A particularly busy week here at the Thunderbean HQ, full of news. More on SOME of this news next week, as well as some new transfers.
But for now, another romp down memory lane. The topic for this week is: What do we all want and why, anyway??!?!
When I was a kid, I remember really wanted the ‘Polavision’ Camera and Projector I saw advertised. You could shoot super 8 film, and then rewind the film and play it- instantly!
Now, of course, as a 9 year old in 1977, there wasn’t such thing as ‘taping’ cartoons on TV, so when I saw this new technology, I was astonished. I have dreams of taping Toyland Premiere (1934) when it ran on rare occasion between the other cartoons that were part of the Woody Woodpecker show. To me, the whole purpose of getting the camera wasn’t to make my own films, it was to somehow have that ONE film, filming it with that Polaroid System. Considering what I do these days, maybe, in some ways, we still are who we are through and through. I really wouldn’t have been able to tell you this would be some kind of life obsession, to find that rare film, whatever it is.
Here’s an article about ‘Polavision’ and it’s failure (it showed up at the dawn of consumer VHS and Beta video). And here’s a youtube video on how to take the film out of a Polavision cartridge.
So, throughout my early years of collecting films, there were films that I very clearly just wanted to see, and others that I wanted a copy of. I’ve talked a little about some of the collector magazines that finally gave me a window into the film collecting world. There were ads for many of the super 8 and 16mm film companies that sold mostly public domain films. Many of these companies only had a classified ad at the back for a free catalog. From these ads, I got catalogs from L/C Films, Festival Films, Blackhawk, Thunderbird Films, Cantaberry Films, Red Fox Films and others.
L/C films was one of the coolest; they sold USED super 8mm films; a new list every month or so. I was enthralled! I bought all sorts of incredible things from them and finally got to see so many films I thought I never would, all in Super 8. I also was able to buy some films I had always wanted, including Babes in Toyland (with Laurel and Hardy), prints of Van Beuren and early silent cartoons, and even Hoppity goes to Town and Gulliver’s Travels. L/C films turned into Pepperland Records, then Pepperland Music. They’re still in business I think here.
Here’s an article on Blackhawk Films, with some catalogs too!
As time progressed and I went on to discovering that you could find a LOT more in 16mm, my interest in super 8 faded. I think a lot of folks still have fondness for Super 8 films; on occasion I’ll still find one at a film show and pick it up. I recently finally got a replacement print of the Ken Films cutdown of ‘Flaming Guns’.
Many of the things I’ve really wanted have shown up, but isn’t it funny how the quest leads you deeper into the woods the more you look? I’ve seen other people’s lists, and what is funny is that these days nearly ALL of us are looking for the rarest of the rare, but not all the SAME rarest of the rare. There’s still so many things that have just not show up. I’m at the point where certain REALLY rare things are the most interesting to me, or being able to bring a whole series back if possible. Sometimes the road to do this sort of thing is really bumpy, but, in my case at least, it’s very much related to that Polavision Projector above.
Here are some cartoons from super 8mm prints:
A little music video, put together from what appears to be a Russian cartoon:
A print of Tom and Jerry in Mouse Trouble, sadly turning red:
…a youtube favorite; someone showing off their collection. I was pretty charmed by this. It reminds me how much I loved the tactile nature of films:
Here’s a slick presentation of one collector’s collection, with awesome music!
… and a cool collection of boxes!
And, since Felix seems to be in the news, here’s an 8mm print of Felix in Hollywood, where his new residence is, at least in a intellectual property sort of way:
Since I get to do this, I’m inviting you to as well. Tell a story about how a piece of the past has led to your interest in animated films, or maybe a memory of a quest to see a particular thing…