Here is See How They Won from 1935:
Boots Chemists (the Boots Drug company), was a popular chain drug store in Britain, sort of a CVS or Walgreens of the day compared to a local independent drug store with a soda fountain. It was the country’s largest chain, with something around 1,000 stores by the mid 1930’s. They had this little advertising film made for them to be shown on the big screen, produced by ‘Revelator Films Limited’. It was made in 2-color Brewster color, and survives in color in at least one place.
Revelator wrote and produced the soundtrack and music, and by hiring the Ub Iwerk’s Studio to do the animation, they helped set the course for what Iwerk’s company would eventually become: a studio that produced mostly animated advertising films, and a full cartoon on occasion. At this point, the studio was still Celebrity Productions, a studio owned by Iwerks and his production and distribution partner, Pat Powers. Iwerks would break with Powers within the year of this cartoon being produced, changing the studio name to ‘Cartoon Films, Ltd.’ This is the same studio that produced How War Came (1941) for Columbia as well as Color Rhapsodies, and three ‘Gran’ Pop Monkey’ cartoons in the late 30’s, based on GB Illustrator Lawson Wood’s charming illustrations.
Of course, the cartoon experts will recognize Iwerk’s studio style right away in this film. There is a charm to this short that is almost Devo-esque, especially near the end as the Boot’s men fight with a fervor that is usually reserved for army or gangster films, smiling and marching in unison moments later at their victory. Why is it that the bad guys are always more interesting characters than the heros?
I do feel bad for the little girl that scratched by the cat, but funny enough, the cat appears to be even more broken up at the pain he’s caused his human owner.
This cartoon has always been one of my favorites of the ‘odd’ cartoons, and chances are pretty good that we wouldn’t be seeing this (or at least as easily) if it hadn’t been for a company called Krazytoons. This mysterious outfit bootlegged cartoons from many different studios, sometimes keeping the original names of the films, sometimes not, releasing a cobbled together package of all these films in the early days of Television. They would, on occasion, even confuse titles from one film and put them on another.
This particular print had a title that didn’t match the film at all – something like The Great Battle was the name they gave it. The soundtrack is fairly hissy on the print- my guess is that because it was taken from a Brewstercolor print, and those prints had a light blue soundtrack, similar to Cinecolor’s soundtracks. When duped in b/w, they don’t reproduce the best.
There is various information that a second film was made called Leave it to John (1936). My guess is that it was also produced by Iwerks and had the same characters- and perhaps was in color as well. Was it finished? Maybe some day it will show up.
I’ve found a little more information about the first film on the ‘Hit of the Week’ Blog, posted in 2010.
This contains some great information from a Boots archivist. It appears that there was a board game (above) and posters as well as a record. There is a youtube of that record here – and the end lyrics from the song that are missing from the print are here:
I wonder if any of these are owned by some of you out there…. anyone?
I’ve also heard for many years that there is a 35mm color print in the hands of the collector here in the states, but it has yet to show its Brewstercolor glory to a wider audience- maybe some day!