Hey, Cartoon Research readers! It’s me Devon Baxter, filling in for Steve Stanchfield this Thursday, since he has been busy doing some film-related research over at the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia.
George Pal’s stop-motion films, which include the Puppetoons, are the top priority at the moment over at Thunderbean, with just about nine films finished. This is your money at work! We are restoring several incredible Puppetoon rarities for Vol. 2 of Arnold Leibovit’s Puppetoon Movie project. Please help us complete the job – Lebovit’s crowdfunding information is HERE.
One of the films I’m working on is almost a rarity — Wilbur the Lion (1947), one of the last in the Puppetoons series. The source originates from a 35mm nitrate Technicolor print from the collection of Mark Kausler — one of classic animation’s true heroes. Evidently, the original successive negatives are missing and Paramount does not have any other 35mm materials of Wilbur in their archives. Digital clean-up and fixes are in progress as of this writing.
Here are a few screen grabs from Wilbur the Lion—these are from the raw scan (slightly tweaked for contrast and color adjustments for the post)…
Puppetoon producer Arnold Lebovit posted this small, unrestored clip from Mark’s print – so you can see what we are starting with.
I am also working on the 1933 Flip the Frog cartoon Techno-Cracked, sourced from a 35mm preservation element—another rarity considering many of the circulating copies (namely, Cartoons That Time Forgot video releases) are from 16mm prints. Each film in itself is quite a challenge. Admittedly, the Flips take a little more time to look as great as possible, but Wilbur is just a little easier since the print is in pretty good condition. The trials and tribulations of digital clean-up and restoration warrants its own past, but maybe I’ll save that for another time.
As a bonus, I’m including info on Steve’s latest special set, “Missing Links,” which could be the last! I hear tell many of the films are from 35mm IB Technicolor prints…