Happy Mid July everyone!
FIRST – In Thunderbean News:
This week was, as most have been, a mix of all sorts of things; lots of projects in progress, working on getting orders out, and especially working on various paperwork and back and forths for several new projects, including a major licensing deal.
• The Blu-ray for Mid-Century Modern 2 should be back from replication this next week, and Mid-Century Modern Volume 1 is well on its way to having revised finishing touches, then it’s off to replication too. The Snappy Video ‘Party’ disc is (basically) all done, and getting sent in the next week.
• The special discs ‘Award Winners’ is done and ‘Cartoon Paradise’ has several ‘last’ films getting scanned next week. We will be shipping these next week if they are dubbed in time. Thanks to everyone that supported and continue to support these projects!
• The Flip the Frog and Rainbow Parade Blu-ray’s are coming right along. More scans are due here this week for both projects. Grotesqueries made huge strides this week in cleanup, menus and getting through a lot of the extra segments. More Stop Motion Marvels has several other films done in cleanup now. The Noveltoons Blu-ray is coming along with several more films now in cleanup, and Cartoon Commercials will be getting some scans this next week as well. The special Screen Songs set is still in progress and still waiting for some films, again.
Other projects are in line waiting for time to work on them. There are more people working on the projects than ever before, and I’m doing my best to not be the inevitable bottleneck as each gets finished. My good friend David Grauman has joined the team part-time again; with all additions there will be eight people working on various titles in these coming weeks. It’s amazing how much work has to go into each project. Summer continues.
And… onto this week’s short: Gay Gaucho (1933)
Pretty frequently I don’t go back and look at the past projects too much, unless I’m running a specific film for my class or wanting to watch a specific cartoon— at least for a while. By the time a set is done you’ve seen the films so many times you have most of each memorized.
As I’ve been working this week, I was running a few soundtracks of various cartoons; one I’ve always loved is the score to Gay Gaucho (1933), a Cubby Bear cartoon animated by the Harman/Ising studio. When we did the reconstruction for the Blu-ray of this cartoon, I hunted for as many prints as possible on this title, and found that that quality varied greatly on all the different prints. In fact, 5 prints were scanned on this title to try to find the best- a new record for these Thunderbean projects, and still holding! The final was an early Official Films TV print that was much sharper than other ‘pretty good’ Official films prints.
For the soundtrack on this version, I used material I had scanned in the early 90s. Back then (for Snappy Video) I had borrowed some reels of 35mm nitrate Van Beuren cartoons. Those reels have sadly long vanished, but I was able to use the very nice soundtrack from those standard definition tape masters for most of the sound on this film (the title and end title were fro 16mm since they were missing on the retitled 35mm print). I’m still thrilled that film collector Ralph Celentano provided this rare print with the original title sequence (it is perhaps a unique copy).
In a post here a couple of years back I suggested that the title sequences for this and the other Harman/ Ising Cubby, ’World Flight’ (also 1933) must have been done at Van Beuren back in New York, and I have to wonder if they misspelled names on purpose of the folks working on the shorts.
I also think it’s funny that Van Beuren listed Harman/Ising, who produced the whole film, as ‘Associate Producers’ in the credits. Of course, the animation and production are up to the usual Harman/ Ising standards—although as in other H/I shorts, there is some reuse of animation from some earlier H/I productions. It’s basically a Bosko cartoon with Cubby..funny enough, both of their girl friends are named Honey. I have to wonder how H/I ended up producing a few shorts. Was it RKO’s idea or Van Beuren’s idea? My guess is that it was RKO.
The score here, by Frank Marsales, is pretty enjoyable with or without the visuals. He had of course scored the other early Looney Toons and Merry Melodies that H/I produced. I’m glad the higher fidelity 35mm track was usable.
Here is Gay Gaucho from the Blu-ray set. Make sure to watch it in HD. Have a great week everyone!