December 1, 2016 posted by

Thunderbean Status Report and “Hector’s Hectic Life!” (1948)

As the last month of the year shows up, I have to say that 2016 was not the best of all years, but at least some things turned out ok!


On the Thunderbean front, a handful of things are moving forward quite well, while other things have been stalled or have run into issues. I’m happy to say that most of the projects are going quite well albeit slow. While I slog through this period, I am heartened that so many other things are starting to be possible as well, and that the sets seem to be good ambassadors, helping to “sell” my pitch to pick up other licenses. There are more possible things on the horizon than ever. While the company didn’t expand as much as I’d like this past year, we’re starting have quite a few things coming near the finish line, so it looks like that as the small backup of titles go to market, they will likely provide revenue to move other things forward quicker.

Here are a few updates on current projects:

1) Yuletide Flickers: Out to replication. This title should be back within a week or so, and will be available on Amazon for those that didn’t get the pre-order.

Bud Abbott and Jerry Lewis!

Bud Abbott and… Jerry Lewis!

2) Abbott and Costello Rarities. This title is basically done, and waiting for one small audio section to be completed by one of the collaborators. We hope to have enough revenue through this season to send this to replication as soon as possible.

3) Flip the Frog (complete series, 2 Blu-ray set) Cleanup continues on this set, slowly but surely, it’s behind, but going well.

4) Mid Century Modern, Volume 1 and 2 (blu-ray upgrade). Coming early 2017

5) Lou Bunin Classics featuring Alice in Wonderland. Waiting currently for funds to finish covering access fees and scanning.

6) Stop Motion Marvels (Blu-ray upgrade) Upgrade to out of print DVD set, originally released in 2010

Other projects are in various stages. The Rainbow Parade set and Iwerks’ ComiColor are in the early stages, some other license deals are also in various stages. One set doesn’t have enough of a particular series to warrant a set yet, but recent developments are encouraging. Another project involves a live action puppet series, though very early on in development.

We hope to finally officially announce, sooner than later, one set that has been in progress for over four years. We now have 90 films scanned for this set on this end- with often multiple copies to present the most complete/best versions. I could write a book at this point on the ups and downs of this one title, but one way or another it will be in production this next year. It’s likely three sets of three discs each.

Mr. Bug Goes to Town in on the roster, though some derails of distribution are still being worked out. Several animated features are possible this next year as well, though hard to say if all deals will work out.

hectors-hectic-titleNow, onto Hector’s Hectic Life!

Hector’s Hectic Life is perhaps one of the most overseen of the public domain Christmas cartoons, but not often in a good condition copy with decent color. Collector and historian Paul Mular was nice enough to lend this nice old Kodachrome 16mm print for the Yuletide Flickers set, so I thought I’d share the cleaned up version to start off the Christmas cartoon season.

hector-250The cartoons that Bill Tytla directed at Famous are often more Disney-esque than the other director’s films, sometimes with well-polished animation and sometimes not-as-polished. I feel like sometimes the layout drawings are better executed than much of the actual animation. This particular film is less polished than many of the shorts around the same time at the studio- at times looking quite rushed. I have to wonder if this film was budgeted lower and made much quicker. It falls shorts in carrying out many of the ideas – so many similar story situations are executed better in cartoons from MGM (by both very and Hanna Barbara) and Warner Brothers shorts. Still, I find I really enjoy some of the posing and character moments in the film. Still, even a little lessor of a Famous studio short is always much more fun that Heathcliff and Fangface.

Have a good week everyone!


  • Ooh, hints of those yet-to-come projects make me drool! And I always like a good old Famous Studios cartoon to hold me over. I know I’ll enjoy that Christmas disk, as I pre-ordered it. I guess some cartoons get mislabeled, because I’d seen a cartoon that was called “Hector’s Hectic Life”, and it is about Hector feeling neglected when the lady of the house treats her cat better. Hector dreams that he does do away with the cat, only to be sent to that awful firey place. Have a great and productive week, and thanks for sharing this gem.

    • The Famous Studios cartoon you are describing above, Kevin, is Mutt In A Rut (1949) featuring a character named “Dogface”.

    • Dog-Face also appeared in one other cartoon, “A Self-Made Mongrel” (1945).

    • Interesting it took that long for another “Dogface” cartoon to pop up.

  • Since it’s one the rare Polacolor Noveltoons and was released just prior to Thanksgiving, 1948, both could indicate that the short was rushed through production to hit the theaters in time for the ’48 Christmas season.

    Really nice work on the restoration and getting the ‘NTA Red’ out of the image, Steve.

    • Well, as Steve mentioned, he was working from a Kodachrome print. Kodachromes often have their own problems, especially hard-boiled color and blocked-up contrast, but they never turn “NTA red.”

  • The internal question regarding the years of watching Hector’s Hectic Life is why is the dog called Hector when his master refers to him as “Princie”…….

    • Now that is a conundrum! I suppose that’s another part of this being a rushed production to get it by Christmas.

  • Steve, are you going to bring Gulliver’s Travels back into print any time soon? I really want a copy of that.

    I’m trying to think what series of classic cartoons is so big as to have 90 films… hmmm…

  • I had “Hector’s Hectic Life” on video when I was little. Great memories! I’ll be asking for the “Yultide Favorites” set for Christmas!

    Steve, if Flip the Frog is not going to be a Blu-ray/DVD combo set, could you please do a DVD version for those who don’t have Blu-ray players?

  • You should ask Paramount to release their cartoons on disc. They have the orginal negitives to this and all the other Famous Cartoons.

    • I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be interested, unfortunately.

  • Of course they clearly care more about their Jersey Shore CRAP than releasing a single bit of their Classics. In Viacom’s mind, cartoons are only for kids or stoned drunk frat teens. Lets picket and protest all Viacom products and lets keep sending letters. We cannot give up that easily.

    Steve, please get a Kickstarter campaign to restore these cartoons. Viacom seems not to care about these cartoons. The negatives will disintegrate if we do not do something about this!

  • Maybe soon Steve can you start looking for more prints of pre 1950 Noveltoons with the orginal titles

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