March 24, 2016 posted by

Happy Easter From Lou Bunin, The White Rabbit and… Perry Como!


Happy early Easter from animator Lou Bunin, The White Rabbit and… singer Perry Como? I’ll explain in a minute. But first a Thunderbean update: As spring works on returning, I start to think about all the projects I’d like to finish off by the end of summer- there’s never enough time for everything! We’ve been working to get a few titles further along, and with the help of collectors and some archives, the new sets are coming along very well!

perry-como-logoA big batch of Nitrate is scheduled to show up here in the next week or so, and some new discoveries and access to a few more things have me pretty excited. I have some interesting tales to tell about the Cubby Bear materials from the past week, but I’ll go into that later. I do hope to move a few other projects forward as well, but for now it’s a concentration on what we have currently on the burners.

One of those projects is a collection of the work of Lou Bunin, including his feature film Alice in Wonderland (1949). It’s been an especially slow project to move forward, especially in getting the best materials, but it looks like things are finally in progress pretty well on all the materials we haven’t worked with yet.

como-rabbit-eggSince it’s almost Easter, here is a real rarity; it’s something that Amy Bunin Kaiman, Lou Bunin’s daughter, lent to me a little while back for the set. It was a 16mm negative only labeled ‘Como’. It turned out to be several sequences of the White Rabbit from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ animated by Bunin and composited with a live action Perry Como. This is from the Perry Como show in the late 50s (likely 1959 from the mention of a ‘brand new 1959’ car). The scenes are lots of fun, and the great surprise of them singing together I think is the highlight. It’s a great example of trying something for a TV show that was technically difficult at that time. Como seems to enjoy the novelty of the sequence, as does Como’s usual announcer, who is made to suffer the novelty of the sequence. I’m so glad it exists.

We showed this last year to an audience at the Egyptian Theatre; other than that showing this likely hasn’t been seen since it was produced back then. It will be included on the Bunin Blu-ray set.

So, Happy Easter from Perry and the White Rabbit, 57 years ago!


  • Very excited for the Lou Bunin set and whatever the hinted good news is re: Cubby Bear!

    Going by the mention of having Maureen O’Hara as the guest “next week” towards the end, this is the episode listed in this link below as having aired on 28 March 1959 (no mention of our rabbit guest star though…).

    • That’s great! Thanks so much for finding the air date on this one!

  • The announcer is Frank Gallop who appeared as just a bodiless head as narrator of TV’s “Lights Out” suspense show in the early 1950s. Also note the gag of “where the yellow went,” something Pepsodent toothpaste took care of in TV ads back then.

    • To make this cartoon related, Gallop also was the narrator on the first three Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons for Famous Studios (all part of the UM&M/NTA package now back in the legal hands of Paramount’s Viacom parent company).

    • Gallop was also known for his record “The Ballad of Irving” (“The 142nd fastest gun in the West”) and its sequel “The Son of Irving” (“Tall slim excellent-looking Seymour”).

      And Perry Como was spoofed in the Animaniacs episode “King Yakko” (as “Perry Coma,” crooning the national anthem of Anvilania).

  • this is ABBsolute pure gold!!! Thank YOU!!!!

  • It’s great to have, but you know the sad part, this most likely was broadcast in color, and this is what remains, a b&w kinescope. (Although it looks like a kine from a b&w monitor, instead of that fuzzy look you would get back then when filming a b&w kine off of a color monitor. By early 1959 NBC was also using color videotape, so this might have been something to see. There are Steve Allen shows, Fred Astaire Specials, Dinah Shore, etc,, examples from that time era with preserved color videotape. But I have yet to see a color Perry Como from that period in color. They most likely re-used the tape and its gone forever.

  • Perry Como always seemed like a guy who liked to take chances–there are radio shows preserved featuring Perry with guest Raymond Scott and now, Lou Bunin animation? That’s ground-breaking for those days! Loved the duet! I can’t wait to check out the resulting DVD–and you keep me guessing as to the other “secret projects”, but there are times when I hope at least one of these is the idea that I’d mentioned to you in an email and you responded in kind as wanting to tackle it because of the voice work. ooh, maybe I’ve said too much, but remember, folks, nothin’ has been green-lighted, as far as I know! I’m almost wishing that you took over the GUMBY series, even though I’m enjoying the sets that Joe Clokey managed to get out thus far. If you had done this, though, you could attach some very rare and interesting experiments by Clokey that don’t always have something to do with kid vid…and some of the GUMBY episodes could have had a commentary track, something missing from the NCircle sets, but I digress–happy Easter to you and a grand Easter theater as inspiration for future DVD sets. Some of my favorite springtime cartoons are: “TO SPRING”, “SPRINGTIME FOR THOMAS”, “THE DANCE OF THE WEED” (all from MGM), “FLOWERS FOR MADAM” (Warner Brothers), “SCENT-IMENTAL OVER YOU”, that Pepe Le Pu cartoon that takes place “in old New Orleans” as backdrop (Warner Brothers); I’d seen this cartoon show up on our CBS affiliate after the first time airing of “GAY PUR-EE”, just before the 11:00 newscast!, and that is all the really great springtime cartoons I can think of. There’s always “BOSKO’S EASTER EGGS”, too, but I’m not entirely sure that I’d actually seen this cartoon. If so, it was only shown once on my favorite “EARLY BIRD CARTOON SHOW” aired locally on our channel 7 before the morning newscast–ah those were the days.

  • Mind = Blown

  • I kept waiting for them to plug the movie (despite the year), or even mention Bunin himself. Once it was over, noted there were zero allusions to “Alice in Wonderland.” So maybe somebody said, “Let’s do an Easter Bunny” and Bunin simply dug out an existing figure?

    Any way to find out if his name appeared in the credits?

  • Wow! Those are some amazingly sophisticated video effects, not only by 1959 standards but much later ones. As the show may have originally been in color, is it possible they used some kind of chroma-key process to add in the rabbit? The technical hocus-pocus going on here is on an Ernie Kovacs level!
    (To get an idea of how klutzy TV effects could be, and often were, at that time, look up a You Tube video of David Seville singing “Witch Doctor” on the Ed Sullivan show. Either the director or engineer were always one step behind the action.)
    And of course, Perry Como himself had such a light touch as host; it’s not hard to see why he was so popular then. His interaction with the bunny worked perfectly.

    • They may have been showing off their new found special effects capabilities vis a vis videotape.

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