In Thunderbean news, the company’s shipping moved into its new space yesterday, and it’s a happy occasion. I’ll still be working on many aspects of the projects in my little home office, but the packing and shipping are not interrupting progress on various projects as much now. Some restoration and animation work will be done there as well.
On Thunderbean Projects, Grotesqueries is coming right along, as is the cleanup on the Puppetoons 2 set for Arnold Leibovit is going amazingly well as are most of the projects. Flip is still flipping, and the ‘Rainbows’ are still rainbowing.
Nearly every day I get multiple emails asking about one or more of the ‘special’ discs we’ve done over the years. With the new help here taking over Thunderbean shipping, we have time to do some of these, and since we’re finally caught up on the special stuff that’s done, we are offering most of the ‘special’ discs again for a week only, again, here.
On today’s cartoons:
As we’re pulling up the new scans of material for the two Stop Motion Marvels sets, I’ve been enjoying taking a dive back into the Kinex shorts. In the nine years since the original set, more things have turned up that I’ve been able to either buy and borrow, including more of the Kind shorts. In one way, as we update these sets for Blu-ray, I’m less than enthused since it’s ground that seemed already finished. In another way, I know that some people will be seeing these shorts for the first time on Blu-ray, and we’re *much* better at the technical aspects of producing sets at this point. It’s exciting to see how good some of the new scans and cleanups are looking, especially where we were able to upgrade material.
I’ve shown this here before, but I thought I’d post this amazingly primitive and bizarre short that was lent to me for the original Stop Motion Marvels DVD— and another few shorts with some of the same creators involved. I’m not sure if it was made to be released theatrically originally or just for home movies, but it is an excellent look into the formation of the Kinex Studios as well as stop motion in the 20s in general.
I’m guessing that ‘Cinema Novelty Productions’ was Frank Webb’s first company. The later Kinex studios seems to have been a partnership between Webb, Orville Goldner and John Burton.
This film seems to have been produced with the idea of it being an ongoing series; I wonder if any others were made? The often primitive nature of it leads me to believe it was either done quickly or with very little budget, or both. I wonder if the designs are more Golder’s or Burton’s. It seems that it will remain a mystery if they were able to use this film (or some from the same series that were better if others exist) to convince Kodak to hire the studio to produce the Chips, Snaps and Doodlebug shorts.
Despite’s its primitive nature, I like a lot of things about this production. There’s often good use of lighting, and the composition and layout of the scenes is quite impressive, even if the puppets are not so much. You can really see a direct link to the later design of the Kind backgrounds. You can especially see the advanced qualities of this short when compared to some others from the period. Here is The Penwiper (1926) and Green Pastures produced by Plastic Art productions. These two films seemed have survived, but I’m not sure if any others from this series exists. I believe these are part of Rick Prelinger’s collection.
Goldner’s and Burton’s careers are a little easier to document than Frank Webb’s career is. Illustration Professor and artist Stewart McKissick did a wonderful job researching the rare details of the Kinex Studios for the first set as well as Illustrating the cover. I’ll be out at Cinevent tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio and will see him; I’ll attempt to convince him to do the cover for the new set as well so there’s a matching set.
We did an article a while back about the later Kinex short, The Cave of the Wobbly Wizard here. The new scan is much nicer than here, but you can get an idea of where the studio’s work was going. I think we’re down to two or three missing shorts at this point. Of course, the Kind films will remain an interesting sidenote in the history of the medium. I like to be a completionist, so let’s hope the last of the Kinex shorts finally show up before the set is done.
About a year ago, started posting some really cool material from Way Chang’s film archive. Here is a really neat one called Your Dream Home produced by Orville Golden with Animation by Wah Chang. There’s even some footage at the end of Chang animating. Its’ funny how these look like a combination of Pal’s work and (later) animator Art Clokey.
Of course, by the early 20s. the work of Starewicz is breathtaking. Here is Fetiche En Voyage De Noces (1936) starring Duffy the Mascot. Starewicz has a wonderful sense of timing in his animation work, and there is always innovative and unusual effects in every film. This is one I hadn’t seen in many years:
Have a good week everyone!