The Week in Thunderbean:
With the college starting up with classes and committees, I’ve found myself sneaking time before and after classes to get this and that done on various projects, burning a lot of midnight oil on these chilly nights here. I’ve been trying hard to get five of the special discs out the door at the same time *this week* and finally they are nearly ready- and, once they’re out to everyone, onto the rest!
The Flip The Frog Blu-ray took a major ‘leap’ forward again yesterday as little pieces to fix a few issues on two of the films were scanned yesterday. I’ll know this week about a few additional elements that could improve some small things. Almost ready to master. Several other Thunderbean projects are rounding the corner too and I’ve been helping on three projects with colleagues that are also both wrapping up.
As I was finishing up one of the special sets yesterday, I thought it would be nice to share one of the prints that was scanned for it here. Through several other collectors and one seller, we were able to get four 35mm nitrate Technicolor prints of Famous Studio Little Lulu cartoons. Although they’re a little worn, they scanned great and are wonderful additions to the Little Lulu special set that was finished this week. Here’s a link to the set at the Thunderbean shop, available for a limited time:
Sometimes I’ve amazed at how many cartoons from the golden age I hadn’t seen. This week’s cartoon is one I don’t remember seeing, but then discovered I had a print of it (in Black and White) 30-some years ago – so I must had seen it back then!
Famous Studios’ work really shines in 35mm prints, and this last decade has seen the 40s Famous Studio-produced Popeye all become available on Blu-ray, showing off their wonderful production qualities. Sadly, as with many of the Noveltoons, NTA’s ownership of the Little Lulu cartoons left us with most of the films being seen in not-so-great 16mm prints. Earlier UM&M prints of the some of the titles have circulated in Kodachrome prints, and at least those show off some of the really nice production qualities of the shorts. Sadly, the dull reddish and pinkish NTA prints were the main versions seen by several generations of kids (and most of us too!) on VHS tapes and dollar DVDs. There are some copies that are a little better here and there, but you’d get the impression from watching them that they had a limited palette of color.
Loose In The Caboose (1947) is one that generally isn’t seen as much – although its typical of the Lulus from the period with our hero up to her usual mischief. The slick production design and color scheme and seeings is a nice representation of what it must have felt like to travel across country is those days. The beautifully painted backgrounds look wonderful in Technicolor, and the timing, gags with a jazzy score keep the cartoon moving right along. On the downside, several unfortunate Stereotypes abound in this entry, with both a Steppin’ Fetchit porter at the train station and, later, even Lulu in blackface for a brief moment.
The print on this one was missing part of the theme song in the title, so I’ve put the theme song from one of the other shorts at the front. Because of that, the credits are not right on this particular presentation.
As I was watching this cartoon tonight, Mary pointed out that Little Lulu has shown up on The Simpsons from time to time, with one of them even making a reference to the Famous Studio’s series. Here’s a few examples.
And, here is Loose in the Caboose. Make sure to watch in HD. Have a good week everyone!