There’s a handful of Thunderbean Blu-ray sets that have spent years in production; as of this week that list is one shorter! More Stop Motion Marvels was sent out for replication a few days back. It’s been in progress since mid- 2018, so we’re happy it’s done after quite a while!
This new set is a sequel, of sorts, to the 2010 DVD release, Stop Motion Marvels. This original set featured a bunch of films, including a majority of the ‘Kinex’ shorts from he late 20s, but not quite all of them. The Blu-ray upgrade on the first set is still coming right along and will be out later this year.
Our little team has worked to get the set done as the films came together. David and Becky Grauman, Devon Baxter, Ciara Waggoneer and Rebecca Smith all did great work in film cleanup. Gathering films for this second set was a long process, with many key film collectors lending rare materials. This past week commentaries came together, with Screen Novelties animators Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero, Stop Motion Animators Webster Colcord and Ken Preibe all lending their voices. I had a good time talking with Ken about this films on several.
Here’s a breakdown of the films on the set:
Cinegraph Sweepstakes (c. 1930) Artist and collector Mark Newgarden is an absolute hero for lending a reel of these shorts, ending a 13 years search. If I had half a brain, I would have remembered that he had put a message up about them many years back on Cartoon Research. There was 6 made all together; Mark had four that were nearly complete, and Tommy Stathes had lent another, so the set has five out of six of them. We’ve added some radio horse racing calls into the background of each for ambiance. They’re on the set as a play-though, or you can actually play the ‘Cinegraph Sweepstakes’ game, as originally intended!
Buzz Saws and Dynamite (1935) Charles Bennes’ Mugsy character first appears in stop-motion films dating back to the late teens. BUZZ may very well be the last of his animated outings, and it’s a bizarre one at that. Even through it’s a little western, it’s sheer weirdness spreads through all areas of the film, from extreme expressions, muddy dialogue and an out of place organ score. My favorite thing is a saucy horse, who may or may not be on his way to the glue-works. The only print that has surfaced on this short that I know of was this one, suffering from advanced vinegar syndrome, borrowed from super-collector Collin Kellogg. It was so badly deteriorated he told me not to send it back- so this poor focused-challenged print is all we have on this gem. We’ve steadied and cleaned it up the best we could.
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (1935) George Pal’s Puppetoons for Philips are wonderful little ventures, packing in a ton of entertainment in short form. This is one of my favorites, with fast, funny action and colorful sets. Dennis Atkinson was kind enough to lend a rare 35mm nitrate print of the short, and it looks fantastic.
Your Dream Home (1939). This cool little short, directed by Orville Goldner (who worked on Kinex and King Kong shorts) is a real rarity. It appears to have been produced Pabco to show at the Golden Gate International Exposition. This work print belonged to brilliant stop motion and designer Wah Chang, and it includes footage of him at the end animating the short! Stop Motion Animator Webster Colcord was kind enough to lend it for the set.
Philips Light Show (1946) A wonderful Joop Geesink ‘Dollywood’ short for Philips, with beautiful, lush Technicolor production. One of my favorite things here.
The Lady Said No (1946) Perhaps my favorite thing on the set. This Frank Tashlin-directed stop-motion short is full of great animation and music. Mark Kausler had lent his incredibly rare print some years back for an appearance on-line, made from a black and white and color print. Webster Colcord was a hero in lending this complete color print from Wah Chang’s archive. Our own Devon Baxter did a wonderful job in digital cleanup on the film.
Mother Goose presents ’Nursery Rhyme Review’ (1946) – Ray Harryhausen produced a series of shorts that were distributed by Bailey films (later called BFI). We were lucky enough to borrow a print from Dennis Atkinson, in IB Technicolor.
Revolt of the Toys (1946) another favorite short of mine, by the brilliant mother of Czech stop Motion animation, Hermína Týrlová. This print is a combination of a French print and a British Sterling films print.
Other films on the set include The Wolf and the Seven Goat Kids (1939) , A Christmas Dream (1948), The Princess and the Dragon (1949), Hansel and Gretel (1951), three additional Dollywood shorts, A demo reel of Wah Chang’s commercials and one of animation samples, and a wonderful reel of Buster Keaton Speedy Alka-Selter spots, courtesy of Paul Gierucki.
The set is in pre-order on the Thunderbean shop site. We’ll send it along with the other pre-orders in the next two or three weeks. Thanks to all for supporting this and so many projects over the years!
Here’s some clips from the set: