June 14, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Thunderbean Update: ’Stop Motion Marvels’ Blu-ray Pre-order

In Thunderbean News:

So many projects! I haven’t had much of a chance this week to sit down and spend a lot of time in cleanup or edit personally for a handful of days- it’s been three solid days of packing things and catching up, but, happily, most every disc that is completed has the orders all out now and I can get back to more time finishing sets. I hope to bring on several more people to help with digital cleanup in the coming weeks, and very much looking forward to seeing the little company growing.

In ‘Snappy Video’ news, we did manage to get Vintage Education finished (and the pre-orders going out). It’s a pretty fun set, and available here on Amazon.

The Snappy Video Party Disc (featuring Reefer Madness and shorts) is almost done- it looks like it will wrap up in the coming few days. We’ll offer it on Amazon, but it will likely not be available for very long.

Other projects are ongoing.

In going out of print news: Thunderbean is retiring (for now) many of the older DVD titles this week as well; these titles were ones only available in DVD-R editions. They include: The Strangest Cartoons Ever Made, Cultoons Volume 2 and 3, Return of the 30s Characters, Makin’ ‘Em Move, The Complete Animated adventures of Tom and Jerry, Aesop’s Fables Volume 2, Classics from the Van Beuren Studios and Complete Adventures of The Little King. The last handful copies are available on Amazon.

The More Stop Motion Marvels DVD/ Blu-ray Combo is also coming right along. I get lots of requests for the original, often every day. The first set was released in 2010 and has been out of print since we ran out of stock in 2015. I’ve been regathering and scanning materials for it since 2014.

Another pre-order: The Stop Motion Marvels Blu-ray upgrade!

This was one of the favorite sets to work on, and the Blu-ray update is coming together really well. For the new Blu-ray edition, we’ve been able to come closer to obtaining *all* of the Kinex Stop Motion shorts produced between 1928 and 1930 (largely thanks to Tommy Jose Stathes), an ongoing project since 2007.

The new Blu-ray edition will feature the original booklet (with updates) by Stewart McKissick as well as his original package art. All the commentaries and bonus materials will be included on the new set as well. It’s available in pre-order for a week only and includes with another ‘special’ disc of things that won’t be on the final set. It’s available here.

While it’s been fun to work on the upgrade, there’s been some setbacks as well. One of the biggest bummers in the past few months was borrowing back the only print I know exists of a little stop Motion short ‘George Washington in Clay’ only to find it was now curled (badly) from Vinegar Syndrome/ Acetate deterioration. I’m soaking it in Film-guard right now in hopes to get a decent 2k scan from it.

The sort of ‘unofficial’ beginning of the upgrade started with this scan of ‘Hector the Pup’, from a beautiful 35mm print at the Library of Congress. We’ve cleaned this up since, but here is the raw scan we did in 2014. 35mm material on Pepper the Pup (1931), the pre-curser to this short, has also surfaced.

A while back, we posted a short article about Horse Laffs (1934), also by John Burton.

I’m a little sad to see the ‘Cultoons’ discs going out of print, but do hope they come back at some point! I think I might enjoy finding the weirdest stuff more than any other thing. What are some of your favorite discoveries, either in prints or on video/ youtube?

Here’s one of the curios that is part of the Cultoons, Volume 2 set: A Desert Dilemma (1930), a short commercial produced at Audio Productions, animated by Cy Young. It was produced for Aetna Insurance, and is pretty Fleischer-esque in appearance. The inked drawings also seem to use some of the Fleischer Studio’s ways of avoiding the Bray cel patent. If you are familiar with Young’s Mendelssohn’s Spring Song (1931) you’ll recognize some of his design ideas present in this film. My guess is that was produced with sound, although the soundtrack hasn’t surfaced so far. The track here is cobbled together for the set using sound effects from some early 30’s cartoons.

The print was discovered in an estate by an antiques dealer, who contacted our own Jerry Beck, who was kind enough to connect me with them. The original print (possibly the only surviving print) now lives at the Library of Congress.

Have a good week everyone!


  • Not animated, but I’ve had this strange short on a cheapo VHS comp for a long time, and it fascinates me:
    If it had been made a few years later, I’d be convinced Ed Wood had a hand in it.

  • Steve, I’m a little confused when you state “Thunderbean is retiring” and you announce titles going “out-of-print”. This doesn’t mean Thunderbean Animation is going out of business – does it? Last week, you were telling us about so many projects under that banner that were almost ready to see the light of day, like “FLIP THE FROG”, etc. Is this company going to suddenly see a permanent name change? I’m a bit confused.

    Yes, I’m rather sorry to see those titles going out of print, even though I currently own them all. Admittedly, my favorites were the two volumes of ATTACK OF THE ’30’S CHARACTERS because of the title choices. It would be nice to see those upgraded to blu-ray with pristine prints on some of those titles *NOT* being duplicated for the coming sets more focused on studios like Ub Iwerks or Van Buren. The VAN BUREN’S TOM AND JERRY set is a joy and I urge you folks who have not gotten your copy as of yet to do so before this title disappears. Again, the same goes with ATTACK OF THE ’30’S CHARACTERS and RETURN OF THE ’30’S CHARACTERS.

    • Kevin, every company has titles that eventually go out of print for some reason or another (generally because the rights lapse). It has NOTHING to do with going “out of business”, as evidenced by his updates about other titles currently in progress.

    • You need to read the complete sentence. “Thunderbean is retiring (for now) many of the older DVD titles”. Or, these older DVD titles are being retired by Thunderbean.

      Companies don’t usually “retire” in any event. Go out of business, get purchased, or go bankrupt, yes.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks so much for being such a huge supporter of all these things- I love reading your replies here and nice notes I get. I owe you a ton of responses at this point! I’m not stopping/selling Thunderbean/ retiring or anything of the sort, just putting some of the older titles out of print. Doing the ones that are DVD-R’s take significantly more time to assemble than the replicated titles, so it makes things easier here as well as I transition to having more help packing things so I can concentrate on new production. I’m in for the haul, and this is *clearly* the busiest (and most successful) year for the company so far, even in a time of declining sales of physical media. It’s always ‘Kevin Wollenweber Day’ in some way at Thunderbean… I think frequently about your own dedication. Jerry speaks quite fondly about the old days of running 16mm prints in New York – with you often present.

  • so what’s the latest on Cartoon Commercials Vol. 2

  • you should also do a set of Sci-Fi Rarities and license Crusader Rabbit

  • So we’re never going to see Flip the Frog or any of the other sets?

    More preorders for sets we wont see for years, while the ones you already took money for hang in perpetual limbo

    • I didn’t see anything to support the supposition in your first sentence. On the other hand, I did see “Other projects are ingoing.”

    • Relax!
      We wouldn’t have ANY Flip, were it not for the incredible effort Steve puts into saving these, and many other, gems.
      Don’t know if you’ve ever subscribed to a fanzine but, and I mean this in the best sense, these are non-corporate people sharing their passion. GIVE HIM A BREAK.
      Just my .02.

    • I was away this whole day and finally seeing these comments for the day.
      “Flip the Frog” is the second most expensive project we’ve ever undertaken. The most expensive one is yet to be released (we’ve scanned 92 prints for that set *so* far…).

      Flip is a huge priority here, and ongoing daily. There isn’t any shortage of work on the project, just lots of expenses that are largely funded though the other Thunderbean titles. In that way, everyone is helping make Flip a reality. I love the results so far and am upset I’m taking so darn long to finish it. It would have been so easy to just scan the newer safety materials that exist on many of the titles and not pull the negs, master positives, check and scan other prints & soundtracks, look through ALL the 35mm materials for best condition and original titles, etc… but if we don’t right now, it’s honestly hard to say when or if that would ever be done. After doing that on the much smaller Willie Whopper project, I knew it was what could (and must) be done. It’s not earth shattering to go through that sort of trouble, but it sure doesn’t hurt to try and get it right, so that’s why I’m attempting to do– and thanks to all of you that have helped so much.

  • Wow!!! Stop Motion Marvels on BluRay??? Awesome.

  • How can I order the “Stop Motion Marvels on BluRay” preorder? I couldn’t find it on the thunderbean web site.

    • Second paragraph, last sentence: “It’s available here.” The word “here” is a link to the item at Thunderbean’s Snappy Video store.

  • Which Kinex Stop Motion shorts have you found since the 2010 edition?

    • All but 2 I think have shown up at this point. Another seems to have shown up that I’ve never heard of, although it’s possible it’s just a retitle of one of the others (I haven’t seen the print as of yet)

  • Oh man, I apologize up front for not reading clearly the post for yesterday. Yes, Steve, I realize what you were saying, and that is partially why I mentioned to others that they should grab some of these titles while they still can. They are fantastic!

    I think I even might want to get the VINTAGE EDUCATION and PARTY DISK, just for laughs. I will buy them both from Amazon if I can find the links.

    Yes, those many cartoon festivals in the 1980’s in New York were memorable as they came just after I’d found out about Leonard Maltin’s OF MICE AND MAGIC, and I got a chance to check out some of the classic cartoons that were talked about there as being true collector’s items from all the studios.

    I very much look forward to the FLIP THE FROG set, and maybe you can even restart the kick starter campaign for that FLIP cartoon? Just a thought; but good luck on these forthcoming sets and, again, sorry for my sleepy confusion!!

  • Damn! I wish I could buy them all.

  • I wish Thunderbean had a catalog listing all titles released so far, including the special sets. I only started collecting last year. I have so much stuff already, but I don’t know if I am missing anything vital. I’m pretty sure I am, lol. At least I can come here and get dibs on pre-orders, so at least I can try and stay current, or at least try to catch up. Looking forward to Flip, Noveltoons, Screen Songs, and hopefully maybe even Mr. Bug! I am enjoying Fleischer Rarities right now. Thanks Steve and Co. for all the hard work!

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