September 7, 2017 posted by

Putting Together a Show of Classic Animation

First, some news on the Thunderbean front:

It’s been a busy week again, with school starting ( I teach at an art college) and heavy work on several Thunderbean titles. I did, however, get a chance to sit down and watch some of the new ‘Hollywood Rarities’ set with a friend, and very much enjoyed his response in seeing things he had never seen.

The Fleischer Rarities is actually processing a short on this very computer as I type this, and I’m happier with this set all the time, and hope to entirely finish it early next week, then off to replication. On the rebooted ’Snappy Video’ side of the company, two fun low budget Sci Fi films, The Phantom Planet and Missle to the Moon are available in pre-orders. Details about those pre-orders are here.

I’ve found that there are few things I enjoy more than putting together a show of vintage animation *OR* attending a show and not knowing what is getting shown.

Perhaps the Thunderbean sets are really just an extension of that in some ways. Stopping by various friends and collector’s houses for a show almost always yields some surprises, whether in live action or animation. These showings used to almost always consisted of 16mm prints, but on occasion 35mm as well, and, rarely, 8mm or video. These days, of course, Blu-rays are often the format of choice.

Different collectors love different things of course- and, if you’re putting on shows for friends, on occasion you make a mistake and show things that really only *you* want to see! With a feature this is more likely than shorts; I once sat through the film The Conqueror Worm (1968) at a friend’s house with an audience that was barely able to contain how much they hated it. I also remember falling asleep while running Scrappy cartoons once, with several friends angry that even I couldn’t stay awake during the late 30s shorts from that series.

Cinevent in Columbus, Ohio every year continues to be an amazing place to see really cool things, as do film shows across the country. Their yearly cartoon show is always a lot of fun. I’d love to hear about the shows you appreciate most in your area.

That said, I like putting together show of cartoons, and am lucky enough to be able to do so pretty frequently these days. Teaching an animation history class at CCS, the college I teach at, allows 15 weeks of putting together shows. Favorite classes each year include a concentration on World War 2 animation, bad TV animation day, early experimental animation, the evolution of cartoons 1933-1937 and many more.

A recent visit to a friend in New Jersey yielded a show that was a lot of fun – consisting almost entirely of really great 16mm Technicolor prints. An especially splicey print of the Tom and Jerry Classic The Night Before Christmas was easy my favorite thing that night; despite the splicyness, this early Blue track Technicolor print contained almost everything I love about vintage Technicolor – the film has a glow and warmth that just doesn’t reproduce exactly any other way.

Do Not Run THIS!

I think there are honestly very few things you *shouldn’t show*- but, In the interest of public health, this is my list of films that I should *NEVER* be shown to a regular audience:

• Most any B/W Columbia Phantasy Cartoon, with a few exceptions
• Any of the Daffy-Speedy Cartoons
• ANY Lantz Beary family cartoons
(sorry Jerry)
• More than one educational cartoon in a row (even if it’s the Disney “I’m No Fool’ shorts)
• ANYTHING made by Coronet films (with the exception of Tom Thumb in King Arthur’s Court, and then only for the truly brave)
Buried Treasure (unless it’s late, you’ve had an especially enlightening converstion about the film or if drinking is involved)

Ok – so, all of that said, what cartoon show would you put together? And what cartoons would you never show?


  • I would show the cartoons of the WWII era including the ones that are now banned from television from both the Allies POV and the Axis Propaganda cartoons,

    The Terrytoons of the 1960s including Dinky Duck’s final cartoon It’s a Living, Hashimoto San’s Loyal Royalty,House of Hashimoto,Honorable Family Problem and Doll Festival,The Minute and a Half Man,and the final series run of Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle

    Soyuzmultfilm’s Children’s Album The Nutcracker (original un dubbed version and Dancing Dolls

    Any Reskio cartoons

    Any animated cartoon that is now considered politically incorrect and are censored from television

    Gumbtasia and Rain Spirits starring Gumby and Pokey

    The Gumby Christmas cartoon specials (original voices)

    Any pre WWII Japanese anime from the 1930s

    The Woody Woodpecker and Chilly Willy cartoons of the 1960s & 70s

    Chuck Jones’ Tom and Jerry cartoons and The Jungle Book Trilogy.

    The Casper the Friendly Ghost from the late 1950s and 60s

    The Beany and Cecil cartoons

    The cartoons that I don’t want to show…

    The KFS Popeye cartoons

    And Filmation’s version of Tom and Jerry.

  • A Pittsburgh radio program, “Rhythm Sweet and Hot,” used to have a yearly exhibition of “soundies,” cartoons, and scenes from movies with great jazz scores.

    I wouldn’t do exactly that. Instead, I’d have cartoons, high or low, which did innovative things with their soundtracks. I’d have the usual suspects, of course: some early Fleischer cartoons and “Duck Amuck.” But I’d also include films usually not considered innovative, such as the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon which turned a “Barber of Seville” aria into a funny short, and the “Popeye” cartoon which had Our Hero doing the soundtrack for his home movie. I’d pick Avery’s “The Bear’s Tail,” and Disney’s “Symphony Hour.” But although Mickey is OK, no Mickey Mousing.

  • May I add to this: Mr. E. from Tow City?

  • I’ve programmed a few Public Domain cartoon programs for a local theatre that would run continuously during local downtown events. I find I can get away with showing several industrial cartoons, only if they’re spread out.
    I would avoid showing the Chevrolet Nicky Nome cartoons altogether as well as the majority of the films made by the John Sutherland Studio (with the exception of the Rhapsody of Steel, which is an excellent finale to end a show). The majority of the 1950s Popeye cartoons are a little tricky also.

  • I would do something along these lines:

    Program start with A montage of REALLY old Felix, Gertie, how they are made, and have some great Fleischer music going and wind up at the end of the intro with something like a great scrappy moment.

    Show proper:1. A great Tom and Jerry film (you guys pick)

    2. Williy Whopper Stratophere

    3. The Old Man In The Mountain Betty

    4. One of the great multi plained Popeyes B&W (you guys Pick)

    5. Porky In Wackyland

    6. A Snafu cartoon (you guys pick)

    7. Davy Jones Locker Willie

    8. Popeye color, Magic Lamp

    9. Superman Fleischer: The Mad Scientist

  • I ran some cartoons at the WNY Movie Expo last weeked. An hour of color cartoons consisted of:
    1. Duck, Rabbit, Duck (TECH)
    2. Goggle Fishing Bear (Eastman)
    3. Bugs & Thugs (TECH)
    4. Ye Olde Swap Shoppe (Kodachrome)
    5 .Droopy’s Double Trouble (Kodachrome)
    6. For Whom The Bulls Toil (TECH)
    7. Bully For Bugs (CRI)
    8. Bad Luck Blackie

    I also ran a 1/2 hour network print of a Bugs Bunny Show.

    Eating Van De Camp’s beans and running “Easy Does It’ have the same effect, I find. Both will clear a room.

  • I had to chuckle over your comments on cartoons that you’d never show because your audience doesn’t “geek out” on such things. Oh, am I guilty of that, as you have probably noticed in comments regarding previous posts either by you or others on this website!

    I guess my guilty pleasures are the rarer HAPPY HARMONIES, merely because those were among the first TV airings I had a chance to watch in my childhood. MGM cartoons are amazing and, to me, they play well on the big screen, too, as you pointed out with the classic TOM AND JERRY cartoon. Some folks may think that they’re not funny at all, but I just love and fondly remember the look of a TOM AND JERRY cartoon; I only wish I got a chance to literally see more of the earliest titles, beyond the few times that “THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” aired as part of that first TOM AND JERRY show, before Hanna-Barbera further destroyed the T&J toons by bringing them back and pairing them with a grape ape of a show. The HAPPY HARMONIES were, to me, like mini movies. So much would take place within the time coordinates of one such film, even if it is milking one uncomfortable gag for all it is worth, and Hugh and Rudy stopped the series on a high note with the entries of 1937.

    My other obsessions are the mid-to-late 1930’s titles from Warner Brotehrs in black and white. Okay, this is not incredibly lavish animation, but I love some of the music throughout, and these are before the emergence of the very creative scoring of Carl Stalling. The BUDDY titles are so strange at times, despite so many folks telling me that the character is bland; some of the plot ideas probably would have worked if Buddy were a live action kid, and, as one other contributor to this weblog has pointed out, Warner Brotehrs’ cartoonists are always inspired by classic entertainment, either on film or on radio. although they were not the only studio to be so inspired by other forms of entertainment, now so obscure to today’s audiences, they used more such catch phrases and slipped in even jokes that related to advertisements of the day, and sometimes I’m the only one who remotely cares about such things anymore, but I simply must have ’em in my collection.

    As always, I continue to hope that some of the great toon sets yet to come from Thunderbean will see the light of day as this year comes slowly to a close, especially when there is otherwise so much bad news around the world! This is a horrible thing for a child of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s to say, but there are times when escapism is the only answer, and animation helped a lot, along with music. FLIP THE FROG also found itself part of my weekday morning viewing, along with those classic MGM cartoons, and perhaps an early MGM animation festival is in order.

  • Three or more Road Runner cartoons back to back. Trust me. Don’t do it.

    • Not sure if it’s that bad. Granted, I got a little board as a kid with the long Road Runner montage in “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie” (I used to thought it was just one long short), but I appreciated more now that I’m older.

    • And you definitely don’t show the Rudy Larriva Roadrunners. The two that McKimson directed for DFE are okay, though.

  • I think there are honestly very few things you *shouldn’t show*- but, In the interest of public health, this is my list of films that I should *NEVER* be shown to a regular audience:

    • ANY Lantz Beary family cartoons (sorry Jerry)

    Those Beary Family cartoons were made for the benefit of drive-in theater owners. They knew one of those cartoons on the screen would drive people to the snack bar just so they could avoid having to watch it.

  • My family loved my cartoon video collection, and I used to put on shows for them, especially back in the day when I had a lot on videotape and laser disc. (Sadly, this whole part of my collection is gone.) I tended to program cartoons that were linked together by a theme: classical music, cartoons about show biz, cartoons about crime, WWII propaganda, and so on. This way, I was able to combine films from a wide assortment of studios and eras, and avoided boredom and monotony.

  • Others that I would love to show are…

    The unusually weird animated cartoons from Eastern Europe including using such objects like yarn and broken glass,

    NFB Canada’ What on Earth?,Cactus Swing,The Family that Dwelled Apart,The Bead Game,The Sweater,Blackfly and The Cat Came Back,

    Bruno Bozzetto’s Opera,Baby Story,Self Service,Life in a Tin,Grasshoppers, Dancing and the Lilliput Put series

    Disney’s How to Play Football,Football Then and Now and How to Hook Up Your Home Theater


    Calimero early Adventures from 1963 and the CGI episodes from 2013.

  • A Gene Deitch film festival would be great. Also a show featuring Shamus Culhane’s Paramount cartoons.

    Cartoons to avoid in addition to the ones already mentioned: Larriva Road Runners, Loopy de Loop, and the UPA “Ham and Hattie” cartoons.

  • 1. Oh what a Night (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit)
    2. Bully for Bugs
    3. a Fleischer Superman – hard to choose which one
    4. Mickey Through the Mirror
    5. Homeless Hare
    6. A Corny Concerto
    7. El Gaucho Goofy
    8. Popeye Meets Sinbad
    9. Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a Half’th Century
    10. Operation: Rabbit
    11. Book Revue
    12. King-Sized Canary

  • Okay, let’s see what I would show:

    A large amount of Disney shorts.

    A large amount of Warners shorts.

    A good amount of Lantz shorts including any not-Smith 60’s shorts (yes, including the first two Beary Family shorts by Jack Hannah. Honestly, I don’t get why people didn’t at least like the first one as I found it very decent).

    What I wouldn’t show:

    Most of the Cubby shorts (Sorry, Steve).

    Almost all of the Smith directed Lantz shorts from the 60’s to the end.

    One I wouldn’t show for a certain reason: “The Story of Menstruation”. Sure, some people might snicker a bit in some parts ( such as the girl throwing some Daisy Duck breakdowns), but a lot of people might feel rather uncomfortable and awkward watching this otherwise important sex education short from Disney. Good for classrooms (maybe dated now), not good for public screenings.

  • I would show plenty of Paramount cartoons in the NTA and Harvey package (includes Fleischer, Famous and Paramount-sponsored Puppetoons), but ONLY if they contain the original titles and are in the original color process (mostly Tech).

    Don’t show Out Of the Milk Bottle/Skinny and Husky in a Day in Coney Island, audiences will have nightmares due to how weird it is.

    No faded redrawn Porky Pig cartoons (I sort of never got the appeal of the various versions, I’m looking at you, Classic Cartoon Vault), if you want to see these films badly do me a favor and click on the ad with Porky, and order the darn set, even with splices, It’ll look fine on your HDTV.

    No Fleischer B&Ws with UM&M titles. Look harder for original titles! (I did see the lost “Gallagher and Shean” Screen Song though with TV titles on the big screen).

  • I’ve never curated a festival or big screening, but I’ve shown cartoons for groups of friends over the years. The biggest hits are ALWAYS Tom and Jerry and the Pink Panther. Popeye always goes over well, too.

  • A few more….

    The Sesame Street cartoons from the first five years of Sesame Street (1969-74) including the B Bug cartoon considered as one of the most violent yet funniest cartoon ever shown on Sesame Street

    All of the Schoolhouse Rock animated cartoons

    The original Cantinflas Shows cartoons by Televisa

    Filmfair’s Adventures of Paddington and Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings

    The King Rollo and Towser animated cartoons

    The original What-A-Mess cartoons from England


    Vintage PSA animated cartoons from the 1950s to the 1970s from around the world and the vintage “educautoonment” cartoons including Otto the Auto from the 1960s.

    • Oh, how could I have forgotten Schoolhouse Rock?!! You’re right!
      If I had to choose just one – which would be a cruel restriction, I know – I’d pick Conjunction Junction.

  • I show cartoons to friends ‘n’ their kids all the time, and they always go over great. Some of my favorites:

    – Bob’s Birthday
    – The Cat Came Back
    – Robin Hood Daffy
    – Any 1933-34 Popeye or early ’30s Betty Boop, particularly The Old Man of the Mountain
    – The one where Beany & Cecil open a Disneyland on the Moon (I forget the name just now)
    – The Flying Mouse
    – Superman (The Mad Scientist)
    – Molly Moo Cow (as an example of what a lousy cartoon looks like).
    – A good “Follow the Bouncing Ball” offering

    I personally can’t stand any Popeye cartoon of the 1950s. He’s my favorite character, and what they did to him, my oh my…

    • Isn’t “Bob’s Birthday” a bit adult for kids? (Just in terms of its theme, really, leaving aside the matter of the title character’s brief nudity.)

  • Okay, what I wouldn’t show? Anything that’s had the film grain removed.

  • In my opinion, I don’t like the Daffy and Speedy cartoons so much. See Ya Later Gladiator is considered one of the Worst Looney Tunes Cartoon Ever Made!

    This is my opinion. I prefer Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse cartoons. They were new Looney Tunes characters for the final years of WB Cartoons in the late 60s. Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse are my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons ever!

    And by the way, I hope next week you going to post Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse on this site for Thunderbean Thursday.

  • I once did a 16mm show at my college when I was a student. Only about 3 people showed up, but it was still fun.

    IIRC, I ran the following:

    1. Sick, Sick Sidney (Terrytoons)
    2. The Pique Poquette of Paris (DePatie-Freleng)
    3. Hop and Chop (DePatie-Freleng)
    4. Get a Job (National Film Board of Canada)
    5. Dustcap Doormat (Terrytoons)
    6. Clobber’s Ballet Ache (Terrytoons)
    7. Funny is Funny (Ed Graham)
    8. Lupo the Butcher (International Rocketship Limited)

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