August 24, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Technicolor “Rainbow Parade” Model Sheets

As the non-school part of summer heads toward a wrap up, there’s lots of things wrapping up here as well- and things that are starting starting to head towards getting finished.

First, in Thunderbean news:

Flip the Frog is through replication with finished discs! JB Kaufman and Dave Gerstein are putting the finishing touches into the booklet, and we’re getting ready to do lots of dubbing on the bonus disc with Flip as well as all the special discs that are completed right now.

The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set is all done *except* for an upgrade on one film (Polar Pals, from a new 35mm nitrate scan). When that’s back it will be spiffed up quickly and its off to replication. The package is nearly completed, featuring our musical heroes, by Milton Knight, who created the cover for the DVD version a little while back.

While things are still a little busy working on several non-Thunderbean projects and school stuff, I’ve been happy to start preparing materials for finishing the Rainbow Parade, volume 2 set. Scanning continues on the master elements at UCLA. There are 35mm elements on all, but exist as just Technicolor prints. There are individual color record elements, but they’e not complete — a red record/negative on one, cyan on others, but never a full set! It’s frustrating because you’d hope at least *one* of the 13 would survive in all elements. I’m hoping to get out and take a look at that material before too long and supervise some of the scanning if possible. Many scans are already done, and I’m enjoying finally making this the major Thunderbean project, along with the Lou Bunin material.

As I’m looking through the materials we’re using for bonus features, I looked through the model sheets we’ve been lucky enough to acquire. A majority of these I won from Ebay auctions some years back, and some were lent for the project by Ted Watts.

Today’s model sheet posting is a follow up to a previous column I posted in 2021.

You can see that many of them were Al Stahl’s, who had started doing in-betweening on the series in 1935. I believe it was his first studio experience. I wish there was a record of who drew the model sheets for the series; These mostly inked drawings give us some indication of how the overall designs translated into the final animation. I especially like the Toonerville Trolley drawings and models here.

Several of these model sheets are for a never-produced Felix the cat short. Waldo, who is clearly the bad guy, appears as both a Rooster (dated March 20th) and a Cat (dated march 27th) in different models. There is more information on this short, and I always hoped pencil tests might show up on something from this period, but alas, none have ever materialized. I find these drawing particularly appealing.

Cartoons represented here include Cupid Gets His Man, Molly Moo Cow and the Indians, Bold King Cole, A Waif’s Welcome, It’s a Greek Life, Toonerville Picnic, Toonerville Trolly, Molly Moo Cow and Robinson Crusoe, Molly MooCow and Rip Van Winkle and Neptune Nonsense.

Have a good week all!

Molly Moo Cow and the Indians

Molly Moo Cow and the Butterflies

Molly Moo Cow and Rip Van Winkle

Toonerville Trolley and Trolley Ahoy

Molly Moo Cow and Robinson Crusoe

Neptune Nonsense

Bold King Cole

A Waif’s Welcome

Cupid Gets His Man

It’s a Greek Life

Toonerville Picnic

Felix, Kitty and Waldo (Unfinished)


  • So interesting to hear about all these forthcoming releases, including the second rainbow parades collection. I know this will be something I will eagerly be awaiting because I remember so many of these cartoons. and I am extra glad to hear of the progress on “flip the frog“. I know this will be well worth the wait. Thank you for all you do for these classic cartoons.

  • These model sheets are fantastic! I’m so glad they still exist and are in good hands. Al Stahl and Sandy Strother really put a lot of personality into every character they drew.

    I’m intrigued by the model sheets for that unfinished/unproduced cartoon. Kitty is shown on skis, as is Felix in the model sheets with Waldo, which suggests that they were meant to appear in the same cartoon together. In any case, I would be very interested in any additional information you might have about this never-completed Felix the Cat cartoon.

  • These are great Steve! Especially the model sheets for Axel and Kitty (my imagination is running wild on what that film may have been), and Felix and Waldo. Fascinating find!

  • The model sheets are better than the cartoons

    • For me, I think cartoons are better than model sheets.

  • Astounding model sheets!

    Don’t annoy Katrinka, if you know what’s good for ya.

  • A lot of these model sheets look like the work of Charlie Thorson, who did models for just about every cartoon studio in the 1930s, including Schlesinger, Disney and Fleischer. I think the names of Al Stahl and Sandy Strother are on the sheets because they owned them, not because they drew them.

  • I’m guessing the Technicolor Rainbow Parades were shot using the YCM process as opposed to successive exposure. You might have had a better chance of saving the negatives if they were SE. Either way, it’d be interesting to see them in true Technicolor once the set is done or close to done. I’ve already pre-ordered the Tom and Jerry set as well, so looking forward to that.

  • I own several of these. The Al Stahl ones came through eBay a couple years ago. The Strother ones (or at least some of them) came through Howard Lowery several additional years ago. There’s another Felix model, but I am not next to it at the moment to share the image

  • Excellent finds Steve! Can’t wait for more further details on the Van Bueren’s Tom and Jerry Blu-Ray.

    Sometimes I wonder what that Felix The Cat and Waldo cartoon would’ve turned out if it ever got completed.

    • According to Gerstein, the cartoon was somehow finished by Schlesinger’s as “Alpine Antics” (1936) staring Beans. How a cartoon originally developed from a closed East Coast studio ended up being finished by a West Coast studio I’m still trying to figure out.

      • My guess is that Tom Palmer must have taken some of the Van Beuren model sheets back to Hollywood with him when he went to work for Leon Schlesinger. Again, this is just my guess.

        • Okay, so after a bit of digging, I found it couldn’t have been Tom Palmer who took the model sheets from Van Beuren as he was fired by Leon Schlesinger after only directing two cartoons, so how it got finished by a west coast studio is quite a mystery indeed.

      • Nic, I’m not sure who claimed “Ski Outing” ended up becoming Beans’ ALPINE ANTICS at Warner, but it wasn’t me! ALPINE seems to be entirely its own thing, and was released chronologically too early for any Van Beuren emigrés to have taken it to Schlesinger.

        “Ski Outing” did get adapted, roughly, in the Felix Sunday comic strip late in 1936, with Messmer’s assistant Jack Bogle—also a Van Beuren animator, whose style is visible on some of these model sheets—handling most of the art. Waldo looked exactly as he does here.

  • The “King Cole” and “Waif’s” drawings shout Dan Gordon.

  • Excellent stuff here! I’ve always loved the look of these model sheets, and I’ve admittedly been anxiously waiting to see more of them ever since I saw them the first time way back in… gosh was it 2021? I can’t remember, I’ve been lurking here for quite a few years, and just now I’m starting to comment on these.
    These model sheets are also great for me because I could use these as reference for my art! Not for anything in particular, but for like, nailing down cartoon proportions and what not. Either way, thanks for posting them, they look great!

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