I’m happy to be back home after five days in LA this last week-adn jumped right into 3 days teaching without a break. I hit the wall today from exhaustion, but, happily, the catching up is at least going decently. It was nice to see old friends while I was out, visit the CTN Animation Expo, and visit many of my former students working at various animation studios. I saw lots of really cool stuff over the course of the handful of days there, but am very glad to be back to catch up on the many pressing things here!
A Thunderbean Update: It’s been a year of lots of productions starting and not quite as many as I’d like getting finished — but happily, progress is continuing. Two of the ‘Special’ sets are finished and dubbing (“All Scrappy..” as well as “The Little King”) as well as two of the ‘Snappy Video’ sets.
Cartoons to the Rescue is well in progress and we hope to dub this next week. We’re hoping to get several sets to replication, and the holiday sales have started to make that more possible. The Blu-rays that are all ready to be pressed are Fleischer Rarities, Mid Century Modern 1 and Mid Century Modern 2.
To help get at least one of these out the door sooner than later, we’re continuing the tradition of doing a little set each year called Thunderbean Thursday. The 2017 version is a Blu-ray (BDR) that has all sorts of fun shorts on it, including some Holiday and Christmas films not on the Yuletide Flickers set. It’s available only for a week on the Thunderbean Facebook page here. I’m just finishing this project and am hoping to send them the week after that.
“Thunderbean Thursday 2017” is a Blu-ray (BDR) collection of rare commercials, Christmas shorts, cartoons , short films and oddities. A great ‘Party Tape’ that isn’t a tape! Some of the films on the set will appear on future Thunderbean projects- and many will not! It’s $14.95 plus $3 postage in the US, $12 postage elsewhere. IT’s available for one week only- and we hope to send it in about a week. Order directly through paypal. Send to: steves-at-thunderbeananimation.com. Be sure include your address and ‘Thunderbean Thursday 2017‘ in the paypal note. All sales will help with replication of Thunderbean titles. Thanks to everyone for supporting these projects!
For any cartoon fans in Southeast Michigan or near, the annual Redford Classic Cartoon Festival is this weekend, at the Redford Theatre in Redford, Michigan (that’s a lotta Redfords!). John Monahan and I put the show together, and I think it’s a really fun one this year as always. We’re showing both vintage 35mm prints as well as some newy scanned digital material, including some of the recent scans we’ve been doing on the Iwerks shorts. Highlights for me include UPA’s ‘Ragtime Bear’ and Columbia’s “Paint Box Symphony’ as well as others in stunningly beautiful IB Technicolor prints. It’s this Saturday, November 25th at 2 and 8pm. If you’re there and read this column, come say hi!
Over these years, working on the Thunderbean sets has been an amazing time for me. I find that I reflect a lot on the direction of the company at this time each year, and think quite a bit about the nature of trying to produce these things, the direction I’d like to take the company and the best strategies to move forward. Most importantly, I think of all the wonderful people I’ve met and have been able to know a little bit. The cartoon community is small but mighty, and the continued success of this small business helps make a good case for other small companies to attempt these sorts of niche releases. I’m still looking for the magic formula to grow the business further, but it’s been a good year of experimentation into some new areas. I’m very much looking forward to this next year and what it may bring.
So, as is the usual custom here, on this Thanksgiving, these are the things I’m grateful for related to classic animation this year:
Above all things, I’m grateful for the patience of the collecting community this past year; as we chug through this little mountain of projects, the community has been the great supporting arm of the business. I appreciate your help on these projects more than I could ever state, and hope to continue to make rare films available as these years continue.
• I’m grateful for the help of the film collectors. You folks, like I am, are a little crazy to collect material that sometimes warps, sometimes shrinks, sometimes loses its color, sometimes starts smelling like vinegar, sometimes gets gooey. And then there’s that flammable thing too. The fact that your willing to lend these volatile strips of notched plastic to me sometimes is nothing short of a miracle, and your generosity has allowed lots of people to see these things that otherwise would not have- people who are sensible enough to not have shelves of these things everywhere.. at least some of them.
• I’m grateful for the archives around the world. You’ve saved these many things for a reason, and that reason is for them to be enjoyed sooner than later. They’ve been hiding long enough for the most part!
• I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made over these years that contribute to these projects. Some of them are the film collectors, others just love film or animation.
ª On my hero list for contributions of material this year are Jerry Beck, Mr. Mark Kausler, Tom Stathes, David Gerstein, Dr. Dennis Atkinson, Chris Buchman, and Serge Bromberg. I very grateful for your friendship and efforts to help make some of these projects move forward.
• I’m grateful for the companies that still care about their material enough to either release it themselves or make it available to other distributors. There is a long way to go, but let’s all hope more of these companies will make more of this material available so we can all be grateful to see it!
• I’m grateful for the creation of YouTube. Even though a ton of the things we’ve scanned and cleaned up have been uploaded there, I’m happy that so many people have had the chance to see these things, and find things they enjoy. Making an enjoyable film was the point of the creators of these films in the first place, and I never considered any of the uploads cutting into sales of this stuff at all.
• I’m grateful that Warner Archive did that Porky Pig 101 set. I hope the success of this set leads to other great projects, making lots of rare things available.
• Lastly, I’m also forever grateful to my Mom, who put up with my room full of films, posters, and books everywhere, and supported whatever I tired to do with any of this. I do hope that, somehow, you’re happy that Thunderbean has made other people happy.
It’s your turn now: what are you grateful for this year?
So – now it’s time to watch a bad reddish copy of Jerky Turkey on Super 8, if possible. This copy will have to do for this year.