July 6, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

A Little Revisit to Ted Eshbaugh’s Work

In Thunderbean news:
As Flip finally flips out of my hands and finally into replication, and the Little King slowly and finally limps merrily out the door through these last few weeks, I’m left with saying goodbye to the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry cartoons and it gets mastered. I’m soon off to newer adventures with the other sets in progress as the summers pace frantically moves on.

In other news, the Blu-ray edition of Cartoons for Victory, a project I’ve been working on off and on for a while, in now up for pre-order. It fun to revisit all these films in new HD scans, all these years later. Recently we learned that we have access to the original successive exposure negs on Ted Eshbaugh’s “Cap’n Cub” and, although not top Eshbaugh and a pretty notorious piece of film, I’m really looking forward to seeing it restored. The pre-order (and a list of the contents) is available here.

And, today’s subject, now that we’ve mentioned Ted Eshbaugh:

Sometimes I think the best thing about Thunderbean has been good versions of Ted Eshbaugh’s films being more available. Eshbaugh’s work in the 30s and 40s has always fascinated me— and good versions of his work became one of the big motivators for me in finding and releasing all this Thunderbean stuff. Eshbaugh’s films kept the wonder of the early to mid-30 period alive in the little advertising films they made as well as a few classics that found a new audience in early Television. It’s hard to say exactly how the work evolved into the mid 40s since so few films seem to still exist. I do know of several films that *do* exist, but I’ve never seen them- but hope to someday. The Library of Congress is largely responsible for preserving and allowing so many of Eshbaugh’s works to be scanned and available. I’m forever grateful.

While a lot of people here I’m sure have seen a majority of these, here’s a quick rundown of essential Eshbaughjust in case you didn’t or want to revisit one of these little magical films:

Goofy Goat:
Someone loved the ‘Ted Eshbaugh’s Fantasies’ opening on The Snowman so much that they used it to recreate titles for this version of Goofy Goat— complete with AI coloring. Hope springs eternal that the real color version will show up at some point.

I’m sure we’ve all seen The Snowman, Wizard of Oz, Pastrytown Wedding, and Sunshine Makers a bunch of times I’m sure at this point….but in case you haven’t here they are (not all my uploads but the Thunderbean cleanups):

Japanese Lanterns was one of my favorite things cleaned up for the Rainbow Parades:

I speculate that Ted Eshbaugh was probably the director on The Picnic Panic (1935) – with his name removed since he had left Van Beuren. Look at the scenes in the middle of the film especially. It has all the signs of Eshbaugh in design and gags. Here’s the raw scan we did a while back — forgot this was still out there!

Tea Pot Town is really lovely. One of these days there will be a more complete version available… hopefully in my lifetime! Courtesy of The Library of Congress

Eshbaugh gets political in this hard-to-follow version of The Amateur Fire Brigade (1936) condemning a lot of what The New Deal was attempting. Here’s an article I did a little while back with the film. A longer version hopefully still exists with the missing footage of FDR. Let’s hope it shows up!

Here’s some of the animation for the World’s Fair film Wonder Bakers at the World’s Fair, from Mark Kausler’s very rare and probably only-existing print. This is the scan done around 2005, so maybe it’s time to scan again to see if we can get an even better image and track. Mark, of course, has quietly done more for animation preservation that any single human, and that should always be noted:

Mr. Peanut and his Family Tree (1939) also made for the World’s Fair, appears to be long lost. Maybe someday, maybe somehow, a print will show up. What are the chances?

Sammy Salvage is a little film that I had heard of for many years that we were really lucky to scan from what might be the only print. Courtesy of The Library of Congress

I’m honestly not sure ted Eshbaugh had anything to do with the final version of Reddy Made Magic with Reddy Kilowatt-even though it shows up in filmographies a lot. The version I’ve seen was produced by Walter Lantz in 1946.

The White Guard (1947) is near the top of my own personal list of things I want to see. Here’s the title card for it that someone loaded onto the Big Cartoon Database, so someone has scanned it out there! It’s off hiding in a shell somewhere, like a turtle….

Eshbaugh’s later work (beyond Captain Sailorbird openings) is nearly impossible to find. Johnathan Boshen wrote a great article for Cartoon Research on Otto Nobetter and the Railroad Gang (1957) making this one of those we-must-find films. Does it still exist?

The search continues! If you end up finding one of these, PLEASE share it. I’m sure Ted would smile in bewilderment at the scattering- and finding- of his work.

Have a good week all!


  • So Flip is “officially” in replication? If so, then this is certainly great news!

    • I’m wondering the same thing.

  • Wow! Ten Ted Eshbaugh cartoons in the same post! That’s enough to make me happy when I’m sad! “Sammy Salvage” is a real marvel, and totally Eshbaugh: cute and nightmarish at the same time. I hope you find all the other missing films you’re looking for, and may all your Technicolor Dreams come true!

  • My 16mm of Tea Pot Town has most of what’s missing from that 35mm element, though not looking nearly as good. It’ll be fun to combine the two for a ‘Bray Rarities’ type collection in the future…

  • I’ve read that Eshbaugh, who also made live-action industrial films, made a short titled READY-MADE MAGIC in 1944 for a company that made furniture slipcovers. The similarity in titles no doubt got them crossed.

  • Would like to revise that to 1946. It was released almost the same time as Walter Lantz’s film!

  • Eshbaugh’s “The Snowman” has become nightmare fuel for most kids thanks to the Black and White public domain print that has been seen on varying VHS tapes and on TV

  • Thanks for your good work, Steve and crew at Thunderbean! Enjoyed the Ted Eshbaugh cartoons on the Rainbow Parade Blu-ray immensely and look forward to the Little King set.

  • Dear Steve, I wondered if I could email you off site, regarding permission to reproduce the image of Wizard of Oz you previously posted on your fist Eshbaugh posting–I’ve been conducting some research on Eshbaugh and I’m writing an essay for a color exhibition. Will tell you more. My email is below , I’m a prof at Seattle U

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