THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
September 19, 2013 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Scrappy’s Art Gallery, Duracolor and Ted Eshbaugh’s Scrappy?

Just a short one today…..

Scrappy is my favorite character. Maybe it’s because he often spends most of his own cartoons in a less than happy state, rarely finding solace. It’s as if the whole world is designed so that he’ll be the fall guy. Maybe I just like the underdogs.

scrappy600

At the same time, sometimes Scrappy can be nearly furious for seemingly no reason at all; perhaps he’s reflecting on the films where he was the fall guy, and the mere thought makes him see red. He’s especially mean to his little brother in a majority of the films, beating him for often small crimes. He nearly kills him in The Bad Genius, knocking him senseless before he has to perform a violin concert. Scrappy’s solution to appease the all animal audience is to attach the nearly dead child to strings controlled by chickens above the stage.

Dick Heumer’s early Scrappys are easily some of my favorites, as are the Toby the Pup cartoons he directed in 1930 and 31 (for RKO). When Huemer left in 1933, the team working under him continued the series, with Sid Marcus assuming the director’s duties. The early films from this period are still much fun- here’s a great one, Scrappy’s Art Gallery. The Mintz production values in this little film are fantastic. Without giving the film away, the cleverness of technique in this film makes it noteworthy, though rarely do ANY Columbia/ Mintz cartoons get much attention for their qualities except by the diehards- and now I’m just preaching to the choir. It’s especially fun to watch this particular cartoon with an audience- especially as the film takes unexpected turns…

After last week’s Red Raven records, other animated ‘toys’ have come to mind… including pulling this one out. There is a good amount of Scrappy merchandise from the early to mid-30′s- though they still don’t hold a candle to the massive merchandising of Disney’s characters or Popeye.

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My favorite find was a set of “animated films” produced for the Duracolor projector. This particular set featured Scrappy in one of the slide sets. Below is one of the ‘movies’. They wereprinted onto something similar to tracing
paper, with two pictures making up the ‘animation’. The projector must have been set up to somehow alternate these two images on the screen, with the user controlling it. If you look at the box you can see what the little projector looked like. My favorite thing about the set is that it’s drawn by the Ted Eshbaugh Studios….maybe even by Ted himself! Ok, so now, blink and look up and down really fast! (Click thumbnails below to enlarge)

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We’d be remiss if we didn’t direct you to Harry McCracken’s Scrappyland website and blog. This is the ultimate place for all things Scrappy, Yippy, Oopy and Margie… even Shorty Shortcake (Scrappy’s estranged doppelganger). Check it out.

16 Comments

  • glad that you posted this; i’m also a fan of scrappy.

    years ago there was a paper and collectibles show that i used to attend. one of the dealers had an unopened box of scrappy soap for sale. i wanted it so badly, but the man wanted a fortune for it. i must have seen that soap for sale for at least ten shows (10 years).

    dick heumer was a brilliant animator. his work on koko the clown was incredible. years ago when i first read about his work at columbia i was desperate to see it, which got me started collecting 16mm films. i mostly collected scrappy films. i was disappointed that scrappy’s simple design didn’t show off heumer’s skills. i think the thing that most impressed me about the scrappy cartoons was the extremely well animated backgrounds. whoever animated those backgrounds was a technical genius,

    also, of the scrappy cartoons i’ve seen, i’d judge the best two be the 2 made by ben harrison and manny gould. i think it’s odd that those two get such a bad rap (they seem two be especially loathed by the animators that worked for them), as i think the cartoons they made were wonderful … so peppy and full of life. i often wonder what happened to the two of them, they seemed to disappear completely from animation after the 30′s.

  • While researching Eshbaugh, I’ve briefly read about these Duracolor ‘films’; I even found several on ebay (Unfortunately I was not able to buy them :-/ ) Happy to see you have acquired and preserved some Steve! :-)

  • I think SCRAPPY had something of an influence on me. I have vague memories of seeing some of his cartoons on television as a pre-schooler. The roundness of his hands and head appealed to me and I tried to carry this over into my earliest works.

  • Wow! And the Duracolor slides shown are a take on the HOLIDAY LAND idea from one of the best later Scrappy cartoons!

  • Fantastic. Definitely Pre-Code too. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better art museum cartoon before. Definitely ups my estimation of Columbia cartoons.

  • Dick “Heumor” ? !!!, Dick “Heumer” ? !!, Dick HUEMER !!!!!!!!!

    • It doesn’t matter which way it’s spelled, it’s all “humor” to me. :-P

  • Sorry! It was 3 in the morn! Mr. Gerstein wasn’t available to fix my careless mistakes! :)

  • Manny Gould and Art Davis went on to Warner Bros in the 1940′s. SId Marcus showed up there later in the 1950′s. Gould was one of Bob Clampett’s animators in the mid 1940′s..

    Also does anybody know of the history of Samba Pictures? They did the same thing as UM&M/NTA (non Popeyes) and A.A.P (Popeyes) replacing original titles with Samba Pictures titiles. Remember seeing this in mid to late 1950′s when Krazy Kat and Scrappy cartoons shown on CH 5 Cheyenne Wyoming. Do not recall seeing anything from Samba after that.

    • Samba was a division of Hygo Television Films. Hygo bought the Scrappy and Krazy Kat cartoons from Columbia and distributed them under their Samba Pictures banner. In 1956 Hygo was purchased by Columbia, so the cartoons wound up back in Columbia’s hands, albeit now with main titles altered to reflect their Samba Pictures affiliation. Hygo was also affiliated with a company named United Television Films, whose Unity Pictures distributed some of the old Van Beuren cartoons. Since United Television went to Columbia as part of the Hygo deal, that’s how Columbia wound up with some of the old Van Beurens.

    • Anyone know if Columbia (or I guess Sony now) still owns those Van Beurens?

  • I’m not quite sure what happened to Ben Harrison, but Manny or Emanuel, Gould went on to be a top animator at Warner Bros. for Bob Clampett and Bob McKimson in the 1940s. He did wonderful stuff for Clampett, like the Durante cat in “A Gruesome Twosome”, and a lot of scenes in the early Foghorn Leghorn cartoons where Foggy was especially agressive. I love the scene where Foghorn is declaiming to the hapless cat in “A Fractured Leghorn” and keeps talking with his head in a horse troph, making a gargling sound. Manny also animated the Bugs Bunny/Danny Kayeish dance in “Hot Cross Bunny”; Bugs scat sings and for accents Manny pushes his hands and head into the camera with exaggerated foreshortening. Manny Gould was one of our great comic animators, and he should be as well known as Milt Kahl or Marc Davis.

  • Interesting to note that this cartoon and ” Louvre Come Back to Me! ” both feature gags involving Millet’s The Gleaners . I think I like Scrappy’s better.

    Can anyone decipher what Gandhi is ranting in The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp ?

    • i believe he exclaimed “oh, my operation!”, a common phrase back then.

  • In my boomer youth Captain Satellite ran pre-UPA Columbia cartoons including Scrappy and Krazy Kat. Ah, the days when a kid show host would joke with off-camera personnel and nonchalantly follow an early-sound Scrappy with The Mighty Thor.

    • I miss that everyday!

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