THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
December 3, 2020 posted by Steve Stanchfield

A Print of “Barnyard Bunk” Gets One Last Go-Round

It’s been a good week since the last post. Having almost all the current ‘special orders’ that are done sent is making things merry here, but we’re turning right around and mastering the Christmas set in the next few days— and sending that right out as well. A good rest is in order after this next week- and that week also happens to be the last week at the college I teach at. I’m looking forward to diving a little deeper into a few of the finished and just getting finished projects in next week’s post.

As for good news in classic animation: Arnold Leibovit’s Puppetoon Movie Volume 2 set is now shipping, and it’s a lovely venture. I hope to spend some time in the coming weeks talking about it – once there’s a few minutes to spare and write a little it about our involvement helping with this excellent project.

You can order the set here.


What could be happier than this?

As we finish sending the special sets that are finished, we’ll make some copies available at the Thunderbean shop for those that missed them. The sets that will be available again for a limited time are All Censored, Terry/Lantz/Famous and Toon Club. Visit Thunderbeanshop.com for these as well as updates on the status of sets in production.

For today, I’d like to be away from the intricacies of all this other stuff – so let’s watch a print of Barnyard Bunk that managed to scan very nicely, just before succumbing to the dreaded vinegar syndrome!

The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set has been probably the most steadily scanned of any of the in progress Thunderbean sets. I try to send at least one with every scan session, and recently this one Barnyard Bunk was scanned from a print that was, sadly, getting ready to become one with the earth.

There’s a lot of 16mm non-theatrical ‘Official Films’ prints of this particular cartoon. This one was in pretty decent shape. I think it will clean up nicely for the Blu-ray. While not one of the more outstanding entries in the series, this particular cartoon has all the basic things one would want on the proverbial Van Beuren checklist:

A) Tom and Jerry playing an instrument. Check. ✓
B) A bunch of dancing farm animals. Check. ✓
C) The usually fun Gene Rodemich score with familiar songs. Check. ✓
D) A Skeleton. Check. ✓ ✓
E) Rubbery chickens rolling as they walk. Check! ✓ ✓ ✓

Bonus points award for Tom and Jerry both being thrown gently into a lake by two bags full of mice – and a tall, hidden glass of beer to make everything all the merrier.

It isn’t as if Van Beuren’s staff thought that someone would be even considering this breezy little film nearly 90 years later. Maybe that’s part of the fun of their films – they’re not taking much of it so seriously either. They’re ephemeral and know it, remnants of the era. I’m sure glad they were stashed in that basement or that box or that drawer, and that they made enough prints for some to survive.

I think 19 of the 26 of the series are scanned now in HD. Now to the harder ones!

Enjoy this remnant and have a great week all!

17 Comments

  • I’ve seen “Barnyard Bunk” many times, but this is the first time I noticed Jerry using his saxophone as a milking stool!

    Not ephemeral at all, but a timeless classic. Ars longa vita brevis!

  • Any cartoon that opens with “Sing Again of Michigan” just has to be good!

  • You can add to your checklist of amazing things in this cartoon:
    F. maliciously destructive mice (I thought this cartoon was going in the “Pied Piper” direction but they fooled me there)
    G. a chicken who mysteriously lays duck eggs

  • The thing that really struck me was that the theme of the cartoon seemed to be “Tom & Jerry meet Farmer Al Falfa”!

    And, yes, I thought Tom & Jerry were going to play the Pied Piper, too, to get rid of the hundreds of destructive mice that are almost always around in Farmer Al cartoons.

  • The OTHER Tom and Jerry should have put aside their differences, and teamed up to destroy those mice. They’re evil!

  • Ha! My print died last year.

  • Something in the air? My TV bootleg entitled “Bunk and Bunk” stinks to the high heavens.

  • Was this cartoon originally shot Movietone aperture, Steve? The way you scanned it reveals that Official did a frame overlap north and south to accomodate the Movietone picture info. Nice scan on a beautiful cartoon.

  • Mark– you can now inherit *this* one if you’d like since it’s also on it’s way out!

  • Chop it up and sprinkle on lettuce for a tangy salad.

  • These must be the most actively malicious mice in any cartoon. Most animated rodents are at least seeking shelter or nourishment; these guys just wreck the farm for no reason and take great joy in doing so.
    One last unsolved mystery of this cartoon is whether the farmer intentionally shortchanged Tom and Jerry or was simply unaware that the mice had taken up residence in his safe.

  • Speaking of Van Beuren, I recommend getting the new book, “A Van Beuren Production: A History of the 619 Cartoons, 875 Live Action Shorts, Four Feature Films and One Serial of Amedee Van Beuren”. As the title mentions, this goes through all through the studio’s filmography in a somewhat chronological order in different chapters. The cartoons themselves get three non-consecutive chapters.

  • Once you hear the tune that Tom & Jerry play on their saxophones In Barnyard Bunk, you’ll have it (happily) swimming around in your brain for days!

  • Any chance of the titles included on Cartoony Christmas, Secret Christmas and Ghosts of Christmas Toons getting listed?

  • That song is a decidedly non-bluesy arrangement of “Wabash Blues”, F.Y.I.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHxD3CaouAM

  • I bought the Van Beuren history book too. it’s a bit pricey – as almost everything is from McFarland, but I just couldn’t wait for a sale or a used copy to turn up! I always was interested in their Chaplin Mutual shorts – with music by Winston Sharples and Gene Rodemich – because I saw a few of those theatrically at our old neighborhood theater in Chicago that jumped on the “nostalgia” bandwagon when I was a youngster. Of course, Steve, you also fueled my curiosity about their strange cartoons – my son has enjoyed THE LITTLE KING series, that’s for sure! I wanted more information that what I could find on THE LAST FRONTIER serial with Lon Chaney, Jr. – and this book supplies it. Lots of reference books can be kind of “dry” – but I’ve been skimming through various sections of this book since I got it a few days ago – and it’s very good, indeed!

  • Very Terry feeling, esp the mice I remember from seeing really old Terry cartoons on various stations with the 60s CBS package…. you’d go right from Mighty Mouse or Heckle and Jeckle to an ancient looking Alfalfa or the mice…..

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