Another terrifically busy week here at Thunderbean- but heck, why do I need to tell you folks that? You’re all busy with your stuff too!I’m happy to report that Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares has had a great opening, and the copies are going out the door, though slowly since there were a good amount of pre-orders. I hope to have all the first batch of orders out by the weekend.
This week I spent a good amount of time sorting through the contents of my mother’s house. She was a great supporter of my love of cartoons, finding articles for me, taking me to professors at U of M to show my drawings, and even sending checks to film collectors for me before I had a job. She kept everything, stacked inside large boxes on shelves in the basement. When I say she kept everything, I mean everything- a neat hoarder in a way. It continues to be a huge job to sort without just tossing everything, but I feel I owe it to her to find good homes where I can since there’s so many really amazing things – to the right person. Going through all these boxes at breakneck speed was and continues to be quite a challenge. Since there was so much paper and cardboard in these boxes (she saved all the boxes for nearly everything too) it was an easy choice to recycle as much as possible. The people at the recycle center were having a great time looking though and sometimes keeping the various unused greeting cards, flyers and magazines and anything paper you can name.
As I fished things out of the boxes, I found a list from the late 80s that my friend Lou Goldberg had made. Lou is a film fanatic and quite knowledgeable about a variety of films and music. The list he made for me was hand-written, and contained what he considered to be his ‘Top 10′ films. The first on the list was Zabriskie Point, followed by Tokyo Olympiad, Marnie, and Le Bette Human, with Johnny Guitar a little further down the list. I was fascinated, and knew I wanted to see some of these films, ones that were foreign to me even though I had been attending the Campus 16mm film showings for many years. I remember showing this list to the head of the program in Film and Video studies, where I worked at the time. As he looked, his eyebrows raised as he pointed to Zabriskie Point, then down again on Marnie if memory serves. He made a comment that *his* list would be very different, but this one was “respectable”. To me, this meant that there was some commonality in this “good” list.
I remember asking a collector while we were watching films in the same basement I was cleaning out this week if he had a top ten list. The answer was ‘I dunno’, followed by a statement that the ‘real’ cartoon people don’t like all that stuff that everyone else does, but instead like the things that NO ONE else likes, such as the Famous Studios and Terrytoons. This was a grand departure from the idea of a ‘GOOD’ list, but, oddly, I found that respectable as well.
There are some collectors who will have the Disney stuff on a hallowed shelf, or have stacks of bootleg 60s TV cartoons. So, after all this, what the heck is the value of the list anyway?
To, me, it’s just this: I never would have SEEN Tokyo Olympiad had Lou not had it on the list, and I’m glad I did. It really didn’t matter that Citizen Kane was on there, or Rear Window – I had seen both and would return again. The value in the list I think is tracking down and seeing things you haven’t if you enjoy such things. So, with that, I’m putting two of my ‘lists’ here, and hope that you will do the same int he comments. Instead of a usual list, write one of an esoteric nature. Please? Oh, and please, DON’T include One Froggy Evening or Popeye Meets Sindbad or even the underrated classic Old McDonald. We’ve seen them I think at this point
Heck, this is the equivalent of doing a crossword puzzle on the back of a 70s Frosted Flakes box (something I found in all that sorting….).
Top 10 cartoons with good death scenes:
1) Mice Meeting You – Famous
2) Rough on Rats – Van Beuren
3) Tortoise Wins by a Hare – WB
4) Peace on Earth – Harman/Ising
6) There’s Good Boos Tonight – Famous
7) Education for Death – Disney
8) Cat-Choo – Famous
9) The Battle of the Barn – Scrappy
10) Der Schneemann – Hans Fischerkoesen
Top 5 cartoons I’ve fallen asleep watching:
1) Fantasia – Disney
2) The Field Mouse – Harman/Ising
3) Space Angel – episode 12 (not the right episode, but does it matter?)
4) The Reluctant Dragon (Rankin/Bass)
5) Gundam Wing (sorry anime fans…)
Ok – your turn. No fair copying – come up with an odd one that shows someone here something they haven’t seen!