THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
June 9, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Thunderbean progress and Terrytoons “Squirrel Crazy” (1951)

First–in Thunderbean news:

I’m having a wonderful time tackling many projects all in a row here currently, and knocking down final, little aspects of others as these weeks continue. Each seems like taking a step up a hill and seeing a little more beach and ocean. I have my usual bout of Poison Ivy early this year (not recommended) but other than that things are great!

Aesops’s Fables, Volume 1 is getting assembled and shipping. Chris Buchman came through right at the end to add a really nice “primer” for the series that appears in the booklet, officially the last thing needed for the set. Thanks so much to everyone for keeping Thunderbean skipping along though this project and so many others. Now that this set is finished, we’ve started the pre-order on Aesop’s Fables, Volume 2, at the Thunderbean shop here.

A good amount of the films on the Stop Motion Marvels Blu-ray upgrade graduated to finals late in the afternoon today, getting scoped and having lots of technical things finished. Early in the day, Ciara travelled across the state (from Kalamazoo to here in Ann Arbor) to grab a half hour of Kinex shorts that have had a good first pass in cleanup and just need a little extra help. This set has more films on it than any other we’ve done- some pretty short, some longer. Menus and the extras are all done. I can see this set being wrapped in another week or so if the last material for the set gets cleaned up in time.

The Flip the Frog extras are going splendidly too. I’m working on some aspects of them this week, with David Gerstein and Devon Baxter handling most of the finishing touches on that aspect of the project. The Tom and Jerry set is also coming along, with more films getting scanned right now.

These projects, along with the Betty Boop set, represent a good chunk of work at this little company so far this year. Each week is opening up more time to work on other sets and it’s so satisfying to see each getting to that place. The next period will be largely about the second half of the Rainbow Parade series as well as the first Comi-Color set. That fantastic material, all in 35mm, is exciting to work with. Part of the reason to have so many things fast and furious right now is to get both of those sets being worked on full- time.

Two of the other sets we’re about to work on are More Technicolor Dreams and Lou Bunin’s Magic Puppet Animation featuring Alice in Wonderland. We have material scanned for both of these and have been in a bit of a holding pattern on both. Happily the period is ending as materials are starting to be scanned for both of these sets again.

Each of these collections feature films done in different color processes. More Technicolor Dreams features cartoons produced by the Jam Handy company in Technicolor and films in Cinecolor as well as Brewster Color. The Bunin set has material produced in Technicolor, Kodachrome, Cinecolor and Ansco Color. It’s a pretty broad spectrum of processes all in one set. What is really unusual is that many of Bunin’s films leave additional, unused footage in *another* color process. We have outtakes from Bury the Axis in 16mm Kodachrome, nearly 20 minutes of footage with full color successive exposure for Alice in Wonderland, both Ansco and Kodachrome scans of some of Bunin’s educational films and Eastman color for the last of those films. We’ve never had a set with so many processes before. I’m thinking of writing about how each of these scans looks and what the variances are in adjusting color in an upcoming Thunderbean Thursday.

For a moment, here’s a few still from Bunin’s “Courting Songs” (1955). This film was shot in 16mm on Kodachrome “professional” stock and was reproduced for release prints in both Ansco color and Kodachrome. These stills are from one of the Kodachrome prints. Click to enlarge.


And, now for something completely different: A Terrytoon! Squirrel Crazy (1951)

This past week there was a mention of film collector Frank Bueno on one of the Facebook groups I’m in and it got me thinking about this cartoon. Although film dealings with him were not always smooth sailing, I’m forever grateful for the sheer amount of cartoons I was able to see from him selling cheap prints to me. There were lots of beat up things, black and white of color prints and the like, but I got a chance to see a good amount of Terrytoons that I never had seen before. This was one of my favorites, despite clearly being “heavily inspired” by MGM’s Tom and Jerry, it’s still a pretty fun, if minor outing. This is a scan from a color 16mm print of the film in my own collection, replacing that well-loved b/w print. Some of the funniest Jim Tyer shots are especially fun to watch frame-by-frame. You can do this on YouTube by using the greater than/ less than keys on the keyboard.

Have a good week everyone!

23 Comments

  • Maybe one of the clearest Tom and Jerry wannabes in execution, even in concept, it may sound like not without a “cat and mouse” (Little Roquefort usually took that position). The look of the Squirrel reminds me of something out of a Sam Singer cartoon as well; no surprise since Rueben Timmins and Paul Sommer animated on this cartoon

    Those Bunin images are a beaut! Also to hear that the Comi-Colors and Rainbow Parades are soon to the center of the pipeline, I can’t wait to see how beautiful Iwerks and Van Beuren cartoons can be!

    • Why am not surprise that some Terrytoons animators later worked at Sam Singers?

  • I’m getting pretty well acquainted with the Terrytoons corpus, but “Squirrel Crazy” is a new one on me. I had no idea Terry ever made a “Mammy Two Shoes” cartoon! As you say, it’s a minor outing, a far cry from what Heckle and Jeckle were getting up to at this time, but still pretty fun. And the animation is Tyer-rific!

    I hope we get to see a video preview of the Bunin collection one of these Thursdays.

  • I still think we should have Tyer Tuesday in addition to Thunderbean Thursday.

    • I love that idea!

      • And how about a Friz Friday?

        • McKimson Mondays
          Tex Tuesday
          Both Walts Wednesday
          Tyer Thursday
          Friz Friday
          Shamus Saturdays
          Serious Sundays…Nothin’

    • It’s tempting to suggest Fleischer Fridays as well, but that might be a bit much. Merrie Melodies Mondays, anyone? How about Walter Lantz Wednesdays?

    • I know this talk of Tyer Tuesdays, Freleng Fridays, Hokey Jokey Hicks Lokey High Holy Days and the like is all in fun, but while I’d love to read about these and other great cartoonists on any day of the week, I’m satisfied with the Cartoon Research format just as it is.

      • Agree. I prefer having article about different aspects of animation history than just individual post spotlighting just one indivdiual artist on a particular day for a consective number of weeks.

        • Aww, we was jes’ funnin’.

  • Lots of great stuff on the way! Really enjoyed this post.

  • This one seems to be better paced than the usual T&J cartoon. My only pet peeve about Hanna is his timing wasn’t ALWAYS perfect, like that ione with the fake sick Tom, which feels like it takes thirty million minutes to get to the Big Gag/Plot of the cartoon. I also think fanfavorite King-Sized Canary suffers from this too. But none is worse than What’s Cookin’ Doc?, especially coming from Clampett, where pacing is non-existent!

    I love the roughness of Terrytoons’ look. If I made cartoons I’d want ’em to look like this. Jim Tyer is also my favorite animator, even more than Rod Scribner.

    • Yeah, I disagree with that remark as those shorts were memorable and this really isn’t.

  • Steve:
    If you’re going to include Jam Handy cartoons for Technicolor Dreams Volume 2 do you think you could get the RESTORED version of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with the original opening Silent Night music? You know the version that the Library of Congress has, the first 1948 release, not the more commonly seen 1951 reissue.

    I would love to own that version.

    • It’s been on YouTube; it might still be. You have to check fast sometimes because things disappear: the wonderful people who post such gems–gotten from God knows where (it’s considered not politic to ask sources)–don’t exactly have the right to do so. I say that’s what the rights holders get for sitting on this stuff; if they made decent quality material, restoring as necessary via entities like Thunderbean, available to the public at reasonable prices, which you’d think couldn’t be much easier in a streaming age, we’d all win. The only alternative is to live long enough for everything to become public domain.

      • I have it on my playlist, but in case it ever gets removed, I would like to own a physical copy.
        It is SO much better in it’s original form.

  • Really enjoyed this post. Seeing the movie poster for the Bunin Alice in Wonderland really cheered me up. That film is one of my most looked forward to restorations at this point.

  • Someone on the Home Theater Forum who claims to be privy to inside information is making vague and unsupported claims that Blu-Ray releases of Terrytoons are currently being worked on.

    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/terrytoons-coming.376046/#post-5127712

  • maybe not on blu ray but the film frame is convincing. but it is a pd terrytoons short so i am suspicious.

    • If you mean the scan in the Home Theater Forum thread I linked to that shows a Might Mouse film frame with soundtrack and sprocket holes, a reverse image search traces it back to a hobbyist who works with film prints and scans from private collectors.

  • I wonder who did the voice of the homeowner in this cartoon?

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