THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
May 4, 2017 posted by

Putting the Texaco Billboard back into Fleischer’s ‘Hurry Doctor!’ (1931), “Screen Songs” Special Set and ‘The Fatal Note’ (1933)

As we’re working on finishing off the ‘Fleischer Rarities’ set, we’re taking on some odd tasks in restoring some small pieces. One of the shorts Hurry Doctor (1931) is one in a series of full length advertisement cartoon shorts that the Fleischer Studio produced. Other than the well known short In My Merry Oldsmobile (1931), these advertising shorts seem to be lost, except for Hurry Doctor saved though the collecting and preservation efforts of Mark Kausler. This 16mm reversal (emulsion on the wrong side) print has an oddity – besides missing the titles, there is a section of the film scratched out as the ‘doctor’ goes past a Texaco Billboard.

Here is what that piece of footage looks like in the film:

The sign appears to have been scratched off this print to remove the advertisment. There’s another scene where ink has been applied to where a bottle is to hide what is probably a Texaco word or symbol. There is also a splice that clearly removes part of the ad.

I started going through the scratched off frames, piecing together the footage that didn’t get scratched off in each frame. It’s a tedious process, but aspect of these things isn’t?

Here is the work in progress, in layers in Photoshop. Of course there’s more to do, but once it’s reassembled we’ll work on putting it back into the sequence. It’s far from done, but I thought it’s a fun project to show:


We’re hoping to wrap up the Fleischer Rarities set in the next month or so. The ‘special’ discs have started to go out, including the Betty Boop and Popeye set- and will continue through these next few weeks.

Abbott and Costello Rarities is now waiting for the liner notes to be finished, but once the booklet is printed it’s off as well. Another batch of ‘Flips’ have shown up here. All this activity is happening as the school year wraps up.

In the recent transfer session we also did a handful of Paramount Screen Songs. For a long time, one collector has been bugging me about doing a set, so I finally caved in and started transferring some. They ended up looking pretty nice. We’re offering a pre-order of this set (BDR only) for a little while, available here at the Thunderbean Website. I’m not sure if we’ll keep it in the catalog after the offer. Sales will help the replication of Thunderbean sets.

• Pre-Order Here: http://www.thunderbeananimation.com




I was thinking about The Little King these past few weeks; I tend to skip showing any of them in the animation history class I teach, but one of the students asked about the piano gag that shows up in Spies. They asked if that was the origin of the gag, and I had to point out that it shows up in the first Van Beuren ‘Little King’ cartoon, The Fatal Note. This cartoon wasn’t familiar to me until I started working on the DVD set now many years back. The Little King is an endearing man-child, just as he is in the Soglow strip. Characters with Ill intent are a theme that runs through the majority of the Little King VB cartoons, usually spurred on by a seemingly harmless event. In this short, the villain’s intentions seems to be anger at the happiness of the kingdom, or perhaps the idiocy of the King.

It’s a strange and fun cartoon, and somehow seems perfectly suited for this early May day. I especially like the fun animation by Jim Tyer in this short, and the slightly dirty story telling courtesy of the not-yet-enforced production code. This is a rare British print, again through the generosity of the essential Mark Kaulser Kausler. We’ve reinserted two shots that may have been cut by the British film censor: the first, a small section that involves the queen rubbing the palace’s dog’s nose into some water spilled from a face, confusing the spill with possible pee.The second involves the Llittle King hiding under a bed, using the bed pan This was the first Van Beuren cartoon I saw the actual RKO logo on. More recently, I had found a vintage 16mm print (1942) of one of the Cubby Bears that had several frames of the RKO logo fading out right at the titles, so it’s clear that it was included at least on some of the releases. At this point, I’d love to transfer the rest of the Little Kings in HD. Have a good week everyone!

13 Comments

  • I admire the tenacity with which you approached that Texaco restoration. The ghost of Graham MacNamee is smiling.

  • So you finally caved in to my Screen Songs idea, huh? Guess a real Screen Songs set with Paramount was too expensive and a tad unrealistic……..

    Thanks anyways for giving me a reality check.

    Still, I wonder what one Paramount licensed set would have been like.

  • Take a look through Life Magazine issues of the time period. I’m sure you’ll find a Texaco ad you can use to help with the restoration.

  • Those Screen Song screenshots look fantastic.

    I hoping one day we can see more of the Famous catalog restored from 35mm. I bet the Little Lulus and shorts like The Friendly Ghost would look beautiful.

  • Money sent!

    I understand these special discs might not be given away anymore, but it’d be great to have a set with the Fleischer Talkartoons, mostly with Bimbo (for instance, titles such as HOT DOG, FIRE BUGS, UP TO MARS, SKY SCRAPING, ACE OF SPADES, THE HERRING MURDER CASE).

  • Hey, a baker’s dozen Screen Songs is more than I ever expected to see on Blu-ray, so I’m not complaining one bit. Just glad to see you’ve decided to go ahead and issue these. So far as I know the only “official” release of any of the screen songs was on a couple of videocassettes titled CARTOON CARNIVAL, VOL. 1 and CARTOON CARNIVAL, VOL. 2 that NTA released back in the ’80s.

    • I had those two NTA “Cartoon Carnival” tapes at one time but got rid of them at some point, an act I regretted later. The cartoons on them had refilmed titles, as I recall, but the picture quality was quite good. Certainly better than on any of those nth generation dupes of Famous cartoons that were all over cheap public domain tapes.

      The only other NTA videocassette I had was Laurel and Hardy’s “The Flying Deuces.” Because the movie is pretty short, NTA filled out the tape with a couple of Betty Boop cartoons.

    • In the ’90s I watched a tape of Betty Boop cartoons, and I’m sure it was one of the Republic/NTA tapes. Almost all the cartoons were in near excellent quality (apparently from 35mm masters) though they had the UM&M logo – the one exception was “Betty’s Rise to Fame” which had the NTA logo and the quality was fair, looking like a 16mm print.

  • Some cute Al Eugster animation in that “Hurry, Doctor” clip!

  • Great Stuff, Steve! Thanks to your dedicated fanaticism, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen what was on that Texaco billboard. Oh, and by the way, I’m changing my last name to “Kaulser”, it’s easier to spell that way!

    • I’m the king of typos you know Mark.. sorry about that. I think I got the essential right though! 🙂 Will ask Jerry to fix!

      …and Paramount Cartoons: yes, of course!

      Devon: I really love the talkartoons….

  • Can you please try to upload the original titles to the Screen Song cartoons. I would like to see the titles in color and with no hideous black bars.

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