April 18, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Nitrate Unboxing, April 17, 2019

It was an exciting day in the world of Thunderbean. Just before I had to leave to teach, my nitrate shipper person dropped off the materials that were Fed-Exed to him from UCLA Archives earlier that day. I thought it might be fun to show a quick sneak preview of what showed up and talk a little bit about them, so here it is. I wasn’t able to do more than a quick look at them for a moment. Mary was nice enough to shoot my hastily organized unboxing. Tomorrow I’ll be down in my clean room and will inspect them completely with the usual cotton gloves rather than this quick precursory look.

When nitrate film is shipped, it needs to be sent as a hazardous material with precautions taken. It’s typically sent overnight to arrive first thing in the morning. We now have the films in the clean room for the night, where they will be for the most part during their stay here.

As explained in the video, these are some of the last elements for the Flip the Frog set and the first half of the Rainbow Parades. Elements that were received that I didn’t show include materials for Jail Birds, The New Car and Puddle Pranks. The wonderful folks at UCLA archive were kind enough to send these our way this week. I’m looking forward to showing you all how these look scanned, plus so many other things.

It’s been a crazy busy time here with the end of the year as well as a lot of title getting finished at once, so the challenge has become how to keep up with everything. Thank goodness the school year is ending, and I can devote even more time to these projects.

Have a good week everyone!


  • Exciting!

  • Awesome, Great News. Thank you for this update, Steve and the best of luck for these restorations

  • How do you get around the sprocket damage when scanning those Rainbow Parade cartoons? Those Flips are show stoppers!

    • I’m repairing it slowly for the scan. I’ve put ‘braces’ on one side of that one so the scanner can track the sprockets.

  • Oh, I’m so glad that the FLIP cartoons seem to look great. I only hope the news is nothing but good next week! Do you think that the entire series will be released as one set?

    The Rainbow Parade cartoons are perhaps what I recall most vividly from Van Buren Studios, with the three FELIX THE CAT cartoons and the Toonerville Trolley titles. In fact, there is one where Mr. Bangs gos on an old folks’ outing that almost reminds me of the CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS cartoon, “A DAY AT THE BEACH”, but I could be a bit wrong on the similarities. I hope that you also get to restore all the Van Buren TOM AND JERRY shorts as well since I’d love to hear improved quality on blu-ray or whatever video format you choose for that one. I still enjoy the standard DVD on that title, but you can hear the glaring differences from element to element when you’ve had to cobble together the best sections of different prints.

    Good luck as always.

  • One thing I’d love to hear from the brain much was the cost of making an average (i.e., 6 1/2 to 7 minute) cartoon in the 1930s? IIRC, most were done in black and white, and I understand we’re dealing with very different values here ($1.00 in 1930 equals about $14.30 in today’s money) but always wondered how much these gems cost to produce. Anyone out there have ideas, or perhaps some references you can send me to? Love the site, by the way!


    Fred Morton
    Oklahoma City

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