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!