March 16, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

“Puzzled Pals” (1933) Gets Nicely Cleaned Up

First, in Thunderbean land:
I got some great news this morning- the last piece of the long-in-the-tooth’ Flip the Frog’ set has been completed and on its way here. When I got home from the school I dusted off the top of the Flip the Frog drive 4 (where all the final assets are built) and crossed off the final piece. Now it’s back to a little final nit-picking and sending these two discs off to replication- with a pit stop with the brain trust to take a look at them.

At almost the same time, The Van Beuren ’Little King’ Blu-ray set rounded the almost final corner. I did a Blu-ray build of the set yesterday with all the updated and extensive bonus stuff (wonderfully written and designed by Chris Buchman, upgraded from the DVD edition). I’m waiting for one more original title card (from ‘On the Pan’) that is being provided courtesy of Tommy Stathes (thanks so much Tommy!). With that addition, there’s only two VB Little Kings that are missing their original titles on the set (Jest of Honor and Sultan Pepper) and those original titles have never shown up as far as I know, anywhere. Here’s the almost finished cover, by Juan Lucero.

With the addition of Diamant’s digital restoration software, we’ve been able to move forward much, much faster on so many things. They’ve been great in helping set up the software. For the Fleischer restoration project, we’ve been working on Inkwell Imps (from the 35mm master materials), cleaning them up at over 5k. I wish all material was in such brilliant condition from the silent era.

The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set is moving along really nicely too. Ciara has steadily worked on this set between other things for several years now, and materials have been getting upgraded as we go throughout the progress. With the new software things will move even faster now, so the next stages will be trying to get to the point where we can have chairs of Diamant for all the Thunderbean freelancers. Here’s a peek at what our “internal” document looks like while we’re tracking these things through cleanup.

A few months back and again last week, one of the Cartoon Research readers and Thunderbean customers sent us some hard drives as a gift. They’re so appreciated and have made our lives so much better— and if you want I’ll mention you by name, or feel free to add a comment. Thanks again so much!

Getting these two titles out the door gives us the bandwidth to work on what’s left on Tom and Jerry and the second half of the Rainbow Parade series. As we move those films into restoration we’ll be chatting about them more here and sharing what we’re doing. Other sets we’ll be staying pretty quiet about until we’re properly dressed for the occasion.

Lots of special sets are in progress here as well. Once the films are scanned they’re pretty easy to get together, and I’m really enjoying building them. We’ll keep doing these for at least a little longer since there’s still so many things we’d like to scan and have out there. There’s a new special set called Raiding the Vault available at the Thunderbean Shop too.(JERRY-LINK

In the bigger picture, we’d like to have one of the official titles out every month, sometimes two along with some of the special discs through the rest of the year, and that’s now looking very possible. It’s turning out to be a pretty good period here.

And— this week’s cartoon!!

Mary has been doing some puzzles on-line for the last few weeks as she watches me wrestle with the Little King set, so I’ve been thinking about this particular cartoon. Teacher and cartoon co-conspirator Scott Christy has been doing some work on the Thunderbean sets for a while, and did a fantastic job on Puzzled Pals (1933). It’s not the top cartoon of the series, but a pretty fun one. The baby in the film is just about as bad as any child could ever be – no wonder the town is trying so hard to not let the stork bring it to anyone. I especially love the scenes with this kid’s deadpan expression as he roughs up our hero. The day is both ruined (and ultimately saved) by an out of control vacuum cleaner. The scan for this short is (mostly) from Mark Kausler’s very nice 16mm print. While this one isn’t completely done and cropped for a final version, I thought I’d share it this week. This is the first whole film Scott cleaned up by himself, and he did a fantastic job! We’ll finish it out by steadying and and adding the original credits in. So far the original title sequence hasn’t shown up on this one, but let’s hope it does someday.

Have a good week all!


  • “Puzzled Pals” is probably my least favourite VB T&J. The baby is more annoying in “In the Park”, because he’s screaming all the time there, but at least he has a pretty nurse.

    The opening scene with the householders fortifying their homes against the arrival of the storks and their bundles of joy would be repeated in some later Terrytoons, such as “The Last Straw” and “The Stork’s Mistake”. Must be a John Foster gag.

  • I had a lot of fun working on this short! As much chaos as this little tyke causes in this short, I spent a lot of my time working on this with my firstborn on my lap! He tried to create a little trouble for me doing the final cleanup, but fortunately no damage to the film

    Looking forward to the next assignment!

  • Scott did a wonderful job. Fine cartoon, and with the sync fixed, it’ll be just as good as intended. Looks like Tish Tash did a few scenes, like when Tom and Jerry solve the puzzle by playing tiddlywinks. Excited for the TB sets this year!

  • I love the cover art to the Little King Blu Ray!

  • It’s interesting how many different puzzle-themed films or sequences of movies were released around the exact same time Puzzled Pals were. Laurel and Hardy’s Me and My Pal is the obvious one. Also there is a sequence in The Dancing Lady in which Larry Fine is doing a jigsaw puzzle. An April issue of the New Yorker from that year also commented on what was supposedly the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world at the time which was on display in NY.

  • Wonderful to learn about progress on the Little Kings, Flippies, and Tom and Jerrys.

    Will the Tom Jerry set include the Waffles and Don cartoons? Hope so.

    Another kind of off-the-wall request:

    I hope that either you or Tommy Jose Stathes will put the lone surviving J.L. Roop Tom and Jerry animated film (1920ish) on DVD sometime and someplace. I’d sure like to have it on DVD – that would be wonderful.

    Best wishes, Steve, to you and all your elves!

  • Can’t wait to see Thunderbean’s 2023 releases, Steve. Are the “Sentinel Louey” cartoons (AM TO PM and A DIZZY DAY) on the Little King set as extras?

  • Wonderful cleanup on this. Interesting that the shadow of the Rufle baton can be clearly seen throughout the entire cartoon! Also very glad to hear that the Flip the Frog set is finally finishing up – I remember when it was first announced on TCM during their night of Van Beuren cartoons!

    • “Interesting that the shadow of the Rufle baton can be clearly seen throughout the entire cartoon! ”

      I had never actually seen how the “Rufle baton” worked, only read descriptions, but I noticed it shows up in this Jam Handy film , “Drawing Account” which has some behind the scenes action showing the production process of a cartoon at Jam Handy. Starting around the 6:32 mark:

  • Beautiful cover for “The Little King” Blu-Ray. My complements to Lucero.

  • Hey Steve, do you know if there’s any progress made on my 16mm print of Redskin Blues I sent you? (can you also send me a video of the raw scan?)
    -Jay Diaz

  • Is there any plans for a Felix silent set? I would love that, especially if you get new scores and remove the added sound.

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