November 12, 2015 posted by

Making Snafu Cartoons / First Motion Picture Unit / Redford Theatre Cartoon Festival


First, on the Thunderbean Newsfront:

All the copies of the ‘Thunderbean Thursday’ Set are out the door… so if you ordered it, it will be to you soon! Thanks to all!

The new Blu-ray “Private Snafu” is scheduled to arrive early next week- so we’ll be sending the pre-orders first. As progress continues on “Flip the Frog’ we’ll be posting pictures, as well as other projects, including a little secret one that may even be available next week if we can finish the transfers and dub some copies….

I’m very happy to be through the last few projects and slow down for a moment, though others are still going and threatening to ramp up. A few things I really hoped to work on and finish this year have been pushed back until early next year- but are happily still happening…more news soon.



For this weekend, if you’re near Detroit, I’m hosting the annual Cartoon Festival at the Redford Theatre in Redford, Michigan, along with programmer and film archeologist John Monahan. We’ll be presenting an all 35mm show, featuring almost all IB Technicolor prints! I’ll also have a small setup in the front, selling DVDs & Blu-rays, and maybe even showing some clips from work-in-progress sets. A highlight for me is the Paramount Popeye We’re On Our Way to Rio (1944) one of my favorite cartoons of all time, in a spliceless, beautiful IB Technicolor print. The show is at 2PM and 8PM on Saturday, November 14th.

Here’s the lineup for the show:


Symphony in Slang- Tex Avery- MGM
Slingshot 6 7/8- Woody Woodpecker- Universal
Mr. Moocher- Fox and Crow-Columbia
Puppet Love- Popeye- Paramount
Rabbit Every Monday- Bugs Bunny- Warner Brothers
The First Bad Man- Text Avery- MGM
Let’s all go to the Lobby (original IB Technicolor print too!)
Magoo Goes West-UPA
The Way of All Pests- Columbia
The Birth of a Notion- Warner Brothers
We’re on Our Way to Rio- Popeye- Paramount
Feed the Kitty-Warner Brothers
..and more!

More information can be found here.



Since the ‘Snafu’ set will be out next week, I thought it would be nice to show this bonus feature included on the Blu-ray. These clips are unedited footage shot by the First Motion Picture unit, likely intended to be used for a newsreel or other production. The animated shorts included in the ‘Army Navy Screen Magazine’ were scripted and storyboarded at FMPU, then went into production at Warner Brothers, MGM and UPA. We were happy these clips showed up, and are very happy to have them be part of the Blu-ray. We’ve added some music from Snafu soundtracks to this silent footage. Can anyone identify any of the people in these clips?

This other clip is from a completed production titled ‘First Motion Picture Unit- Army Air Forces’. It’s a film made by FMPU *about* FMPU, showing the creation of animation (and likely the clip included was directed by Frank Thomas). I wonder if the Snafu footage was originally meant to be part of this production or for the Screen Magazine. It’s included in HD on the bonus disc with the set. It’s also on the DVD ‘More Cartooons for Victory’.

Have a good week everyone!



  • Can’t tell you about the animators, but Ken Carpenter is narrating the FMPU clip.

  • Can’t go wrong with Snafu on Thunderbean Thursday!

    Thanx, Steve.

  • Jules Engel is on the right hand side of the shot in the FMPU clip, and it looks like Gus Arriola drawing the story sketch of the airplane target.

  • If you’ve never seen classic cartoons on a big screen, you should make the effort to do so, at least once. A theater in my area that runs classic movies on a regular basis usually kicks off those “classics” with a Warner Bros. cartoon. It’s great to see those with an audience, getting laughs from a crowd of people, the way they were intended. The Redford show will be worth attending just to see “We’re On Our Way to Rio,” which is one of the best of Famous Studio’s Popeye output, but almost impossible to see in anything other than prints with colors that are badly washed out.

  • I liked the music accompanying the “clips” and storyboards. I wish I knew more about the PRIVATE S.N.A.F.U. short that the scoring belongs to, because it is one of those genuinely inspired bits of Carl Stalling musicianship. I look forward to receiving the THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY disks and hearing of a pre-order for FLIP and, wow, love all these classic cartoons!

  • That’s a Carl Stalling orchestration.


  • I know that the soundtrack for We’re On Our Way To Rio was found but still waiting for the picture intro and closing. Seems like there might have been some special artwork involving the Paramount logo on this. All we see at the moment are the standard Paramount opening and closing titles blended into an A.A.P. print. Have a good time Steve showing those classic cartoons.

    • The print Steve Stanchfield has ends with a dissolve to the standard Paramount end title (and has the standard Paramount Popeye opening) just like the “recreated” version, so I guess that’s how it originally opened and closed. (I had speculated that the end title might be on a curtain that gradually lowered on Popeye and Olive.)

  • Sure looks like Ted (Dr. Seuss) Geisel at the typewriter in the first shot of clip #1.

  • The man sitting at the desk and drawing Snafu in the first video (0:41-1:30) looks a lot like Phil/P.D. Eastman:

  • Kevin Wollenweber….I’m pretty sure most of the orchestration comes from the Snafu short “Payday”…I had posted same on Facebook for Veteran’s Day so the musical score is kinda stuck in my head for a few days. 🙂

  • The track is from mostly from Payday, with a section from Operation Snafu at the end…Thanks for the great info everyone!

    • Apparently these were out takes since there are Camera Flashes between each shot. This is wonderful documentary footage. As for the lifting of the track, it might have been a better choice to use some more military/industrial music to better fit the mood. There is an art and realization to adding music to films that goes beyond “filling air.”

  • Is the print of “Puppet Love” you’re showing the IB Technicolor print with original titles that was on eBay recently?

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