After spending the last four days in New York at the Animation Block Party, its nice to be getting back into the swing of things here. Its a somewhat mixed week at Thunderbean, but as things are coming together and discs are going out, Im feeling like the piles of everything to do are getting straighter and more focused. Having some help here this week is making things whirl a little more as well. Theres another box of stuff to transfer here, and Im looking forward to cracking it open soon to see what this stuff is looking like. Stay tuned.
Masters are done now on Mid Century Modern 1 and 2 on Blu-ray. They’ll be moving forward as soon as possible here along with some of the other sets. Fleischer Rarities has all the films either cleaned up or in progress now, so were excited to see that one coming together as well. The pre-orders for Hollywood Rarities are all dubbed and going out, and the title will be on Amazon soon as I mentioned last week.
A little foray into Foray:
Of course, the news of June’s passing this past week was sad, but I just keep thinking of all the fun things she left here for everyone. There are just a *few* voice folks that show up in basically every studios voice work at some point. I thought it might be fun to show June Foray appearances less seen than the performances we all know.
One of my favorites is likely one of her very first: Oswald the Rabbit in his last starring cartoon appearance: Lantz’s Egg Cracker Suite. Company.. HALT!
Watch June win an Annie on a episode of The Duck Factory:
June does quite a few voices in the clearly low-budget Christmas Is, a special produced by the Lutheran Church. See if you can recognize some of the other usual suspects here (no fair cheating and looking at the end credits).
I’m sure many of you have heard this, but I really love these outtakes from a 1963 Rocky and Bullwinkle episode. This gives you a pretty good idea of how the recording sessions on this particular show. Hearing June laugh and say “I dont think I can do it again!” is precious. Theres some really off-color stuff in this recording as well.
This one features a full episode and outtakes at the end.
Many years back, my small studio did the animation for several CD-Rom games featuring the Jay Ward characters. One, Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Know-It-All Quiz Game, featured Junes voice of course as Rocky in the handful of times he spoke and maybe Natasha too – I honestly don’t remember if she was speaking in the game! I’ll try to haul out some of my old archive discs this next week to see.
Jerry Beck, Mark Evanier and several other west coast friends are preparing a memorial celebration for June on September 19th at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Jerry and Mark will announce further details about this event on Facebook and here on Cartoon Research in weeks to come. Stay tooned!
And a cartoon!
Scrappy’s Expedition (1934) was one of the first Columbia/ Mintz Scrappy’s I ever saw. The happy exuberance of this little picture makes it still a lot of fun to view today, although many of the Hollywood caricatures are pretty unrecognizable by the general population these days. Of course, Scrappy runs the show, helming a ship that takes off from New York (very familiar to many of the principal players on the Mintz cartoons from this period).
The change of guard from Dick Huemer to Sid Marcus as main director of the series correlates with the production code being enforced. One has to wonder had the production code not kicked in if the Scrappy series would have gone in the more streamlined direction it did or if it would have remained a little quirkier. At any rate, this is a solid if not minor effort in the series. While Scrappy and Oopy’s personalities are not highlighted much beyond their smiling or fear, their hearts are in the right place.
Walter Winchell and Ed Wynn are centerpiece, as is beloved radio and record star Kate Smith. Her girth is centerpiece in the story, sadly, but I really like the animation cycle on her way to save to the day. Sadly, her weight is often the punchline of various jokes in comedic radio programs throughout the 30s and 40s.
Smith’s fame grew throughout the later 20s (she began her recording career in 1926) and her wonderful, expressive voice isnt heard enough these days. Here is a 1927 recording, A Little Smile, A Little Kiss, on Columbia. Her rendition of God Bless America was heard many times at the opening of her show.
Here she is singing it in a not-great print of This is the Army (1943):
and.. singing it again in 1976:
Here is the cartoon – have a good week everyone!