July 31, 2014 posted by

Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares


I’m happy to announce that the long-in-progress Blu-ray/DVD combo, Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares, is finally finished and available on Amazon as of today! The pre-orders will start shipping this week.

This is a project that was slated originally to be our first Blu-ray, before the Gulliver Travels project took a lead. We had originally thought it would be finished at the end of December last year; the trials and tribulations of producing these first two titles had been a real journey, but I’m happy with the results.

It’s been a labor of love to get this collection finished. The films have come from various sources over the years. Some of the films from other collections had been transferred in High Definition, with the idea that they could perhaps be shown in the higher quality format at some point. We wanted our first Blu-ray collection of cartoons to be something special, so the goal was to include films that would be especially beautiful on Blu-ray. It’s been a challenge and a thrill to see the set come together as well as it has. Yesterday I especially enjoyed seeing these projected on the big screen of the College for Creative Studies Auditorium, in Detroit, Michigan.

Van Beuren's "A Swiss Trick"

Van Beuren’s “A Swiss Trick”

The goal in doing the digital restoration of the films was (as it was with Gulliver) to keep them looking like film, presenting them as complete and in as good of quality as possible. Special care has been taken to keep the color content / look of the films as close to the original materials as possible, s the framing changes with each film. We’ve cleaned up dust and dirt, but not animation mistakes or cel scratches- those were part of the original film, and I think they should stay that way.

The Snowman presented a particular challenge. The surviving color print is a reissue, with Eshabaugh updating a few scenes. The original was shot with the almost full frame Movietone aperture, with framing of backgrounds that used almost the entire frame for composition. The retakes (including the title sequences) were in the more standard academy aperture. When we attempted to crop the film to Academy throughout to match the smaller aperture, Eshbaugh’s compositions appeared really cropped in many of the scenes, missing the point of the originally designed composition. We decided to keep the around the edges, it allows the viewer to see the shots as close to originally intended as possible.

Ted Eshbaugh's "The Wizard of Oz"

Ted Eshbaugh’s “The Wizard of Oz”

Eshbaugh is a filmmaker who really should have had more notice; he truly was a pioneer of color in animation, deserving a much more prominent place in animation history. The Disney Studio’s shrewd move in securing the Technicolor Process exclusively for three years is perhaps one of the greatest lessons in securing historical dominance of a medium, so much so that Eshbaugh’s considerable contribution of actually making the first full color animated film (really the first full color film of any kind) is relegated to a foot note. Hopefully, a little less so now.

The set also features a booklet with short essays on some of the films, and a little history behind some of the filmmakers. Special thanks to Mark Kausler, Thad Kommorowski and Bob Jaques for their contributions. John McElwee’s (Greenbriar Picture Shows) help in producing the set was also of great help. His contributions and support were the driving force in moving into the Blu-ray format, so without him, these two sets would not have been produced, at least
not when they were.

There are 15 cartoons on the Blu-ray that are also included on the DVD, restored from original 16mm and 35mm materials. There are additional bonus cartoons on the DVD as well. Here’s the list:

Dolly Doings-A Motoy cartoons 1917
The Wrong Track- Jerry on the Job
Alice Rattled by Rats!- Disney
Playing with Fire- Mutt and Jeff
Goldilocks and the Three Bears- produced for Kodak’s Cinegraph series
Mendelssohn’s Spring Song- Cy Young
The Bandmaster- Oswald
The Snowman- Ted Eshabaugh
A Swiss Trick- Tom and Jerry
The Wizard of Oz- Ted Eshbaugh
Tea Pot Town- Ted Eshbaugh
The Magic Mummy- Tom and Jerry
To Spring- MGM Harman/Ising
The Enchanted Square- Famous Studios
Bonus: Bosko the Talk Ink Kid

The highlights are the set for me are are the 35mm prints of the Ted Eshbaugh films. The Snowman and The Wizard of Oz have been available in various versions, but they’ve never been available *like this*. Seeing The Snowman in color was on my own personal cartoon bucket list, so I’m very happy to make it available on Blu-ray. They look wonderful, as do the rest of the films on the set.

This new collection is available on Amazon. Here is the link

Thanks for everyone’s patience in waiting for this, and everyone’s support on this project. Here is a little sneak preview of the set:


  • G’day Steve. The link you included didn’t work, so here is the link,,,

  • It looks marvelous! I can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive. Many thanks to you Steve, for making these films available to all of us. I, for one, really appreciate all the hard work and effort that you, and everyone who you mentioned, put into your projects.

  • Can’t wait to get this collection 🙂

  • At LAST, a full color version of Eshbaugh’s THE WIZARD OF OZ that is not only restored to full color, but is clean! A must have for my Oz collection!

  • Ah it looks like this has been well worth the wait, can’t wait to get my pre-order and start diving into the contents. Thanks Steve for all of the hard work on this and your other wonderful DVD releases! Thunderbean Animation is a national treasure as far as I’m concerned!

  • Stunning, Steve!

  • What is te beat way to order these in the UK?

  • How many bonus cartoons are included and what are the titles?

    • So far all that I know as the “bonus cartoon” is Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid. That’s all that was listed online for the set, but who knows-Steve may have added some surprises within the bonus set (this is known as an Easter egg)

  • The cover artwork is amazing too!!

  • Steve, thank you so much for continuing to bring us such wonderful DVDs, and Jerry – thank you for helping to make sure we know about them!

  • I love the cover as well and was wondering if this a work of Milton Knight. It has his crazy energy and would jump off any retail shelf and grab passing shoppers yelling “Buy ME Now!”.

    • The cover of this DVD is by the amazing Stephen DeStefano!

  • Stephen DeStafano did a great job on the cover, as did Stacy Krylova and Rex Schneider- they did a fantastic job on the background rendering. Milton Knight is fantastic and has done some of the Thunderbean DVD cases, including Uncensored Animation and Tom and Jerry. I’d love to have him do one of the upcoming titles as well.

  • Looks fantastic! Added to my amazon wish list!

  • The dancing teapots look exactly like the one in the Red Raven Movie Record of “I’m a Little Teapot”, from the 1950s.
    That tells me that Ted Eshbaugh, or someone from his studio, drew it and maybe other Red Raven records. Mystery solved! (for me at least).

  • I enjoy watching a cartoon or two on my iPad/iPhone while waiting in lines, waiting rooms, etc. any chance that you will provide digital copies in future releases?
    I’ve pre-ordered this release by the way and I’m looking forward to watching it.

  • Woohoo! Getting this for sure.

  • Wow, it looks awesome, I can’t wait to order this, so cool Steve. Thanks for making this available!

  • Wow!’ I’m a member of a Google+ community on cartoons and animation and I share the latest news on them. Can’t wait to share the news with the community, Steve!

  • Just bought my copy on Amazon. Looking forward to it.

  • Looking forward to my pre-order showing up! Man, that Snowman “death throes” scene is intense in color.

  • There seems to be a mastering Snafu toward the end of Dolly Doings. The audio stutters horribly on the DVD (the Blu Ray is fine). What to do?

    • My DVD copy has the same audio problem. I can’t check the Blu-ray, as I don’t have a player yet!

  • I received this earlier in the week and got a chance to watch it today. Absolutely fabulous work!!!! I am so pleased. Thanks you so much, Steve and everyone else involved, for all the excellent work that you do to bring these gems to us.

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