May 12, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Kinex “Hindu Magic” (1929)

Reviews and then the student show have had me working around the clock, and I wasn’t able to get really anything done with Thunderbean this past week – but that is life! I was going to talk about the Betty Boop set we put together this week, but I’ll leave that to next- along with the Aesop’s Fables set. They’ll likely ship next week as the Aesop’s set gets back from replication.

In other Thunderbean news, the Stop Motion Marvels 1 Blu-ray upgrade is doing really good – with most of the films not the set now cleaned up. When I have to chance to see how they’re looking I’ll be able to tell how close it is to a finish. Looking at things now it seems pretty close. This seems to be a whole period of wrapping up long-in-production projects. Next week is super exciting diving back into just Thunderbean.

The Eyvind Earle project we’ve been finishing up is looking great. It’s a collaboration between ASIFA-Hollywood, Thunderbean and the Earle estate, involving scanning, digital cleanup and restoration of two of Eyvind Earle’s 35mm shorts in 4k. The longest is 24 minutes, the other about 8. More on this project next week as we finally deliver the masters on these shorts.

Since it’s late as I write this and I’m still at the school setting up the student show (for tomorrow’s graduation) I decided to keep things simple and show one of the Kinex shorts we’ve been working on cleaning up. Here’s Hindu Magic, one of the many Kinex shorts on the Stop Motion Marvels blu-ray set. I’m looking forward to the set being done in that we’ve managed to find nearly all of them now, largely thanks to the Library of Congress as well as lots of colleagues. This one either comes from Tommy Stathes or Chris Buchman — I’ve scanned this one from both their prints and honestly, at this late hour, can’t remember what print we used! So thanks to Chris and Tommy!

The Kinex shorts were clearly meant to be fun little entertainment distractions for the home screen – and they really work well as that. There’s nothing really Hindu about Hindu Magic honestly, but there’s some fun combinations of clay and puppets and really nice sets. I feel like the whole Kinex project exists so that these obscurities have a home somewhere, together in a watchable form. We’re closer to that goal with the Blu-ray.

I didn’t have time to set some music behind these shenanigans tonight, so whistle your favorite tune or have Siri play something appropriate along with it if that’s an option.

Have a good week all!


  • I thought for sure a cobra was going to come out of the magician’s urn.

    Of course there’s nothing specifically Hindu about “Hindu Magic”; did everybody see the Sphinx in the background? Back in the early 20th century, anything from the Hellespont to Hong Kong could be thrown into the mix to create an exotic “Oriental” setting. For example, the whirling dervishes are associated with the mystical Sufi sect of Islam; but in Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to “The Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish” (a song used by Carl Stalling in any number of Warner Bros. cartoons set in the Middle East): “He dreams of a Hindu honeymoon. He never dreams that every night when he goes out to make an honest rupee, she steps out to make a lotta whoopee!”

    I think that would be a good song to go with “Hindu Magic”. There are no dervishes, and no girlfriend, but the dog and the tiger do a lot of whirling.

  • Fun stuff in that Kinex short! Really excited to see more in the Stop Motion Marvels, it would be nice if that one short would show up somewhere where you can access it!

  • I actually prefer to watch silent film with no soundtrack, or at least silent animation especially. Modern soundtracks are nice, and people certainly go to great trouble, but I’m very attuned to music and my attention is drawn away from the animation itself. Just dialogue or sound effects added after the fact is another matter, and those that I’ve seen were synced enough to enhance while not being a distraction.

    So that Kinex was presented perfectly for me, was very fun, and I’m looking forward to the others!

  • A nice Raga would work behind that. Yeah, it’s sort of a mishmash of India and the Arab world, but I’m going to give the nod to the music of the subcontinent of India because of the title.

  • My choice for music would be one of the ubiquitous “oriental foxtrots” from the twenties, say, “Persian Rug” by Neil Moret.


      • Ha, ha! Nice choice. But I wonder why you used the name “Louisiana Sugar Babe” but didn’t link to their of recording of “Persian Rug” featuring Fats Waller and James P. Johnson! Personally, while checking out the many versions of “Persian Rug” available on Youtube and the Internet Archive, I thought I liked the one by Herbert Spencer and his Orchestra on dimestore label Regal. One would just have to eliminate the vocal and I think it might work pretty well. Maybe worth a try if my Premiere skills are up to it.

  • Okay, I did it. I synced up a 1928 Regal recording of “Persian Rug” with Steve’s upload of Hindu Magic. It’s on Youtube at:

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