THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
December 4, 2014 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Scrappy Had It Right: “Holiday Land”(1934)

holidayland


First, some quick notes:

• The TCM broadcast of ‘Van Beuren Cartoons‘ with be run on December 7th Sunday night 12/7 at midnight(EST)/9pm (PST). Tune in and see beautiful copies of Van Beuren shorts (like Sunshine Makers, Pastrytown Wedding and A Little Bird Told Me) plus Esbaugh’s Wizard of Oz.

• Make sure to check out Tom Stathes’ article from yesterday on ‘Cartoon Carnival- the Documentary‘ Support this cool project!

• Perhaps as your reading this, I’ll be transferring some films for an upcoming set. I’m super excited to share some of the these as soon as I can…


Now, onto today’s cartoon!

holidayland-250Maybe the first Columbia ‘Scrappy’ cartoon I saw was Holiday Land (1934). I bought a 16mm Black and White print from a one of the well-known dealers that used to sell in the big reel, and it was an immediate favorite of mine. I really never thought I’d see it in color, knowing how rare it would be to find a print.

I ran an ad in the big reel selling off some of my 16mm and super 8mm films, and I put a ‘wanted’ section at the bottom, including wanting to find Holidayland in color. Funny enough, I got a note back offering a brand new print for sale-in color! It turns out it was a ‘reduction’ print, and quite nice.

Holidayland is the first of the ‘Color Rhapsodies’ series. It produced in 1934 in two color Technicolor, using the two color system very nicely with beautiful watercolor backgrounds. It’s an odd cartoon in that Scrappy abandons his usual grumpy brother-hating self in favor of a more innocent-childlike wonder. The usual route of 30s animation (when it comes to children) seems to be that children that are good (or especially poor) have wonderful things happen to them; Columbia/ Mintz seems to nearly always distort these values, replacing them with bad guys often winning, anger being the only way to solve anything, and, regardless, punishment to all in the end in some form.

scrappy-holdayland250In Holidayland, Scrappy makes the statement upon waking that ‘If every day was a Holiday, he’d never get out of bed’. He’s rewarded for his laziness in not getting up on time for school.. and that’s a good thing, because he treats himself and us to a fantastic world that contains every American-celebrated Holiday, all in display room situations that look similar to store windows. Columbia’s gags are often a bit odd as well. Father Time acts as Scrappy’s guide to the odd tiny world of Holidays, dancing with him at each juncture. As they toast at the end of the cartoon, the tiny residents of Holidayland gather to congratulate Scrappy, singing about how much they love him and that he’s a boy that ‘lives for fun’ (I wonder if they would be singing that to them if they knew he planned to spend every day in bed!). It’s a rare appearance of Scrappy without his little brother Oopy; perhaps Scrappy had him eliminated so he wouldn’t have to share the joys of Holidayland.

I’ve always considered this kind of a Christmas cartoon. Here it is in color and HD (make sure to turn on the HD if your computer is fast enough!

Next week: A guest column by Chris Buchman highlighting some wonderful Christmas movies on the home screen!

color-rhapsody-the-end

12 Comments

  • Probably my favorite of the MIntz cartoons! If only all of their “Color Rhapsody” cartoons were as nice as this one and had title artwork that was as nice as this one…

  • What an enjoyable post. Thanks!

  • A couple things I noticed: Father Time’s fanfare that starts the parade sounds deliberately not-quite-like the opening fanfare section of Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys” from “Babes in Toyland.” Then, at 6:57, Abraham Lincoln makes a cameo at the table in the toasting scene. Looked for Washington, but no dice.

  • i am SO syked for Sunday nite. Thank God for THIS site that tells “all the gossipp!” It’s been “in my BOOK!”

  • Too bad Scrappy doesn’t learn his lesson at the end…..

    • I think Scrappy benefits from being lazy; perhaps it was a fever dream because it’s so vivid. I’ve heard we dream in color from some people, in b/w from others; perhaps we really dream in 2-color Technnicolor!

    • Just a payoff gag really. Like Mickey ignoring the alarm clock at the end of “Thru the Mirror”.

      I faintly recall another Scrappy where Oopy or Opie or Vonsey or whatever his name is was evidently the slavey of a Scroogish old man. Opie would serve a feast to his master, then saw a slice from a wooden loaf a bread and lick it like a lollipop. He dreams about his own feast. Scrappy shows up to rescue him. At the end Scrappy and Opie knock themselves out to resume dreaming of a feast.

    • I dream in Cinecolor.. It’s cheaper.

    • I wholeheartedly agree! Some people never learn!

  • I look forward to seeing your presentation on Sunday night, and good luck to Tom Stathes on his kick-starter endeavor. And think of the characters who don’t really learn their lesson despite the harrowing dream. The little glutton in “PIGS IS PIGS” comes to mind, and you almost could say that about the three little kittens in “THE MILKY WAY”, although they have no further interest in milk of any kind once they wake up. Liked the SCRAPPY Holiday cartoon, though. Makes me gluttonous for a great DVD set on the cartoons of Columbia, overall, now that we have theentire output of UPA.

  • The Totally Tooned In version of “Holiday Land” doesn’t have the original titles.

  • Can someone explain the difference between two color Technicolor and Cinecolor? By the way, this is a very sophisticated cartoon for 1934. I would say it’s better than a lot of the Fleischer output of the time.

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