First, in Thunderbean news:
I’m sitting here nursing myself through a pretty nasty cold tonight, and while I’m feeling pretty ‘bleh’ at the moment, but still happy to see the continued progress up at the office right now. We’ve had a bunch of orders for the older special discs as they stroll off into retirement; it’s a good sendoff to this period in Thunderbean history. The Stop Motion Marvels Blu-ray Discs are there getting assembled for the pre-orders along with a few other newly finished special sets. I’ve meant to highlight the set here for several weeks, but will once we’ve sent the pre-orders and its up on Amazon early next week.
The Little King Blu-ray gets closer and closer to completion as the last films are going into cleanup. There’s almost nothing I enjoy more than seeing the films all together in good prints. It will the next title off to replication after Flip the Frog Blu-ray finally goes, hopefully in the next few weeks. All of David’s Gerstein’s wonderful bonus features are finished for that set and included on both discs as we wait for the final star on top of the tree.
Just after Thanksgiving (here in the states) I picked up my recently acquired Super 8 projector from our somewhat local repair shop (an hour away- but I’m not complaining). I had won the projector from an Ebay auction, and it’s something I’ve wanted (again) since the early 80s. My parents bought this same machine 41 years back—a top-of-the-line (at the time) Eumig Mark S 804d projector.
That Super 8 sound projector was well-loved over the five or so years I had it (working) and ran lots of films I had made (nearly all animated) and the films I was collecting on Super 8 before switching to 16mm almost entirely. I managed to destroy mine after the sound stopped working (as teenagers will do as they try to fix something) and I’ve wanted that same machine ever since. The one I found on Ebay is in almost perfect shape, nearly brand new, and after a fuse and a resister fix runs just as it did when purchased in 1981 (it came with its original receipt!). Now, between this and the Popeye talking doll, I’ve managed to fix several things from the past this year that I’d always wanted to. Now I can get back to fixing up old cartoons.
One of the first things I’ve run on the super 8 projector was a print of “Sunbeam” (1980).
On Michael Sauvageau:
Film buff Micheal Sauvageau had licensed the film from animator Paul Vester sometime in the late 80s or early 90s and sold it through his ‘Po-Flake Productions’ company. Po-Flake did reproductions of old movie posters and had jumped into printing super 8 films just for this release. I met Micheal in the 80s and was always happy to see him each year at the Columbus Cinevent. In the late 80s and into the 90s during Cinevent, it was a yearly ritual to have a small picnic at longtime film collector Dave Harnack’s house along with other collector friends that always included Mickey Gold and Lenny Kohl. We had a wonderful time over those years seeing plenty of good (and honestly really bad) movies, all projected beautifully in 16mm at Dave’s basement theater.
Michael sadly died quite young, at 38 in 1996 after an extended battle with brain cancer. He was a lovely person. He sent me the super 8 print of Sunbeam, free, in one of his last years here. I’ll always keep it.
Now, back to Sunbeam:
British animator Paul Vester’s short is an affectionate tribute to golden age animation, nodding to the 30s as well as his utilizing his own brilliant animation techniques. I was enthralled the first time I saw the film (about 1981). The use of some stereotype ideas is part of that tribute, done affectionately to the design sensibilities of some of these ideas. Vester would later direct “Copycat”, an episode of the Twisted Tales for Felix the Cat in the mid-90s.
Vester has put Sunbeam up on Vimeo, so here it is, scanned from a 35mm print. It’s looking much sharper than my little Super 8 print, but I enjoy both versions. If you attended any of the ‘Animation Celebration’ showings in the later 80s into the early 90s that toured the county, you likely saw this short for the first time there.
Have a good week all!