Happy Mid July everyone!
FIRST – In Thunderbean News:
Here’s a report of everything in progress here right now:
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!
God, H and I loved, LOVED using that gorilla dance, didn’t they?
He also appeared on Bakshi’s Christmas in Tattertown.
The usual Hollywood mixing of Latin/Spanish tropes is visible here. The gauchos (Argentine cowboys, basically) wear faux-Spanish hats (with the little balls), Honey does a Spanish-style dance (with castanets), and wears a peineta (comb) etc. The little dog (?) at the bar and the main bandit wear Mexican sombreros. Also, I could be wrong, but are there cacti in Argentina? We do get a little tango, though. Actually, maybe this isn’t even supposed to take place in Argentina, despite the “gaucho” title. The opening song is “Quiéreme Mucho” (“Cuando me quiere de veras…) written by a Cuban (Gonzalo Roig), which became a hit in the USA as “Yours” (with translated lyrics).
Very cool info; I always wondered the name of the song in the film. It is what you would expect from Hollywood in the 30s (and, honestly, into the 60s…) in terms of portrayals of “Mexico”. Likely informed mostly by other Hollywood pictures, and magazines.
When I started collecting 16mm film, this was one of the first cartoons I bought. It sadly has a vinegar smell, but still runs through the projector okay. It’s one of the best Cubby Bear cartoons!
I’m glad to hear that there is some great progress on all of these projects! The only one I’m curious about now is the Little King Blu-Ray, anything new on that front?
Again, thanks for all you do for us vintage animation fans! Thursdays are always made better with Thunderbean Thursday!
Were never going to see Flip, Rainbow Parades or Novelto9ns, are we? They never seem to be any closer to being done
I know it can be frustrating waiting for these, but Steve has never let us down. Scanning film is expensive, especially in HD. Then there’s the cleanup. I personally helped do a little of the final cleanup for the Cubby Bear Blu-Ray set. I was there for about 6-7 hours, and got through approximately only one minute of footage!
It has to be taken into account too the scope of these projects. The Flip the Frog project is pretty ambitious, and I believe Steve may still be attempting to locate some original titles for the shorts. Same with the Rainbow Parades. Seeing as these sets may be the absolute final word on physical releases for these cartoons, Steve really wants the BEST versions of these on the sets, and I for one am grateful for this attention to detail.
We may have to wait a little longer as unforeseen challenges arise, but we will eventually get an excellent product with the best possible versions of these cartoons. Just be patient!
Don’t worry John –
try to bear in mind that when they are complete they will undoubtedly be the best they can possibly be;
these will be fantastic discs
& will probably be the definitive versions for a long time –
& the wait will have been more than worth it.
Plus they will be further enhanced by those somewhat unquantifiable qualitys of love & respect for the films
( as well as attention to detail & so on ) which the Thunderbean team are ladleing on by the scoop full!
Scott has covered a lot of what I just said ( & a whole lot more also ) –
I hadn’t read it before posting as it was posted while I was writing my own comment.
Great Zombie Jesus, John, give Steve a break!!
This isn’t the ‘Warner Archive’. It’s a fellow fan sweating blood to preserve an area in film history that would turn to dust (or vinegar) otherwise.
I wonder if John David is frustrated / concerned because he’s already paid in advance long ago for those DVDs??
Was he originally called Cubby Bear or Brownie Bear, because in this “Gay Gaucho” short he’s named Brownie Bear on the title card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfAzquQBAA4
Official Films dubbed Cubby Bear as “Brownie Bear” for their home movie releases.
They also renamed Tom and Jerry as “Dick and Larry.”
Because of reasons.
Never rush people. Give them the time needed to do it right.
All these sets have been in production for years, and probably wont even be released this year. How much more tume dies he need?
I’m very disappointed by all this. These sets are always “making progress”, but we never get specifics, or an update of how close they are to completion or an ETA of delivery. Am I crazy for being frustrated?
a couple of years back or so Steve did give us ETAs for various projects:
Most of these proved to be overly optimistic, so I’m guessing he may have decided it’s best not to potentially disappoint customers in that way –
& personally I prefer it that way;
ie progress updates but the final completion date only indicated when it’s fairly close at hand.
I can see how it might worry you that there’s no set completion date,
I supppose everyone has their own attitude to these things, but as others have said; patience is a friend.
Right. If one has actually read Steve’s numerous updates on the Flip project the daunting scope of challenge it presents is pretty clear: locating and obtaining numerous film elements for numerous cartoons from almost literally anywhere, inspecting and scanning them to evaluate quality, completeness and other variations is just the beginning. In many cases it sounds like multiple elements from different sources need to be combined as seamlessly as possible to wind up with the most complete, accurate and best quality version. And all this without the kind of financial and technical resources of a major entertainment mega-corporation. None of which would even think of undertaking such a task for this material. Why this takes so much time is pretty clear to me.
I think it’s very possible that the Harman and Ising studio had already planned to contract with RKO once they dissolved their business arrangement with Schlesinger in early 1933. They produced three Cubby films , but it sounds like the third never saw release, possibly because Van Beuren got ticked when he was more or less dumped by H & I after they landed a far more lucrative deal with MGM. Their Cubby films contrast greatly with the earlier RKO product, one wonders what might have been had RKO and Van Beuren not lost out. On the other hand, from a historical and artistic perspective, Harman and Ising made the right choice, their ambitions now had an ample budget to support them.
Are we going to see any stills from Cartoon Commercials Vol. 2 anytime soon ???
Well, Cubby is no Flip, but he’s interesting.
Just call him Bosko Bear here.
Great ‘toon! Love this sort of Fleischeresque surrealism. After watching Barking Dogs on the VB Classics set and now this one, I can’t wait to watch the rest of Cubby on his complete set that should be showing up any day now.
Thank you for the project update!
Craig Davidson thanks for the info.
We can ALL forgive you the long delay for Flip The Frog if you can release copies of the 4 Talkartoons that no one has been able to see for decades…especially Accordion Joe 1930 with an early appearance of Betty Boop as an Indian and the other three: Ace Of Spades, Marriage Wows, In the Shade of the Old Apple Sauce
IN THE SHADE OF THE OLD APPLE SAUCE has no existing elements, as of now. Here’s hoping!
Did you notice ,,,Rudolph IsLing ?
..and McKinson! I think it’s on purpose…