Happy 4th of July to folks here in the states! A lot of people I think will be binging on the release of the new season of ‘Stranger Things’, but we’ll be enjoying the weather (or hiding from the rain) for the holiday.
First, some Thunderbean news:
This is easily the busiest summer I’ve had in my life. I feel like I’ve been walking along a precarious cliff, but at least it seems like a familiar one! We’re still catching up with all the special discs but progress this week has been excellent in all areas, with one of my helpers handling this work exclusively. Progress remains good as growing pains subside a little more in the new space.
Angels Die Hard, (Blu-ray), a 1970 biker gang grind-house flick, is finished and released through our sister label, Snappy Video. The pre-orders are going out, and its now on Amazon if you have a taste for dirty hippies and groovy music. It’s for sale here.
Grotesqueries, (Blu-ray/ DVD combo), a collection of spooky films including animated shorts, got an approval from the co-producers today, so I’m working on some minor color tweaks right now and hope to have a master Friday. The pre-orders will be sent as soon as they’re ready, and it will be available on Amazon when the pre-orders are all out.
Commercials, Volume 2 (Blu-ray) got some more scans this week. This ‘official’ release may end up not being available beyond the pre-orders at this point.
Two ‘special’ sets were completed over this past week., and will be sent when they’re dubbed and ready as well.
We’ve started the pre-order for Lou Bunin’s Magic Puppet animation, featuring Alice in Wonderland. This Blu-ray/DVD combo has finally starting to go into production on the scanning of the feature (the shorts and a lot of bonus material has been done for several years) The pre-order will feature a disc of things that didn’t make it on the final set. Details are here.
As I was driving back from a day doing some additional finishes with the co-producers of Grotesqueries, the sky was filled with little bursts of color; nothing major, nothing huge, but small fireworks, most likely set off by individuals, celebrating the four of July a little early (hopefully— there’s always the possibility that they just like seeing fireworks!).
So— besides a few cartoons, how does the 4th of July relate to American Animation?
The United States declaration of Independence, dated July 4th (but signed later) is one of the United States most important documents, establishing both the reason for the United States to declare separation from England as well as to establish a set of ideals. It’s a wonderful and educational read that a surprisingly small number of Americans actually visit or revisit. The ideals set forward in this document, many universal, have been at times a guiding light, and at other times it is clear how far this country has strayed from those ideals, always to come back and attempt again to follow them; in this way, the experiment of this country remains.
Politics aside (since this isn’t the place for them), the unique set up of this country has led to the ability of so many people to innovate and create, often arriving in the states to continue their craft at a time where it has become much less possible to pursue those dreams and ambitions. Working with George Pal’s material these past months as well as thinking about all the film makers and animators that came here and continue to. I think of all the immigrants and children of immigrants in New York especially. The unique mix of young artists coming into the industry in the 20s and 30s, especially during the depression, is one of the things I love the most about classic cartoons, and their abilities growing through the shared experiences with each completed film.
Here are the usual 4th of July toons, and a few films that (I think) exemplify the flavor of remembered and (at the time) current American culture, and have aspects of the flavor of American ideals sprinkled in them:
Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943) I absolutely love this period of Tom and Jerry cartoons, as I’m sure many of you do. It’s so nice to see beautiful copies of them these days. I remember seeing a really beat up blue-track Technicolor print of this short many, many years back at a film show that had the reissue titles on it.
Bowery Bugs (1949) Just like several others, this wonderful Warner Brothers short takes place nearing the turn of the Century, and I’ll bet the people working at Warners heard stories from their parents and grandparents about their experiences. I’ve always loved Billy Bletcher’s performance in this film especially.
Old Glory (1940)
I always thought this film wins for the creepiest human animation in a classic short. It’s easily one of the least funny of any Warners cartoon, but it does attempt to give a somewhat solemn history of the states— and this of course is the best day to ever view this cartoon.
Patriotic Popeye (1957)
I really wish this was a better cartoon… but it does feature the 4th of July for some reason.
And, Snoopy can close this week’s post:
Have a good 4th to folks here, and a good week to everybody else!