July 1, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Thunderbean Thursday: It’s all Greek (Spanish!) to Me!

It’s a short one today here at Cartoon Research, but with purpose: I have to get back to watching cartoons and looking for problems! My head is pretty entrenched in these things right now, but somewhat happily so.

With the giant packing and sending adventure over (for the moment) I’ve been having some fun sitting down and watching lots of films that have been cleaned up by me and others on the team, looking for any issues with the cleanups or edits. It’s the first time to actually get to enjoy some of the films and nothing else, for a minute. So, it’s a steady diet of Stop Motion film, Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry, and, mostly, Flip the Frogs. Inbetween all of that, I’ve been reviewing prints for scanning and sending back all the things people have been kind enough to lend.

One of the hard things about this period is finding so many 16mm prints that are in early (or further) stages of vinegar syndrome. Sometimes they’re the best prints I’ve seen on these things; we’re just lucky to get as many good scans as we’re able to as more and more prints start to go. The good news is that there’s good prints still on basically all of these films – so nothing is getting lost just yet. It’s an excellent time to make sure there’s good versions scanned in at least 2k so they’ll be here beyond the time that we are.

Since Flip the Frogs are at the forefront, the review of all the materials scanned has been taking lots of time. There’s a few other projects (putting it mildly) on deck at the same time, but it’s actually been enjoyable to look at what’s done on the Flips while searching for anything that isn’t quite where we want it visually or sound-wise.

It’s a technical challenge to get everything looking pretty consistent on this set, but it’s much different than all the color issues with the Rainbow Parades. Most of the issues now are contrast and making sure everything is looking spiffy, and that the sound and titles are looking nice. Seeing one after another looking better than I’ve ever seen them is gratifying. We’ll be done with this whole set most likely within the month if the bonus things can finally come together alongside the films fast enough.

One of the films that was scanned recently was a German titled print the Flip the Frog cartoon Bulloney. My German friends said the translation for this title in English would be ‘It’s all Greek to Me’ or ‘This Seems Fishy to Me’. So, ‘Spanish’ was used in the same way the US uses ‘Greek’. Now, ALL of that is Greek to Me!

I asked to have this title card scanned because it had some art of Flip on it, and since this is one of the cartoons that we don’t have the original title sequence for, I thought the art may be the same as what would have been on the original release. It’s possible it’s *close*, but what is here was clearly made for this German release. We’ve got a bonus feature section on the disc of titles from other countries, so we’ll of course include this one. We have the other print cleaned up, and that version is from the preservation negative that Blackhawk had done in the 80s. Now, the debate is whether this print is actually better in some ways (I think it is..). We now know the opening music and what title card was used, although we have better elements on those of course.

Lots of things are getting scanned both here and on the next trip to New York in the coming weeks, all for other projects. Vintage Education, Volume 2 will be done, and I’m really hoping to get nearly all of the Stop Motion Marvels Blu-ray set done on this next trip as well as many of the Tom and Jerry Van Beuren shorts. I really like how all these things are going right now, and enjoying the process of finaling so many things over this summer. Rainbow Parades, Volume 1 will likely be back from replication at this point next week. I can only smile.

Have a good week everyone, keep your eye on the Thunderbean Shop – and enjoy a Flip!


  • Will the Rainbow Parades Blu-Ray be sold on as well ???

    Also, what’s the Latest Progress on the Blu-Ray Reissue of the First Stop Motion Marvels Set ????

  • That’s absolutely correct, “Das kommt mir Spanisch vor” is equivalent to the English expression “It’s all Greek to me.” It goes back to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, a grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, who united the Spanish and Austrian Habsburg realms in the 16th century. The imposition of Spanish language and customs greatly perplexed the German court.

    Puns, like the title “Bulloney”, can seldom be translated literally. I’ve noticed that German dubs of old Warner Bros. cartoons, whose titles are almost invariably puns, generally don’t even bother to try. “Fresh Hare” in German is still “Fresh Hare”, not “Der freche Hase”. The pun on “fresh air” (die frische Luft) simply can’t be brought into play, because German has two different words for “fresh”: one describes a condition, the other an attitude. Even when a literal transliteration is possible, it’s sometimes eschewed: the film comedy “Airplane!” was billed under the German mouthful “Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrueckten Flugzeug” (The unbelievable journey in a crazy airplane). A literal translation — “Das Flugzeug” — would have suggested a serious wartime drama like “Das Boot”.

    Japanese, with its wealth of homophones (compounded by the fact that nearly every kanji character can be pronounced in two distinct ways depending on context), is a real gold mine for wordplay, absolutely none of which can possibly be translated into any other language. I remember watching an incomprehensible scene in the English dub of the anime Azumanga Daioh, in which some girls were discussing “Blue Three”, wondering what had happened to Blue One and Two, and speculating that “Blue Four” must be… Jackie Chan??? Nan da yo??? But when I watched it in the original Japanese, they used the English words “Blue Three”, and the context made it clear that they were talking about… Bruce Lee! In Japanese, “Bruce Lee” and “Blue Three” are pronounced and written exactly the same. Fred Ladd and 4Kids have gotten a lot of heat over the years for taking liberties in their English anime dubs, but in many instances they had little recourse.

    Glad you’re smiling! Keep it up!

    • And the French say, “C’est de l’hébreu” (It’s Hebrew) or “C’est du chinois” (it’s Chinese).

  • What’s the latest release date on The Rainbow Blu-ray?

  • Is that the UK or WK brand of vinegar?

  • Your Thunderbean Store has me confused. So…..Mr. Bug is available, on Blu Ray? The Complete Tom and Jerry on Blu Ray is now available? No announcement?

    • There are pre-orders for various sets on the Thunderbean site, and some available. Some are official sets, while others are ‘special’ sets that are only available for a limited time. The pre-orders say ‘pre-order’. Tom and Jerry is only a pre-order right now– the set isn’t done yet! The long-in-progress Bunin set isn’t either. We’re hoping to have those done this year- Tom and Jerry over the summer if we can swing it (and it’s looking good so far)

  • Any update on the Lou Bunin Alice In Wonderland?

    • As someone who pre-ordered that a few years ago I don’t think I’m being unreasonable asking that question. I do think it’s unreasonable that I’m ignored when I ask it.

      • Hi John,

        Sorry- didn’t mean to miss the question. We’re working on the Bunin set, and waiting for access to some more of the materials. We’re trying to get the set finished this year if at all possible. It’s been one of the hardest to access materials for, at least the exact materials we want to use for the set.There’s a few specific things in an archive that we especially want, and the debate now is to finish the set with or without the exact materials we want.

  • Why was Rainbow Parades changed to just Vol 1? Preorder said it was for all 27 shorts in the series. A two disc set,

    • Maybe you’re just disappointed that both discs won’t come in the one case, at the same time.
      But if you’re concerned that you pre-ordered a long time back and will have to pay again for Volume 2, no need to worry:

      Steve’s a great guy and always honours his commitments (I don’t know him personally but have been buying discs from him since about 2004).

      I would guess that those who pre-ordered it a few years back if, as you are saying, it was offered as containing all the shorts, will receive the future Volume 2 without any further payment needed.

      More recent pre-orders ie. when it was offered again in the last few months (I’m one of those customers who ordered at this more recent time) will have to buy Volume 2 separately –
      which is completely reasonable as only Volume 1 was specified as being included in the more recent 2021 pre-order offer.

    • Hi Rob,

      Yes, originally it was together. Costs on the set made that impossible to do financially- but if you ordered the first pre-order you get both discs as promised- volume 1 when it comes out this month, and volume 2 when finished.

      • Thank you sir!

  • I might add that we Greeks use the expression: ” It’s all Chinese to me”!

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