June 8, 2013 posted by

“Accidentally Preserved”

accidentally Preserved

Today I’m going recommend a wonderful new compilation DVD with only one animated film on it. Accidentally Preserved Volume 1 collects nine “rare or lost silent films” and makes them available courtesy of a crowd-funded project produced and scored by noted silent film accompanist Ben Model.

Sourced from a private collection of films owned by Model, Accidentally Preserved mainly features obscure live action shorts by lesser-known comedians Billy Franey, Wallace Lupino, Paul Parrott (brother of Charley Chase), Clyde Cook and Cliff Bowes. The one cartoon contained here is a rare and very sharp print of Mechanical Doll (1922), a Max Fleischer “Out of the Inkwell” cartoon. This is one of the early ones where Dave is still being rotoscoped in the clown suit in many scenes. Here’s a couple of frames from the film:

frame grabs_koko Dancing_doll

The collection will be released via Amazon’s CreateSpace DVD-on-Demand service. This is the first time that this new business model for the distribution of silent films will be utilized to make these rarities commercially available to the public after decades of obscurity. Accidentally Preserved: Rare & Lost Silent Films from Vintage 16mm Prints sells for $19.95, and will be available June 11, 2013 at The films will also be released on Model’s YouTube channel on a bi-weekly basis starting mid-June. Film notes were written by noted silent film historian Steve Massa and are available online at

For an example of Mr. Model’s film quality and his piano accompaniment, here is a rare film from his collection apart from this DVD set – a rare 1925 Christmas Seals promotional film – animated by Dick Huemer.


  • Is this a PD set?

  • Yes. All titles are public domain. These are films that exist only through surviving 16mm prints created decades ago for home movie and rental library use.

  • Lovely Huemer film, along with Model’s score.

  • You know, I was hesitating to bring this up since the major companies do own the video rights and original negatives on even those cartoons and films that have fallen into the public domain and all should be available and blah blah blah, but maybe publicly funded collections are the way to go and the way to get our desired collectables out there! I know I’ve thought about it and would gladly help fund collections that are worthwhile to those of us who still collect and since we are regarded such a fickle nitch group to the large video companies, why not fun our own projects? Anyway, I like almost all ideas out there as alternatives to the “I don’t care and don’t have to” attitude of the larger companies, but when the smaller companies ape the attitude of the big boys, well, we then can consider ourselves defeated, and then where does our money end up?

    • Ownership in this case is not an issue since first the Christmas Seals piece was not registered for copyright. Second, the original company of Out of the Inkwell Films, Inc. and Inkwell Studios was dissolved 84 years ago. So there are no legal issues here, especially since this is a public service and there is not a great deal of money at stake, just the discovery and preservation of history, which has no price.

  • I just received my copy of ACCIDENTALLY PRESERVED and wanted to mention that there is more animation on it than only MECHANICAL DOLL. The Elgin Watch documentary, “The House of Wonder,” also includes some short animated sequences demonstrating how the company’s machinery manufactures precision watch-parts. While purely technical in nature, they do exhibit a high degree of detail and are very smoothly done.

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