As I write this, I’m waiting for the first master to burn on Fleischer Rarities. Nearly every day has had a big chunk devoted to this particular project, so I’m very happy to have it standing on its own now. I hope everyone finds it as interesting as it was to work on the set in the first place.
In the meantime, I’ve been able to sit down a little and go through the first requests for scanning material on the Rainbow Parades. I looked at the material a while back now, so I was glad the notes were complete enough to make a call as to what to scan first. I still need to look at the last part of the series closer to figure out what to pull to scan.
“Cartoons to the Rescue”, one of the ‘Special’ sets, has started to go out this week. After visiting a friends house earlier in the week (and being offered a lend of some prints) I decided to do at least one more of these ’special’ sets. Details can be found on the IAD forum, here. Thanks to everyone that has supported these little sets.
I’ve been advised by friends to talk a little less about these projects as they’re happening, but, on some things, I’ve found that it’s been really helpful – not only in your feedback, but in helping to track down material at times. Posting the list of titles needed for the Rainbow Parades has now led to two rare prints being found that should be helpful for the project – not too bad! The new scanning should start in the next week or two on this project.
In the meantime, during another transfer session here (in just HD), we ran a ‘quick and dirty’ transfer of Parrotville Fire Department. I’ll eventually be doing a 4k on it, but it was nice to see what the print looked like — and here it is for you to see as well.
This cartoon was the second released in the Rainbow Parade series, and, to my eyes, it looks a lot closer to Van Beuren’s earlier efforts than the slicker Pastrytown Wedding, the first Rainbow Parade released. I had wondered if the Parrotvilles were intended to be black and white series originally. My thinking is that the ‘Toddle Tales ‘ series was going to be continued in black and white, and the fourth and fifth were already in production when the decision was made to release all Van Beuren cartoons in color. Perhaps that decision then relegated both A Picnic Panic and Spinning Mice to be produced under the Rainbow Parade title instead. Friends of mine suggested that the Parrotvilles were always going to be in color, and that a Parrot’s bright and varied colors were perhaps part of the decision. This is all speculation, but there may be some truth to that.
Mark Kausler made the suggestion to me a few days back that perhaps Gillette, who had recently left Disney, was trying to scoop his former studio’s idea, and get a ‘Fire Department’ picture out first.
“This cartoon resembles some of the gags in “Mickey’s Fire Brigade”, a Mickey Mouse cartoon from August 3, 1935. It’s significant that the Parrotville cartoon came out BEFORE “Mickey’s Fire Brigade”. I wonder if Burt Gillette worked on the story of the Mickey Mouse cartoon prior to his employment at Van Beuren, and thought he would “scoop” Disney by coming out with a fire house picture first? Especially striking in both cartoons are the little flames being personified with two legs, and able to change themselves into different shapes, like corkscrews. Gags are attempted that were better staged in the Mickey than in the Parrotville, such as the flames being cut off square with the windowsill by a stream of water cutting across the shot. The flames scatter all over the place and grow legs as the water hits them. Mickey uses a scissors to trim off the top of a tower of flame that he sees from the top of a ladder. The flames clearly end at a straight edge where Mickey cuts them off. The Mickey concept seems to play better and more simply than the Van Beuren one. Of course, the Mickey is in full Technicolor, while the Van Beuren had to limp along with the two color Cinecolor process.“
Although the color palette is limited, I think it’s important to note that balance of color on the 35mm Cinecolor prints has been especially nice, making a fine balance between the two colors to present as full of a color palette as possible. I especially love seeing the opening and closing credits on these films as well as hearing the full score.
So, here is the print. Make sure to watch it in HD if your computer can do so!