September 27, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Flip the Frog Restored: “A Chinaman’s Chance” (1932)

First, briefly in Thunderbean News:

It’s been a whole week of mastering various project and sending. We finished the ‘first’ master on a good friend’s project over last weekend; It looked great on the TV here, but for kicks I took a look at it in the auditorium here and was absolutely astonished at how it looked big.

We’re getting there! The Flip the Frog set is looking absolutely fantastic, and, along with a few finishing touches on Grotesqueries, will be going to mastering sooner than later. We’ve started on some bonus features and have started to make the ‘final’ versions of many of the films, compiled from the master picture and sound materials. We’ll be releasing the first disc to the pre-order people since there is going to be at least few more months delay while our recently found materials (in 35mm) are scanned.

Things are still going out; I’ll be in Ottawa for a few days, but do hope on return that the additional finished sets will all be sent. The great hope here is to have *all* the special sets out this year, as well as the Snappy sets and others.

The *biggest* issue with the Flip set is making sure we have as many of the original titles as possible; Between the material at UCLA and other archives, we have 30 of the 38 with their original release title cards.

We know of at least one (Funny Face) that exists that we don’t have, having shown up in a 35mm element on Ebay some years back. Did anyone save a screen shot of that title card? The others that are still missing are missing on *all* the extant master materials at UCLA (we’ve looked at all) and don’t appear to be in the hands of any collectors we know. If *you* have or know of anyone that has any of these with their original MGM titles (in any format) we’d love to scan them. At this point, chances are they won’t show up, but you never know!

*The Music Lesson
*Funny Face
*Coo Coo the Magician
*Techno Cracked
*A Chinaman’s Chance
*Pale Face
*Soda Squirt

Many of the new scans (especially from MGM’s master positives) have extra music before the Flip titles. This music was always removed on reissues, and has been a really fun discovery. Here’s a few more title sequences, including ones with music and one without as well as one with the music on MGM’s master positive sound that didn’t have a master positive MGM picture. Of course, all will be restored and balanced on the final set:

And, as a special treat this week, here is the first restoration we’ve made public: the *almost* finished clean up of A Chinaman’s Chance (1932), with the Celebrity Pictures titles, from one of two known existing 35mm nitrate prints. We’ve actually did cleanup on this film *twice*- once from the preservation element held at the Academy Archive, and again when a nitrate print was discovered in the unlisted master materials. Have a great week everyone!


  • Steve , I’m still interested in a list of all the forthcoming Thunderbean projects, not just Flip the Frog. I know Flip is numero uno in priority, but I’ve lost track of how many video collections you are juggling.

    And Steve, if you’re really busy, I can try to ease things by volunteering my time when I can. Thanks!

  • Any idea when Animated Commercials Vol 2 will be shipping?

    • Rudy: chill out.
      if Steve wasn’t working on these amazing projects, they would NEVER see the light of day.

  • Looks amazing! Can’t wait. Congratulations on a great job! Please keep on searching for the missing ones.

  • ( A Chinaman’s Chance ) –
    That Flip’s looking good!!!

    That’s going to be one amazing set of blu-rays!

  • It’s odd that the M-G-M lion is silent on these title sequences. Fun to see this stuff. I love the stern single-frame instructions to the projectionist at the head of the last couple of sequences.

    • BE EXACT!

  • I really hope these missing titles turn up soon! I cannot wait for the Flip the Frog Blu-Ray, it’s looking incredible so far!

  • As always great weekly updates, Steve. Have a wonderful time at the Ottawa Animation Film Festival. Say hello to Jerry too!.

  • Okay, I’ll come clean: I have a man-crush on Flip. So sue me!

  • Not nearly enough opium-smoking in cartoons these days.

  • At the end, what does the parrot say to the dog?

    • “Vas you dere, Charlie?” (= “Were you there, Charlie?” in pidgin German—catchphrase of Baron Munchausen as portrayed, at the time, by comedian Jack Pearl.)

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