November 21, 2013 posted by

Comparison Study: “Toy Time” and “Silvery Moon”

It’s been a bonus features sort of week here, working nearly around the clock.

As I’m gathering and compiling materials for bonus features on some of the new DVDs, I find that I’ve been thinking about some of the bonus features that were the most fun to put together on past DVDs. Doing bonus features has been an opportunity to do some things I always wanted to do, and one of them was to do a side-by-side comparison between a musical sequence in the Van Beuren cartoon Toy Time (1931) and Silvery Moon (1933).

The studio had some reuse of animation in both the silent and sound eras, especially in dances and perspective run cycles. I think this is the only sequence that reuses animation so extensively. They likely could have gotten away with a lot more reuse I think. I really enjoy this little happy sequence in both cartoons, and especially like the candy cane swallowed on Silvery Moon.

Both sequences use the same recording of The Siamese Patrol (Siamesische Wachtparade) by Paul Lincke, famous German composer, originally as a gift to the King of Thailand at the turn of the century.

Chris Buchman created many of the extensive bonus features on the Thunderbean Aesops Fables DVD, where this sequence is from. He found a recording from the turn of the century for the set. WIth a little digging you can find that version on the net as well.

Oh.. also, related to last week’s post, Horse Cops (1931, Van Beuren) seems to have been partially animated by Les Elton. Charlie Judkins put a decent copy of the film, and noted Elton’s touch. See for yourself, especially the second half, starting at about 3:00:


  • Yeah, I definitely see some similarities between this and “Monkey Doodles” in that short.

  • speaking of Van Beuren cartoons that reused animation, “A Cat-Fish Romance” from 1932 at about 2 min 13 sec reuses a scene from an earlier Van Beuren cartoon, “The Haunted Ship” from 1930. the scene appears to be neither redrawn nor re-filmed; they seem to have simply spliced the old scene into the new film.

    “A Cat-Fish Romance” is my favorite Van Beuren cartoon, and I would deem it a near perfect cartoon. it’s only flaw being the reuse of an old scene.

    couldn’t find “”A Cat-Fish Romance” online, but here is “The Haunted Ship” …

  • Great Blog! (Enjoy them all.)

  • It has always been puzzling to me as to why some studios reused animation around this time. Van Buren wasn’t the only culprit here. I’ve found that Harman and Ising reused animation quite a bit, even at MGM studios during the elaborate HAPPY HARMONIES era in the later 1930’s. I believe you can see some of the same toys show up in both “THE PUPS’ CHRISTMAS” and “ALIAS ST. NICK”. Wish I could do my own side-by-side comparison, but I’m sure that a search on You Tube can bring up both cartoons. Neither one made it to the fantastic laserdisc box on the HAPPY HARMONIES and MGM cartoons collection from Hugh and Rudy, but they’re around, somewhere. Also, I’d swear that some animation is reused in an interesting way. There is a gag in “BOSKO AND THE CANNIBALS” that is similar to a gag that happens in “POOR LITTLE ME” (I’m referring to the part in which Stinky, the skunk, jumps up and down on the bobcat’s head, shmushing his face in the mud while he is singing “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You”). Bosko leaps up and down on the head of the King Cannibal while he’s yowling the “Gramma’s Cookies” song. It is as if they reused cells and merely replaced one set of characters with another. With the incredible amount of detail in these cartoons, I think I can accept a little “cheating” when it comes to a scene or two. Here’s to Hugh and Rudy!

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