In Thunderbean news:
These weeks have been full as we work on getting orders for discs and special sets out the door. I’ve been helping pack nearly daily before school, then working on tweaking Tom and Jerry at night. Things are looking pretty good in terms of getting the set out to replication every soon and onto the second half of the Rainbow Parade cartoons in a more full-time way. The break from school in another three weeks looks to be filled with more film restoration and the great hope of finally getting to a few projects I’ve been itching to finish so I can actually talk about them. The best things are happening quietly these days. I promise I’ll be properly dressed for the occasion when I talk about them!
I wanted to make a quick point about the love of the medium of animation. Working at an art college, one of the great privileges I’ve had I’ve had is showing these films to people who have never seen them. The wonderful thing about animation is that it invites all of us to the party to enjoy it, not dependent on how much we know about the films and their creators, but rather to enjoy what was created. People can claim they are more qualified to talk about the films or talk about history, but the truth is there is room for anyone that would like to know more and learn more, taking a deep dive or a casual one. They are true gifts from the past, and can be entertaining and informative about the history of the medium. There are no interlopers, and no room for gatekeepers because, quite frankly, there are no gates to keep! In my history class, I’ve thrilled that people discover so many aspects and films they never knew existed. For those that teach the history and introduce these films to others, thank you. To all those who help preserve these films for the next generation, whether I’ve known you or not, thank you! I feel like we’re all doing a service to the people who made them in the first place, keeping the creations alive and entertaining us along the way.
It’s been a journey this year in terms of film restoration projects and moving many of the Thunderbean projects forward. There’s challenges ahead that are both exciting and difficult, but I’m smiling. My dad told me a corny joke when I was a kid- he said you can tell a happy motorcyclist by the bugs in their teeth. I don’t think my teeth have too many bugs, but there’s maybe some broken sprockets and splice tape stuck in them somewhere.
Last weekend we opened up the vault of ‘special’ discs and offered them for a few days over the weekend. Since we didn’t let folks know here on Cartoon Research, we thought we’d offer them again now through the end of the weekend— so if there’s any you’ve wanted but missed this is a good time to get them. They’re at thunderbeanshop.com.
There are time when I wish I was alive in the 30s since there would have been a possibility of see one of these cartoons when it was new! Here’s one I didn’t see for many years since I was never able to find a print— but now have! The Great Bird Mystery (1932). Dick Huemer is one of my heroes.
In this especially bizarre Scrappy cartoon, Scrappy builds a bird house that is immediately overtaken by way too many transient birds. Then, in a strange twist, the cartoon abandons that storyline entirely and concentrates on a little bird that falls into the disfavor of “Cock Robin” who frames that poor little bird for ‘killing’ him. The bird is put in animal court (with Cock Robin’s dead body attached to an arrow).
I really love the animation in this one, especially a shot of Oopy dropping off the little bird in front of the judge, pointing to him and proclaiming “He did it!!”. Full of great poses and funny action, this cartoon seems to have Scrappy and Oopy jumping into Krazy Kat’s animal world rather than one populated by humans. But, then again, why not. It’s a cartoon! There’s a lovely shot at the beginning with Scrappy building the bird house, and it’s happy in a way I wish all animated films could be. Thanks so much, Mintz artists and animators- and keep the faith, cartoon researchers.
Have a great week everyone!