April 13, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Van Beuren’s “Jungle Jam” (1931)

Just a little to report this week— and lots of reading papers.

The college school year is wrapping up here, so the students are happily exhausted as they work on finishing their projects. It’s been a time of wrapping up things at Thunderbean as well, with three projects getting close to going out the door. It’s started to be really fun to get the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set spiffy and ready to go. The Little King set is just waiting for the camera negative scan for “Marching Along” to get to us and the Tom and Jerry set now has only five films left to clean up, including the soon to arrive camera negative on Piano Tooners. While there’s still work in getting final versions together, they’re all pretty close. Along with Flip, having three of these long-in progress sets all going out the door around the same time is already starting to feel like the moments before an empty nest, but the truth is that it will put the little company in a good spot to get the other projects moving forward along with additional materials for the Fleischer restoration project. The weather starting to be lovely here helps even more.

With both these projects on their way to being finished, the era of us being nearly surrounded by black and white Van Beuren cartoons will come to and end- and we’ll be surrounded by color Van Beuren and Iwerks cartoons as the summer starts. It’s a busy night here as I finish this, read some student papers and get ready to look at the cleanup on a Tom and Jerry that was worked on while I was at the school all day….

And with that said… today’s cartoon!

Since it’s VB Tom and Jerry time here, I thought we’d show another thing in progress. Over the past week and a half or so, seven more Tom and Jerrys had the main print we’re using for them run through cleanup.

Here is Jungle Jam (1931) from one of the three prints we’re using for the final. This really nice 16mm print, lent by collector Alice Savage, was the sharpest we’ve ever seen on this title. Additionally, Tommy Stathes’ print will be getting used to fix a few splices, and a pretty beat up print with original titles (a gift from Tommy) will be used for the titles as we start to edit final versions together. Finally, we’ll be using a scan that we did in 1990 for the sound. Back then we were able to scan some of the films from 35mm nitrate before those prints vanished into collector’s hands somewhere. The soundtracks are quite nice on those prints and they’ve helped many of these Van Buren projects on Blu-ray. It will be a bit before we get everything in, but I’m excited to get the final edits going. Devon Baxter will be assisting with some of that work as well.

While Jungle Jam is the usual sort of VB cannibal cartoon, there’s some fun and bizarre gags and a great Rodemich score despite its stereotypes. The overall quality of the prints, scans and cleanup for the set really make me smile. We’ve added the 35mm track to it just for this work-in-progress showing. There will be more work to get the crop just right, fix splices and various things and get it as good as we’re able.

Have a good week all!


  • Well, well, well! It’s always a pleasure to meet up with Tom and Jerry, or Dick and Larry as they’re “officially” known, on Thunderbean Thursday. I really like the languid music in the opening scene, so much so that I’m willing to turn a blind eye to the cartoon’s numerous faults, just as the chief turns a giant cyclopean eye to Jerry’s dancing tattoo. I only hope that I may be forgiven for chuckling at the fact that the sharpest ever print of “Jungle Jam” was lent by a collector named, of all things, Savage….

  • Can anyone ID the opening song with Jerry playing the alligator like a xylophone? Devon Baxter says it was in Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer.”
    What studio other than Van Beuren would have a character yodelling in the jungle? Or a storm that appears for one gag and then vanishes from the story?

    • “Stray Sunbeams,” written in 1926, by pianist/composer Charles Huerter (1885-1974).

  • While the soundtrack from the 35mm print used for the DVD is nice, it still has some splices that you can probably just fix up with the soundtrack from the other 16mm copies. (or at least complete the opening music)

    About the newly found V.B. negatives, I think the one Tom and Jerry short that needs its original camera negative (or at least a good-sounding print) is “Trouble” (1931) since the soundtrack on the 16mm print isn’t too good.

  • The Real Tom & Jerry (meaning Bill & Joe’s vaunted brain children: the cat ‘n’ the mouse having the more rightful claim to being the real thing, historical precedence or not) may well be superior in all ways to the historical footnote duo, nevertheless those SuperDuperStars will never have this on the Mutt&Jeff ripoffs: the first cartoon to feature interracial gay love ?!?!?!?!?!

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