November 9, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Yearly Redford Theatre Cartoon Show (featuring Fleischer Restorations) and “The Great Experiment” (1934)

First, the latest in Thunderbean news!
After teaching for the day, I’m enjoying a little peace here. I finished up a few non-Thunderbean films, the last things on my plate for the project. It’s the first time I haven’t had something in progress on that project since March.

At the office, this week is all about getting out the current batch of orders. Back at home, I’m reviewing the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set as it gets ready to go to replication and building the next batch of special discs. It’s really nice to see all these things coming together. By the end of next week I’ll have all the Rainbow Parade scans here for volume 2. We’l be sharing some screenshots soon.

I’ve also been preparing the yearly Cartoon Show at The Redford Theater, taking place November 18th. If you’re in the area it’s a great chance to see classic cartoons on the big screen with an audience! We’ve been doing it for over a decade now, showing rare 16mm & 35mm prints as well as digital presentations. This year we’ll be running two different shows. An afternoon show with a variety of cartoons, and an evening show concentrating on the Fleischer Studios, featuring a showing of many of the new restorations of Fleischer classics. Jane Fleischer will be there to co-host, along with Ray Pointer, co-programmer John Monaghan and myself. Even through it’s post-Fleischer, we’ll also be running my rare 35mm Technicolor print of We’re on Our Way to Rio as part of the show. It’s one of my favorite cartoons.

Here’s information about the show from the Metro Times.

And, onto today’s cartoon: The Great Experiment (1934)

It’s hard for me to resist showing a Scrappy cartoon, whatever the weather. Oddly enough, this is one I hadn’t ever really seen. I bought a print of it 30-some years ago, only to discover it was completely unrunnable, being much too warped from ‘vinegar syndrome’ to make it through my Kalart-Victor 75-15 projector. Luckily, Tommy Stathes had a print and lent it to scan, so, here it is, with slight fanfare!

The cartoon starts out with Scrappy already in trouble. Somehow he’s been recently captured by evil scientist Hugo Plotz, evil genius, a giant of a person who’s keeping Scrappy in a tall petri dish. Oopy, his little brother, is hot on his trail, but is quickly captured too, and after being injected with the Serum of Perpetual youth, they both start sucking their thumbs. For a completely unexplained reason, they are then catapulted into the future all the way to the year 1990! Of course people now fly around using beanie caps with propellers (as ‘Come Take a Trip in My Airship’ plays). Scrappy eventually dons a flying derby and saves special guest star Margie from an Ogre that’s chased her onto the edge of the roof of a tall building. How that scenario came to be is another mystery. Of course this all ends up being a dream, with cats licking them back to reality. I wonder if the whole staff of Mintz owned cats.

While I wish this was a better cartoon in the series, there are well animated shots and good mechanics in working out the animated perspective shots on top of the building. And I always like seeing my favorite characters in action, regardless. If you don’t think too much about the story it’s actually pretty enjoyable. Let me know your thoughts- and have a good week all!


  • What can I say? Another great cartoon. Like you, I would love to see a lot of the SCRAPPY cartoons fully restored on their own collection one day, or at least a collection of some of the Charles Mintz cartoons overall. I know that some folks don’t think they’re all that great, but I tend to like anything from the 1930s. I also look forward to the Van Buren Tom and Jerry set whenever it is replicated. Good luck with that.

  • So Superman, Popeye, Mr Magoo, Felix the Cat, Flip the Frog, Daffy Duck, and Tex Avery are for Kids?
    As part of the “Kids Kartoon Kavalcade”

    (While the adults go to the “”Out Of The Inkwell” evening session (no “kIds” in the title here) )

    That’s how it reads…

  • All the best for your show at the Redford Theatre next week!

    I recall that you posted “The Great Experiment” here about a year ago, but such a bizarre cartoon deserves a second look. It occurs to me now that the age-reversing and -accelerating properties of Dr. Plotz’s serum indicate a chemical similarity to Betty Boop’s Jippo, which means that a lawsuit is probably imminent. I’d love to see the case of Boop v. Plotz play out in court, in a Betty/Scrappy cartoon crossover!

    Wasn’t “The Great Experiment” a synonym for Prohibition, or am I thinking of something else?

  • The Redford Theatre classic cartoon show is an annual destination for me! A beautifully restored silent theatre from 1928 (complete with the original Barton Organ that was installed at its inception), a great, movie loving crowd, and an amazing assortment of classic cartoons hosted by the legend himself! If you are anywhere near Detroit, do yourself a favor and come on out! I live around 3 hours away and try to go every year.

  • If you were to show a nice “mad doctor” show at a movie theater like the Rexford, you could run some fairly rare Boris Karloff feature like THE MAN WHO LIVED AGAIN (aka THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND) from about 1935, but run THE GREAT EXPERIMENT and Laurel and Hardy’s DIRTY WORK as short subjects first to tie it all roughly in the same time period! To make it really weird, you could toss in a serial chapter from THE LOST CITY as well!

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