September 17, 2015 posted by

Terrytoons’ “Pink Elephants” (1937)

Happy late summer everyone!

On the Thunderbean Front:

I was happy that the show of cartoons last week at Cinecon went well, and especially grateful that Jerry Beck was able to introduce and present the show. The audience there had the first sneak peak at the restored Iwerks’ The Caveman, from the original 35mm camera negative, and many other shorts as well. I wish I could have been there.

private-snafu-title-bluI’ve heard from some folks that they’re enjoying the Private Snafu shorts are being shown on TCM this month. It’s a nice sneak peak of the new cleaned up HD versions that will also be on the nearly done Snafu Blu-ray. Check TCM’s schedule for the time they’re on in your area – there’s 15 showing all together through this month and early next.

I’m finding I’m carving out small minutes to get done the final touches on Private Snafu Blu-ray set. Everyone has done a great job in helping get the set done, and looking at the final results, I can honestly say
that it would be hard to make the set much better quality-wise. Most of thefilms are from the best material that still exists (mostly fine grain master positives), and the cleanup work looks very nice.

willie-whopper600Waiting with baited breath for the Willie Whopper set to come back, replicated, though I’ve been told it’s still a few weeks from now. We’ll show the package look like here next week.

Since these projects are working on winding down, I’ve been putting time toward some of the others as well – mostly in coordination, but also in the area of licensing materials and inquiring about others. The Abbott and Costello Rarities set (though not-so animation related) is also getting near the finishing touches, so that’s next. The Flip the Frog set will be going into full swing before too long (there are negs here waiting to be scanned…) We’re waiting for material on the Lou Bunin Alice set as well, and have several new announcements pretty soon (maybe I’ll wait until all the other stuff is sent). The official count of projects in some sort of production here is 9. While everything is taking much longer than we thought, we’re quite happy with them.

Now, onto the cartoon for the week!

I’m obviously a fan of Terrytoons in the 1930s. Terry gets a bad rap but he did turn out an entertaining product, and as the 1930s rolled on his films – thanks to some pretty incredible talents on his staff – got better and better. In 1937, Terry had Joe Barbera, Jack Zander, Dan Gordon and others producing some pretty good looking films (before losing them all to MGM by the end of the year). Mark Kausler (by way of his brother) found this 1937 article about a Terrytoon exhibit being offered to schools, libraries and assembly halls, from an obscure publication called The Motion Picture and The Family (3-15-1937). (click to enlarge)

Terryarticle-1937-1TerryArticle-pg2 terrytoons-pink-elephants

Pink Elephants (1937) is one of my favorite of the late 30s Terrytoons. Until more recent years, It was pretty impossible to see a lot of the black and white Terrytoons. If you knew film collectors who had some, the ones Castle films released for home movies and rental were the most likely titles to see. Still, to this day, I still haven’t seen all of the early sound ones, and look forward to finding time to see more.

Like many of the TV prints of the Terrytoons, this cartoon has been edited for time, so it’s hard to say what the beginning of the film looks like. Most of the plot is intact, but the goat’s motivations may have been clearer in the original version. Perhaps the reason for the Pink Elephants in the first place was explained by the other shots near the beginning.

I especially like this cartoon for the fun, Cab Calloway-inspired music. It’s not a top cartoon, but completely enjoyable for what it is – maybe not a classic, but a fun little film for those of us who love animation. Make sure to turn it to HD if your computer is fast enough! Have a good week everyone!

(Thanks, Mark Kausler)


  • I heard Joe Barbera was a storyman on this short.

    • I heard it was Jim Beam.

  • Hey Jerry what’s the latest poop on the Censored Eleven release?

    • I highly doubt that’s happening at the moment, especially after WB’s decision to no longer license the General Lee from The Dukes Of Hazzard. The recent controversy could be a sign that WB does NOT want to release ANY of the politiclally incorrect cartoons under any circumstances, even if such a set was aimed at collectors.

    • I don’t want this thread to veer off topic… but in a nutshell, The Censored 11 is not coming to DVD (or blu-ray). No plans for it at this time.

    • Yeah, those people at WB are the real BIGOTS (as BEN JONES said) and the real evil people censoring art, they should face jail time for that

    • Sad to learn of the General Lee’s fate. Such a killer car too.

    • At least the show didn’t get attacked for it’s misogyny like so many other shows of that time.

  • Nice choice, Steve, and you know that I agree that Paul Terry’s finest moments were in the 1930’s, but I’d say that about just about any animation studio out there in America at the time. I always enjoyed seeing some of these on what was called “THE TERRYTOONS CIRCUS” that aired weekdays at 6:00 p.m. on local TV, so it is possible that this was one of the titles that aired.

  • Speculation: Besides eating a loud bell, the goat got drunk or otherwise overindulged and hallucinated a pink elephant. In a panic he runs home where the elephant reappears but decides to bedevil Farmer Al Falfa instead.

    This was pretty good; arguably funnier than the Mighty Mouse era with their kiddie focus and constant singing. Although I enjoy those for nostalgia and snarky reasons.

  • Cracker Jack cartoon.

  • The artwork shown in the Paul Terry exhibit article is from the Kiko Kangaroo cartoon “Red Hot Music” (aka “Red Hot Rhythm.”)

  • I’ve never seen this cartoon before today but my guess is that, rather than being edited for time, it was edited to remove scenes showing the goat drinking some kind of booze and getting drunk. Some censor decided that this was not appropriate viewing fodder for children and cut those scenes out of this print. I remember as a kid, growing up in the Boston area in the late fifties and early sixties seeing another cartoon (studio and title long since forgotten) where there was a Jazz or Swing band made up entirely of animals. The band leader was a lion and he played a slide trombone. A penguin indicated by simple hand gestures that he wanted to play the trombone but the lion smiled politely and shook his head. This happened several times until somehow the penguin fell down (I think) and a bottle of liquor on the table above him tipped over and the contents poured into the penguins mouth. Now that he was suitably “Likkered Up” the lion let him play the trombone. The moral being, apparently, “If you want to be accepted you need to get drunk”! I saw this film just a few times when I was very young and then ‘Poof!’ it was gone. My guess is that some parents group, or such, complained and the TV station yanked the cartoon.

  • Can anyone identify the above mentioned cartoon with the lion and the penguin? After all these years I’d like to know what cartoon it was. Thank you. – Jim –

  • I saw the complete cartoon this weekend at Capitolfest. And the extremely important (missing) scene at the beginning of the cartoon is that the goat eats a large sack of beer cans. It’s not clear if the cans are empties or if the cans are full, but by the time he eats all the metal of the cans, he’s extremely drunk.

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