July 5, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Fireworks, “A Busy Day” and the usual Thunderbean Updates!

It’s hot as heck in Michigan right now where I live, I’ve been enjoying taking breaks from getting yard work and outside stuff finally done there too after being a slave to Thunderbean.

Earlier today I was looking back through scans of things we haven’t used on an ‘official’ set and saw Sammy Salvage (1943) by Ted Eshbaugh. Since it’s still within the window of the 4th of July (and since there’s a pretty good change you are still hearing leftover fireworks your neighbors were too drunk to set off yesterday) it’s an appropriate short to watch. I’m always a little sad watching all those happy metal characters marching to their own doom, but it’s for the war effort!

I feel like the weekly progress report here sometimes just sounds like a rehash, but lots of things are going on. I think at some point I’ll always have a smaller section. We’re working on getting various projects out the door, with good help from lots of friends as well as an expanded (but still small) team. I’m working this week with Chris Buchman on the blu-ray edition of Grotesqueries, and we’ve added a few new things that I’m working on. Most of the set is already cleaned up now, and I’ll be working on menus and their graphic elements this week. Porting a formerly standard definition project up to Blu-ray requires a lot of rework, but the additional quality is worth the time.

Some Noveltoons were finished this week, more Flip the Frogs, and our own Devon Baxter joins the Thunderbean restoration team this next week, working on Flip the Frog digital restoration. We’re waiting to upgrade one section of Mid Century Modern 1 and then it is out the door to replication. The Snappy Video Party Disc is now finished, and it’s a debate to have it available on Amazon or not! Another title is scheduled to be finished next week as well.

With production of new materials, orders and pre-orders being fulfilled, it’s been really busy. We finally caught up with sending everything that’s done here. Having the extra help around is making a big difference; thanks to all that have helped make that happen through promotion and purchases.

To help fund the upcoming replication costs on the new titles, we’ve been putting together another ’special’ set called ‘I’m No Fool for IB Tech’ available for a week. Since I forgot to mention it here on Cartoon Research, I’m making it available for an additional week. Details are here on the IAD forum.

As of now, all the ‘official’ titles that Thunderbean offers are replicated; the titles that were dvd-rs are now retired. Some of those sets I do hope to revisit someday in the future.

And now — a cartoon!

Back in 2014, I wrote a little about Beauty Shoppe (1939/40) from Cartoon Films, Ltd, the studio Ub Iwerks owned after parting with Celebrity Productions. Here’s that post with a fairly good explanation of the history of these shorts.

Since Cultoons, Volume 3 is now retired, I thought it would be fun to add another ‘Gran’ Pop’ to the viewing here. The second in the series is A Busy Day (released 1940). The transfer here was a rental print owned by Modern Sound Pictures that I bought from them in the early 90s. I always thought it was especially odd one, and really reminds me a lot of the Columbia Color Rhapsody shorts that Cartoon Films, Ltd. made. As Yowp noted in the messages four years back, these cartoons were completed at the end of 1938, and it wasn’t until 1940 that Monogram seems to have released them, to very little fanfare if any.

This cartoon has lots of clever mechanical devices throughout, and gags around machinery. I wonder if Iwerks particularly liked adding those sorts of situations to the story work on these films at this point, or if he was a little more hands-off creatively. Have a good week everyone!


  • Congratulations to Devon in joining the Thunderbean team.

  • THANK YOU Thunderbean! You solved an old, old mystery for me! When I was but a lad, my grandfather had an old calendar that hung in his basement, with pictures of what I know know to be Gran Pop Monkey illustrations by Lawson Wood! Your “Beauty Shop” post from 2014 led me do do a Google image search for Lawson Wood and it showed me all of the pictures I remember!

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that Thurl Ravenscroft as the off screen narrator in Sammy Salvage?

    • I think you’re right!

      One random and completely inconsequential thought I had watching those pots and pans march to the furnace: some of them are porcelain-coated. Could those be recycled?

    • I’m not so sure that’s Ravenscroft. By 1943, I believe he was already in the Air Force somewhere in the Pacific; and at any rate he and his (then) group, the Sportsmen, had been living and working in California (the Jack Benny program, cartoons for Warners, movie appearances at Universal and elsewhere) while Eshbaugh was in NYC. Also, the voice doesn’t have quite the warmth Ravenscroft always had.

  • An interesting article about war scrap drives and their effectiveness:

    in short: collected iron and steel were certainly well utilized; kitchen fats: yes; ….but all that collected paper, aluminum and rubber—not so much.

  • Will the few cartoons Iwerks did after closing his own studio be included as special features on the final Comi-Color Blu-ray volume? Feels like it would be appropriate. 🙂

    • In this connection, I’d love to see a Thunderbean collection of all of Iwerks’ Color Rhapsody toons made for Columbia.

    • Oh, man… if Wikipedia is correct, Iwerks directed a whopping 16 shorts in that series: Didn’t realize it was that many. In that case, yeah, a separate collection might make more sense.

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