August 19, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Live show at Cinelounge tonight – and Van Beuren “Summertime”

In Thunderbean News:

It’s good to be back in Michigan — for a minute! I did a bunch of scanning last weekend out in New York, only to turn around and head to the other coast on Thursday. If you’re in Los Angeles tonight and are in a cartoon mood, come out to the Cinelounge Outdoor theatre. I’ll be hosting a show featuring some of the Rainbow Parades as well as lots of other stuff, including some things we haven’t shown anyone yet! We’ll also have some of the new Blu-rays there. If we’re lucky, maybe our own Jerry Beck will make an appearance too.

You can find details about the Cinelounge Outdoors shows here.

Since I’m about to get on a plane in a handful of hours, today’s post has a level of practicality, with an old film fresh off the scanner a few days back. Here’s a print of Summertime (1929). I borrowed this nice old original print from Mark Kaulser, who was kind enough to lend this along with a bunch of other really nice prints. About 30 years back I bought a print of this one from film dealer Todd Tuckey, who had a ton of them together. What I wouldn’t give to go through a box like that these days!

The early sound Aesop’s Fables are fascinating in a way; they’re not yet committed to actually making well-synchronized sound cartoons. They still are, essentially, the same cartoons there were making silent, with the added idea that there would be sound, but not much in the way of effort toward that visually. The scant dialogue in the film is somewhat fun though, and its an enjoyable little film. Both silent and sound versions of these shorts were released. Honestly, this particular film would play fine silent, except perhaps for the ‘How Dry I Am’ theme, getting in the way of poor Farmer Al having a drink on this sweaty day. Carl Edouarde take the lead role in scoring/ synchronization here, and one has to wonder exactly how that was performed in these early films. Sadly, the same year this film was finished, Edouarde was working on a live-action musical short at Pathe when the building caught on fire. He escaped the fire by leaping out a second story window, but sustained several injuries, ending his career in motion pictures entirely. It wasn’t long before Gene Rodemich would take this role, adding a lot more pep than these early sound efforts were able to muster up.

This cartoon will appear on the upcoming Aesop’s Fables Thunderbean set, and its such a dandy print that cleanup should be a breeze as well. Make sure to watch in HD!

Have a good week everyone!


  • Nice. Are you going to be at this year’s Cinevent in Columbus, Steve? It will be at the end of October.

  • “The early sound Aesop’s Fables are… not yet committed to actually making well-synchronized sound cartoons.”

    I disagree. The whole point of these early sound cartoons was to synchronise animation, not with dialogue, but with music. So much of “Summertime” consists of cartoon animals playing musical instruments, using familiar melodies to highlight the action on screen: the monkey playing “Abba Dabba Honeymoon”, for example, or the mouse playing “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree” while sitting in the woman’s shadow. It may have been released in a silent version to theatres that had not yet been equipped with sound, but to capture the interplay between the frog bassoonist and the monkey clarinetist in the opening scene alone would have taxed the skill of even the finest silent film organist. With respect to musical synchronization, “Summertime” is far from backward, but points forward towards the kind of musical humour that Stalling, Bradley et al. would employ to great effect in the years to come.

    The music that plays while Farmer Al Falfa is mixing his drink is the German drinking song “Oh Susanna (Wie ist das Leben doch so schoen!)”, an Oktoberfest standard. I don’t know whether it predates the Stephen Foster song of the same title, but I doubt it.

    I love the superfluous closed captioning of the monkey’s laughter: “HA HA HA HA HAW HAW”. That, at least, is definitely a relic of the silent era.

  • Nice print of “Summertime”! And I really would like to go to Cinelouge Outdoors to go see classic ‘toons, since it’s here in CA! BTW, what happened to the Cartoon Research Twitch channel? It’s been abandoned since last Thursday.

    • The Cartoon Research Twitch channel was an experiment which we’ve had to put on hold for a while. Hopefully we will return to Twitch in the near future. Stay Tuned (or “Tooned”)!

      • I was enjoying the experiment too! Looking forward to what comes next…

      • Will you add new cartoons to air alongside all the other shorts that already aired on Twitch? I’m fine with either decision!

      • Is it getting ready to launch “officially?”

      • Glad everyone is enthused about it. I hope to be able to answer these questions soon. As I said above “stay tuned”….

  • Such a fun cartoon, thanks for bringing it back up! Have a good time at the show tonite Steve!

  • The animation of the squirrel cheering “Hooray!”, waking up the owl and the owl bonking the squirrel on the head (at 1:38) is actually lifted from the silent Aesop “The Ugly Duckling” – minus the owl’s face filling up the screen, of course. Makes me wonder if any other early sound Aesops reuse animation like that.

  • Thanks for sharing the new scan. It is a very enjoyable film.
    I thought the music was actually done really well on Summertime and also sounds a lot brighter than it sometimes does on films of this vintage.

  • Steve,
    I ordered the Rainbow Parade Blu-Ray back when it was first announced, but have yet to receive it. Have all the pre orders gone out?

  • Did the scanner transfer the soundtrack as if it was stereo? It doesn’t sound right, with some sounds coming more out of one speaker than the other, rather than all channels being equivalent as in a proper transfer of a mono track.

  • How were the event’s covid precautions? Smart and safe, or did you go home crawling with death?

  • Many of those early cartoons look really good. Thanks for such a good job!

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