Here’s a sort of half progress report and some idea of how the little details of one of the Thunderbean sets come together….
It’s late on Wednesday night as I write this..but chances are as you’re looking at this I’ll be working on the final ‘hard’ day of this school year at the College for Creative Studies. We’ve been putting together the student show this whole week, and Friday – FINALLY – is a day of rest from that, and a day of a different kind of work, back on the two sets we’ve been working on the most. One of the big goals right now is to gather together all the early cartoons in Van Beuren’s Rainbow Parades series for scanning, and on the ones that we don’t have in 35mm are what I’m working on most right now.
Tommy Stathes, a good friend and animation collector hero, was nice enough to send some of his Rainbow Parades my way this week, arriving earlier today. The print of Bird Scouts is a lovely 1945 Cinecolor print in what appears to be very good condition. The prints he sent of Rag Dog and Scotty Finds a Home were mine at some point in the past and were used to help reassemble both those titles for the DVD Thunderbean released back in 2009. The print of Rag Dog dates from 1946, while the print of Scotty Finds a Home is on unmarked stock, but probably from the 40s or early 50s. If I’m remembering correctly, I used the majority of each of these particular prints for the first set, supplementing them with material from prints in not quite as good of shape to fix a few problem areas. The prints vary in density, but even more than that, the 16mm prints are really hit or miss on the alignment of the two colors, sometimes doubling or jittering on a shot. The cool thing is that if you have several prints, you can often find ‘good’ shots from different prints and then just color correct to match the density and color saturation from the best print.
The sound on the 16mm Gutlohn prints generally leaves a lot to be desired, so I’ve been trying to track down clean 16mm ‘Official Films’ prints of those six titles just for the sound. I had done the same for the earlier Rainbow Parade set back in 2009, so now it’s just a matter of filling in the gaps on the prints that had a splice here or there in the sound that needs improvements.
I wish I had some information about the kids that appear in the “Toddle Tales” cartoons. It’s likely that they were from New York or course, and I have to wonder if there were any newspaper stories from back then that might mention who these kids were. I don’t think they ever appeared in any other films, so I have to wonder if somehow they were related to people that worked on the films themselves. Any slithers want to take this task on?
We cleaned up a fairly nice 16mm print of one of the Toddle Tales, A Little Bird Told Me (1934) for the TCM Van Beuren show a while back, and I’m hoping the prints we scan of the other two are as clean as that print was.
On other notes, two of the ‘Flip the Frogs’ that were missing in 35mm showed up this past week, thanks to a lucky picture and some sleuthing by friends. One more still remains at large in 35mm…
The most common digital versions of The Rag Dog (and others) seem to all sprout from the version we did for the DVD we did years back. I’m going to scan the same material in HD in the coming weeks, and I’m very much looking forward to cleaning them up and seeing how they look. I’ll post some pictures next week .
Here’s the version we had on Rag Dog nine years back:
…and the best I had on Bird Scouts for many years back then as well. This telecine scan in actually from 1991! You can see back then on both these titles we didn’t have access to what the original titles looked like, so we replaced the Gutlohn titles with Technicolor Rainbow Parade titles from later in the series.
Fleischer Rarities should finally be back next week, finally!
Have a good week everyone!