In Thunderbean News:
The last week of school and into reviews week is especially prickly here (in the cactus sort of way), but the plucky staff at Thunderbean has been moving things forward very nicely in my semi-absence. Five ‘special’ sets are going out at the same time late this week, then tackling another batch the week after next. I wish Rainbow Parades was already back from replication so it could join this week’s shipments. I’m looking at the list of things we’re working on finishing and smiling, knowing many more will be completely off the list in the coming months, brining us closer to working on more things!
I’m back into the trenches with the Flip set, but now it’s the thing I’m on personally all the time. I’ve just heard that everything is now scanned that was left except for a few sound elements. I should have all the picture elements in hand by the weekend, along with a bunch of Comi-Color negs. Exciting! So now it’s back to comparing, re-cleaning on a few better elements and shoring up any missing clips or looking for any possible edits in the materials that we’ve missed. There are a *few* more little things that collector friends I know have, and now that school is finishing I hope to be able to work on getting those in the can as well and finishing this two-disc set. It’s an especially challenging endeavor in that there are multiple different edits on many of the films, and sometimes there’s an almost identical edit of some sequences that is just slightly different on this version or that one, but with each containing something the other doesn’t have! The Circus (1932) is still one of the most problematic. Luckily, cartoon archeologist Dave Gerstein is assisting in this particular venture.
The Stop Motion Marvels 1 set is also getting attention along with the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry and Aesop’s Fables. I’ll be taking another big batch of films to scan in the next few weeks at the latest.
Fighting Vinegar Syndrome has become a major part of this particular period. I’ve had these battles before, and at this point I know many collectors that just can’t open all those cans, so when selected ones are opened, you never know what you’ll encounter. Even outside of cans, films are still degassing, slowly, all the time. One film, Laundry Blues, was lent by Tommy Stathes in a beautiful but Vinegar Syndromed print. After soaking and a Camphor treatment for several years, it scanned very nicely- but at some point sooner than later it won’t be useable at all. It’s important to get these rare elements scanned while we’re still able.
Charles Gardner’s post here back in February on courtroom drama in cartoons included the Scrappy Cartoon The Dog Snatcher (1931). It was the fourth released in the series, made in Los Angeles, and as with many of the early Dick Huemer Scrappy cartoons, it’s odd in a formative way. It’s full of East Coast animators, and is overall executed really well. It’s especially notable for a series of very Fleischer-esque early 30s moments that are all pretty enjoyable.
My favorites are Scrappy pleading for Yippy’s life at the mercy of the Dog catcher, who steps on the little boy, pushing him completely into the ground. Not long after, Yippy, now incarcerated, kills a bunch of also incarcerated fleas with spray, turning them almost instantly into graves, with one flower each! The Gruesomeness continues as Scrappy pulls the skin off a guard dog to hide in it, biting the guard so he can be thrown in jail with his beloved pet. A bell beats its head to sound an alarm, a whistle blows its steam in the most phallic way possible, and Scrappy and Yippy end up in the electric chair. I think this wins for most gruesome moments in a Scrappy, but heck, it’s just a cartoon, so sit back and enjoy! There’s really interesting use of staggering throughout, and I especially enjoy its use in Scrappy and Yippy’s dialogue at the end of the film. Another favorite moment is where Scrappy is reunited with Yippy, shedding a large, single tear in each eye. A boy never loved an early 30s dog more than in this cartoon.
It’s always been one of my favorites, and one of the Scrappy cartoons I’ve had the longest. I got the print from Jerry Nelson back in 1984 – and remember him handing it to me in Columbus, Ohio. Somehow since then, through the magic of modern technology and with your help, I’ve managed to do an HD scan on it, so here’s a little better copy in HD to serve those on the internet as well as for your enjoyment.
Have a good week all!