THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
August 9, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

“The best drink in all the world: MILK!” – Out of Milk Bottle (1932)

In the world of Thunderbean: I’m enjoying how many things are happening, although it’s dizzying at times. Things have been growing pretty well, although I’m still the bottleneck on this Michigan pennisula. If any cartoon fans want to come over and help I’ll gladly welcome it! The little freelance staff is doing great, although there is always a lot to do. The cleanup teams are working in full force and doing a great job.

It is still very much a packing festival here, trying to get out quite a few special sets and keep up with Amazon. ‘The Snappy Video Party Disc’ and ‘Award Winners’ are still getting dubbed and getting sent and I’m working on catching up with all sorts of little stuff. Cartoon Paradise follows next in the ‘special’ sets, along with ‘I’m No Fool for IB Tech’. Films for all those sets are now all scanned.

Grotesqueries has all the films cleaned up and we’re still working through the extensive graphics and little extras that Chris Buchman likes to do for his sets.The HD upgrade is looking very nice. Other projects are behind these, but pieces are coming together.

The Mid Century Modern 1 Blu-ray was quite a feat to get to the finish line; I wanted to add several things to the set and upgrade others— and happily was able to do that. It will be back from the replicators by this time next week (to join the finished Mid Century Modern 2 Blu-ray). I’ll finally be writing about both of these upgraded sets and showing images and the usual sneak peaks, as well as giving an update on the Flip and Frog Blu-rays. The Noveltoons Blu-ray is coming right along as well. Right now it’s looking like that title will just beat Flip out the door next.


And, onto the cartoon!

One of my favorite ‘oddball’ shorts is something called Out of a Milk Bottle. This fun little oddity has an strange history. It appears to have been produced as a silent educational short in 1929/1930, then revamped with new footage either by the newly formed Jam Handy Studios or just distributed by them in the early 30s. Several educational trade magazines show Jam Handy having the film available for ‘localized distribution’. I have to wonder where it was produced in the first place. It makes some sense that Jam Handy may have done the added few sound shots., but impossible to say for sure at this point. It really looks like New York to me, with elements of various comic drawing styles. I haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact studio the work looks like; I think McCrory comes closest. Did Jam Handy make a deal to distribute the film, and was the animation done in New York? My guess would be that the film was sort of produced over and over, combining the base original footage with a new second version, then yet another sound version later. Could it have been made at Audio productions and just distributed by Jam Handy? A trip through the extensive collection of Jam Handy papers is in order here.

The very sparse information I’ve been able to find on the film points only to the sound version. As noted above, it appears the films was adapted for use in different markets. The first print I saw the film was lent to me back around 1990 by 16mm collector and rabid Popeye fan Craig Davidson. His print had an entirely different title on it— it was called ’Skinny and Husky in a Day at Coney Island’.

In the actual film, the kids board a bus labeled ‘Coney Island’ but end up going to ’Joyland’ according to the sign above the amusement park.I have to wonder if both of those shots were done at different times and just ended up together on this version.

I really love the silly animation in this short, and the enjoyable but strangely not-so-well worked out voice work throughout. At one point, it appears that the soundtrack is attempting to cover other dialogue at the beginning of one scene. My favorite line is the carny lamenting ‘He broke it he broke it he broke it’ after Huskey demonstrates his brute strength thanks to milk. I also love that iris goes down at the end off to the side as if to focus onto something, but there isn’t anything there to iris down into! Why it wasn’t in the center will remain an unsolvable mystery.

If you look closely, there appears to be *three* different pieces of footage combined together – perhaps two different productions of silent footage and additional shots with sound. Some of the footage (I’m guessing the oldest) appears to be rendered quite well, with a good quality to the inking and background. In several scenes, it’s followed by footage with either thicker or not as good line quality, and much simpler backgrounds. During the high striker scene, look at the first shot compared to the shots of ’Skinny’ failing. One of the earlier shots has the sign ‘Fresh Milk’ superimposed over an animated shot, while a following shot includes the sign as part of the background.

Should anyone be interested in doing additional sleuthing, I’m sure something could be discovered. I won this particular print on Ebay in the very early days of that website, and traded it to a collector to borrow additional rare films. It was in a Jam Handy can with name of the film typed into the label. I hope to borrow it back at some point to do an HD scan — and I hope he’s kept that cool can!

This particular print seems to have been personalized to Sheffield Milk in New York. Enjoy Skinny and Husky’s adventure since it seems to be their only one!

Have a good week everyone!

8 Comments

  • This comes close to sounding like the Iwerks REG’LAR FELLAS cartoon…or a vintage OUR GANG comedy. Imagine the 1930’s Gang starring in a live action adaptation of this short. As always, having said that, I wonder who the voice(s) were. Sometimes, it sounds as if the same child did all the voices.

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/is-milk-bad-for-you#side-effects

    Powdered milk when sent to disaster zones, killed more people than the disaster.

    • But – but – I saw a 1930s cartoon that said it was good for you!
      You don’t suppose they got paid to say that?

    • At least not forget those that are lactose intolerant. I probably would’ve been blue in the face if I found out too late someone I knew couldn’t drink milk after offering them one.

  • Coney Island had many Parks over the years. Two of the largest were Dreamland and Luna Park. Doesn’t Joyland kind of sound like Dreamland?

  • Too bad you’re nowhere near Burbank. I could volunteer some time to help you catch up.

  • That print went to the cartoonsonfilm archive. 😉

    (Oh, and I got the shots, so the Popeye Rabies have subsided.)

  • Here’s an example- The California Milk Processor Board (though Goodby, Silverstein and Partners( would produce “Got Milk?” commercials where they run out of milk and have a tagless verison. Then they would license it to different markets with “America’s Dairy Farmers” in different versions. They would license the trademark so other boards and councils could make their OWN got milk ads, from the milk mustache to that recent Super Bowl ad to “That Milk Thing”.

    Exclusive licenses of the C.M.P.B. trademark happened with Mattel, with Barbie and maybe Hot Wheels…….

    The California Milk Processor Board should NOT be confused with the decade-old California Milk Advisory Board.. The Processor Board is as old as me (while I wasn’t born when it was formed, the “Got Milk?” campaign launched when I was 9 days old).

    Still not convinced on this near-modern example?

    Just watch and look closely:

    Generic national market version of Santa Claus commercial:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SagOvUr_1lk

    Original C.M.P.B. version (probably only aired in California):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwnzWyktX_U

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