THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
April 6, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Van Beuren’s “Pastrytown Wedding” (1934)

It’s a warm night here in Michigan as I write this- at least for here. It’s actually reaching into the mid-60s, and that’s welcomed at this time of year here at least. Our ‘fast’ computer, the one running the newer restoration software, has been parked up here at the office so the freelancers can use it when I’m at the school, and the building is silent at this time of night here, so it’s a nice, quiet moment as I type.

In Thunderbean news:
I always want things to go faster than they often do in reality when it comes to getting these various projects to the next steps, but when there are small victories that move things forward the waits seem worth it. Most of those are behind the scenes and I don’t talk about them, like finding another small piece of a Flip that didn’t show up in all the other prints or a particularly good cleanup on a rare film. Sometimes though they’re major. Last Friday, I got word that we were granted access to two original camera negatives of Van Beuren cartoons: Marching Along (1933) and Piano Tooners (1932). Now, while seeing cartoons from the camera negs *isn’t* so rare these days, this will be the first time we’ll be seeing some from the Van Beuren studios. They will be on the new Little King Blu-ray and the Van Beuren Tom and Jerry Blu-ray. Other than this new addition, the Little King set is done, with the Tom and Jerry set fast approaching. The newer software is really helping with these projects as well as with the Fleischer materials we’re helping to restore.

Flip is sitting on the edge of heading out the door too. In some ways, I’m very grateful for the delay in that we’ve been able to use the new software to tweak a few things I wanted the look better, and now they do. I hope that at this time next week I can say it’s not here any more and off the replication!

Scans continue on many other projects, and a bunch of special discs are on deck to be dubbed now. Things are going quite well at this tiny company other than being crazy busy all the time. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. The small team and everyone that supports these things has made the big difference in making so many of these projects a reality, and I’m counting on them a lot right now to move things forward and put up with me attempting to be organized.

Briefly on the world’s most famous cat:

One of these days I’ll add some more detail to a project that *hasn’t* happened that we put a lot of work into: The silent Felix the Cat cartoon series. These films really deserve to be seen by a larger audience since there’s a lot of them that really haven’t been seen!As I’ve been going through a lot of the much rarer ones we’ve scanned to send to a good friend, I realize they really should be seen by everyone. We won’t just hold onto them for eternity. Next year will be 10 years since the project got the kabosh on it and that’s just too long. The scale and scope of this project is bigger than any we’ve ever done. Along with project partner Dave Gerstein we’ll figure out a way to get these finally out sooner than later. In the meantime, Tommy Stathes’ Feline Follies Blu-ray/DVD set is quite good for scratching any Felix itches.

The little black cat’s adventures shouldn’t be cursed forever.


And — Onto this week’s cartoon: Pastrytown Wedding (1934).

Way back in 2013, when Thunderbean Thursday was just starting, Jerry posted Pastrytown Wedding from the old Thunderbean DVD, here.

Since then, we’ve been able to scan the film from Ted Eshabaugh’s personal print (donated to the Library of Congress). We posted that print back in 2019, here.

I was just looking for this the other day and noticed we had never posted the final Thunderbean version, so here it is. For the Rainbow Parades, Volume 1 blu-ray, we took the 35mm Cinecolor print and edited it back to the 1934 original release version, reinserting a shot that was re-edited in the Cushman’s version from a 16mm Cinecolor print. The main title was recreated based on the next Rainbow Parade titles. I hope we’re close.

I think it’s a lovely little film, and every time I see it I think of Delmark records founder Bob Koester, who would burst out singing “There’s Gonna be a Wedding!” at most every film show I saw him at. He grew up with the film on television in the early 50s and never forgot those early memories. How many folks here remember seeing these cartoons when growing up on local television? I’d love to hear your memories of them.

The Blu-ray set was a bunch of work, but when thinking about this set that rarely comes to mind- I’m just glad there’s good versions of these films available now. I think that what the value of archives and history is, to make the films available to be enjoyed by us and the generations to come.

Have a good week everyone!!

9 Comments

  • “Pastrytown Wedding” is a beautiful little film, making the most of its Cinecolor palette and representing a giant leap forward for the studio. I never saw any of the Van Beuren cartoons on TV when I was growing up; I was first introduced to them by cheap public domain video compilations, sparking an interest that Thunderbean subsequently kindled. I also heartily endorse the “Feline Follies” collection and the Cartoon Roots series in general; I’ve never seen silent cartoons so well presented!

    “Pastrytown Wedding” was the first cartoon directed (I should say, co-directed) by Burt Gillett after he left Disney. A year later, Disney released the Silly Symphony “The Cookie Carnival”, which covers much the same ground but is a more elaborate, funnier, and altogether superior cartoon. So I wonder if Gillett’s departure, like that of Don Bluth years later, might have actually spurred Disney on to greater things.

    Then there’s the Little Audrey cartoon “Tarts and Flowers”, which I quite enjoy — but stay away from the “Short’nin’ Bread” Screen Song unless you want that tune going around in your head all night!

  • Probably just a coincidence, but doesn’t that original rough sketch of the chef resemble Mr. Krabs?

  • I remember only the part of this cartoon where the dancing flowers decorate the levels of the wedding cake. But I remember it very fondly and most vividly.

  • Steve, I’m afraid I’m of an age where the Van Beurens didn’t appear on TV stations that we could pick up. It’s before my time. *Everyone* seemed to have the AAP packages of Warners and Popeye cartoons that played over and over for years. I’d never heard of Van Beuren until “Of Mice and Magic” came out and never saw an actual cartoon until video sites on-line exploded (that is, after we all stopped using a 14.4 modem and text-based browsers). “Piano Tooners” is a nice little cartoon, if you can deal with the Van Beuren animation and story style, and it’ll be worth it seeing it in the best possible shape.
    I’m pleased to hear about Felix. An amazing number of silent Felixes were churned out, and I suspect a good percentage of them must be public domain, if prints still exist. The series was always imaginative.

    • Agreed, Yowp..I noticed despite different coasts, Van Buren and Disney shared RKO, though Disney still hadothers like Columbia and UA then..

  • Growing up in St. Louis, we just had channel five, KSD-TV, and much later, KTVI which was the ABC outlet. KMOX was the CBS outlet from the early days. If you got up at 6 AM, you could see all the Van Beurens on KSD or KMOX. Commonwealth TV distributors had the silent Van Beuren Aesop Fable cartoons, with sound tracks consisting of stock music like the Capitol “High Q” library. I loved the song called “Children Playing”, which they always used for the Farmer Al Falfa and animals conflicts and chases. Most of the sound Van Beurens were either the Official Films prints or the Walter O. Gutlohn versions. I loved seeing them, and especially, HEARING them, as Win Sharples and the other composers music wafted from our 12 inch TVs tiny speaker. I had to keep the sound way down, so as not to disturb the parent’s slumber. Sometimes I got up too early and just watched the test pattern with the Indian headdress on it for about 20 minutes, waiting for the cartoons to come on. I used to love Crusader Rabbit (Jay Ward’s version). At the end of each episode of Crusader, they had a title that said, “Stay tuned to this station for the next episode” or words to that effect. I took them literally, just hanging around the TV waiting for the next chapter, until my Mother threw me out of the house. When the black and white Looney Tunes came on the Wrangler’s Cartoon Club (KSD) in 1954 or ’55, a lot of the old Van Beurens vanished.

    • I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only kid who watched the test patterns until cartoons started. In my case it was the NYC market, though, in the mid ’60s.

  • Indianapolis had one independent station, WTTV. They only showed the pre-48 WB, and Paramount shorts. I never heard of Van Beuren until Mice and Magic. People think they saw Disney cartoons then, but they were quite rare. Maybe one in a Mickey Mouse Club episode, the Sunday Disney show, or ones a few years old in theaters before a Disney film.

  • You could’ve fooled me that the titles were recreated; they look very nice and spot on with the Van Beuren Cinecolor Rainbow Parade style. While “Pastry Town Wedding” isn’t my favorite Ted Eshbaugh cartoon it’s still a fun film and a beautifully crafted one, with great animation and nice backgrounds. In a way it kind of reminds me of his “Wizard of Oz” cartoon. I always felt his other two Rainbow Parade cartoons “The Sunshine Makers” and “Japanese Lanterns” were better entries in the series, which made exceptional use of the Cinecolor pallet. Imagine if Eshbaugh had been able to use Three-Strip Technicolor his Rainbow Parade Trio instead of Cinecolor!

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