The office is more packing this week than anything else. My Thunderbean helpers are working hard to get all the Grotesqueries and other titles that are done out to all the pre-orders. I’ve been working back at home on finishing touches on the Rainbow Parade films on Volume 1 and Puppetoons.
I thought I’d take this post to plug and finally talk a little bit about Grotesqueries and Noveltoons, two ‘new’ titles from Thunderbean on Blu-ray. Both of these sets were DVD projects originally, and the Blu-ray upgrades more than make me smile, especially in the improvement in picture quality and color. It’s very nice to know these sets will find their proper spot on fans and collector’s shelves. After working on both these projects for several years, its nice to hold them in my hand as a completed product. More on their way!
In addition to myself and the freelancers catching up on sending pre-orders and finishing cleanup on so many films this past month, we’ve also managed to get the ‘buy boxes’ back on Amazon right now (no small feat). I’m hoping the boost in sales continues and allows us to have folks helping in a much more full-time way. Thanks to everyone for supporting all these projects through these many years.
The ‘original’ Grotesqueries project started in 2006 as a collaboration between The Blue Mouse Studio (artists Chris Buchman and Rex Schneider) and myself, working with Mackinac Media, a company started by the father of home video, Andre Blay. The set was completed just in time for Mackinac Media to stop releasing DVDs(!) and a revision of the set was finally finished and released in 2008 on DVD by Thunderbean.
These many years later, Chris and Rex have done a series of upgrades, and I’ve worked with new scans for the upgrade as well as adding Halloween (1930) featuring Toby the Pup. Chris especially loves putting together sets that are mini shows, with bonus features that supplement the films. One highlight for me is a section of a beautifully scored live 1979 performance of The Phantom of the Opera produced by Buchman. I really like what they’ve done with this set, and especially like that there’s now an upgrade. It’s available as as BDR/ DVDR combo. Order it here.
The Noveltoons set looks even better than I thought it would in HD. The upgrade to Blu-ray took some time in cleanup, and the prints are far from all perfect, but it’s the best we have right now for the series. The set is a nice upgrade from the DVD Thunderbean produced back in 2011. The Noveltoon cartoons have been “Famously” hard to find good prints of — so much so that a whole generation had no idea what the films really looked like in Technicolor, but rather had to base their opinions of the films on reddish and pinkish NTA prints. This is also true of the Fleischer Color Classics and George Pal’s Puppetoons series.
35mm prints in IB Technicolor of Noveltoons are a rarity for sure, even more so these days. Happily, a few collectors (Largely our own Jerry Beck, Mark Kaulser and Paul Mular) were kind enough back in 2010 to lend me really nice prints of many of the Noveltoons on the set. The Noveltoons were some of the first scans I did in HD– even though we were not doing blu-rays yet, it seemed smart to do HD for future use.
Back then, I had to use a somewhat primitive program to digitally clean up the films in standard definition, and even in standard def the program could only handle a few minutes of footage, crashing otherwise. These days, we’re using a lot more robust workflow. I watched some of these cartoons in the auditorium at the school I teach at. On the big screen they looked especially wonderful. It’s been back from replication for a few weeks, but I wanted to get the pre-orders out before listing it on Amazon.
I feel like the set is the next best thing to being able to see these shorts theatrically. That has always been a rare event, but these days even more so. I still hope that sooner than later a lot more will show up in 35mm Technicolor that can somehow be lent and scanned. Here’s a little trailer I put together of some of the shorts on the set:
Thanks again for everyone that supported this project. Onto finishing many more! Lots of special sets are next, followed by the first volume of Rainbow Parades finally.
Have a great week everyone!