News from the Thunderbean cave (and upstairs too):
Sometimes it’s just overwhelming to get all the things done that need to be done with this little company. As I listen to Stu’s Show while typing, I understand his frustration that its taken so long to get so many of these projects done. I hear and understand that.
Thunderbean, as a company, is a *tiny* venture. It’s located in two places: from where I type this (in my living room with a setup on a small 1930s desk) and a small office with the stock and shipping stuff. I have (and can afford) only a handful of people to help, although revenue has been increasing allowing more folks to help. I teach full time and Thunderbean is this ever burgeoning venture that threatens to entirely take over my life (happily sometimes).
It’s been growing this year more than any other – though still small comparatively. I think it’s always important to note that *you* folks- also a small group, the collectors, the people with the history knowledge, the people who help work on these, lend things, keep me sane when I’m off the rails about this or that– have been the lifeblood of this whole thing. Without additional customers discovering us on Amazon, we wouldn’t be anywhere near as able to do what we’re doing— but this core little group, especially, has been essential in propping up this labor of love, and, with any luck, we’ll be able to grow just a little more in the coming year, getting the kinks out and being able to offer an even greater variety of classic animation through licensing. Although I’m not always properly dressed for the occasion and definitely behind, I’m working hard to make each of these projects a reality. I’m sorry for dropping the ball multiple times over these years in so many things. Hopefully these projects, as they’re getting released, will make everyone smile. With Covid, it’s become difficult for people to get films from their storage areas, but despite that, there’s many things here that are waiting each week for scanning.
Having a new scanning situation here has been helping to move so many of the Thunderbean projects forward. The little staff here has been taking on more and more as I bury my head in finishing things. The ‘special’ sets are moving forward the fastest since once everything’s scanned they’re ready to make a master. Doing the ‘Official’ sets require tons of work in all different ways. Dubbing has been our biggest bottleneck at the moment, along with the revenue to get everything shipped faster, but we’re working hard on it- and I can see this year as being a pivotal one despite the challenges. In the coming weeks and through the rest of the year, I hope to scan new things every week and finish at least one new project each week. Having lots of projects close to being finished is exciting- and I hope to send multiples out the door together as they’re getting finished. More Stop Motion Marvels is making the best headway this week, along with animation for the titles on ‘Rainbow Parades’. Can’t wait to show them!
This week’s new title is Cartoon Commercials, Volume 2. I think its a decent follow-up to the DVD we did 12 years back. While I’d love to update that one to Blu-ray, getting all the spots back from all the sources seems like an impossibility!
I think it’s safe to say the commercials produced from the late 40s through the 50s and 60s will never be documented as well as so much other animation has been. Even seeing vintage commercials has been a real catch as catch can. While there’s a lot of commercials that have survived, they’ve become harder to collect as eBay auctions have driven prices up (as it has for cartoons in 16mm or 35mm). You still get lucky sometimes – and I live for good luck in getting things these days. I was thrilled to finally be able to both have enough material for this set, but being able to do nice scans here in a short period of time has been a big game changer.
I think this is the first collection (that I know of) of just vintage commercials in HD. The set was greatly aided by a few collections of material, and a smattering from other things I had scanned. Some of the materials I’ve collected here, others were lent. One really cool thing that happened was being able to borrow a whole bunch of commercials produced by UPA from a collector in Columbus, Ohio. The prints were all nearly in perfect shape-put together from unused materials that an ad agency had. While it’s not a complete history of the commercials they produced (!) there’s a ton of really cool ones on the set. The reel sometimes had 6 copies of one spot, so I had to scan 80 minutes of spots to get 25 minutes of original footage! I did an HD scan on UPA’s Dr. Suess Ford commercials to include as well, and they’re right at home with the other UPA material.
For bonus material on the Blu-ray, we included a theatrical commercial for Chevy Used Cars (by Jam Handy), a few Philips cel-animated theatrical shorts, and a really fun ‘Elf’ snack bar intermission time clock (from the late 40s or early 50s). There’s a still gallery as well.
While it’s just a little set of commercials, it’s nice to have a pretty good ‘primer’ of TV spots from the 50s into the 70s in such nice quality. I imagine this set would be a nice ‘primer’ in an animation history class or a cool show of old TV shows- or features. I hope to scan more in the future for another volume… but not for a while! There’s a few other projects brewing with commercials- and I’ll let those take the spotlight next should they step up to it!
Most of the commercials on the set were brand new to me before scanning- so the set is almost as new to me as anyone else. It’s a BDR disc. I’d like to have this set eventually replicated (pressed) but revenue just isn’t enough to replicate this one at the moment. Pre-orders have started to go out, and sales are helping to get all this stuff shipped.
Here’s a little smattering of the spots that are on the set. The whole set now available on Amazon here.
Click these to enlarge: