THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
February 11, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Tom and Jerry in “Joint Wipers” (1932)

I’ve been on a little bit of a scanning craze for a few weeks here, with more to come quickly. This scan is hot off the scanner!

I’ll be doing a bunch of 35mm scans all together, perhaps this weekend but more likely next, and am looking forward to having many things somewhat in the can after that, especially some of the special sets. The pandemic has slowed things down, but it’s not stopping things. It’s clear we’ll have more things done this year than any previous. These weeks are all about mastering things, prepping films to scan and cleaning films up –and preparing films for other folks to clean up. Oh, yeah, and teaching too! It’s never been busier.

We’ll be updating the Thunderbean shop this week and adding things as they become available. Many of the special discs will only be available for another week or so (and after that some will likely never be available again).

With More Stop Motion Marvels almost back from replication and Rainbow Parades about to go in, and Flip waiting for a few things, attention has turned to the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set a bit as the best prints I have on them go in for scanning. There are 13 films of the 26 now scanned, with half of that cleaned up and done. There are others here that I can scan, but also others I’ll need to borrow and have an archive scan, including one from the original camera negative (the absolute rarest thing to find in anything Van Beuren). Of the five Tom and Jerry cartoons that were scanned a few days back, perhaps my favorite is Joint Wipers. It’s a great example of the studio attempting to do extravagant ideas on a tiny budget.

Interestingly, this is the one Tom and Jerry cartoon that has its own book. The Jolly Plumbers children’s book from 1933 seems to be one of two books based on the Van Beuren sound cartoons, and features frames from the actual cartoon – and a nice color cover a few color double pages.

The actual cartoon has many clever gags and the expected flood (as in nearly any cartoon about plumbing). You have to feel the worst for the poor dog who has to crank off a plumbing nut with his teeth as his head turns painfully in circles, and you also have to feel bad for the harried girdle-wearing apartment dweller who rides down stairs as they become a waterfall. The pair does manage to find the usual musical moment to sing around a piano, culminating in Tom and Jerry destroying an entire apartment building and well as flooding several New York blocks.

This lovely little print is courtesy of film archivist Reg Hartt, who was kind enough to let me add this print to my own collection. It’s as good of a print as I’ve ever seen of the title, and likely a 16mm print down from 35mm. I wish we could find the whole series in 35mm prints, but sadly, as with Cubby Bear and The Little King, there’s just not many prints of them that seem to exist. We’ll be doing a larger search though in these coming months, so you never know what will surface.

Have a good week all!

7 Comments

  • One of my favourite T&J cartoons, and I love the storybook as well. But the title has never made sense to me. Does “Joint Wipers” mean anything in the field of plumbing? Or was it a derisive term for incompetent plumbers who have to wipe up all the puddles after they’ve flooded the joint?

    • “A wiped joint is a form of soldered joint used to join lead pipework.”

  • Interesting to note that the water supply for the apartment building is supplied by a tank on the roof, but is only connected to bathtubs (no sinks or toilets).

  • I first saw this on one of those $5 Mill Creek 600 cartoon compilations which “borrowed” several cartoons from the Thunderbean sets. Did you ever contact them about this?

  • Neat to see myself getting a credit on this. Great meeting you and yours when you were in Toronto.

  • Someone at Van Beuren seems to have specialized in their trademark “moving down the stairs” animation. Nice example here.

  • Vocal by Reiss & Dunn, heard *and* seen at Fleischers’, too. Artie Dunn was a founding member of The Three Suns group. https://youtu.be/wLi3a8-Doy4

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