September 29, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Classic Cartoons return to TCM tonight

“The Farmer And The Cat”

These have been busy weeks, and the good news is that there’s some cool things to look at in the world of classic animation- two on TCM *tonight* and a new Blu-ray from Eric Grayson back from replication.

In very brief Thunderbean news:
I’ve built an *almost complete* master on disc 1 of the Flip the Frog set. I felt like a kid doing a brief run through today at the school. Sharing with a few animation students was pretty cool too. It will be done very soon and getting off to replication.

The intrepid staff toiling at Thunderbean is hunkering down and working on getting special discs out the door over this next few weeks. We’re all grateful for all the support over these years, helping make the official sets happen as well as scan a lot of things that otherwise wouldn’t have been.

In TCM / Cartoons on Film news:

I’ve been working with Tommy Stathes along with a small cleanup crew over the summer (and especially in these last few weeks) to finish cleanup and restoration on a series of films. Tommy made some of these priorities for a special showing on TCM— and that special showing is tonight!

The program blocks start with “Before Mickey Mouse” (1982), presented by Cartoons on Film. This one hour documentary, concentrating on silent animated films and their creators, was the first of its kind. Filmmaker Ronald Schwarz chose great examples of early animation for presentation, and this film was many people’s first exposure to silent animation. I enjoyed working with Tommy on presenting this in HD for the first time as close as it was originally produced as possible. It’s showing at 5:30 EST/ 2:30 PST.

Cartoons on Film created a short preview of the show:

The second hour long program is “Century Animation Showcase- 1922” presented by Cartoons on Film. It features eight cartoons released one hundred years ago. The show has many highlights. The silent Disney “Bremen Town Musicians”, an early Laugh-O-Gram, isn’t an uncommon film, but this particular showing really is. Becca Smith and Ciara Waggoner did a great job cleaning the film up (along with some help from myself) so it looks nicer than you’ve seen it—but the real highlight is the soundtrack. Tireless researcher David Gerstein, along with Tommy Stathes managed to find the nearly-lost 1929 reissue soundtrack for the film, and Dave carefully synced it for this presentation. It’s an incredible find and probably hasn’t been seen with this track since then. In addition, two Out of the Inkwell cartoons are presented with their 1930 reissue tracks, thanks also to Mr. Gerstein. David Grauman and I worked on many of the other films presented, and are happy to have contributed. I’ll leave the rest of the program as a surprise, but it’s a really fun watch. It starts at 6:45 EST/ 3:45 PST.

Earl Hurd’s “Fresh Fish” – 31 years before “Duck Amuck”!

In additional news:

Eric Grayson’s Cinema Gems from the Vault of Dr. Film is now back from replication. It’s a great little disc, with animation and live action shorts, including one of my favorite films of all time- a tour of Disney Christmas displays from 1934. It also features ‘Bungle in the Jungle”, a super rare Jerky Journeys cartoon, Willis O’ Brien stop motion animation and Monsters of the Moon, a nearly-lost demo reel for a Sci-Fi feature that never made it into production, along with many more.

It’s available on Amazon or here at Dr. Film’s website.

Have a good week everyone!


  • This makes me wish, not for the first time, that TCM was available in my country. The Cartoon Roots collections have shown me that silent cartoons can be very entertaining, especially when accompanied by a good musical score. All the best for the showing tonight!

    • Amen to that,Paul….TCM in the UK seems to subsist on a diet of lesser known Westerns, almost all from the 50s and 60s, and therefore, in colour… even the more well known classics in other genres are pushed to the edges for multiple repeats of about 50 or so films, although when I complained to them, they insisted that their current library had over 5000 films( probably true) and that all were given equal air time, though they didn’t specify over what time scale….. it does seem that whatever they have rights to at any particular time don’t turn up on streaming services often or at all…..

  • Cannot wait for Tommy’s show today. Happily will be watching today. Just the way to celebrate silent day too, as Tommy’s lineups always please!

  • On one of the Cartoons of Film documentaries on TCM today, there was a great cartoon that involved fireworks in a box – among MANY other things. Does anybody know who did that one? Thanks.

    • That was the “Out of the Inkwell” cartoon “The Birthday”, by Max Fleischer.

  • Looking forward to Cinema Gems. Great to hear it won’t be long now.

    I could watch TCM if I had cable, but I never will, so I wish TCM were available streaming a la carte. Unfortunately the only way to get it is with a package deal that replicates cable. Oh well, here’s hoping for the future.

  • I remember seeing “Before Mickey Mouse” back in the eighties. I think it was on A&E, back when it was an arts and performance channel. The 2022 showcase had some exceptional cartoons as well. I was surprised by the use of live-action on “Felix Makes Good” and especially “Fresh Fish”, which had some clever interaction scenes on par with the two “Out of the Inkwell” shorts shown. Congratulations on you and Tommy on a piece of excellent programming!

  • Among the half dozen or so subscriptions I have I don’t have one that carries Turner Classic Movies. Could I add ANOTHER subscription and get it? Probably, but I need to prune the ones I have now before I start adding others. I live rural and right now I use an antenna to get OTA from 40-50 miles away and my Starlink for internet and online streaming. I wish I could just buy and download series like this.

  • Late Post-Presentation Comment:

    Watched all of it, and it was a heckuva lot of fun. The documentary “Before Mickey Mouse” was excellent. Hope it’ll come out soon on DVD. At the beginning, there is a screen that explains that no restoration was attempted, and no newly-restored versions shown, of the cartoons in the documentary, leaving them as they were in 1982. (That would have been too much work!) Picture quality on some of the early cartoons, therefore, is a tad bit rough, but still viewable. (Especially the two very early ones by J. Stuart Blackton: “The Enchanted Drawing,” 1900, and “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces,” 1906.)

    The documentary is mostly vintage cartoons, with some narration describing the pioneering cartoon studios (Bray, Fleischer Bros., Paul Terry, Pat Sullivan, etc.). An “Animated Grouch Chaser” was shown, but I already can’t remember which one!

    Tommy Stathes chose a bunch of cartoons solely from 1922, one hundred years ago. A couple of Felixes (“Felices?”) (“Felix Fifty-Fifty” and another I can’t remember); a brace of Koko the Clowns (“Modelling” and “The Mechanical Doll”), a 1922 vintage “Aesop’s Film Fable” by Paul Terry (“Henry’s Busted Romance,” featuring Henry the Cat), and others I disremember. The cartoons keep going through my head. I think Mr. Stathes covered all, or nearly all, of the important cartoon series and studios of the early 1920s.

    Tip of the hat to all involved. Lotsa fun to watch.

  • I don’t got cable, but aren’t half of these on YouTube…?

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