December 24, 2015 posted by

Christmas Eve at Cartoon Research!


First, I want to wish everyone here a happy holiday, however you celebrate! This particular virtual gathering place is the next best thing to having cartoon folks gathered together. It would be nice to have more shows that gather folks in different parts of the country, wouldn’t it?

On the Cartoon Research front:

Around this time of year I always spend some time thinking about community and family, and the now somewhat mature internet is a place of very specific communities, and, happily, this one is an especially friendly and helpful community. In a way, a collective animation preservation family. I was thinking earlier today about how much I personally enjoy that there’s both a place to present films as well as share information about cartoons and their creators. From a community standpoint, the collective brain trust that gathers here frequently are people that know more- and care more- about many of these films than maybe anyone alive- and I sincerely appreciate and feel honored to be a part of what has become a favorite spot on the internet about classic animation.

On the Thunderbean front:

I also really appreciate a forum to talk a little about producing projects related to classic animation. Many of the projects we’re considering doing and have done come directly from the discussions here. The small entity that is Thunderbean exists because there’s just enough critical mass to support some of the titles the company takes on, and I hope to be able to continue to expand it, at a comfortable pace, and take on more projects. I do hope to expand to stores this next year, as well as taking on more licensed films and series. I had hoped to have even more titles finished this past year, but found that is was most important to make them as good as I could with the resources we have. Even though they took longer than I had hoped, I’m very happy that they’ve been well-received. There are seven titles in some sort of progress here right now, with several more in negotiations. The live action ‘Abbott and Costello Rarities’ set is next. There will be more, and an expanded list of projects in progress will be announced soon. With five Blu-ray titles now finished, the goal this next year is to produce at least that many new titles, but we’ll see how the year goes!

Even though this is Cartoon Research, I don’t have any *actual* research this week, but I do have some cartoons to show! Since it’s Christmas Eve day, we need a bunch of Christmas cartoons right this very minute! I thought it would be nice to present some of the recent transfers done for Yuletide Flickers – and one live-action film, and a classic Disney short in HD. Thanks again to everyone for supporting these efforts!


First, Here is Santa’s Surprise – a 1947 Noveltoon featuring Little Audrey (her first appearance). While frequently seen, it’s not often seen transferred from a beautiful old 35mm IB technicolor print. Thanks to Paul Mular for lending this print for transfer. Make sure to watch in HD.

More original Technicolor! Here’s Santa’s Workshop (1932). While recently featured here in ‘Baxter’s Breakdowns’ I thought it would be nice to show a transfer of an original Technicolor print. This print is from the mid-50s, and features the re-issue Mickey head at the beginning.

Here’s a little film produced for Australian television. Krazytoons, that lovable entity that seems to have copied films from lots of sources and made a giant TV package, is responsible for this short appearing here. Thanks to animation writer and collector Jeff Missinne for lending the print.

Lastly, two little shorts.. The first one is the animated Santa Claus is Coming. This print is about 40 feet in 16mm, silent, sold as a little toy home movie. Who knows who produced it, but my guess is that it was a little theatre tag in its first incarnation, perhaps in the silent or early sound era. Maybe it was made just for the home movie market. The style doesn’t seem obvious to me at all. If anyone have any idea who made this, please make a comment!

The second is a live action short featuring a little animation, from 1922! A Visit from St. Nicolas appears to be a rare print indeed. The films and title cards are courtesy of Chris Buchman, who also did a really nice job editing a musical track for both of these silent shorts.

Merry Christmas and Holidays to everyone!


  • Happy Holidays to everyone, and to you Steve. Here’s to a better and brighter 2016.

  • Hi Steve, about the “Abbot and Costello Rarities”. I sure hope it will include the complete (and I mean it) episode from the “Colgate Comedy Hour” in which they meet the Frankenstein’s Monster and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The episode circulate in truncate form, in fact..

  • A Happy Christmas Eve to all!

  • My grandma had that 50’s reissue version of “Santa’s Workshop” on video. Good thing your print has the often deleted Mammy scene. Merry Christmas!

  • Hi Steve! I have a few Christmas odd reels from Castle Films, one of them being the hard-to-find title called “Christmas Cartoon”.

    I have this on 8mm and it is completely silent. Last year, you’ve featured an early print of “Christmas Cartoon” from about 1937 or so in which Castle Films was first issued, it never caught on. So Castle decided to released “Christmas Cartoon” again 5 years later in 1942 where it featured live action scenes where the family was ready for Christmas, and Santa never came. So they brought in a projector and a screen for everyone to watch this cartoon. The name of this one was a Terrytoon from 1933 called “Toyland”. After watching the cartoon, the family opening the window and the people caroling through a window and wished the audience a Merry Christmas. This film is rare, and you don’t find these anymore. There was also a 16mm sound version of “Christmas Cartoon” which is also hard to find, but I might as well let alone with the silent print on 8mm.

    If you have not seen this 1942 Castle Films release of “Christmas Cartoon”, here it is.

    Here is a portion of this cartoon in sound form, but this is all they have. It’s from “Christmas Cartoon”.

    Hope you’ll have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

    • Hello…

      Both the late 30’s ‘Christmas Cartoon’ AND the later version appear on the Yuletide Flickers. The cartoon on the earlier one is the silent ‘5 orphans of the storm. On the sound version of the 30s short, they added a soundtrack. On the silent version, there’s stop motion footage of toys. We didn’t use this silent footage but may on the final version of this disc, but we synced their soundtrack to the silent version of the short. We also used Castle’s wrap around footage of the family to present the ‘Finale’ section of the disc, with the family setting up the screen and showing a film. We couldn’t use ‘Toyland’ since it’s not Public Domain… Merry Christmas all!

  • Merry Christmas Steve! I loved the 1922 theatre advert; I actually found that film on a Something Weird DVD sometime ago, that had a very Van Beuren-ish soundtrack to it. Any idea who made it?

    PS- Is it just me or does it seem pretty similar to this obscure Loan Ranger cartoon?

  • Merry Christmas, Steve. And I hope Mr. Bug is in the New Year.

  • Wonderful to see “Santa Claus Is Coming” in beautiful Thunderbean quality. I’ve had a print for at least 40 years, but it’s a murky Home Movie Wonderland dupe they threw into a package as a “freebie” way back then. Mine has the soundtrack from the last minute or so of the Little King “Christmas Night/Pals,” starting from the shout of “Hip! Hip! Hurray!” under the main title. Funny thing is it damn near works. The earliest mention I’ve been able to find of this item is a 1943 ad; here’s a link…

  • I See that the special star opening is cut off on the noveltoon you posted. Steve can you please upload more Paramount cartoons with original titles they look great.

  • “Santa’s Surprise” needs to be fully restored, including all the SCREEN SONGS from 1946-1951. All including the NTA prints from some Polacolor titles and the UMMTV versions of “The Lone Star State” and “Winter Draws On.”

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