As the summer is wrapping up and school starts is looming this next week, I’m looking back at all the cramming over the summer to get a bunch fo projects done and others close to the finish line with Thunderbean. Last week’s scan-o-rama trip really took the wind out of me, and I’ve been working to recover while doing last minute fixes on the Stop Motion Marvels set before its off to replication. Eric Grayson’s Cinema Gems collection just went to the replicators over the weekend, and the Flip the Frog set will be going there this month too. All week David Gerstein has been sending bonus feature after bonus feature along with the menus, and they’re all looking really nice. Here’s a preview of some of them:
The cleanup team is mostly working on Van Beuren Tom and Jerry cartoons right now as I help out on a colleague’s project. The Tom and Jerry have been in cleanup so long that there’s some cleanup files I’ve misplaced on the archive discs that catch all the messes made along the way. I’ve been moving so fast through these things that I have I tend to back everything up, so hopefully they’ll show up sooner than later..
And— onto the animation for the day!
One of the coolest things about collecting films is that you come across shorts sometimes you’ve never seen or heard of. This particular film was produced for the Navy, most likely by the first Motion Picture Unit, but it could also have been produced by one of the studios. The end of the short has the production number and year listed as 1944. The film runs over 800’ in 16mm, so over 20 minutes, and the animated segments are rather short. From looking at them, they remind me of the production qualities of a Columbia cartoon around this time- but also similar to what the First Motion Picture Unit’s “look”. The reasons I think it might be Columbia is that several voices in the film sound like Columbia cartoon regulars, and the soundtrack is directly lifted from the score of Mr. Bug Goes to Town. Is it possible that Dave Fleischer produced this for the First Motion Picture Unit and just swiped the sound, or did Paramount produce the live action segments and score the film using these particular cues?
The whole film is about mental health (and you can tell that by the clip here too..). It’s a pretty fun watch and also features several characters that look a lot like Dr. Suess creations (like other FMPU-produced shorts around this time). Even if the animation was produced somewhere other than the First Motion Picture Unit, nearly everything was storyboarded there after several months at attempts at gaining government approvals for individual studios proved to be too difficult.
So, cartoon experts, put on your magic caps and see if you’re able to come to any guesses as well- and enjoy this long-forgotten segment! I’m putting it on the Missing Links special Blu-ray set since it is one!
UPDATE: I usually put the films up the night before on You Tube, and this particular film has now been identified by You Tube commenter John Simpson as “The Inside Story” produced for the US Coast Guard by Paramount Pictures, rather than the Navy. This clears up how “Mr. Bug” music ended up in the film, but stills leaves a mystery as to who animated it. It certainly isn’t Famous Studios.
Have a good week all!