August 27, 2014 posted by

Tom Stathes Travels: “By Land, Sea and Air”

The summer has been quite a busy one for this animation historian and archivist. As those of you who tuned in to our host Jerry Beck’s appearance on a recent episode of Stu’s Show will know, I’ve been busy preparing a super important program for Turner Classic Movies in October. I’m also working on a fun home video release as well–but I mention these items solely as a teaser! Jerry and I will have more formal announcements with further details in the near future. Stay tuned…

felix_dopes_itAnyway, as this season wraps up, I’ve decided to focus on journeys and voyages for my upcoming 16mm Cartoon Carnival. The *outdoor* screening (my first fully dedicated 16mm show outdoors!), happening this Saturday, August 30th, features this exact theme; cartoonal travels of decades past by the three basic mode of transportation: land, sea, and air. Those of you in the New York City area are invited to enjoy this selection of rare and fun cartoons from the 1910s through the 1930s on real 16mm film. More information can be found over at the Facebook event page.

Speaking of all this, which are some of your favorite voyage cartoons that focus on a specific mode of transportation?

Here are some I really like…(and these may or may not be included in the screening):

1. Smile, Darn Ya Smile (WB, 1931) –Foxy’s shenanigans with a trolley
2. Felix Tries for Treasure (Otto Messmer, 1923) –Felix’s voyage for treasure in a makeshift submarine.
3. Loose in a Caboose (Famous, 1946) –Little Lulu’s mischievous train ride..
4. Busy Bus (Columbia, 1934) –Krazy Kat goodness…on a bus.
5. Plane Crazy (Disney, 1928) –Mickey Mouse as Lindbergh, of course!

There’s always the Toonerville Trolley as well!

Oh–and recall any fun outdoor screenings of historic animation?



  • Tom:
    I’ll tell you, after the way the Skipper treated Katrinka,he deserved what he got at the end! Great toon!

  • Well, time to look up the TCM schedule for October!

  • When it comes to roadside travel, I have to admit I love this cartoon: 😉

    In all seriousness, the greatest cartoon about trains would have to be the Fleischer’s 1936 Technicolor masterpiece “Play Safe”!

    • How could I forget that one, Jonathan!? It’s an all-time favorite of mine as well. Someday I’ll have it in 16mm 🙂

    • Never saw that before! It’s a funny one! The illustrated credits were clever!

  • The 1933 Mickey Mouse B&W classic The Mail Pilot has some great airplane gags. And the oldest viewable Oswald cartoon’s title, Trolley Troubles (1927) by Disney & Iwerks says it all. Walter Lantz’s Woody Woodpecker traveled across the old west in Stage Hoax (1952). And every conceivable mode of transportation is used by the wolf to elude Sgt. McPoodle in the Avery classic Northwest Hounded Police (1946). Thanks for asking.

  • The Fleischers also did 1938’s “Riding the Rails“, which is by far my favorite Myron Waldman-helmed Pudgy cartoon and really did deserve its Oscar nomination (the artists also do an excellent job of capturing the ‘look’ of a vintage 1938 NYC subway subway car, which many of them would have been taking each day going to work in Times Square).

  • Don’t you forget THE TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT (Terry, 1924)!

    • Have it in 16mm…just might show it!

  • I’m so surprised that no one thought to include “PLANE DIPPY”, a Porky Pig cartoon I believe by Tex Avery. It showed up as close to restoration as we’ll ever see it on a short-lived series of VHS tapes (why not CD’s?) from Columbia House spotlighting the Warner Brothers cartoons; I believe Jerry Beck healmed the title choices for these, and are we glad, because “PLANE DIPPY” was included, along with titles that didn’t appear on any of the GOLDEN COLLECTION or PLATINUM COLLECTION sets, like “PORKY’S HIRED HAND”, “BUDDY AND TOUSER”, “BOSKO AND BRUNO” and a very rare print of “FRESH AIRDALE” which featured all wartime dialogue references left intact! “PLANE DIPPY” has a great scene as the kids are calling out instructions to their pet down on the ground, and the instructions are getting simultaneously fed into the airplane via walkie-talkie like remotes that the kids are talking into, so the plane is literally “dippy” at that moment, yanking Porky, the harried pilot, this way and that!

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