This week: Three (somewhat) related to animation distractions for this mid-summer Thursday:
Nitrate film isn’t our friend (or is it?)
I think everyone reading this already knows that Nitrate film stock is what most of the classic films produced in the first half of the 20th Century were printed on. Nitrate of course is highly flammable and very dangerous under the wrong conditions. Nitrate also decomposes, depending on the condition it is kept in (or how it had been kept in the past) as well as the year that the stock was produced. That said, often 35mm Nitrate prints are incredibly beautiful picture-wise.
If you’re dealing with preservation of classic films, you will deal with Nitrate. Of course, almost all cartoons were produced on Nitrate film. Interestingly, the National Archives informed me that the original negatives on the Army/Navy Screen Magazine were actually made on Safety film, and were shipped to Washington on completion. So, the Snafu cartoons were actually filmed on Safety stock. Other than films made in smaller formats (that used Safety Film) I wonder if any other series were shot on safety?
Here is reason enough to never set a Nitrate fire, since it’s pretty darn hard to put one out. I once had to go over to a collector’s house to evaluate the rest of a collection of Nitrate and Safety films after one of the sheds holding the films burned…
How a 1000′ of Nitrate turns into a tall inferno:
..and why it’s so hard to put out Nitrate once it’s on fire:
Nitrate fires have been portrayed in films over the years…
This is a heartbreaking scene from Cinema Paridiso (1988) where the
projectionist loses his sight:
Here’s the Nitrate fire scene from Inglorious Bastards (2009). Note: Very violent!
I think I’d sometimes rather watch pencil tests than finished versions. Here’s a few places to see great pencil tests, some old, some newer, some famous, others not so much.
A great one: The Pencil Test Depot:
My favorite: The Living Lines Library.
Another Quick Visit to Hanna-Barbara Land: Enchanted Voyage
King’s Island in the 70s was Hanna-Barbara-ized, and seems to have stayed that way into the 90s.
Clearly inspired by ‘It’s a Small World’, the Enchanted Voyage ride was huge in scale, taking you a a boat ride into a giant building with animatronic characters from Hanna-Barbara shows you knew and others that I’m sure were a mystery to most people. I need to haul out the photos my mother took while enduring the ride at least four or five times. Later this ride was turned into an all-Smurfs adventure rides.
I have to admit that I absolutely loved this as a 7 year-old, and was fascinated by the ‘Enchanted Voyage’ ride and ‘Gulliver’s Rub-A-Dub’. Here is a home movie from the early 70s. It looks like they were using their super 8 home movie light on the top of the camera..While not great quality (and not really the ‘full’ ride through) it does give you some idea of the scale of this thing:
Here are some photo tributes with some of the great animatronics.
This blog has some great pictures from the H/B related rides, including some
great ones from Gulliver’s ‘Rub-a-Dub’.
Here’s what the ride looked like once it had been ‘Smurfed’- a much better looking version from someone’s home video:
..And even later, it turned into a It’s a Small World from Hell: