since it’s all such cool stuff. It’s now available on Amazon.
INSECT TO INJURY
This space is supposed to be about cartoons, so let’s get back to that – at least for a bit!
I’m always impressed when I see a Famous Studios cartoon in 35mm Technicolor. Of course, they ALL were originally seen in theatres, so in some ways the quality of the picture was taken for granted. Growing up in the 70s, I *never* saw any of the Famous studios cartoons in Technicolor. There was a showing of Fleischer Popeyes in 16mm at one of the University of Michigan’s film Co-ops in the early 80s- and it was a revelation to me that the black and white cartoons had that much detail. For the color shorts, it wasn’t until I was collecting films that I had any experience seeing what they looked like in Tech. So, let’s reconsider a cartoon that most people won’t want to reconsider.
I think Insect to Injury (1955) is worth taking a second look at. While not the top of the 50s Popeyes, it’s still a lot of fun. Popeye clearly now lives on Long Island, as many of the Famous Studios animators now did. He’s building a house in the country, represented in well layed out and rendered backgrounds (credited to Anton Loeb). The gold, green and blue trees give a very summery or early fall feel to this cartoon. The look especially amazing on a big screen. The animation (under Dave Tendlar’s direction) is lively as it snaps into poses. It’s really fun to watch some of the takes in this cartoon frame by frame. Winston Sharples score is one of my favorites of the 50s, featuring a memorable, humable theme for the Termites.
All of that said, I don’t like domesticated Popeye anywhere near as much as the rough and tumble sailor he should be- no wonder he’s now living alone without a friend to help him build his house. It’s likely that Tendlar designed the Termites for this film. Tendlar was one of the main designers for many Famous Studios cartoons, both ones he directed and others.
This cartoon is one of the films on the ‘Popeye/ Betty Boop set’. Be sure to watch in HD if your computer can do it! have a good week everyone!