This last week has been progressing nicely. A bunch of ‘special’ sets just got finished, with others close. Three ’official’ sets are in progress right now daily with most of my own time devoted to Flip The Frog. Seeing things scanned from so many sets, including Aesop’s Fables, Stop Motion Marvels, Tom and Jerry, Mid Century Modern 3, and Vintage Education 2 in a short period of time is dizzying, a whirl of things going to different freelancers to clean up while I’m concentrating on Flip details. A few other things came back from scanning this week too, including some things from a project I won’t be talking about until its all done. When I announce it I promise I’ll be properly dressed for the occasion.
There’s never been so many things going on here at the same time. Dave and Becky have been keeping up on all the orders from Amazon and the Thunderbean shop, while Becca has been concentrating on getting all the new special orders dubbed and packed. She was up there until nearly 2am Tuesday night, finishing everything before heading out of town for a week. Vikki finished steadying a bunch of already cleaned up Flips, and they’re looking super spiffy. I’m super happy to have the list of in progress stuff get shorter as other things can start to get worked on.
It was a great surprise today when one of the scanner studios said we could come over to scan a bunch of little pieces from various prints of Flip the Frog cartoons-all things to add back to the films that are usually missing these segments. I was worried I’d have to scan entire prints of each to get these tiny pieces of soundtrack or picture on each!
I’m pretty sure the Flip the Frogs have more versions of the films than any others, each version missing something another has. We’re finally near the end, and the big trick now is to be extra diligent in looking at each— and looking at as many prints as possible to see if there’s anything I missed. Some things were cut by MGM *before* being relased, so using their master positives (or, where they are damaged at least being able to see them) eliminates some of the titles from the list to scrutinize. I think we’re at the point where it’s getting down to the *smallest* things to still do on the project.
I was able to sit in one of the scanner studios for the first time to point out pieces to scan on various prints. Scanning the missing 23 frames of ‘the grab’ from The Circus (1932) was especially fun. There’s a scene missing from most prints where the villain tries to grab a bag from the spinster character. The usual cut has the villain walking over to her followed by a struggle for the purse. Missing from the sequence is a scene of him trying to grab it, with each attempt being mistaken as flirting by the spinster. One of the prints, unearthed by project partner, frog leg and Flip the Frog aficionado David Gerstein, had the flirting sequence intact, and with the help of Tommy Stathes, another print was obtained and lent this past week. So, both pieces are back and will be used to make as complete of a print as possible. It’s a bunch of work for 23 frames (actually a little more with the next shot) but we’re happy to have it! Here’s the ‘flirting’ scene, followed by the ‘grab’ and the spinster yelling ‘help! help!’ missing from nearly every print. Not edited together yet, but you can see how it should look from these two clips. Both these prints were pretty unusual, and I’m so grateful for all the help finding this stuff and putting it back.
This next week, a beautiful (and beautifully smelly) print of Easy Does It will be getting scanned thanks to Craig Davison, A plethora of Van Beuren Tom and Jerrys and other Van Beurens, and more elements on Comi-Colors. I’m having a great summer, but I’m tired!
Speaking of Comi-Colors, I’m not ready to show what we’ve been up to just yet, but thought I’d show something you’ve never seen: a frame of the black and white original neg from Jack Frost. The Comi-Colors were shot with a prism system, so there are two separate color records. Here’s the separations and a frame combined (not the final color correction yet). More on these soon — I promise!
Back to scanning and editing. Sigh. Have a great week everyone!
Ooh, this is getting juicier and juicier each week, and it is interesting that, in some cases, you are getting material that might not have been actually seen by moviegoers when these shorts were originally created! It makes me wonder what other actual studios still have in their vaults under copyright, and they are totally unaware of the snippets…or maybe more collectors from around the world will come forward and want to share and digitize their treasures before the day when those treasures are not even worth owning! Keep up the good work, and I cannot *WAIT* to own this magnificent FLIP THE FROG collection. I also expect good and interestingly surreal things from the next volume of MID-CENTURY MODERN. I certainly enjoy the other two, and I wonder if you can use that FLINTSTONES’ Bush Beer ad that has been circulating on the internet in shabby condition. Surely, someone has to have a decent print of that thing. Most importantly, please take care of yourselves, and watch out for all those nasty chemicals dripping off the decaying film stock that you are trying to save. Nothing is worth losing your life over. You do magnificent work, and I look forward to projects coming to real fruition.
Will the Rainbow Parades Blu-Ray be sold on Amazon.com sooner or later ????
You, David and Tommy deserve the heartfelt thanks and resounding praise of the grateful multitudes. I had never seen the flirting scene before, and now I understand how much the cartoon suffers from its absence. Stalling assigned the Tchaikovsky Humoresque to the spinster as a leitmotif, and the loss of that scene cuts off the theme abruptly at an early point in its initial statement. The flirting also ties in with the ending of the cartoon, where the spinster is indifferent to the return of her handbag but continues to pursue the thief as an object of romance.
As for Jack Frost, it’s a thrill to see that image in all its autumnal Cinecolor glory, lack of final colour correction notwithstanding. How wonderful to see these cartoons treated with such care and reverence after decades of relegation to cheap videos. The ComiColor cartoons vary in quality, but “Jack Frost” proves that Iwerks could create a bona fide classic.
OOh! Mr. Squeeze!
Glad to hear you got that print revived back to the point of it’s “scannable.”
Oh, and it’s D-A-V-I-S-O-N. 😉
Craig – as editor, I have just corrected your name in the text. 👍
I’ve made that mistake before too!! Ugh!!
Steve… You were obviously not dressed appropriately when you posted this.
All is forgiven.
I had a terrific 16mm color print of JACK FROST. Seeing the film one day on TV recolored and with a different music track I felt something was missing besides the original color and sound (it has been part of a package of silent B&@W cartoons recolored in Asia). I put my 16mm print on and looked it it. I had seen the film many times but now for the first time saw wonderful female forms in the trees in the background. Grim Natwick later told me they were his work.
Ironically I spotted them because of their absence!
By the time this film was made the Hays Code and The Legion of Decency were robbing the movies of their vitality. Nice to see Grim and Ub Iwerks slipped this by the censors.
I’ve seen “Jack Frost” many, many times but never noticed those female figures until you mentioned them. They’re beautiful! I didn’t know Grim Natwick ever had a hand in background design.
The clips you posted from “The Circus” and the purse-snatching gag still look incomplete to me. There is an obvious splice in both versions just toward the end of the business where the thief is tickling the old lady’s ass. Perhaps David Gerstein has another print in the hopper with that missing hunk from the scene intact.
Thanks for posting, Mark
There *is* clearly more that isn’t there, but I haven’t been able to find any prints that have the footage! I think I’ve looked at 7 elements all together at this point ( I have two sound prints of the film here myself, plus a silent one, Blackhawk’s 16mm neg and an Collin’s print). I’ve seen your print on the Image collection.
Robert– at this point I think they’ll roll out just fine and I won’t be holding anything back- when it’s done it’s out! There will be more released this year than any we’ve ever had (with the special discs that’s already happened). I think they can breathe off each other just fine as well and am just happy to be getting these to everyone. Rainbow will be back soon from replication, followed by Aesops and Flip and The Stop Motion set, and a few surprises in the works :).
You’re right, Mark—my element and Tommy’s together make something *close* to complete, but there’s still a bit missing.
In Steve’s video above, you can see a splice in my footage at 0:58, prematurely ending the close shot just as the spinster reaches to tickle the pickpocket’s butt. In Tommy’s footage at 1:11, we see the true end of the close shot, as the pickpocket grabs the spinster’s bag, but there’s still something missing between where mine cuts off and Tommy’s resumes; presumably some kind of racy reaction when he gets tickled.
At least between the both of us, we’re got close to half a minute of uncommon footage…
How funny. We’ve been waiting for what feels like years for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to be complete. I get the feeling all these treasures are going to come spilling out at the same time. You could find yourself holding releases back to give each individual project time to breathe and gets it proper promotion in the marketplace. I don’t care how you do it, I’m looking forward to all of them.
The colour in the Jack Frost image is beautiful. Can’t wait to see the finished restoration of it & the other Comi-Colors.
Ooh! Restored Comi-Colors! Any other films by Iwerks we might see in the future?