September 19, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Some Stop Motion Outtakes from “Bury the Axis” (1943)

I was hoping for a longer, detailed post about the new Noveltoons and Grotesqueries Blu-rays, but that will need to be next week!

It’s the end of the day here as I write and the semester pushes on. The beginning of the school year has been particularly difficult time-wise, but moving along well. In the Thunderbean world, the finished things are started to stack up here and I hope to get almost everything that’s done caught up and in the coming week or so, finally.

In addition to the usual Thunderbean duties, I spent a good part of last week into this doing a ton of tweaking on films for Arnold Leibovit’s Puppetoons Volume 2 Blu-ray/ DVD set. I’m really happy with the way the set is looking, and always amazed at how viewing some of the shorts is an almost brand new experience after a week or more away from each. I feel that these Puppetoons sets are helping correct a big part of the past history, making films available that really should have been available all these years.

More Lou Bunin material arrived today, and since the title has taken so long to get going, I thought I’d share one of the rarities from the set: reels of outtakes from the short Bury the Axis (1943). This short was released in Cinecolor theatrically, and there’s a single source that seems to have a Kodachrome print as well (although I haven’t scanned it as of yet).

Bunin’s outtakes from the short were kept all this time by Bunin, and then the Bunin family. They’re preserved now at the Library of Congress. They were all on their original 16mm Kodachrome reels in the shipping boxes from Kodak. My guess is that the film was shot in 16mm and 35mm at the same time, but I might be wrong.

The outtakes offer a fascinating view of parts of Bunin’s process in making the short, from the sizes of things, how lighting and effects were accomplished, the process of designing shots and working out camera moves and his animation techniques. There’s some animation in these outtakes that doesn’t appear in at least the available prints of the film, including a poor soldier and some sad flowers! Seeing these puppets in full color (rather than the available Cinecolor print) is also a treat.

I hope you enjoy this reel of clips. I’ve shown a few stills from this a little while back, and showed the reel once so far – at a show at the Egyptian Theatre a handful of years back – but this is the first public post of them. I’m hoping to gather at least a few more films now for this set, and I’m very excited to get back to finishing the other aspects of the set over the coming period. Rainbows and Flips are now again occupying most of the my non-school time at the moment, but I’m excited that so many things are moving forward at the same time.

Have a great week everyone!


  • The color in those reels is phenomenal! (Too bad it ended up being released in Cinecolor)

  • DIdn’t I (briefly) attempt to clean up some of those outtakes?

  • The color and composition in these shots is outstanding. I hadn’t heard of this work from Lou. Lou was a teacher of mine in the mid 1970s at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He was a lovely man and I did work with him and stayed in contact with him until the early 1980s. He was kind and encouraging and it’s a joy to see some of his more obscure but beautiful work here. Thank you.

  • Once again, I am forever grateful to Steve’s effort in delving into such oddities as this propaganda stop-motion short, with those delightful out-takes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen out-takes to a stop-motion film like that before. The effects shots remind of those Gerry Anderson programmes from over 20 years after the release of Bury the Axis (more puppet than ‘cartoon’ I know, so bear with me!) in how they used live-action techniques to achieve the smoke and fire effects in their action sequences.

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