December 26, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Thunderbean New Year’s Resolutions

First, in Thunderbean news:

As the year draws to a close here, I always think about where things are and where I’d like them to be in terms of the various titles in production. There’s now more things in progress than ever before, and with Amazon’s new campaigns, more orders than ever before, even through ad cost is eating up much more of the share of revenue coming in than they should. As a plan for the coming year, I hope to balance this out as well as have a steady stream of projects getting to the finish line. Thunderbean is still currently a tiny venture, but not as tiny as it was last year, thanks to all the fans of classic animation that have supported these various projects.

A year ago, I spent a good part of the break cleaning up ‘Rainbow Parade’ Cartoons. While I hadn’t planned on having to still be working on that set a year later, I’m happy to be working on the final color correction and edits over this break. Rainbow Parade, part 1, will be the first release of the new year, sometime in late January. We hope to have a new title (or more) out each month in the early part of the year. Yesterday, after reviewing another batch for the Stop Motion Marvels sets, I’m smiling thinking about just how hard it has been to see any of these things. Some wonderful surprises are in store for the coming year – and I promise to share them as I can.

I’m looking back on the progress of the year, and looking at the results, I’m very happy – slow as they have been. In the end, the important thing is getting these films to look the best we can make them, and on the Flip the Frogs and Rainbow Parades, the results are very, very good. These will both be as good as we (or I think anyone) could make these films look. I can’t wait to do a deep dive into restoring the Comi-Color shorts and the remainder of the Technicolor Rainbow Parades. I’ll be heading out to sort through materials in the coming weeks, and will share here where that project is soon.

There’s always new things showing up as well; learning about some World War 2 materials that are available now has me pretty excited as the year draws to a close.

Last week we scanned a bunch of things for both ‘special’ sets and some films for official ones. One of my Holy Grails was scanned in this session, with wonderful results. The state the Telecine scanners in Michigan is precarious at the moment though — I’m hoping the other stays around long enough to get at least some of the projects we’re scanning locally finished off.

I have a few big Thunderbean New Years’ resolutions for the coming year:

First, thanks again to everyone for supporting this wonky little company, and for reading my often rambling posts this year. I promise to keep this space interesting and occupied with new projects in the coming year, and will continue to work along with our small staff on making everyone run smoother in the coming year, especially in communication, shipping and dubbing the special and pre-orders. Having the staff to take over these tasks entirely in the coming year is a huge goal. Changes are hard, but this year is full of them by design here.

The second is to get most, if not all, current projects to the finish line. This includes one *huge* undertaking that has been in some sort of progress since the end of 2011. Perhaps this year will prove that bad luck doesn’t always need to be associated with little black cats. There’s so many gems that are either in danger of vanishing forever, or are forever relegated to the cold shelves of an archive. There never will be the kind of market for these things as the most minor thing on Disney+, but that’s fine. I like to the think the artists would appreciate the efforts.

The third is to fervently pursue as many of the things as we can in the coming year. There’s so many that have come semi-close to happening but haven’t for one reason or another. I’m excited when I think about many of these projects, because I think if we don’t pursue them, then none of them will probably happen.

The forth is to spend less time rambling and recommit to having more of a deep dive into writing about projects. A long-time reader and friend here called me out on just rambling and showing a random cartoon in more recent months, so I’ll try to do less of that in the future.

Concentrating on interesting aspects of the projects is always fun to write about— and show.

That said, here’s some random cartoons for your after Holiday viewing!

First, I’m a ‘just a little’ late for showing this Christmas cartoon. We ran this a handful of years back, but it’s one I watch every year. This copy is courtesy of Dave Kirwan, who lent his nice 16mm print years back for the Thunderbean Yuletide Flickers set (now out of print for the moment).

And, before we cleaned it up, here’s a rare Van Beuren/ Terry short 5 Orphans of the Storm from Chris Buchman’s late 1930s print, distributed as a generic “Christmas Cartoon” by Castle films (before they replaced it with a later Terrytoon):

And, of course, Holidayland, from 1934- with our hero, Scrappy – who never would have been in this cartoon if he didn’t sleep in. Father time’s odd behavior in his last show seems to really upset Lincoln. Thinking on that for a moment, have you ever had a dream with Lincoln in it? Scrappy was a deeper thinker than anyone ever thought.

Have a happy new year everyone!


  • For what it’s worth, I quite enjoy your rambling posts and random cartoons. Discussions of the technical aspects of film restoration, on the other hand, tend to fly right over my head, but I know this is important work and will try to learn something from it.

    I never had a dream about Abraham Lincoln, but before Nixon resigned I dreamt that he came to my school, and all the kids jeered and threw things at him.

    Have a Scrappy New Year, everyone!

  • Oh, how I know that your small company, Steve, is indeed a struggling unit, but look at what you’ve managed to get done. Even when I play some of the now most ancient DVD firsts that you’ve managed to put out there, it sometimes leaves me speechless, but I do seriously feel that way even when those within the larger media companies have accomplished what has always been deemed the impossible. While I do grouse a lot about the slowness of progress, especially when it comes to the larger companies, it is all worth the wait in the end when it comes to progress completion and *BIG* announcement! I hope everyone else feels the same way, and let’s hope for some lights at the end of the tunnels in 2020. Okay, beyond the metaphor, thanks for the Holiday cartoons. I’d been getting back to “MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL” as its incredible voice acting drives the points of the story home with magnificent clarity. Since it has become in so many ways, a very, very hard world out there, I would think that so many others might suddenly see the truth inherent in this interpretation.

    Steve, I look forward to 2020, and I also do hope that classic animation gathers younger viewers who want to know the history behind the stories and gags. We’ve all had a hand in shaping the way we are seen onscreen, so just have a laugh without condemnation. Happy New Year to you and your family there at Thunderbean as well as your blood relatives. Keep the past alive, but as teaching tool as well as curiosity that we’ve been there and have, in some cases, come out the other side with a deeper understanding…and there is my parting shot; no darts, no soldiers, just another childlike dream from Toyland and good wishes for the future.

  • Any ETA on Cartoon Commercials Vol 2?

  • I’m looking forward to seeing what Thunderbean has in store for 2020! You and your company have done a lot to educate me on animation history. I appreciate all the hard work you and your team put into these projects. I’m always around to help if you need it!

  • “Perhaps this year will prove that bad luck doesn’t always need to be associated with little black cats.” Oh yes. Bless you, Steve !

  • I always liked the ‘bubble’ Color Rhapsody titles on “Holiday Land”. It’s a shame they dropped that style.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *