I always like finding the oddities that show up occasion- and, happily, there are LOTS of them.
Back in the mid-80s, when I was working on figuring out how to start a company that released cartoons on VHS, Collin Kellogg, who collected 16mm cartoons too, was both a friend and a rival in finding cartoons in The Big Reel, the movie collector’s paper that would come out once a month. Collin would often sell me things, but he was also willing to lend some of the strangest cartoons. He dubbed these strange films ‘Cultoons’ and suggested that a set of these Cult Toons would be a good idea.
The first two volumes of Cultoons were two VHS tapes, released in May of 1988. It remains the strangest name for any of the sets we’ve released. Another volume will rear its head in the coming year.
The very first film I borrowed from Collin for these sets was Monkey Doodle, produced by Les Elton in 1931. Of course, Collin STILL has amazing stuff – as so many collectors and friends do. He’s been wonderfully generous in sharing his collection. The name Cult-toons will forever be his fault!
Here’s the same film, with some clips that were missing from the sound release added back into the film. These extra clips are from a home movie version of part of the film, released to the Home Movie market for some unexplainable reason:
I’m hoping someday to work on at least coming close to having a complete filmography of Les Elton’s work. This and Ted Eshbaugh’s filmography (and good copies of all his films) would be a wonderful thing. Since borrowing some of these ‘out of the studio system’ shorts, I found that the less-seen things were always the most interesting things to me.
Now if I could only borrow that Esbaugh Dentist short from 1944 that a certain collector bought – and effectually buried by never lending it to anyone- for the last 11 years or so! Pretty much every studio made non-theatrical or commercial shorts in addition to their regular output. The particular films generally are harder to find then their regular output. Happily many do exist and are a lot of fun to see.
Here are three Lantz-produced commercials; one produced for Electric Auto-Lite, and the other two for Coca-Cola. The first features a rare animated appearance of Oswald the Rabbit, perhaps in his last theatrical appearance. His design here is the same as in the Lantz comics. These commercials appeared on both our Oswald/ Lantz set and Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares:
And.. here’s one more!
An absolutely beautiful restoration of The Tortoise and the Hare also produced by Lantz for Coca-Cola, from the negative held at UCLA archives:
Now – YOUR turn! Of the strange shorts you’ve seen, what do you think is the strangest?
Have a good week everyone!