One of the best things that happened this week was just a little while ago: I was dropping some reels off to be scanned. As I described and gave notes, the owner of the shop was making a quick note of each thing, making sure to get it right. As I talked a little about each thing, I was struck at the care he took to get the notes right about framing and making sure he’d get it right since I can’t sit in on the sessions right now. It’s a really varied batch of stuff for all different projects, and he hadn’t heard of quite a few of them. On my way home, he sent a text that I didn’t see for a while, but it was about Linus the Lionhearted. He had watched some on-line and thought it was really great. He texted “Why have I never heard about this before?”
There’s been a series of special moments doing these things and showing vintage animation all these years, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. Sometimes you have the opportunity to share these things and provide some wonderful entertainment to someone. Having someone new enjoying the great work of the past makes me really happy, and I’m glad to have been lucky enough to stumble upon ways to do that. I can’t wait for those scans to come back here!
As it expands further without me completely involved with every aspect, it’s strange to think it is now almost big enough to support itself; it’s been wrong sized in so many ways for many years, with my ambition often outweighing the expandability at times, but it’s working and growing in the directions I had hoped it would- and needs to continue to do so to do the sorts of things we’d all really like to see. Dave and Becky Grauman, along with Mary and the small group of freelancers have been helping me to be less scrambled, and that commitment is making it possible to rocket forward. I’ll be making some announcements soon about the release order on many of the upcoming projects. If they can manage to be funded by sales and other revenue then they’ll keep moving forward quickly.
The next changes will only help to grow it more, and perhaps give the the little business the power to do much bigger things- some things I’ve dreamed about being able to do for many years. Thanks for sticking with us through these projects.
The expansion, in many ways, has already started to happen – just not evenly and bottlenecked with me usually. By the week’s end, I’ll have worked on a piece of 15 different projects, with a concentration going on finishing some animation for titles on one. That’s too many projects, and handing off work has always happened, but now I’ll need to hand more responsibility out – and that’s hard for me but necessary. The biggest thing at the moment is expanding our dubbing and shipping capacity to keep up with all the stuff getting finished. Time has become more precious.
I thought it might be fun to briefly discuss a little piece of some of these for the article tonight, so here’s a sneak peak into some of the many things going on here. There’s more on their way:
A quick snapshot from Google drive. Here’s a few of the color models for the titles on Rainbow Parades, Volume 1. We’re trying to finish all the animation next week. I’ve got my ruffs sitting in front of me of a teapot- almost done.
I’ve been getting the last few things scanned for the ‘On Hold’ set. It contains a bunch of things that are for projects that will be a while before finished for various reasons. This set contains a few of the ‘Linus the Lionhearted’ shows, scanned from ABC’s original broadcast negs. Here’s a few of the Lab timing sheets, included in the cans.
Here’s the cover for the special set “Steve’s Closet” featuring a bunch of odds and ends. It was a fun project in that I digitized and put together things I probably otherwise wouldn’t. This is a little more disorganized than the real closet is, but I liked the idea of sort of deconstructing for a picture. This, along with four other special sets, are all done. We’re working on dubbing these five now to go out together.
Our own Devon Baxter recently finished cleanup on The Milkman. There’s a few more Flips to clean up here, and we’re waiting to scan four other elements to finish all 38 of the films. I took everyone’s notes from Coo Coo the Magician and made a finished version of the film that’s in cleanup right now. Thanks all for your input.
More Stop Motion Marvels has been moving right along. Almost all the films are cleaned up for the set now, and Stewart McKissick, who did great research as well as the package for the first set, is working on the cover for the second. Here is his comp drawing for the package, as well as a still from The Lady Said No, one of the coolest things on the set, from a rare, complete color print. More on that soon!
Have a good week everyone!
Linus the Lionhearted was hugely popular in its day. The show was much, much more than a program-length commercial for Post cereals. The characters had appeal that transcended their roles as spokespersons for the various cereals they represented. The shows were cleverly-crafted, well-voiced, and at times displayed a razor-sharp wit. Witness the fact that the Linus balloon in the Macy Parade lingered year after year, and continued to appear long after Linus had ceased to be a presence on television. One of the best episodes of the series was about Linus and Sugar Bear traveling to the Macy Parade. I caught parts of it online a few years ago and it holds up very well.
The series has fallen into undeserved obscurity. Critics then and now have been unreasonably harsh. When the series was in reruns, my local newspaper’s television guide ranked it as “potentially harmful” to young viewers. Today the show is considered politically incorrect. These assessments miss the point of what the show was about. It wasn’t about slamming any group, and it wasn’t about promoting bad nutritional habits. It was about delightfully inventive story arcs that wrapped around amusing and inventive short cartoons. It was about compelling and delightful characters. Above all else, it was about fun.
Yeah. Wait. WHAT? You’re scanning Linus THe Lionhearted show directly from the netowrk negatives? WANT!!!
Been wading through some old Bugs Bunny SHows and it popped into my nogging that maybe POST decided to have their “own” cartoon half-hour so they dropped the BBS. ONLY A THEORY – anyone know for sure?
Linus featured voice work by Sheldon Leonard (as the title character) and Carl Reiner, among others. The character/series most in danger of being politically incorrect would be So Hi, a little Chinese boy (mascot for Post Rice Krinkles) who told fractured fairy tales with a mock-Chinese caste to the cast.
I remember one cartoon where Rory Raccoon and Cornelius Crow go skiing and wind up with a hitchhiking bear. I saw the exact same storyline used on the Beatles TV cartoon and a Dell Alvin comic book. Willing to bet they were all done by the same writer.
Who drew the box art
Wow, these teaser notes are getting me more and more interested. It’s been a while, but I don’t recall you ever mentioning restorations on “LINUS THE LION-HEARTED”. Please elaborate where this will appear in a future post. I’ve seen the You Tube entries as well, some complete and otehrs only half there, and one in which we actually get to hear the full and complete opening and closing themes, no doubt chewed down because of the product placement always evident within since the main characters were all mascots for sugary breakfast cereals.
Glad to hear that the RAINBOW PARADE titles are nearly ready, along with FLIP THE FROG. I’m sure that your second volume of animated commercials will be great, whenever I receive it. I still cherish that first volume and how many great ads were included therein with classic characters. Like many Hollywood stars, our cartoon favorites have had to keep themselves in the public eye in advertisements. Hang in there, and I’m pleased that your projects are bearing fruit once again, as frustrating as the archeological dig, as I like to call it, seems to be.
I have fond memories of LINUS and am most gratified to read about this. I was wondering if there were maybe some trademark issues regarding the characters, since they were also Post Cereals mascots, and whether Post Cereals (or whoever owns Post now) still had rights to them.
The voice-work on those cartoons was legendary: Sheldon Leonard, Ruth Buzzi, Carl Reiner, Jerry Stiller, Ann Meara, Jonathan Winters, Paul Frees, and Sterling Holloway, among others.
Oh! I’ll be interested to see “The Lady Said No” in a fine print. That’s an upgrade!
Sugar Bear is the only “Linus” character still on cereal boxes and maybe commercials. All the other characters are long gone from boxes and in some cases, their cereals aren’t even made anymore. The show should be rerun.
Yeah. Please confirm — or at least hint, if it’s true — that you plan to tackle a release of Linus the Lionhearted. That would be tremendously exciting news!
I’d love to say it was 100% go on Linus; at the moment it’s in the ‘on hold’ category as we sort out one more rights issue. It appears we’re set and ready to go otherwise. Two of the shows will be on the ‘On hold’ set though….
I was seven when all the cereal-sponsored cartoons were taken off the air due to the new FCC regulations, and I really missed them. I loved Linus, I loved Crispy Critters, and I loved my talking pull-the-string Linus puppet (“I am the king! I can do anything! Almost….”) The cartoons had high production values by the standards of the time thanks to Post’s sponsorship, and, as others have noted, the writing and acting were top-notch. I don’t recall seeing the show in reruns after 1968, and it quickly faded into obscurity. Less than ten years later, when I was in high school and told some only slightly younger kids that Sugar Bear and the Alpha-Bits postman used to have their own Saturday morning cartoons, they flat-out refused to believe me.
There are some cartoons of the ’60s that I still enjoy watching today (The Flintstones). There are some that I appreciate even more now than I did as a child (Jonny Quest). And then there are some that I once loved but now find it difficult to sit through (Secret Squirrel, Cool McCool). I haven’t seen Linus the Lionhearted in over 50 years and have no idea into which category it might fall, but there’s only one way to find out. The opportunity to own even two episodes of the show, scanned from original broadcast negatives, is far too tempting to pass up.
If anything other than Linus deserves a modern remastering from the original negatives, it’s Batfink.
Kudos on even getting the original negatives for Linus in the first place! Wish you all your luck, Steve.
But didn’t Batfink get a proper DVD set from Shout! Factory 15 years ago? Or was the set unrestored?
Batfink: the Complete Series came out on DVD in 2007. I don’t have it and therefore can’t comment on the quality of the video. Both Batfink and Roger Ramjet were hugely popular in Australia, much more than in the U.S., and they were still being broadcast in reruns early in this century. You occasionally hear people of my generation quoting catchphrases like “My wings are like a shield of steel,” and “My supersonic sonar radar will help me.”
Kramer: It did, but a lot of the restoration quality was super botched up for quite a few parts, and were taken from late 80’s/early 90’s masters. They also messed up on the title cards too, somehow.
I still remember some of the lyrics for LINUS THE LION-HEARTED. They went something like this – I think:
“Roar! Roar! Roar for – LINUS THE LION-HEARTED!
Roar! Roar! Roar! Let’s have the show get started! …
“Linus is the one, he brings out the fun! He’s the host of which we boast!
So, roar, roar, roar, for – Linus, the King! Linus the star! Linus the Lion-hearted!”
Lovable Truly was this Jimmy Stewart-like postman who always spoke in rhyme. Sugar Bear sounded like Bing Crosby and his friend Granny Goodwitch, wasn’t always so good, as I recall! There was a dog-catcher in it who had been a silent movie actor, called something like “Richard Harry Nearly” or something, like that. The animation wasn’t great, but it was certainly serviceable. I’d probably like to revisit the series again – to hear the voice actors like Sheldon Leonard and Carl Reiner. Yeah, “So-High” might bring out the PC police, but it wasn’t mean-spirited. I seem to remember having a toy “ricksha” where the thing moved – by grabbing the plastic looking cereal box that was held by a string. You lowered it under the table to let it hang and just as the toy was about to fall, you grabbed it!
I also had a record album that I bought through the mail from Post box-tops! I wonder if I still have it somewhere? “Post cereals make breakfast – a little bit better!”
The first memory I can confidently date is Air Force One landing at Andrews the night of the Kennedy assassination. The second is Linus the Lionhearted, my favorite show as a 4-year old, being preempted by Kennedy’s funeral.
I don’t know how I missed this post. I’m coming to the discussion so late that this post will probably never be seen by anyone, but I had to take note of the VHS Cultoons in the photo of “Steve’s Closet”. A few years back I was forced by circumstances to downsize my possessions. For some reason I couldn’t part with my VHS copies of Cultoons Vols. 1-4. Kept those and my VHS Boskos plus a few other sentimental favorites.