July 7, 2016 posted by

VIDEO: Evaluating Nitrate “Flip The Frog” Elements


So, I thought we’d do something unusual this week – this post is almost entirely video-based. A batch of original Flip the Frog nitrate film elements arrived here from UCLA archives a handful of days ago, so we’ve shot a video (below) evaluating some of them… and to show you what we’re working with for the upcoming Flip the Frog Blu-ray sets. There will be more related news about the project coming up as well.

This little video is a bit informal and just shot with an iPhone, but I think it’s an unusual look at some of the original materials that will be going into the set. I moved my usual setup from the film room up to the living room to make it easier to shoot this.

In other Thunderbean news: the Cubby Bear blu-ray master was finished today, and off to replication tomorrow… so we’ll be sending them as soon as it’s back!

I’ll let the video tell the story…..

Have a good week everyone!



  • Man, love this stuff!

  • Love the Popeye shirt!

    It’s so cool to see these original Flip the Frog elements, especially when some of them are so well preserved. I’m glad you are doing 4K scans of these cartoons. The Willie Whoppers looked fantastic, and I know the Flips will look great too. You should do more of these video posts as Flip progresses, and when you get to working on the Color Classics, Rainbow Parade, Mr. Bug, etc.

  • From what you’ve shown us, here, the FLIP THE FROG set sounds very, very promising!

    I was hooked when you let us see and hear an original opening sequence from a FLIP cartoon, and I’m now interested in that FLIP title that you said had two different versions; I think it was “FUNNY FACE”? I’m wondering now whether there was any other edits and restructurings between films.

    Also, unless I didn’t get my facts straight, were you attempting to do new animation for some lost footage to one of the cartoons that might have only a soundtrack? This is an interesting idea, and it makes me wonder why some folks holding the rights to other studios’ classic cartoons didn’t come up with this idea to somehow reimagine lost materials. I know that Warner Brothers has some soundtracks in the vaults without visuals, but they might have retained a story board or two as to what the footage was apparently going to look like. With the already available cartoon as guide, animators could “fill in the blanks”.

    Forgive my ramblings, but was this what you were going to do regarding one of the FLIP cartoons? Well, as you can see, this project is something I very much look forward to… along with the forthcoming CUBBY BEAR set. After hearing the vast improvement in the quality from standard to Blu-ray on the “PRIVATE S.N.A.F.U.” GOLDEN COLLECTION, I’m convinced that anything is possible–even redoing the lost wartime gag in “YANKEE DOODLE MOUSE”, if some sound elements exist on the missing piece. Hey, just speculating–I’m not creating rumors, but when I see what you’ve done here, I can think of so many ways that great things can happen!

    • To Kevin W.’s suggestion above that old cartoons could have missing scenes newly drawn – it’s a novel idea, but I can already hear the howls of scorn when the new footage fails to match the originals – which it almost certainly would. I’ve seen lots of attempts to copy old animation styles, and some are cute but they never get it right. Here’s a recent one.

      See what I mean? Some not-untalented person learned the basics, tried hard, but it’s instantly obvious this isn’t the real thing. Too much this, not enough that, etc.

  • Fascinating! Thank you so much!

  • Steve again Thank You for what you are doing with the cartoon restorations. This is a great post here.

    I know Flip will be a great set when ready. For what I have seen it looks like COO COO THE MAGICIAN might be the most challenging to restore. Picture quality ranges from good to poor…guess we are lucky that it still exists. But of course here’s knowing you will do your best.

    Good luck to you and yours………..oh..and hope your cat is doing well

  • I could have watched two hours of this stuff! Thanks much!

  • Thanks for the comments! This one was fun to do. James Layton (Film archivist at MoMA) sent a note to me confirming that ‘Fiddlesticks’ is a Harriscolor print. He had told me this a little while back, and I really should have had my notes out when we did this!

    Layton was the author of last year’s “The Dawn of Technicolor” an amazing book:

    Emmy, by the way, is doing very well.. and she apologizes for holding this up a bit- but I wouldn’t have it any other way!


  • Why in the world did you apologize for a short post? This was above and beyond a usual post! Thank you!

    One question, though… notched corners to let someone know to change the contrast?! Please explain!

  • Best of luck with your up-coming, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems. 😉

    And, as always, Keep up the good work!

  • Few people would go to this amount of trouble for non-critically acclaimed shorts besides you, Steve. And we’re all better off and grateful for it.

  • Thanks for the kind comments- so many people help make these things possible. Craig, for the record, this morning my arms was pretty seized up from working on too many stuff too many hours like so many other people.. and the eye sight is changin’ and strainin’- but that’s everyone too! 😉

    • You wanna put some mercurochrome on the scratch on your wrist.

  • Awesome video!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *