First, in Thunderbean news: With the school year wrapping up, I’m still attempting to catch up with all the Thunderbean ‘special’ sets and other orders. Happily, all of the ‘Thunderbean Thursday 2017’ discs are now out, and the handful of other special discs should be out late this week. Thanks to all who have helped support these things.
Major updates in the coming weeks on the many sets in progress! Stay Tuned!
Next, onto the cartoons:
Last year, I posted Columbia’s Little Match Girl (1937) here. I really love this little short, imperfect as it is, I’ve found that I’ve made it a tradition now to watch it every year.
It wasn’t The Mintz Studio’s first shot at this story. The earlier Scrappy entry The Match Kid (1933) is one of my favorites of the series; it’s really interesting to note that some of the same sequence ideas are similar in both versions that Mintz did. This earlier version is rather loosely based on the famous Hans Christian Anderson short story; a major difference being Oopy (as the ‘Match Kid’) actually living with a mean father of sorts, who forces the hapless child to prepare food for him, giving him only stale bread as a reward. He also forces Oopy to basically sleep outside, prompting him to use matches to bring him back to the original plot of the story. Just when all seems lost, Scrappy shows up out of nowhere in this frigid weather, to yell ’STOP!” and helps Oopy destroy him, leaving them to the food and the fever dream of comfort.
I’m really not sure what the message is of this short, if any.. but at least Scrappy and Oopy are well-fed at the end of the film!
The plain strangeness of this film is really fun— to me, it seems like some basic details of the story were just not worked out very well; Scrappy showing up, without a coat or a reason, is just plain bizarre. The Marcus team, newly in charge after being under the direction of Dick Huemer, does a competent job otherwise in this story-challenged little short. While not as strong as the best of the Huemer shorts, it has a lot of the funny and sometimes just plain odd gag timing. There’s enough weird here to put it on the bizarre Columbia cartoon scale at at least an 8. Here’s a newer HD transfer of the short from 16mm. If your computer is fast enough, be sure to watch in HD.
And.. and few other things I like that are Christmas related:
I have no idea who made this little stop motion/trick film, but it’s strange and kind of fun. Anyone have any idea?
Here’s a 1965 promo for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I really like the promo- it’s basically saying ‘Hey, look.. Charlie Brown is talking!’. Funny to also see animated footage from the earlier live action special being used here – they must not have given them much footage at the time the promo was made…
Have a good weekend everyone, and Happy Holidays!