In the land of Thunderbean:
At this writing, I’m finding I’m overall excited for these coming weeks. So many thing happening in a short period of time, but they all have been moving there at the same times, off and on, as they . I think this many balls need to be juggled to make each of these projects happened, I just wish I had more continuous hands to help make the whole operation smoother. My freelancers have been wonderful and has the support team of collectors and collaborators. Still, being able to connect all the dots and get *more* things going faster is the bigger goal, but the whole business needs to grow to be able to accommodate that. Each day there’s things I’d like to get to that have to wait for the other stuff to get finished.
That isn’t to say things aren’t getting done. August has easily become the most crowded month of the year in attempts and moving things forward. No less than 7 projects are either getting completely done this weekend or getting really close- both ‘Official’ and ‘Special’ sets. Noveltoons will be off to replication in another day or so. The set looks really nice- for the first time I was able to sit down and watch the whole thing cleaned up in HD. The two other heavy current lifts (Rainbow Parades and Flip The Frog) are front and center on the plate. Each new stage on those feels right— and I’m feeling confident they will be the best we could possible make them. We’ve had the advantage of being a small company and working our way through things each at a time, but it’s been too long of a road already on so many of these. Getting it as right as possible has been really important to me on these ones.
Internally, there are additional projects we’re either involved with or working on securing, but we’ll leave that to another day. The behind the scenes holding pattern on some of these things is at time easy, and other times not so much.
I know I said I wouldn’t write any more about this set, but as of this morning I’m all set on scans for the first Rainbow Parade set. The last film arrived Monday, couriered from the collector’s house via bike and then Fedex. Having The Rag Dog all scanned is a big moment here! All the other films are finished basically, except he sent prints along of a few of the others that will improve some sections, so I’ve scanned those as well and now need to muddle through things.
Now, onto this weeks cartoon — The Gold Getters (1935).
Perhaps the ‘pot boilers’ in the Scrappy series are, sadly, many— but I really enjoy all of them — just don’t show too many of the Scrappy cartoons from this period together. As Jerry Beck and I were talking about earlier today, variety is the key in a good show of films. I once made the mistake of running a whole night of Scrappys — and made guests mad by almost falling asleep myself while showing them!
The Gold Getters is far from a highlight of the series, and a really good example of how sometimes Columbia cartoons are not cohesive. There are funny ideas throughout this short, but pacing and execution often defeat the ideas. It does have one of my favorite scenes in any Scrappy cartoon though — Scrappy is celebrating while a ne’er do well tries to steal his gold. There must be 150 inbetweens of his hand slowwwwly reaching for Scrappy’s unguarded gold.
I have to wonder if the frequent disconnection of ideas and timing of them is related to the organization of the studio. There seems to be a short period just after Dick Huemer left where the films have good cohesiveness; sometime in 1935 they get a little more erratic depending on the film. This particular one feels very compartmentalized in its different sequences. I find the transitions in this cartoon to be strange and sometimes inappropriate for the continuity of the short, an issue a lot of Columbia cartoons have from the mid to late 30s. They use every type of wipe for no decreeable reason.
Scrappy’s personality traits devolve over these few years as well. You can chart the best Scrappy cartoons by whether or not he’s mad in them at some point, with the exception of Let’s Ring Doorbells (1936). In the very early ones, he’s either mad or really scared though most of them. It’s perhaps being too critical to bring up any of these things; after all, the point wasn’t to make a brilliant film here, but rather an enjoyable bit of ephemeral entertainment. They succeeded in that mission.
There’s a lot of things from the golden age of cartoons I’d like to see released, with Mr. Bug and Scrappy at the top of that list. Krazy Kat not withstanding.
Have a good week everyone!