March 7, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Scrappy in “The Pet Shop” (1931)

Scrappy returns this week at the Strand, or the Bijou, or whatever your local movie house is down the block from your house. I have to say (if I can muse for a moment): Going down the street and seeing a Scrappy cartoon seems like a much better reality to me that stacks of blu-rays and computers and technical headaches galore that are involved in the business of finding, fixing up and releasing sets. If there’s a time machine ever I’ll likely try to go back to the late 20s or early 30s— and someone else can finish all these sets. I don’t think that’s going to happen though.

On the Thunderbean front, Noveltoons has moved to the head of the heap on the major sets getting finished since nearly everything is now cleaned up. Flip and Rainbow following nicely. The great Flip cartoon Room Runners is in cleanup progress with Devon Baxter right now, from the fine grain of that film. Other sets are looking great as well. It’s a good year for Thunderbean sets, with so many reaching the finish line in the coming months. Easily the busiest year.

I’ve spent the better part of the last week trying to get all things in order here, and think we’re finally pretty caught up on orders for things that are finished. Thanks to all for the orders and pre-orders supporting all these projects.

For the Noveltoons set, Thad Komorowski was kind enough to lend a Kodachrome 16mm print of A Lamb in a Jam that appears to be a one-off reduction from a collector in Australia. The 35mm print source was pretty beat, but it has a rare original title with the Paramount copyright, something missing from the NTA prints:

Scan sessions have been going great. Material from the last week have included cartoons from World War 2, a live action feature, A Stone Age cartoon; I was very happy with the recent scans of Along Came A Duck and Grandfather’s Clock from Tommy Stathes’ nice early 40s prints. Duck is especially beautiful… here’s a few frames:

It’s been a many days of heavy Blu-ray mastering here. My part in Tommy Stathes’ excellent Bobby Bumps set is finished now (most likely) and that set should be seen sooner than later now. On the Snappy Video side, the live action film ‘Kipling’s Women’ is all done and will show up on Amazon soon, and Grotesqueries is attempting another pass at being finished again. There are of course other things too, always. More next week!

And of course, the weekly cartoon: If it hasn’t been obvious here, I especially love the Scrappys from the early 30s. It’s still a personal mission to somehow get the Columbia cartoons all available at some point; it’s pretty funny that we’re ten years shy of a century and they’ve remained pretty vaulted for half of that.

The Pet Shop continues Scrappy’s tendency to own businesses at a young age that are clearly beyond his own capability. It’s a good thing there are no customers on this particular day. Scrappy’s infant brother is being turned out to work at an even younger age than Scrappy himself, but he’s old enough to play a backroom game of dice with an ambitious Pelican (did any pet store *ever* have a pelican?).

It seems like the animals in this particular cartoon have had it with Scrappy and his annoying toddler brother, because as soon as they have an opportunity they bolt and destroy nearly everything. There’s a series of gags that tie the thin story together. My favorite might be a line of tiny birds all sucking on an abandoned cigar.

I feel like the Scrappy cartoons are the entertainment equvilant of having a decent meal at a nice little diner: you know what you’re getting isn’t really gourmet, but there’s a pretty good chance of getting a decent meal that’s yummy and fills you. Perhaps the early 30s Van Beurens are more like a food truck in this metaphor, leaving the fine dining to the MGM and Disney shorts. Fleischers are perhaps a little better family restaurant that sometimes offers almost gourmet daily specials. Lantz is also a little diner that have delicious sliders. I must be hungry.

Here’s The Pet Store from a 16mm Samba print I bought from dealer J.G.Nelson in 1985.

Have a good week everyone!


  • I guess after drawing Krazy Kat for so long, the boys forgot that cats don’t have square ears.

  • Another dandy cartoon, Steve! Always enjoy those 1930’s cartoons, and the SCRAPPY cartoons remind me of the Thalia Theater cartoon festivals that New York had in the mid-1980’s, thanks to folks like “Uncle” Wayne Daigrepont, Greg Ford, Jerry Beck and Will Freidwald. Yes, I hope you do somehow get to restore all the Columbia cartoons and possibly devote an entire set to the complete run of the SCRAPPY cartoons. On another note, I received my copies of the two MID-CENTURY MODERN volumes, reconfigured for blu-ray and all I can say is “wow!” I was just checking out those terrific little animated ads for the snack bar at your local drive-in (“Hey, Jill, give us a treat…”). Kinda makes me hungry for that fresh pop corn with melted butter every time it is mentioned! As always, your choices here are exquisite, and there are some minor differences between this and its standard DVD equivalent, but the quality is definitely there and I gather that the reason there are some omissions is because you couldn’t find any upgrade that would look so fine on the blu-ray format. No matter; good job as always.

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