May 4, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Little King in “Jest of Honor” (1934)

It’s a simple Thunderbean Thursday this week since it’s reviews at the school. Between three teams, we look at *all* the work from the students in the Entertainment Arts department at CCS, and by the end of the week everyone’s brains are mush. It was day three today.

Thunderbean News:
I did get some good news on several fronts: The nitrate negatives for Piano Tooners and Marching Along were pulled yesterday and prepared for scanning at the Library of Congress. I can’t wait to see what those two look like. I promise to post pictures as soon as they’re here.

Since the school has swallowed me, there’s not much new progress to report in any other way, but I’ve also heard the last thing for Flip is very close to being here, so there’s a good possibility that three titles (Flip, King and the Tom and Jerry sets) will be replicated at the same time or pretty close.

And.. onto our cartoon!
Since the coronation is happening Sunday in the UK, a Little King cartoon is in order! Jest of Honor (1934) is still a really fun cartoon nearly 90 years after it was made. If only royalty was this much fun in the real world…

The censor board must have somehow passed this little cartoon since it’s as rowdy as Van Beuren’s pre-code shorts. Some examples: the King, while surfing behind his well-equipped ship, manages to have quick relations with a mermaid. just before that happens, flying fish (using their fins as wings) defecate in the King’s eye. My guess is somehow this cartoon was missed.

After a series of diplomats offer the king flowers and a rabbit magically produced out of a hat, the king gets a grand welcome into what appears to be New York City. Just before a speech, the king eats a sloppy, cheesy hotdog, burping while squeaking into the microphone. After kissing the mayor’s floppy jowls, he upsets him, leading to the King being chased out of town for a surprise ending. Who knew that the King’s crown was actually part of his DNA?

The direction on this short (credited to George Stallings) is some of the most dynamic of the series, especially in the chase scene near the end. This cartoon is the fifth in the series of ten, and at this point the studio really starts to hit its stride with this character.

I really love a lot of the animation in this particular short. There’s music near the beginning with the Little King moving around on his surfboard with wavering music, and its one of those oddly memorable little moments. The King attempting to talk while food gushes out of his mouth is also especially entertaining somehow. Since the King is primarily a silent character, the studio started to build in lots of great little moments of pantomime comedy in these shorts, and in some way this cartoon reminds me of the Hal Roach shorts (Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chase) from around this time.

This is one of my favorites of the series, and absolutely one of the hardest to find a decent print on. Luckily, cartoon heroes Dave Kerwin and Jeff Missinne lent their prints to help with the set. Dave’s print is a nice old original that had lots of use over the years, but is still pretty beautiful. Jeff’s is a dupe print – and one of the few ways this cartoon has been around for many years. Mark Kausler was kind enough to lend his dupe as well, so between these three prints, a good scan of them and a good amount of digital care we managed to get a pretty good version.This is close to what the film will look like on the final ‘Little King’ Blu-ray that’s almost done.

Have a good week all and more news and cartoons soon!


  • A very funny cartoon. I love the offhand way the Little King just flings the rabbit through the porthole! For the record, the Little King isn’t surfing behind his ship, but aquaplaning — a sport that arose concurrently with the development of the motorboat but was already in decline by the 1930s.

    I think the jowly, heavyset mayor in the cartoon is meant to be John P. O’Brien, the last New York City mayor to be controlled by the Tammany Hall machine; he was elected in a special election following the sudden resignation of Mayor Jimmy Walker in 1932 and was defeated by Fiorello LaGuardia a year later. In his one and only closeup, the cartoon mayor is shown to have a moustache, which O’Brien sported in real life; and the incomprehensible, mushmouthed speech introducing the Little King may reflect O’Brien’s reputation as a poor public speaker. O’Brien was also a devout Roman Catholic who always wore religious medallions, even on his gym clothes; so the cartoon mayor’s presentation of a fish medal to the Little King is rather amusing in light of this.

  • Once again, Steve, you have outdone yourself with the cartoon you give us today. my overall feeling continues to be that, when something unfortunately falls into the public domain, finding original materials on it is possibly the most difficult thing one could ever attempt, but somehow you manage to do it! Thank you so much and I look forward to getting this whenever the DVDs or Blu-rays are complete.

  • Steve, a great job of matching contrast, density and other variables from materials of (no doubt) differing characteristics. “Jest” probably hasn’t looked this good since 1934!

  • I am sure that “cheesy” hot dogs did not exist in the 1930s. looks like sauerkraut to me–or perhaps onions. But an enjoyable cartoon just the same

  • Definitely sauerkraut!

    Steve, please stop posting updates about things being “very close!” It’s far better to say something will be ready in six months and have it arrive in three than it is to say something looks like it’ll be here next week and have months go by before another update claiming “next week!” I’d rather hear nothing at all! (Especially in regards to the long missing “extra” on Flip.)

    I’m way more optimistic about T&J and the Little King, especially in light of the very nice transfer you posted today. What a fun cartoon!

    • From a little over a year ago on a Thunderbean Thursday:

      “The last week of school here has owned most of my time…”

      “Work continues on Flip as the last commentaries arrive and the gallery and menus get finished. It’s the priority and will hopefully go to replication in the next few weeks…”


      It’s going to be hard finding a Blu-ray player by the time these discs are done!

    • Message understood. I won’t be mentioning anything more on these three titles until they’re done.

    • At this point, no one knows whem Flip will be out.

  • I feel the same way. I “pre ordered” and paid for my Flip set back in 2016! I doubt very much I will actually receive it. I’ll have to pay again through Amazon it get it. It’s all very sad and disconcerting to say the least.

    • I was also one of the first to preorder Flip, but I’m not concerned. You haven’t received it only because it is not yet finished. You can’t expect to have it before it is done. Yes, the production of that disc has dragged on and on (to be fair, Covid slowed everything down for a while), and now particularly with the “final extra” taking forever and ever (and ever) to be delivered, but don’t worry about receiving it. The Blu-ray will be sent out when it’s ready. Steve always finishes his projects. At one point, I had over 50 discs on preorder – believe it or not! – but I have most of those now. They all get done eventually. If you don’t care for the Thunderbean preorder model (generally it does take years before discs are ready, and they usually have unforeseen delays), you may be best waiting for discs to be done and skip the preorders in the future.

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