THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
June 23, 2022 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Updates, Eyvind Earle Restoration Project, and “The Tuba Tooter” (1932)

I’m really enjoying this summer more than usual. It’s been a really good mix of around-the-house and getting things a little spiffier here combined with jumping into film and blu-ray projects, often until they’re finished. I’ve been looking at the list of things we’ve started and the steady progress is gratifying. The best thing about Thunderbean is seeing people enjoying the results once they’re out of our hands.

In Thunderbean News:
Here’s the condensed cream-of-wheat version of almost-finished project status: Flip the Frog has the final mpegs made as we wait for the last bonus stuff, Stop Motion Marvels 1 is on the fast track as films come back from cleanup and I spend most of my time tweaking this set, the VB Tom and Jerry is getting lots of love right now, and the Party Disc 2 is thankfully almost done as well.

“Death And Sunrise”

Master painter Eyvind Earle’s work at Disney is well-known and documented, but his independent films deserve some rediscovery for the absolutely beautiful work created for them. One of the bigger projects we worked on over the course of the last few years has been restoring two films produced by Eyvind Earle at full film resolution. This project was sponsored by ASIFA-Hollywood, working with the Eyvind Earle estate. Covid set this particular project back quite a bit, but we’ve been very happy to finally complete it.

These two films are the one reel short Death and Sunrise (1962) and the three reel short Were You There (1967). For this project, we did 5k scans of the existing 1962 answer print of Death and Sunrise, and the A/B roll camera negs on Were You There. We then digitally cleaned them up using digital restoration software, including reassembling Were You There following the A/B roll lab notes and lining up the results with the faded answer print for accuracy in the dissolve and timing effects.

It was a huge challenge to get these independent films looking as good as they can. They’re now ready to be output back to film or shown from the digital restorations. I’m not sure when they’ll be available, but here’s a few stills from them (click to enlarge). Special thanks to Rick Law for getting the ball rolling on this project years back – we finally finished!

We have several new special sets available at the Thunderbean shop— but as we’re getting more “official sets” completed, we’ve started to go through the special sets that are completed and are retiring a group of them on Friday. We’ll be retiring more as the year goes on as well. Thanks to everyone for supporting all these projects through these years- it’s helped cover lots and lots of scans as well as all the other aspects of the projects. We may make some things available again, but the plan is to retire many permanently. You can see the list we’re retiring HERE.


…And now, onto the cartoon!

Earlier today I started looking through the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry “status list”, checking the cleanup of various films and adding the latest cleanups to that particular hard drive. The Tom and Jerry set is the next closest to being done at this point. Our own Devon Baxter has been working on The Tuba Tooter (1932) off and on for a little while between many projects. He sent me the file today, suggesting it would make a good Thunderbean Thursday post, so I’m taking him up on that! He did an absolutely great job on this one.

I first saw this cartoon at a film collector’s convention in the early 80s in an astonishingly beat up print that a collector brought but didn’t want to sell. Happily, ailurophile and cartoonist Mark Kausler lent his really beautiful print for the blu-ray set. The scan was just dandy on its own and has some of the most booming sound of any prints I’ve ever heard. A little spiffing later and it’s looking great. I have another print here that I’ll use to fix a splice or two as we often do, but otherwise another film is now ready for the set.

As in the best of the early 30s Van Beuren shorts, The Tuba Tooter is silly and enjoyable, full of dynamic, impossible poses and funny action. It’s hard not to smile at the enthusiasm of this particular cartoon since it’s practically begging you to join in the onscreen festivities. I’m left with wishing I could go to one early 30s Bavarian festival. The best we can get is 7 minutes of artistic interpretation through the eyes of the studio’s artists. I’ll take it!

Have a good week everyone and enjoy the cartoon!

8 Comments

  • Schulz is back again and looking better than ever in this pristine version of the cartoon. Wunderbar! Tubas must be very hard to draw. At least, the Van Beuren artists didn’t do it very well. Schulz looks like he can’t figure out which end of a bong to smoke.

    The music that plays at the beginning of the opening title is “Die Wacht am Rhein” (The Watch on the Rhein), a patriotic song from the 1800s. By then the Rheinland had suffered from repeated French invasions for hundreds of years, and the song thus became popular in choral festivals during the Franco-Prussian War. The quick segue into oom-pah music indicates that nothing’s to be taken too seriously here. Also heard in the cartoon are “In Muenchen steht’s ein Hofbraeuhaus”, “Im Wald und auf der Heide”, “O Du lieber Augustin”, “O Susannah” (which predates the Stephen Foster song of the same title), and a couple of other German drinking songs that I can’t identify offhand. Maybe a stein of beer will refresh my memory.

    I don’t know who those dancing lingerie twins are, but I’m calling them Bella and Ursula. As they say in modern German: “Diese Girls sind tres sexy!”

    • Actually, if you’re thinking of “sexy German twins of the early 1930s,” there’s the “Sisters G,” who had a very brief vogue in Hollywood circa 1930, appearing most notably in “The King of Jazz.”

    • Yeah, I always thought the line was “Bella and Ursula stay in step,” but I think it’s really “Fella and Ursula” — George didn’t understand gender all that well. I’d still like to know who put two girls in the intro and end credits.

      • George of the Jungle was originally planned to share his treehouse with two girls, “Ursula” and “that other Fella who don’t shave,” until ABC’s censors objected before the show went to air, but after the theme song and main titles had been completed.

  • Devon was right, THE TUBA TOOTER is a hoot! Schultz is back again is a great melody, and Gene’s score shines freely in this! Tyer’s scene of the kids banging to the rhythm is funny, like he’s trying to mimic read kid’s art. Those two HIDEOUS women are hilarious too! Devon did a great job cleaning up Mark’s brilliant print too!

    Holy moly, those Eyvind Earle films look amazing! I highly await the day we are able to see them! Maybe ASIFA will eventually let you produce a set with the two films, and maybe another? Eitherway, I’m glad to see Thunderbean do work with ASIFA

  • I am looking forward to the Eyvind Earle films! I love his work on the “Rhapsody In Steel”!

  • As I am both a Van Beuren animation fan and a Dachshund owner, and a beer drinker as well, Tuba Tooter has always been a favorite cartoon of mine, and it is great to see it in this restored version. I look forward to the Blu Ray upgrade when it comes out!

  • When I watched the Van Burean volume of “Cartoons That Time Forgot” this was one of those shorts that stood out to me. One of the best of the Van Burean Tom and Jerrys.

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