I got an email from Jerry earlier today, asking if I’d be doing a third annual Thunderbean Thanksgiving. To be honest, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until tonight, as I sit here, taking a break from packing the Pvt. Snafu Blu-rays. In between packing, We’ve been busy working on a little surprise set that I’ll talk about next week.
I went back and looked at the posts from last year and the year before, and especially enjoyed reading the comments of what other people were thankful for cartoony-wise. It was also informative – I learned that Peter Monk had been blown into a bunch of tiny copies of himself, and somehow was able to glumph back together. Let’s hope he doesn’t face another stick of TNT this year.
I will do my best to not have this be similar to Steve Martin’s Holiday wish.
So, as this tradition continues, here are my top 10 cartoony things to be thankful for this year-in no particular order:
1) I’m incredibly grateful there are adult fans of classic animation, and that the Baby Boomers though Generation X though the Millennials all have found the films that were made for folks even before their generations entertaining and worth preserving. We’re at a point where the materials will *require* an effort by the companies that own them, the people that want to see them and the people interested in preservation- without *all* of these people working, we will lose many films, forever. ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ (deteriorating acetate base) is much worse that the instability of nitrate film in many ways.
2) I’m ever more grateful to the collectors of original film, paper and other memorabilia. Preservation is a topic covered here frequently of course, but it can not be understated that the history of films often lies in the hands of the archives, the studios *and* the collectors. It is also noteworthy that the collectors also know what they have- and know what the studios have. This is important in that the studios really don’t know that information. They *need* the collectors and folks knowledgeable on the history of the films to preserve them. A case in point is the Willie Whopper collection from this year. All of the films now have all their original titles, and that just would not have been possible without the collectors.
3) Related to this blog, I’m especially grateful for the other writers and researchers here. This place had become a great sort of living book, with information you really can’t find otherwise. For you folks that remember Mindrot / Animania, to me this blog is a continuing, evolving issue, and just as much fun to crack open daily.
4) I’m grateful for the small but scrappy community that writes comments back here- I really like the idea of a living blog- and that’s why I often ask for responses… I love hearing what everything is thinking and the comments on other articles, so please, keep writing away! Thanks to all of you.
5) I’m grateful that new artists love the work of past animators and choose to pick up the pencil, tablet, clay- you name it… in this way, the creations are all related in some way. I wish we could all see what happens 80 years from now- and what the artists of then will be influenced by.
6) I’m grateful for evolving technology. It’s not a secret that many of us are huge fans of *old* technology, but honestly, I wouldn’t be able to do so many of the things related to the DVD and Blu-ray sets without the continual march forward of better and cheaper technology. This year, we were able to do 4k scans of all the 35mm nitrate on the Willie Whopper cartoons, something that would have been prohibitive expense-wise until recently. I hope to have many, many more films scanned in 4k this year- whole series… even though we don’t need them to be that high of quality for the Blu-rays. Having the ability to afford to do this work is something I’m especially grateful for.
7) Having great, dedicated Thunderbean employees. It’s still a tiny company, but I need to thank both publicly and personally the people who play a big roll in helping to make these things possible. They are a small but mighty group: David Gerstein, Mary Dixon, Jerry Beck, Mark Kausler, Thad Komorowski, Mel McCann and David Grauman. Other folks that have been instrumental as well, including John McElwee, Stephen DeStephano, Mike Kazaleh, Eric Goldberg and more. It really isn’t a one man operation in this sense- and I hope to be a good friend & employer back.
8) Bill Littlejohn’s animation on the Peanuts specials. How many people does he continue to entertain, bringing a smile to faces of generations.
9) I’m grateful that other small DVD/ Blu-ray companies are popping up, dedicated in the same way I’ve tried to be in producing these sets- AND doing an excellent job of it. If you jump onto Blu-ray.com or Nitrateville.com, or others you’ll see some of them. Many are focused on shlock 70s films, but others that are helping to keep classic films alive of many genres. Tom Stathes is producing great cartoon collections, as has B2B with the great Puppetoon set are two examples. If you start one too, say hi- I’ll help whenever I can with any information or figuring out why the H264 Mpeg is adding fields to your progressive files….
10) Finally, I’m grateful to have a forum to talk about all this stuff, when I have something to say that actually is helpful-or just babbling. Thanks to Jerry and all of you for putting up with me!
Of course, we need a Thanksgiving cartoon, so the 1950 Famous Studio’s cartoon ‘Voice of the Turkey’ will have to be it this time.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!