THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
May 19, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Other Betty Boop Cartoons, Volume 1 Blu-ray – and a Sneak Peek of Two Lost Cartoons

At Thunderbean this week:

We’ve spent the last three days smashing together material for the Stop Motion Marvels, Volume 1 Blu-ray upgrade- and with that work we turned some big corners— bringing that project much closer to completion. Becky Grauman did a fantastic job cleaning up some of the materials last week, including Dolly Daisy (1930). I saw the results today and am amazed at how beautiful it and other films for the set are looking.

Three other special sets are getting finished this week – and Aesop’s Fables, Volume 1 should be back from replication at this time next week. Our big goal is to have Flip the Frog finally out within the next month or so too-with more projects coming into the mix too. We also announced another special disc, “the Forgotten 60s” available for pre-order at the Thunderbean Shop.

For this week’s subject, I’m happy to say that the The Other Betty Boop set is finally done and shipping starting tomorrow. Originally, this set started as one of the ‘special’ sort of unofficial sets we do, with the idea being to gather good prints of a lot of the Betty Boop cartoons that were not included on Olive films’ four Blu-ray compilations.

The final set has 18 cartoons from the series, mostly from the later half of the series, but it also includes a handful of earlier shorts. Usually the special sets are just good scans of cartoons, without any additional work put into them, but as we started to get then all together it became pretty clear that it was a really good looking set—so it was worth taking some of the best material (including 35mm prints) and spiffing them up with some cleanup. The set will remain a BDR rather than replicated, with our hopes being that at some point all these films will be available from their negatives and master positives where they exist. For now, I think it’s a pretty good little set of these shorts – and volume two will follow!

The icing on the cake was the good luck to be able to scan Honest, Love and True from one of the two known prints of the film in the world— and the only known one with sound. It’s really fun to see a Betty you’ve never seen before, and I found a lot of the ad-libs in the film to be really fun – and its well animated too! The film appearing on this set is courtesy of film hero David Gerstein for finding the print and Serge Bromberg for being able to attain it and scan it for the set. The print has French titles and some different backgrounds to change some things into French, but it has the full original English soundtrack. We’re thrilled to have it on the set. It’s one of the films we’ve cleaned up here.

As we were working on getting the films cleaned up, someone managed to swipe the scan from the internal servers at Lobster, and, as things do, it was sold for broadcast and started to appear on YouTube!

Here’s a little preview of the set followed by a longer clip from Honest Love and True (1939). Thanks to everyone for your help in supporting all these small efforts to make more classic cartoons available in good quality. I’ve been so lucky to get a lot of ‘Holy Grails’ scanned and available over these years, and here’s another that’s been on the list for a long time. Now onto some I can’t talk about until the sets are done!

The Other Betty Boop Cartoons, Volume 1 is available on Amazon or at thunderbeanshop.com.


EDITORS NOTE: ANOTHER LOST BETTY BOOP

In addition to Steve’s blu-ray release this week, another lost Betty Boop cartoon will be making its public debut on Saturday. The film is Buzzy Boop At The Concert (a sequel the equally obscure Buzzy Boop, both released in 1938). Like Honest Love and True, Pudgy and The Lost Kitten and the aforementioned Buzzy Boop, these four cartoons (of the “Betty Boop” series) were omitted (accidentally or otherwise) from the famed U.M.&M. TV package – their negatives missing from the Paramount vaults.

Though lost for decades, as of today all four are now known to exist – one way or another. Buzzy Boop At The Concert was located in the Russian Gosfilmofond Archive. Thanks to Asifa Hollywood and The UCLA Film Archives the film was acquired and persevered – and this week it will be presented at the UCLA Festival of Preservation this weekend – Saturday at 1:30pm. The event is the Hammer Museum in Westwood – in Los Angeles, CA. Admission is free. For more details click here.

I was involved in the efforts to save this film and return it to American soil. I can’t show you the film here and now… but I did shoot the first 50 seconds with my iPhone… it starts out out-of-focus, and its in hand-held “wobble-vision”, but at least you can see the opening titles. – Jerry Beck

18 Comments

  • I’m a bit surprised that “Honest Love and True” doesn’t have Fearless Fred. Guess the studio gave up on him.

    I’m also surprised that Betty has a somewhat revealing outfit again this late in the series especially with her taller size.

  • HONEST LOVE AND TRUE is probably the best of the Betty Boop melodramas. A lack of Fearless Fred, and Jack Mercer’s involvement make it a lot more enjoyable than the earlier ones. The other cartoons are a range of hit or miss, but there are some fun hits to enjoy. Don’t pass up the chance to get this one, everybody! Its the usual Thunderbean hit, and the inclusion of HONEST LOVE AND TRUE should make it without hesitation. The opening to Buzzy was nice to see, but I sure hope everyone else gets to see it at somepoint. MOMA should screen these at somepoint

  • Why is it whenever a “lost” cartoon is discovered, we’re only permitted to see the first minute or so? I’m still waiting to see the remainder of Bric’s Stew from three years ago.

    • In the case of cartoons I preview on this site – the reason is because I don’t own these films. I don’t have complete copies myself. I can’t show you more because I don’t have any more.

      I work with the organizations who have put a lot of money into their preservation. In the case of Bric Stew, that film is in the Collection of the Motion Picture Academy and I got special permission to post that clip then. In the case of Buzzy Boop, UCLA and Paramount own this unique title. I was involved with both representing ASIFA-Hollywood who put up significant funding to save both films. In the case of the clip above, you can see I snuck making a quick video using my camera at a screening of one of the answer prints.

      Both these films are available for other museums and archives to borrow and screen. Using these unique titles to call attention to the issue of lost films, preservation and restoration, is how they are being used at this time. I predict they will be part of our personal collections sooner than you think.

      • I certainly hope so. Preservation and collections are wonderful, but the creators of these films wanted them to be seen and enjoyed by the public, not for them to be locked up in a vault. I don’t think I should have to talk the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston into hosting a retrospective just to finally see Bric and Buzzy. Thank you for your response.

        • Actually, you SHOULD speak to your local museums about hosting classic animation programs, retrospectives and functions to fund the preservation of film. We need more of that.

          We all want the lost cartoons for our personal, at home, collections. I do. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to helping make that happen and championing the efforts of others who do.

          Do your part. Buy the physical media, attend the screenings, support those doing the archival work. And spread the word that older film, particularly rare or lost titles on nitrate stock, are in dire need of saving. Cartoons get the least attention (live action features, newsreels, etc. are considered more important) at the archives. Understand that “Festivals of Preservation” like the one this weekend in L.A., help put a spotlight on this issue. Holding a rarity, like this Boop cartoon, to be a draw for such an event, helps the greater effort to save more cartoons you and I want in our libraries.

          • Point taken. Any suggestions for specific selections, collections, curated programs to request? If I simply mention “classic animation”, chances are they’re just going to run the same old easy-to-acquire Warner Bros. cartoons we get on MeTV every morning.

        • In most cases, the creators of these mainstream theatrical cartoons wanted to satisfy distribution contracts and pay their bills. They often didn’t think of this stuff as historically significant ‘art;’ lots of it was viewed by the creators, critics, and audiences alike as fleeting ephemera. The fact that any of it survived past initial theatrical runs and saw the light of day again in secondary markets like television is nothing short of a minor miracle.

          *We* appreciate it as art and important pop culture history all these decades later, but we shouldn’t put words in the mouths and thoughts in the minds of those long dead creators, just out of our own self-centered romanticism of a mostly commercial entertainment medium. And the issue of showing/circulating proprietary archival material is complicated. It’s not all about you or me.

  • Well! This just makes me want to kick up my heels and spin around like Grampy when he has an idea! Thanks to you, David Gerstein and Serge Bromberg for rescuing “Honest Love and True” from oblivion. What a find! Also, congratulations to your cover designer. Betty’s over-the-shoulder pout is very winsome.

    I’ve never found much humour in “Be Human”, but when that farmer started whipping the dog in time to the “Tiger Rag”, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch the cartoon again without thinking of that. “It’s futile to be brutal — it won’t get you a dime — so be human all the boopy-doopy-doopy-doop, boop-oop-a-doop!”

    Hope I get to see “Buzzy Boop at the Concert” someday! Best wishes for Saturday’s screening!

  • I like how we’re seeing the content of BUZZY BOOP AT THE CONCERT in its fullest ratio; the Paramount mountain is that tall! Of course, this was not meant to be seen in anything other than Academy, I assume; I believe I see a peg in the opening shot. Great stuff!

  • Any ETA on Mid Century Modern Volume 3?

  • How did I not know this was coming out? Well, problem solved. I just ordered this and the next volume. Now, if you could just twist whoever’s arm needs twisting and get “Buzzy Boop at the Concert” on the second collection, I can get that item off my bucket list.

  • OK, what about “Accordion Joe”? Will it also be on “The Other Betty Boop Cartoons, Vol. 1” DVD? If not, will it be on a later volume in the set? I’m very happy to learn that both “Buzzy Boop at the Concert” and “Honest Love and True” have been discovered, but I was hoping for a comment about “Accordion Joe” here, too. Responses here about this are very welcome…

    • Its still under copyright. Not gonna happen until 2026 at the earliest

  • I ran across the video yesterday on YouTube and immediately went to Amazon and ordered. Can’t wait!

  • Is that set from the opening of Buzzy Boop recycled?

  • Steve, It would be great if you can give us a definitive version the film “Bill and Coo”

  • A million thank yous to everyone involved in finding, preserving and sharing these films. These new Betty Boop clips were a pleasure to watch and much appreciated.

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