A little less serious of a tone this week and something really fun to watch!
Putting any large project together always has its trials and tribulations, especially if you want to do a really good job of it. To try to produce these various collections of old animation is a trail of hunting this or that down, then at the end just as you think you’re done there’s issues with this or that that you want to be a *little* better. This is when having really helpful friends and collaborators comes into the picture the most.
On the Stop Motion Marvels, Volume 1 set we’re open the cusp of being done with. As of now, the whole disc is together and looking good overall, but I’ve asked to borrow back a short film from my friend and essential collaborator Mark Kausler to get it *just a little* better. It’s the little stop motion “Camel” cigarette ad from the late 40s. It’s just a work print, and its hard to say if this film was ever really finished. Mark truly has preserved animation and animation history that otherwise may not have been by making sure that the rarest things stay in his hands as they would in an archive – in his quiet way he’s honestly been “Most Valuable Player” in both his incredible collection and generosity to use things that no one else had saved. I can’t understate that.
We posted this film a little while back from the first scan. It looks as if they were trying to make an internal sales film. I thought the camel looks a lot like something that Lou Bunin would make, although other aspects say otherwise, including the fact that the film was made in Los Angeles. For our part in presenting it, happily scanner access and prices have improved since we did the first scan on this years back— and I think a Laser Graphics scan will make it just that much better. It was dropped off today out in Burbank and getting scanned tomorrow. There’s also a couple of other short commercials I’ve dropped off to do a Laser Graphics scan on out here in Michigan.The set is otherwise completely built with menus and the commentaries and I honestly couldn’t be happier about that.
Having gotten as far as I could on that project turned attention back to our old friend Flip I dusted the drive off (from the dust-free room I keep the 142 hard drives) and pulled it out of the closet today. The amazing researcher/publisher Dave Gerstein just turned in one of the finished bonus features tonight. I honestly wouldn’t have shared it this week, but he suggested we show it now — and its really cool, so here we go! Devon Baxter has been a great collaborator on these bonus features as well.
I have to mention how patient Film Preservation Associates has been in watching our Flip the Frog project stretch out to years. It’s been a ton of work and involves more collaborators than any other project- but to paraphrase the cow in Iwerks’ Jack and the Beanstalk: “We can take it!”
It’s really amazing that there’s storyboards from *any* Flip the Frog cartoon still around. The copies of these sketches are, again, courtesy of Mark Kausler. He and Dave (with some help from Devon) have done a lovely job of making this bonus feature possible.