THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
April 8, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Toddle Tales and Rainbow Parade Model sheets

In Thunderbean News: We’re busy dubbing various new special sets right now and are working hard to get the current batch out the door. There’s lots of progress. Some new things are up at the Thunderbean shop and we’ll be listing the new ‘Official’ sets as well as they become available.

The one that is taking up most of my own time right now is the second oldest in progress. A lot of work has been going into the Rainbow Parades V1 set for some time now – and I really end up with my head pretty absorbed in a project when it gets to these final stages. I’m still shy of the 35mm track for one more cartoon, and I’m recompiling some of the animated titles for the set to improve things a little, but it’s coming together really well. Chris Buchman informed me today that he has the liner notes for the music almost finished. I’ve been working on finishing touches and fixes on a lot of the bonus features this week, and the new cover is coming along nicely (by artist Shawn Dickinson). The nice little piece of art already done for the set will be used for the booklet cover as we get closer to finish. So, as we turn these corners, we’ll share some of the things here.


One of the great finds this year was a series of original model sheets from the series that started to show up on Ebay. I was lucky enough to get a bunch (most) of them and, combined with the other ones that have been lent to us, we have a pretty good collection. I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of those this week here. Many of these belonged to animator Al Stahl at some point. I think it’s really cool to know who had used this particular sheets to animate on these films. Although there’s still a little adjustment to do, we thought it would be a good week to share them. Our very own Devon Baxter has done a wonderful job helping to assemble the final still gallery.

“Grandfather’s Clock” model sheet – click to enlarge

The model sheets designs evolve over the course of the production of the series- especially since the series was produced in keys years of remarkable growth in animation produced in the states. Early films reflect the look of Ted Eshbaugh’s and Van Beuren’s previous efforts as well as individual artist’s work from Fleischer’s and Iwerks’ studios. Design sensibilities take a cue from the earlier films but continue to be more refined though the Technicolor entries in the series.

It appears that Eshbaugh was involved in more films than his name is on. It’s likely that he was working on Grandfather’s Clock (1934) before moving over the Pastrytown Wedding (also 1934). There’s a pretty good chance that he was directing The Picnic Panic (1935) before leaving the studio. The film has many of his touches all over it, especially in design.

The Model Sheets for Along Came A Duck, Grandfather’s Clock and Pastrytown Wedding feature inked drawings. By the time Parrotville Fire Department, was made (the second in the Rainbow Parades series), the sheets were no longer inked, but instead featured construction models drawn in pencil.

Better, more structured drawing is really being pushed on some of the sheets in terms of handling details; something that must have been difficult for some of the more seasoned Van Beuren staff. Special thanks to Mark Kaulser, Jerry Beck, Ted Watts and Mark Newgarden for their help with the images in the galleries for the set.

RAINBOW PARADE MODEL SHEETS

PASTRYTOWN WEDDING (click to enlarge)


ALONG CAME A DUCK


A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME


THE PARROTVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT


THE SUNSHINE MAKERS


PARROTVILLE OLD FOLKS


SPINNING MICE (click to enlarge)


PICNIC PANIC


THE MERRY KITTENS


PARROTVILLE POST OFFICE


RAG DOG


THE HUNTING SEASON


SCOTTY FINDS A HOME


BIRD SCOUTS


And Don’t forget…

4 Comments

  • I’m very pleased that those beautiful model sheets have survived to the present day. Do we know who drew them? The handwriting suggests they were all drawn by the same person.

    Those videos are tantalising. I was especially delighted by “Picnic Panic”, a cartoon I had only known from a cheap PD video collection, taken from a poor quality print with many splices. Even the “raw” version is wonderful. The Rainbow Parade set looks likely to be Thunderbean’s best ever!

    • I have a feeling the cat on the BIRD SCOUTS model sheet was drawn by Alex Lovy. Lovy was at Van Beuren at the time, and the cat looks just like how he usually drew them for Walter Lantz in the mid-thirties and early forties.

  • Wow! I am surprised that you were able to get some of these and that besides the yellowing, they all look intact and not beaten as I thought they probably would of been after so many years.

  • It’s a shame the tall skinny hunter went unused in The Hunting Season. He could have been a help to his tubby buddy (though both would have been hopelessly out-matched anyway).

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