It’s a simple one today; in the last few weeks of having time off from the College, I’m scrambling to get as many projects touched as possible…
In Thunderbean news: It’s a busy ‘virtual’ shop, with films being worked on with six freelancers right now, and a few people here working on packing orders and helping me with various tasks. Things have never been busier in terms of all aspects; I’m trying the idea of getting additional space in the coming weeks again. When I started the DVD sets up again I never imagined the company to have as many things going on at once. The material on the Flips and Rainbow Parades this week continue to amaze me; I may give a sneak preview of some of this stuff next week, or wait a little! Since I can’t resist, here’s a little piece of really cool title music from The Village Smitty (1931). The music edit is somewhat abrupt, but this is how it appears on the original master positive material. I put this up from my friend David Gerstein, so forgive the ‘for Dave’ on the listing!
Cool things keep coming in, and growing pains continue, but the marks on the wall of growth are gratifying. A hard drive crashed earlier today that seems survivable in terms of potential loss, but it’s affecting the Grotesqueries and Noveltoons projects at the moment. I’m hoping it’s recoverable.
Getting the new sets and the finished pre-orders out the door is a continuous task here right now. Thanks to all who have helped support all this stuff.
I hadn’t had a chance to sit down and just watch some cartoons until recently, so I took a little time to watch a few of my favorites, and thought I’d put this one up for today — Panicky Pup (Van Beuren, 1933).
In this little short, a farmyard watchdog removes his constraint, and watches a love-struck cat blow up his inflatable girlfriend to have a dance partner. The mean spirited dog yells at the cat for having too much fun, popping his newly found love accidentally with a stick. Seeing an opportunity, the dog barks at the cat while it sits on the edge of a well, causing it to fall in. He can now mark on his list another dead kitty. A group of animals consisting of a rabbit, pig and duck point the finger of guilt at the dog, in song.
From this moment to almost the end of the film, the dog is racked by guilt, either being haunted by ghosts or hallucinating (or both?). He ends up back by the well, saving the kitty by pulling up the bucket. The ungratful kitty then spits water at the dog, ending both of their movie careers.
I feel like this cartoon is easy to define as “Budget Fleischer”, and there are elements that are very similar to Fleischer shorts like Swing You Sinners – clearly present here. The saucy soundtrack tries hard to be part Cab Calloway and part “Kicking the Gong Around” (from the Big Broadcast of 1932).
Nick Pozega posted a little piece from another Van Beuren short, Fly Frolic (1932) that also uses this song.
I always thought this cartoon was particularly fun in story, even though it’s somewhat meandering in the first half of the film. It’s an enjoyable little romp, and unpretentious and unapologetic in its execution. The Harry Bailey and John Foster shorts in particular all sort of feel like this short; Unlike the ambitious (for Van Beuren) Mannie Davis Cubby Bear shorts, there doesn’t seem to be a concern to raise the bar in any way here; I almost wonder if this and a few other shorts were made earlier and just not released for a while. That isn’t to say it isn’t enjoyable, but it looks much less polished than many of the shorts surrounding it. Still, it accomplishes its goal just fine: enjoyable animation for a 1933 audience.
This version of the film is from the Thunderbean DVD Uncensored Animation from the Van Beuren Studio It has a not-so-convincing faked title card we did back when that set was put together. The print is courtesy of Mark Kausler, who always has prints of films I wish I had— and has made so many of them available for us to enjoy.
Have a good week everyone!