Last week, I looked out on Thursday morning to my animation history class, and everyone looked exhausted! For some reason, around this time, everyone is really tired at CCS — and often, turning out the lights in the auditorium is a sub-optimal situation… or optimal if you need some sleep and don’t mind missing amazing cartoons!
For this particular week, I was running 16mm prints of 30s cartoons, a sort of evolution from the early 30s into the late 30s, ending with The Old Mill, one of my all time favorites. Lots of original Technicolor prints shown. Now, of course, I wouldn’t be falling asleep since I love this stuff, but many of these animation students are burning the midnight oil to get their own films done. I understand. It was a great showing and the folks that were awake seemed to really enjoy them.
Here on the Thunderbean side of the brain (and work life), the last week and a half stretch has been really busy with one thing: trying to get a scan of a rare 35mm print cleaned up / restored for a showing along with other cartoons. I was happy to have worked on the project— and, for the record, it was the single hardest film I’ve ever had to clean up. It shows this weekend with a live orchestra- so, if you are in the area, go see it!
Here’s the information, from Animation Scoop.
In other Thunderbean news, February is a busy release month for many of the ongoing projects.
The Flip the Frog project is taking a nice frog leap forward, thanks to a grant from ASIFA Hollywood to help cover the expense of 4k/5k scanning for the remainder of the project. Thanks to their help, the rest of the Flips will be scanned in the next month or so. It was an honor to have this Flip the Frog collaboration mentioned last week at the Annie Awards. A special thanks to Jerry in championing the project!
In Thunderbean disc news:
At this point, all the ‘special’ stuff that is finished is out the door, with the ones going out of the country finally all sent out. Cartoons to the Rescue will be out the door likely this next week. We’re doing another ‘Special’ set, perhaps the last of them, called “Award Winners”. It’s a BDR and will be available for order for a week. Details are here: at the Animation Internet Database forums.
We’re about to scan the very last film for the almost otherwise complete Fleischer Rarities set. I’ve really enjoyed working on this little set that has a bunch of Fleischer animated films on it- with many much harder to see. I’ve had a lot of help on the set — and will go into further detail as soon as its out for replication.
One of the coolest items (at least to me…) is this last film to scan – a short called The Vacationer’s Paradise, a “Traveltoon” produced by Hal Seeger, using the Fleischer crew, for the Miami Tourist Bureau, circa 1938. It is likely the only one of this particular series.
Here’s an article that Jerry posted on Cartoon Brew back in 2010. Jerry was instrumental in helping us borrow the film for this set:
Sadly, as with more than one film I’ve seen come from Florida (and elsewhere), the print, now around 80 years old (!), is suffering from the early stages of disintegration. This is often referred to by the much cuter name, Vinegar Syndrome, since the acetate starts to smell like vinegar as it deteriorates. The fortunate part is that this spliceless print isn’t in bad shape as of yet, and I think the curve of the print will be relaxed enough that we can get a flat scan on the Laser Graphics scanner. A regular telecine likely would roll on this print since it’s pretty shrunken.
I’ve gently cleaned the print and have it with Acid sieves as well as some Caphor (to relax the base of the film). The film is relaxing well (it was way worse last week) and it will be scanned soon in 2k, the full quality of the original print. I haven’t seen the film as of yet, and as excited to finally see it as anything else! We’ll be cleaning it up and adding it to the Fleischer Rarities set, and then that set is off to replication, finally.
Here is the cover art, sans the final type, for the set, by artists Dragan Kovacevic and Antea Ratkovic. Dragan a huge cartoon fan and the only person from Croatia I know that has all the Thunderbean stuff. The final version may vary a little in its final layout.
Have a great week everyone — more Thunderbean Video details coming soon!
Wow! I remember reading about the Traveltoon discovery but now really excited to see it in full. Hope you can wrangle a good scan out of the print, looks like the Blu-ray will really live up to its title.
Still keeping an eye on my mailbox for some outstanding sets, but nice to be assured that they’re on thier way. Will of course place an order soon for yet another of these fine ‘special’ sets
Exciting news as always, Steve! Some people look forward to Fridays. I look forward to Thunderbean Thursdays.
Absolutely CANNOT wait for Fleisher Rarities. Beautiful artwork by Dragan.
I’ve ordered your new special set as well. Thanks for all you and Jerry and everyone else behind the scenes do to make all of this possible!
i adore that he has “snuck” in “Dancing on the Moon!”
Nice post, Steve. Very informative. Love the rendering for the Fleischer Rarities blu ray set which is very creative. Looking forward to receive them as expected all the best, Martin
Awesome! I pre-ordered “Fleischer Rarities” in December 2016, and I can’t wait to see the final set!
I love the cover artwork, too!
A real technical question, though,regarding the scanning of film that is warping: do you place (squeeze) the film between two pieces of glass to help flatten out the warped aspects? Or would that be detrimental to the scans quality somehow?
On scanning: I’ve never had to do that for a running film, but I do know some circumstances where really special processes were used before. I think it could really scratch a print up unless that was done really slowly. I did once scan the beginning of a print of ‘Felix All Puzzled’ that was so damaged that it had to be scanned in tiny pieces, just crumbling!
Different scanner handle film in different ways. The newer ‘Laser Graphics’ machines do an absolutely amazing job focusing in on imperfect prints– and handle shrunken film better than anything I’ve seen. I have no idea how it will handle the Traveltoon, but I do know that this print wouldn’t make it through the standard Shadow Telecine that we do stuff on here in Oak Park, Michigan. It’s a beautiful machine that has an upgrade from a Spirit Telecine; I’ve done lots of stuff there and will continue to as long as it runs (they’ve said they won’t fix it when it doesn’t sadly- I’m one of the few clients these days).
Showing old 16mm prints of cartoons sounds like a great way to spend a college course! I’m inspired to drag my 16mm projector to my classroom to show my fourth graders some of the classics I have!
Looking forward to seeing Flip and Fleischer Rarities when they are completed! Congratulations again on the mention at the Annie Awards! Hopefully it will get a few more eyes on the cool things going on at Thunderbean!
Is the Fleischer Rarities going to be a offically licensed release?
So happy something will finally be coming out. Thank you for all your hard work under trying circumstances. (My middle name).