The Ub Iwerks’ Willie Whopper and Flip the Frog project continues!
I really enjoyed seeing the animated clips from some of Leo’s other appearances over the years. We transferred some of the WIllie Whopper materials a few days back, so as promised here are some stills from the transfer session. (click thumbnails below to enlarge)
This is the first of what will be many sessions on the project, and I’m happy to see the first glimpse of what I’m going be working with. Commonwealth Films had some of these titles for many years, and it appears they often cut off the original titles on the camera negative, then made a new master positive to make the dupe negative off. On these particular prints, it’s hard to say when the original titles left, but they contain the 60’s distributor’s title cards. The master of ‘Spite Flight‘ even includes an explosion animation out of their new title matching into the opening shot of Willie saying ‘Hi!’
Happily, there are 16mm prints of most of the Willies that have their original MGM titles. These mostly older (40s) printdown materials (so far) have been quite nice, so I’m sure we’ll have good looking versions of the titles for the ones that no longer have the original title cards in 35mm.
Here are what the usual original titles look like- from a 16mm print of ‘Good Scout’ (click each to enlarge):
I think of this project as being sort of similar to Van Beuren’s Cubby Bear in a way. The Cubbys had never been all gathered in one place, and it seems to be similar with the Willies. A group of the films were sold to another distributor many years back, and are just now all under the same ownership at Film Preservation associates, happily!
One of the films that was transferred was a 35mm Eastman Color print of ‘Davy Jones’ Locker‘ the cartoon from last week’s post. This print was faded red, and when we adjusted the color, it was clear that the 2-color materials were processed in a way that caused the reds to be bright red instead of the usual orange-ish Cinecolor look. I’ve adjusted the film a little more to get it looking closer to what it should look like.
We most likely won’t be using this particular print in the set since it’s missing it’s titles and end titles. Happily, original successive exposure negative (SEN) is available on this one. It was photographed with both the color records on the same piece of black and white film. If all goes well, we’ll transfer that original negative for the final set, along with Hell’s Fire.
Mark Kausler noticed that this particular print has a sequence that isn’t in the Black and White print that circulates on this title. The short segment shows three Mermaids singing and hiccuping (after presumedly drinking Davy Jones’ booze). When it was edited out of the material isn’t clear- maybe it’s less about them drinking (since the scenes of Davy drinking are all intact on both versions).
Here’s a clip of Leo from the beginning and end of the cartoon, as well as the little clip of the mermaids. I’ve left the clips uncropped, as we do in transfer… so don’t mind the soundtrack to the left!