This next week is spring break here, and that means there’s a little extra time to scan some things, organize some things, and, if I’m super lucky, actually finish a title to send off the replication. I’ll reserve Thunderbean news for next week.
As I was going through various hard drives last night trying to find something cool to post today, I managed to find a few scans I had forgotten about as well as taking a little break to watch a Cubby Bear cartoon. These days its been a little rare for me to take the six or seven minutes to watch something “in the can” already, but as it was running, I started enjoying it more and more.
I’ve been working on finishing off the Aesop’s Fables set right now, and what’s pretty clear about the Cubby Bear cartoons is that they’re really trying hard to make cartoons with better personality animation and higher production values. The Last Mail (1933) is the third in the Cubby Bear series. It features Cubby and Honey Bear living probably in the Gold Rush times (possibly even Alaska) in a small town.
Mannie Davis gets the sole credit on the film. My guess is that Davis, as director, was also the lead animator. While other animators are on the film, it appears that Davis is handling Cubby and Honey through much of the film, especially in closer shots— and as one of the best animators at the studio, there’s a really nice solidity and personality to these main characters. Crowd shots are better animated than usual for the studio, as are most other things. The effects are quite nice as well. While not quite to the quality levels of the Fleischer studio at that time, Van Beuren is clearly striving to get there as Cubby leads his squirrel mushing team in scenes more extravagant and better drawn than films from six month’s earlier. The sound synchronization is nicely timed throughout. Overall a very nice production from the studio.
The Cubby Bear cartoons have always been favorites of mine, and it was nice to be able to do the Blu-ray upgrade some years back now. This cartoon is from a lovely, sharp old print lent by Tommy Stathes.
When you have a print this nice, it’s sort of a joy to clean up. We were lucky enough to have almost all the prints on the Cubby set be of similar great quality.
Enjoy the cartoon and make sure to watch in HD! Have a good week everyone!