September 23, 2021 posted by Jerry Beck

“Cartoon Carnival” and Fleischer Tribute on TCM Saturday Oct. 2nd

Thunderbean Thursday is once again delayed this week so we can tell you about a wonderful cartoon event you won’t want to miss. On Saturday October 2nd at 8pm EST (5pm PST) TCM (Turner Classic Movies) will hold a four hour spotlight on classic animation.

They recently changed their on-air branding – but we still prefer the old TCM logo.

The evening will divided into three sections: at 8pm/5pm – CARTOON CARNIVAL, a brand new documentary centered around the meticulous silent animation restoration work of our very own Tommy Jose Stathes (and featuring commentary from many of our favorite animation historians and Cartoon Research contributors). More information on this documentary below – but do not miss it!

That will be followed at 9:45pm/6:45pm by The 100th Anniversary of Fleischer Animation – Part 1: The Silent Era. Tommy Stathes curated this block – which contains the world premiere of several brand new Stathes restorations and rarities.

Block 1 – Silent

The Boxing Kangaroo (Bray, 1920)
Reunion (1922)
Cartoon Factory (1924)
Vacation (1924)
Come Take a Trip in My Airship (1924) one of the actual, original Koko Song Cartunes, with 1930s reissue soundtrack
It’s the Cat’s (1926)

At 10:45pm/7:45pm, TCM will present the 100th Anniversary of Fleischer Animation – Part 2: The Sound Era curated by Tommy and Steve Stanchfield – and features several new Stanchfield/Stathes restorations – and from a curatorial point of view is a perfect selection of Fleischer animated mayhem.

Block 2 – Sound

Hurry Doctor! (1931) – the rarely seen Texaco sponsored film
Betty Boop’s Crazy Inventions (1933)
Let’s Sing With Popeye (1934)
Betty Boop and Grampy (1935)
Dancing On the Moon (1935)
Popeye Meets Sindbad (1936)

Let’s back up and talk about the opening documentary.

(click to enlarge)

Cartoon Carnival is a feature-length documentary that looks at the birth of animated film, and the often forgotten story of the pioneers of the silent era. To quote the film’s press release: “To many, the history of the animated cartoon begins with the story of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, but in reality the story begins as soon as man first dreamed of somehow capturing the moving image. Hand in hand with live action cinema pioneers, early animation artists pushed the boundaries of what was technically and artistically possible in an exciting new medium – and also created an industry when they discovered what would sell to hungry audiences! The 1910s and 1920s were a boom time for animation, with young and passionate filmmakers keen to make their name in the field and discover the next great technical innovation. This period yielded characters like Bobby Bumps, Farmer Alfalfa, Felix the Cat, KoKo the Clown and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – who were as beloved in their day as later superstar characters, such as the Disney superstars, were in theirs.

“With the coming of sound films, the vast majority of silent animation faded into obscurity and many key shorts are now thought to have been lost. Cartoon Carnival makes the case for the rediscovery and exhibition of these rare and valuable films as told through the eyes of animation collector and historian Tommy José Stathes. Armed with a passion for cartoons, Tommy took an unlikely route to becoming an archivist via yard sales and house clearances and became the curator of possibly the world’s largest collection of silent animation on film. Keen to share his passion with as many people as possible, he strives to present classic animation, as it should be seen – with an audience and on the big screen.”

“The story of the incredible artists behind these wildly popular films is told not only through interviews with animation experts like historian Jerry Beck, Aardman Animatons co-founder Peter Lord and Academy Award winners Kevin Brownlow and John Canemaker, but also through newly created silent animations, practical demonstrations from legendary animator Howard Beckerman, and archival interview clips with the pioneers themselves”

Here’s the trailer:

So mark your calendar – Saturday night October 2nd on TCM. Don’t miss it!!


  • Congratulations and best wishes to everyone involved in this important and worthwhile undertaking. Unfortunately I will have to miss it because TCM isn’t available in my country, but I hope the Cartoon Carnival documentary can be viewed online at some point in the future.

  • Thank YOO!! Can NOT wait!!!

  • This is amazing! I recently saw Tommy Stathes’ Instagram tip-off that there was something big to be announced soon.
    It was great to get in on one of his outdoor live presentations in Brooklyn this summer, on our trip from the Florida hinterlands. I’m hoping the live pianist he had accompanying that event will contribute some music to this TCM special – it lent such a feeling of authenticity to watching those silent classics!

  • There are very few things I miss about having cable, but TCM is definitely at the top of the list. The evening sounds absolutely wonderful.

  • So happy to see that this is happening, for you all and the cartoons. TCM is roving true to its brand, both on cable and streaming.

    Word of advice for DVR-ing: I find that if I save a film on TCM that about 65-75 minutes or less, sometimes the beginning and/or end is missing. I usually pad the time on the DVR settings unless I plan to choose everything being scheduled.

    • This is fantastic advice, I’ve noticed this as well.

  • One of the main reasons I wish our family had cable is watching TCM – seeing uncut and restored movies and special festivals like this one! Hopefully, it will have a “mainstream” release! I’m looking forward to seeing it – somehow or other!

  • I can’t wait! This sounds like a great several hours of programming. And the documentary should be really informative.

  • In that illustration: “Klown?’ with a K?!?!

    Good luck Tommy & Steve!

  • Running film with rewinds without gloves? Not only is that running the risk of cutting your fingers on the broken sprocket holes, but you are adding oils from your fingers to the edges of the film that only contribute to the deterioration.

    • By not using gloves, you are able to feel the weak and missing perforations that need repairing. Gloves can snag on a broken perf, causing the film to rip. It’s a question of choice, and if rewinding while touching the edges of film only, no oil from the hand will be left on the flat surfaces of the film, and no grit will be run along the film surface so no scratches will be formed. There are occasions when gloves are preferable, but not always. I have been projecting, and rewinding – for many years professionally – film of all gauges since 1962, and taught techniques of silent film projection for many years. Stephen Herbert

  • Congratulations Tommy. This is a watershed moment and a fun one!

  • It’d sure be nice of the whole thing was available as a dvd/blu ray set!

  • Wow, this looks great!

    I don’t have cable, but if there’s a way I can watch this via streaming TCM (on the Apple TV, ideally) I’ll sign up, just for this. I’ll reply back to my comment later with what I find out.

    • I was hoping for an HBO Max-style option, where I could pay to stream just TCM, but that’s not offered.

      Cable tv has never been something for me but a free week trial of YouTube TV looks like it will work. I can also DVR it in the cloud so I can see it a second time, at my leisure, so I can make notes of my favorites before my week is up. Nice!

      Hulu Live TV also has a free week trial, in case this helps anyone. If you already have Hulu, like I do, you can’t get the free trial.

      Good luck to other no-cable hopefuls. 👍

  • Did anyone else notice a pinkish cast to all the new interviews? Almost looked like the old 2-colo found in some older cartoons pre-Technicolor.

    • Indeed. Pink and blue. Perhaps the color was muted to make the switches to/from monochrome less jarring.

  • Is The Cartoon Carnival available on the TCM app? I’ve looked there and can’t find it. Thanks.

  • TheMoviesFlix is a streaming website that has a library of TV shows, TV series, and movies. And it can be compared to popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.

  • This is helping us a lot Great work you do for us very useful

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