THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
February 25, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Projects That Need a Champion to Complete (and it’s not Thunderbean for now!)

With things wrapping on many projects here and pieces falling into place for others, I find some comfort in archiving things and organizing the files from the finished things. As the pieces neatly (or if I’m honest only semi-messy) are put in the archive, it’s easier to turn to look at all the possible projects that have *some* pieces but not all yet. In a dirtier corner, there are *other* possible projects or ideas; things that I’d really like to tackle at some point, if only some of the other things would show up or some of the other issues didn’t exist!

It isn’t for lack of looking. There have been many months full of iterations and concentrating on looking for this or that, often cut shorter because of budgets or the many other projects that were calling. If it could be managed, it would be great to concentrate on just a few things at a time and have help doing all the other stuff related to this tiny business. Perhaps there will be an ability to have less of a giant net approach, at least for long enough to reel in the things we want to get done this year.

If we’re able to do a somewhat complete job on a series, I’m pretty happy. Willie Whopper wasn’t going to happen unless I was able to get all of them, and it somehow worked out. Flip is the same, but I’m now at that point where I just need to be happy with how good the whole thing looks and not concentrate on the things that are not perfect.

There sure were a lot of cartoons made over the years! I’m not easily deterred, clearly— but these are possible projects where the towel is currently not thrown, but not in play. So, here is a list of things that would be wonderful to get more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to tackle, in no particular order. (I’m leaving out some on purpose):

1) The “Hook” cartoons and other shorts produced by the Navy:

Something that always amazed me is how complete the National Archives holdings are of the films produced for the Army by FMPU and their contracted studios. It’s a big list, repeated many places and well documented if you’re willing to look through a bunch of things.

But what about the Navy??!?!?!

The short story is that a good amount of what was produced for the Navy was never sent to the National Archives. So, where did they go?

At this point, I may have found out, but it’s a more complicated task to actually go through them. It would require many weeks and other considerations to do- including dealing with those that hold them that are less-than-excited to allow access, but at least will. More on this situation in the future, but the long story short is that this one is hard.


2) Lantz’s Coca Cola shorts.

Lantz produced quite a few commercials over the years, including a whole bunch of theatrical ‘Fairy Tales’ for Coca Cola in the late 40s into the 50s. We scanned some of them for a DVD set years back. In more recent times, more have shown up in excellent materials, but gathering *all* of them from various sources is another one of those big tasks. Someone really needs to do it, if not us at some point, but this is a brain and labor negotiation as much as anything.


3) Steve the Horse cartoons.

We did an article a little while back about the six ‘Steve the Horse’ Cartoons, here.

They’re wonderful little shorts, and I really would love to see a set with excellent copies of all of them on it at some point. Perhaps some day we can (or someone can) license these from Renown Pictures, and work to get the best 35mm that exists on these. I’m thinking this should probably be a Brit rather than a Yank like me doing it, but someone needs to, and perhaps round out the set with other 30s British magic. Several of our readers noted in comments that one of the uploaders, 9.5mm Film forever, has sadly passed from Covid. I was very kind of him to share Steve’s adventures, and I was quite sad to have heard the news.


4) Colonel Bleep

I’d really love for all of these to definitively show up, and do really good scans and clean up on them. They’re really fun- and deserve to be seen as complete and as good as possible. Maybe some day. Here’s one I really love, “The Invisible Gorilla”:


5) All the John Sutherland Harding College shorts together:

I think its safe to say that Sutherland did the most beautifully animated propaganda films of the late 40s into the 50s. There’s 35mm on many of the shorts, and almost any I’ve found over the years were in IB Technicolor. This isn’t as much of a missing piece project and more of a *lot* of pieces one, scattered all over. This is actually a doable project since I think we’d be able to track down prints of all of them. It’s rather a matter of time an where to put the resources. There are DVD sets of these- and I’ve even bought some, but they’re never to the quality I’d like to see.


6) Soviet-produced WW2 animated propaganda films:

A really good set of Russian propaganda materials would be every kind of amazing. Film by Jove came close. They had a set (with very odd subtitling) of Soviet propaganda shorts available in 2006, but since then the rights have been yanked back— and now in the hands of an oligarch. Here is a BBC news story about this.

And, if you’re really into reading something chunky, here’s the text/complaint lawsuit against Films by Jove. They won here in the states and lost in Russia, and eventually this resulted in them losing the rights, fair or not.

Ok. Your turn. What projects do you see as greatly deterred by one thing or another- and what would you prioritize?

Have a good week everyone!

28 Comments

  • Rumour is there is a Steve the Horse BD-R in the works, but from collector 9.5mm sound prints, as opposed to the 35mm negatives which exist at the BFI.

  • Here are a few items on my “wish list.”

    A complete set of “Linus the Lionhearted” with the cartoons and the interstitials, as well as the opening and closing titles–maybe with some of the original commercials as well, since the characters were spokes-toons for various Post cereals. Ideally, this collection should also include some live action footage of the Linus balloon that was featured in the Macy parade for many years, even after the show had disappeared from the airwaves.

    A complete set of the Huckleberry Hound Show, including the interstitials in their proper places, and also including the as yet unreleased Hokey Wolf cartoons. Plus a complete set of the Yogi Bear Show (with openings and closings and interstitials in the right places), and the same treatment for the complete Quick Draw McGraw series. Also, a restoration of Magilla Gorilla that includes the opening, the curtain call, the finale, and the closing credits. Plus some fully restored first season Flintstones episodes including the Winston cigarette commercials (there were more than the one commercial that keeps surfacing).

    Then a few Disney items, such as the car commercials–some of these have been presented in Cartoon Research over the years, such as a string of UPA-style commercials from the 1950’s. I also recall some amazing car commercials that were being broadcast the same spring (1989?) as the TV special that introduced Disney-MGM Studios to the world. These latter were in color and showed spectacular animation, plus a few characters such as the Fairy Godmother who rarely appear in new animation.

    Also I would like to see–and this might not be material that is in viewing form but still in prototype or sketch form, and thus might require new footage, documentary-style, to present it–some of the aborted projects from Disney over the years, such as “Ghost Morgan’s Treasure” or “The Rainbow Road to Oz.” There also was a projected Peter Pan TV series that was evidently in the works during the mid to late 50’s. I have never read a word about such a series anywhere, yet I have seen model sheets that included stylized TV renderings of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell, and the Crocodile. So I know it was under consideration for a time. It would be interesting to find out if any rough pencil tests exist. Maybe a few scripts as well.

    • I’ve written about those 1989 Disney cartoon commercials at https://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/the-disney-lumina-commercials/ Jerry Beck was kind enough to post two of them in the article.

      I suspected those model sheets of stylized renderings of Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell from the 1950s were for the Peter Pan Peanut Butter commercials done by the Disney Studios. Bill Peet worked on some of them.

      • Thanks. That clears up a mystery for me. I’ve wondered for years about those model sheets. I have long been a fan of Bill Peet’s artwork.

  • HD Batfink restorations from 35mm broadcast negatives (if they’re still even of good quality) would be good, along with other Hal Seeger TV cartoons!

    • About 10 years ago, the BBC was occasionally running Batfink (perhaps they still are) and it looked good .

  • Colonel Bleep could be the great-great-grandfather of Invader Zim. Fantastic design and graphics.

  • It has been a decades-long search for a watchable DVD or VHS of Universal’s 1959 English language release of “The Snow Queen” including the corny Art Linkletter live-action prologue (with Dennis the Menace’s pal Tommy) and all the song sequences. Yes, I know the original Soyuzmultfilm version was made available on DVD with subtitles, and the Baryshnikov PBS version was also released with a newer English soundtrack. I have both of those, but they are not the Sandra Dee/Tommy Kirk/Paul Frees version so many of us grew up with on local TV–and those prints were not the best, either.

    • This was constantly on television back in the day. The Universal version of THE SNOW QUEEN is a rare instance for me — I can’t think of another — in which I admire and appreciate the original, unaltered work… but somehow prefer the re-edited, re-voiced Americanization. [Well, they did show this a lot in the ’60s.] Rights issues notwithstanding, this must still be somewhere in the Universal vaults; it would be nice to look at a good print of it again.

    • The Snow Queen must be out there since the local Catholic channel in Minneapolis aired the version you’re seeking on their Saturday night movie in December of this year. From what I’ve been able to tell, they show public domain material from dvds. They have been running classic cartoons, some rough prints but it’s still nice to be see the Van Beuren Felix cartoons or Fleischer stuff on TV. This month they’ve been showing Superman cartoons. Last month they aired a couple of the Popeye 2 reelers.

      MeTV has been showing some very nice prints of classic animation on their cartoon show that airs weekday mornings and a 3 hour version on Saturday mornings. MGM (including Harman-Ising), Fleischer (Betty Boop & B&W Popeyes), Warner Bros. cartoons. Stuff that probably hasn’t been broadcast since the ’90s when TNT and TBS were airing them. Definitely worth checking out.

    • Greg, last year, on The Fleischer Facebook Folio Group Page, I posted my reconstructed and re-synchronized version of THE SNOW QUEEN from three sources using the English language soundtrack in order to get the best image and color. I posted it again this past Christmas as well. For your “delight,” I removed the corny Art Linkletter wraparounds, however. I agree that it should be restored. Since the 35mm elements have not been in use for over 50 years, it may not be that much of an issue to return to them (we hope). I suspect that Comcast, owner of Universal does not know it has the negs. Who knows? Calling Jerry Beck!!

  • Ruff & Reddy and Quick Draw are obvious but I would really like CBS to put out a Harlem Globetrotters re-release. For some reason, WB doesn’t own this cartoon and most of the episodes are considered lost media but have to exist somewhere. It’s historically important as the first black cartoon and has aged must better than most of what HB produced that decade. It’s also funnier and less condescending than Fat Albert.

  • Speaking of the Navy, there’s all of the training films that Ted Eshbaugh made for them during World War II. From What I gather they appear to be mixed media films which use, animation, models and live action.

  • My ideal Blu-Ray set would be the four General Motors Power Primer Cartoons I wrote about here a few years ago, and also the many versions of “Where Mileage Begins”.

  • Not that they were the greatest cartoons every made, but I’d sure like Paramount to put out the restored MIGHTY MOUSE and HECKLE AND JEKYLL cartoons that I saw as a youngster, some 50 plus years ago!

    Then, a restored print of MR. BUG – or HOPPITY – GOES TO TOWN!

    • Another vote here for the Mouse of Tomorrow and the Talking Magpies…

      • I third that!

  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Early Terrytoons. Farmer Al Falfa, Kiko the Kangaroo, Fanny Zilch, the whole lot.

    Rankin/Bass “Tomfoolery”.

    DePatie-Freleng’s groovy “Dr. Dolittle” animated series from the early seventies. It may have been the only Saturday morning cartoon in which the cast traveled to… Detroit! I still remember the song: “We’re going sailing up the Saint Lawrence Seaway!”

    I’d love to see “Curiosity Shop” again, but I don’t think I ever shall.

  • Like Mr. Ehrbar, I crave a decent DVD of the Linkletter “Snow Queen”. Every one I’ve seen has stretches of near-blackout.

    And speaking of imports, why don’t we have a Region 1 release of the director’s cut of “The King and the Sweep” or whatever it’s titled these days? Or Halas and Batchelor’s “Ruddigore”? Or Jiri Trnka’s “Midsummer’s Night Dream” and fairy tales?

    Vintage Terrytoons and pre-UPA Columbias are high on the list. I’d be grateful for even a sampler of each. Likewise, more vintage Zagreb and Film Board of Canada.

    A comprehensive Fleischer collection would be a real dream come true. ALL the Boops, singalongs and cavemen, plus the Ragged Ann two-reeler and the misfired “The Raven” (a perfectly good one-reel toon inexplicably inflated). And/or a comprehensive “Out of the Inkwell”.

    I hoard old gray-market discs of the oddball “Alakazam the Great” and “Man from Button Willow” as well as the genuine treasure “Hoppity Goes to Town”, but they all merit legit releases.

    A longtime fantasy has been a disc or two of classic intermission stuff, curated into historically plausible form. There are a few old “double feature” discs that place a few scraps between cheesy horror/exploitation flicks, and Something Weird Video once did several discs of pure shovelware, unsorted stuff of every age and condition, end to end. Maybe the moment has passed.

    Another fantasy would be more releases of Disneyland / World of Color animated episodes. Yes, most of the shorts they spliced in are mostly available in original theatrical form, but the TV versions have new connecting stuff and heavy nostalgia. Supposedly there was going to be a Ludwig Von Drake set when they pulled the plug on the Disney Treasures. Considering it would be mainly a boomer-appeal thing, the moment might have passed there too.

    Most of the stuff I want is out there but vaulted up, so it’s less a case for altruistic preservationists than for altruistic corporate lawyers. Fill in your own joke.

  • In addition to all the great suggestions from everyone here, I’d love to see the complete adventures of Crusader Rabbit and any and all things related to Oz.

  • I’d buy a blu-ray of the “Tom Terrific.” cartoons.

  • Ooh, I guess I didn’t get here in time, and almost everyone already discussed vaulted up desires of mine, including the elusive “LINUS THE LION-HEARTED”; the more I listen to episodes found in varying degrees of quality on the vast internet, the more I want to see a legit rendering of this show, no matter how much it shills for Post cereals. There are episodes there and uses of terrific voices and comic acting that are pure gold, as much as classic live action comedy of the day as far as I’m concerned, and I continue to marvel at all the vague reasons why the show hasn’t gotten some sort of official release on the strength of the famous faces involved in it.

    I’m beginning to think that having this over “MILTON THE MONSTER” would have been a joy and a dream come true…and, regarding COLONEL BLEEP, there are two DVD’s of what is claimed to be the complete original series, but that all depends on how deep the archeological dig, as I like to call it, decided to go…while I know that all is probably lost, I again have to wish hard for the complete “BEANY AND CECIL SHOW”, the animated version. It can only make money, as opposed to giving up and letting all remaining sources rot in a basement or wherever these are stored..

    Regarding the terrific HOOK series, I thought it was all represented on the FRONT LINES collections that were out on DVD from Thunderbean, but I’d take a careful transfer of it all to bluray. Come to think of it, there were a few titles that were kinda dupey, but I just felt that this was all that remained of such source material since I don’t know where such films go after they are used over and over again, like classic TV advertising. Folks involved with these challenges seem to complain that “we never thought we’d be in an age when people would clamor to own such throwaway media…” and go on to say that we did grow up watching all these things on cathode ray tubes that distorted the image–well, yes, we are now fortunate enough to see all kinds of brilliant nonsense, without distortion, thanks to technologies that work in varying degrees, if folks learn how to use them and how much to use them.

    Thunderbean has done a bang-up job on so many levels, and I continue to hope and wish for the best from all who are currently involved in continuing the search. As of now, there really is no need for those half-hearted video companies who like to slap together a public domain collection “for the kiddies”. The only good in those kinds of collections is learning about titles that certainly *MUST* exist in studio vaults around the world in much better quality!

    And I really do also echo the search for extremely good or at least watchable or listenable materials on “THE QUICK DRAW MCGRAW SHOW” and the remainder of “THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW” so we can complete that early run of Hanna-Barbera TV animation. All this fuss about the tired music cues that almost every studio used in either animation or live action half hour TV theater gets under my skin after a while. It ran rampant once, so what really is the problem with allowing its circulation now? Why the stranglehold on cues that really find no other use these days, not even in industrial films, if such things are even being produced anymore?

    Oh, and finally, yes, I firmly agree with the Terrytoons desires. It has already been said that these cartoons were so easily found on TV back in the 1960’s and 1970’s that people got sick of them; even “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”, in its early days, used sections of the studio’s cartoons as mock news footage during the “newscast” segments, something you certainly don’t see in the show’s more recent incarnation. Well, it is really time to dust off all that vault material and fully realize the good occasionally found in such otherwise formulaic cartoons, because there were traces of brilliance there, and it was nice to have them around to view again and again each weekday evening. I actually miss them now.

    And, yes, the same goes for those funny little shorts under the banners of “Q. T. HUSH” and “COURAGEOUS CAT AND MINUTE MOUSE”, already discussed many times in this column and other posts in detail. The latter, especially, can use a real shinin’ up as some titles are actually missing their title sequences. As cheap as they might be, they are still fun. Keep up the good work, folks, and I like some of the other curious suggestions here.

    Oh, and I want to personally thank those cartoon curators involved with “TOON IN WITH ME” for airing the restoration of “WHEN I YOOHOO”. Sure, the short could go through a little more dilligence in sound restoration, but if this is all that exists of this short, I’m delighted that it now exists in its original form. How often I’ve hoped, at least three decades now, for as close to master print quality on those earliest color MERRIE MELODIES with titles rediscovered, and I’m not going to run down again the list as most of you are already aware.

    We’re wishing now, and we’ll wish again in this column and elsewhere. Here’s hoping that this and “THE PHANTOM SHIP”, a now fully restored LOONEY TUNES of the same period show up on further collections of LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES or as additions on movies new to bluray and DVD from the mid-1930’s. They aren’t perfect, but those scores lead up nicely to the more familiar Carl Stalling scores. They may appear to some as limited in their abilities, but they really do show off a lot of sophistication in representing the popular music of the day, some coming off as videos for such popular songs. And the list goes on and on. I will, as they say, “keep tooned!!”

  • A few thoughts:

    After seeing a couple of Linus-es on a recent lovely Thunderbean release I’d love to see more (on the “On Hold” official set I think it was).

    A complete Mighty Mouse (theatricals) & all of Trnka’s films not yet available with English subtitles would be great.
    That’s basically mainly The Czech Year, Svjeik, Bayaya, & Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    The latter is available on a very good widescreen print with excellent English subtitles DVD, unofficially on the internet for those who aren’t aware (think rare films and more and add a .com). I got it there & the quality is very good & it arrived very quick to the UK from USA despite the pandemic.
    Be nice to have an even better fully restored version of it plus a restored version of the Richard Burton narrated (accompanied by other English voice cast ) edition.

    Curiously the Czech national film archive has done a full restoration of The Czech Year a few years ago and gave it some theatrical screenings, but unlike Old Czech Legends (which they also fully restored and includes English subtitles) it hasn’t been released on disc yet. Although I haven’t checked for a release of it for a few months, so here’s hoping!

  • Who made the Steve the horse cartoons

  • I’d like to see 20th Century Studios and Disney put out a DVD release of “Crusader Rabbit”, seeing how Crusader Rabbit was a 20th Century Fox production. Also, maybe Warner Archive to put out a DVD release of “The Pogo Special Birthday Special”.

  • I would really love a restored Q.T. Hush series.

  • From the WB archives, I’d love to see a restoration of the much unloved Buddy series as well as the rest of the Bosko series and other one shots that have not made it to DVD.
    From MGM: The Bosko series complete and the rest of the Happy Harmonies restored, the complete Captain and the Kids along with the two Count Screwloose cartoons.
    From Fleischer: Kiko complete set. Stone Age Cartoons and Talkartoons. Color Classics series.
    Famous Studios: Complete restored Little Lulu.
    Paul Terry: all his early b&w films along with Mighty Mouse and Deputy Dawg.

    Not too much to ask is it?

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