December 29, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Happy (almost) New Year and “Happy Holidays” (1940)

On the Thunderbean front:

It’s coming… I swear!! It’s almost here!

While my time is divided into many projects at the same time right now, I’ve found we’re so close on several that it’s actually fun to pick up small pieces on them and tweak as they get ready. As things get in order and I look at the schedule over these next months I’m actually relaxed even as things ramp up. The small staff of freelancers is really doing great and handling details well. I couldn’t hope for a better group of dedicated professionals that know what to look for and care about the work.

While my personal albatross is currently a frog (!), there is good news; he’s ready to leap as soon as *one more thing* shows up here now that all the other tweaks are done. As I’ve gone through the set checking it, I’m just thrilled at how nice everything is looking. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done as a company so far, and if there’s any good that has come from the set taking so long it’s that technology has improved since we started, making the scanning, cleanup and sound to a really nice level. In the end, the work we’ve done to make these things look good shouldn’t be noticed… they should look really nice and the work put into the films should shine. While I’m very proud of the team that worked on this release, the real stars of the set are the people that made these little films in the first place. The best thing of all is knowing people will be enjoying them. It will be the first release of the year, in January.

The coming year has many exciting projects in the works. I think it will be the best year so far in terms of releases with so many things close to being done. Here’s a short breakdown of the ones in progress that will be released in 2023. Others will likely be as well, but let’s stick with the certain ones for now!

The Van Beuren Studio takes center stage early in the year with two sets:

The Little King set is making major progress right now. We’ve been able to find pretty decent prints of the series and have been working diligently on cleaning them up. There’s only four left to do now so we’re a matter of weeks from mastering if all goes well.

• The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set isn’t far behind. Having so much great help on these right now is really making a huge difference in getting closer to finishing the sets. I’ve got a great group of folks working on both these projects as they round the next corners.

And, of course, the special sets continue to get finished…..

Over the summer several more sets will be ready:

Rainbow Parades, Volume 2 has the second half of the series, all in Technicolor and all from the 35mm IB Technicolor prints that are the master materials at UCLA. There’s a bunch scanned already and some in cleanup. I hope all can be scanned by the end of January.

• The films we haven’t scanned yet for the Ub Iwerks’ Comi-Color set will be scanned early in the year, thanks to support from ASIFA-Hollywood and the great staff at Blackhawk films. These sets (volume 1 and 2) will be almost entirely from the camera negs.

• There’s quite a few other projects well in the works, including Lou Bunin’s Alice and another that’s especially near and dear to me. I’m shutting up about it and other things until they’re replicated, hopefully this year, but when the box of replicated Blu-rays arrives here at this small farmhouse, I’ll make sure I’m properly dressed for the occasion.

Additional non-Thunderbean stuff in progress:

• Tommy Stathes’ Cartoons on Film sets are moving along as well, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the next few releases as they get closer. The material I’ve seen recently is really looking beautiful.

• Thunderbean is working on some of the Fleischer restorations this year as well. Four of the Inkwell Imps are currently in progress here and looking fantastic from 35mm master materials.

I’m so grateful for the small classic animation community that reads these weekly posts and supports these projects. Seeing so many projects coming to fruition and seeing the possibilities grow with more and more interest in classic animation is heartening. It’s great seeing it stretching beyond us super-die hard fans. Forward momentum keeps everything going, and we’re committed to working hard this year to increase access to classic animation. Thanks to all for keeping the faith, not only in what we’re doing, but large and small companies and individuals who help move all these things forward.

For the latest in what’s going on at Thunderbean, please check this column every Thursday. And visit the Thunderbean Store.

Well… not Scrappy actually… but Oopy is in it!

And, onto this week’s cartoon: Happy Holidays (Phantasy, 1940)

I was visiting Tommy Stathes and borrowing some cartoons to scan, and he mentioned this particular cartoon. I had a print years back, but I’m pretty sure it’s one I tossed due to advanced vinegar syndrome.It seemed like a fun cartoon to end the year with here, so here it is from Tommy’s 16mm print. The sound on this particular cartoon isn’t printed this best (as it was on my print as well) so it’s a little less than optimal here.

This is a Scrappy-less Scrappy cartoon! It’s almost as if he knew his own series was ending, so he just didn’t show up for filming for this one. The Scrappy series, in name, ended in 1939 with Scrappy’s Rodeo, but Scrappy continued to appear in cartoons through 1941 as part of both the Fables and Phantasies series. This cartoon is part of the later series, and features Oopy and Margie, although in minor roles. It’s a spot gag cartoon that was definitely a lower budget short. My favorite part of the film are a few surprise Hollywood caricatures. It’s also fun to see a gag recycled from Scrappy’s Art Gallery (1934). I hope you enjoy it as a end of the year toon!

And a final New Year’s note: Cartoon Research has been dedicated to appreciation and knowledge of classic animation through all these years. Thanks again to this great community for your thoughtful comments and support. Sharing knowledge and the films has kept these alive in a way that seemed unimaginable when I first started collecting films. I wish everyone a wonderful New Year and many great cartoons in the coming year!


  • Curious, a spot-gag cartoon that goes through every holiday on the calendar, yet completely overlooks both Christmas and Easter. I never heard of anyone getting the day off on the anniversary of the first gasoline-powered automobile. Not even in Detroit!

  • Thank you Steve and all the folks at Thunderbean for these amazing releases. I thoroughly enjoyed helping out on Flip the Frog and Tom and Jerry, and looking forward to more assignments in 2023! We classic animation fans are forever in your debt!

  • Excited for all the releases to come in 2023! So much good material seems to be expected! Hopefully you’ll have new projects to work on after many of them are done!

    Speaking of the one dear to you, I hope you have the qualifications needed to put it out, proper dressing aside

  • I remember the “shortest day” gag from seeing it on TV so many years ago, but I couldn’t remember the cartoon. I thought it was from either a Tex Avery mockumentary, or a Famous Studios Screen Song. Now I don’t have to beat myself up trying to remember.

    Is that Mel Blanc doing the voices?

    • Yeah, that’s Blanc as Margie’s dad, the Pumpkin and the sleepy head at the end. Otherwise its practically a silent cartoon!

  • Thanks for your outstanding work! Look forward to the upcoming Thunderbean and Cartoons On Film sets.

  • I remember on a local Chicago TV series, Garfield Goose and Friends, in the early 60s, ran a continuous old black and white stop motion animated story about man who found a bag that contained an evil person who would continuously spring out and beat him with a stick. And to this day I can’t find any information about it, including the name of it. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

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