December 21, 2017 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Scrappy in “The Match Kid” (1933)

First, in Thunderbean news: With the school year wrapping up, I’m still attempting to catch up with all the Thunderbean ‘special’ sets and other orders. Happily, all of the ‘Thunderbean Thursday 2017’ discs are now out, and the handful of other special discs should be out late this week. Thanks to all who have helped support these things.

Major updates in the coming weeks on the many sets in progress! Stay Tuned!

Next, onto the cartoons:

Last year, I posted Columbia’s Little Match Girl (1937) here. I really love this little short, imperfect as it is, I’ve found that I’ve made it a tradition now to watch it every year.

It wasn’t The Mintz Studio’s first shot at this story. The earlier Scrappy entry The Match Kid (1933) is one of my favorites of the series; it’s really interesting to note that some of the same sequence ideas are similar in both versions that Mintz did. This earlier version is rather loosely based on the famous Hans Christian Anderson short story; a major difference being Oopy (as the ‘Match Kid’) actually living with a mean father of sorts, who forces the hapless child to prepare food for him, giving him only stale bread as a reward. He also forces Oopy to basically sleep outside, prompting him to use matches to bring him back to the original plot of the story. Just when all seems lost, Scrappy shows up out of nowhere in this frigid weather, to yell ’STOP!” and helps Oopy destroy him, leaving them to the food and the fever dream of comfort.

I’m really not sure what the message is of this short, if any.. but at least Scrappy and Oopy are well-fed at the end of the film!

The plain strangeness of this film is really fun— to me, it seems like some basic details of the story were just not worked out very well; Scrappy showing up, without a coat or a reason, is just plain bizarre. The Marcus team, newly in charge after being under the direction of Dick Huemer, does a competent job otherwise in this story-challenged little short. While not as strong as the best of the Huemer shorts, it has a lot of the funny and sometimes just plain odd gag timing. There’s enough weird here to put it on the bizarre Columbia cartoon scale at at least an 8. Here’s a newer HD transfer of the short from 16mm. If your computer is fast enough, be sure to watch in HD.

And.. and few other things I like that are Christmas related:

I have no idea who made this little stop motion/trick film, but it’s strange and kind of fun. Anyone have any idea?

Here’s a 1965 promo for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I really like the promo- it’s basically saying ‘Hey, look.. Charlie Brown is talking!’. Funny to also see animated footage from the earlier live action special being used here – they must not have given them much footage at the time the promo was made…

Have a good weekend everyone, and Happy Holidays!


  • Happy Holidays to you Steve, and Jerry.

  • Great cartoons Steve – Thanks!
    And have just started rewatching the superb Yuletide Flickers’ –
    Starting with a couple of my favourites – ‘Hector’s Hectic Life’ &
    ‘Toys Will Be Toys’.

    Merry Christmas to you & your family & all at Thunderbean – & to all your blog readers also !

  • Regarding that stop-motion Christmas film: the “onion dome” on the church at the beginning, and the style of the houses, and the character designs and their clothing makes me think this is from central or eastern Europe (Germany or Austria)..

  • “Meet Charlie Brown, Schroder, and Beethoven…”

    • It’s a joke, son.

    • Hmm. If that’s so, Beethoven and the joke are both a bust.

    • The joke, such as it is, stems from Linus’s Beethoven bust being such a prominent fixture in the strip, so including “him” in the announcement of characters you’ll get to see in “action” has a certain irony to it. Not a knee-slapper I grant you, but it brought a wry grin to my face.

  • I remember when you showed “The Little Match Girl” at last year’s animation festival at The Redford Theater how fantastic it looked up on the big screen – really amazing piece of animation. Thanks for bringing it back here, its great to see it again!

  • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Steve, and to everyone at Thunderbean Animation. Here’s hoping that 2018 is teh big year for you, with loads of fruitful projects; Jerry Beck hinted at one on “STU’S SHOW” and, although it involves silent cartoons, I might take advantage of it, but I’ll wait ’til you announce this before I ask furtehr questions. All I know is that I like the later incarnation of the character. I did kind of lose track of whether or not I have any further pre-ordered disks coming, and I’m referring to the “kick starter” disks that fund the larger projects, but I’ll keep watching the mailbox. I’m excited about the coming months and know that you’ll be working, when you can, toward some vital restorations. Have a safe and quiet Holiday.

  • Felix Navidad, Steve & Mary!

  • The stop motion advert is a Norwegian stop motion animation from Ivo Caprino named “Klokkeklang”. It originates as a christmas greeting shown in norwegian theatres in the late 50s/early 60s
    Here it is on youtube in color.

  • Interesting to see Scrappy coming to Oopy’s rescue, considering how often Oopy was battered around by Scrappy. And you’d think that if Oopy’s evil guardian had the bucks to afford all that food, that he could spare a few dollars to fix up that hovel they’re living in. But it’s probably best not to question these things too closely.

  • Thanks for your splendid work, Steve – and a Merry Christmas to you and yours! I always wondered if Dick Huemer did any of the boards, animation and character designs for The Match Kid before leaving Mintz for Disney. The style, animation and design of this cartoon strikes me as resembling the earlier 1932-1933 entries more than the subsequent 1933-1934 season.

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