Happy 2022 folks!
On the Thunderbean Front:
As this last week without classes wraps up, I’m happy to report it’s been a pretty productive time. Even though it’s just the beginning of the year, it’s been busy in Thundebean world working on shoring up various projects-but especially on the Flip the Frogs. After a lot of sitting, sore arms and eyeballs (and some swearing) 35 of the 38 Flips are in a state that I like to call ‘finaled’. The other three are the problem children at the moment, but only semi-problem children. School Days has two splices in it, and may have another print already scanned for us. The same goes for Village Specialist. This short is one of the few that doesn’t have a 35mm master element- and we were lucky to have a really lovely early 40s print of it that was lent by Mark Kausler that has a few unobtrusive splices, but if we can fix them with the other print we’re happy as the cat is in the film! The last one is Little Orphan Willie. I’ll be borrowing Chris Buchman’s sharp old original to scan for just a few little areas that could be a little better.
Since Flip is in a holding pattern for at least a few days, I’ve been catching up on work for some of the other projects here. Aesop’s Fables has been prominent. While cobbling all these things together there’s a ton of hard drives with all sorts of scans done over some time, semi-organized, other times not so much. They’re strewn all over my work area right now as I hunt for this or that, cursing myself for not having them better labeled all the time. The kitties have figured out they can get some pets by taking over the keyboard so they’ll have to be in the credits for their contributions. I sometimes feel like Grampy in Christmas Comes But Once a Year trying to make things out of a pile of pots and pans. Speaking of that, I wonder if the cook came in after after Grampy took all the cookware and couldn’t make any food! I guess that will remain one of cartoonland’s great mysteries.
Once of the big goals was to get some of the special sets all mastered and out the door over break. I’m happy to report that we were able to get five either done or almost, and plan on dubbing and sending them within a week or so. One of those sets is the ‘special’ discs of “Little Lulu” cartoons. Four of the films on the set are from 35mm nitrate prints bought from a collector in Europe- I bought two and two other collectors bought the others and were generous in letting me scan them for the set. I pulled out the scans today that were done a little earlier in the year and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had scanned some little shorts on the front of a few of those reels…..
Earlier today I was called away from all the stuff here to look through some films for sale in a cold basement in the Detroit area. I was happily surprised to find a few boxes full of cartoon prints, so we’re doing a special Blu-ray set of them called “Cartoon Prizes”. It’s available at the Thunderbean Shop in pre-order here.
So, onto the cartoon part of today’s post!
Here are three little commercials in a row- I think they’re suitable entertainment for the first post this year.
First, a late 50s Brylcreem Ad
I really didn’t know that Bill Sturm Studios did any Stop Motion work – but here’s a spot that shows they did. I’m sure everyone here associates the Brylcream ads with Lou Bunin’s stop motion puppets, but it’s clear from this spot that he either didn’t always make them or perhaps stopped at some point. At any rate, Sturm’s studio does a serviceable job animating the puppets, albeit without the same energy and fun of the best of Bunin’s work. I’ve left the leader on to show the Sturm credit- pretty usual to see this on the leader of spots (if they’re not cut off).
Second, “Cops and Robbers” (1940)
While this little commercial (by Animated Cartoons Inc – the former Ub Iwerks Studio) isn’t new to any of our eyes, seeing and hearing it in 35mm IS. This beautiful nitrate IB Technicolor print really shows off the very good production qualities of this studio on this and many other theatrical ads they produced from the late 30s into the 40s. Tommy Stathes snuck this print into a package he sent to me as a gift, so we owe him thanks for its appearance here today.
And, Finally, Intermission!
Here is a really beautifully produced intermission short by Kling productions. Kling (a media and industrial film company in Chicago) produced many things for National Screen Service. When they produced animation, they often hired the actual animation production out to other small studios in Los Angeles. They eventually set up an office in Los Angeles themselves, but it’s unclear whether any actual production happened there. It’s likely John Sutherland did some of the work on these shorts since they often feature work from animators that were working there through the 50s. This print is a reprint from a really nice 35mm IB print. I had forgotten it was on the reel as it was scanned and loved finding it earlier today, so here it is!
I hope these little shorts bring you some cheer at the beginning of this year! Have a good week all!