The Week in Thunderbean:
On the in-progress Aesop’s Fables, Volume 1:
I’m happy to be reviewing and working on cleaning up the remaining films for this set of Van Beuren cartoons. “Old Hokum Bucket” was heavily in progress today, a snow day with classes cancelled. Tomorrow is just as snowy here in Michigan as it is in a lot of places for these next few days and school remains closed, so I’ll be working to get as much done as possible on Thunderbean stuff.
On Flip the the Frog Blu-ray set:
This now forever and several days in progress set gets closer and closer to being finished. You can bet several Toby the Pups that it will be finished within the month! The very last films to be cleaned up for the set, Village Specialist and Little Orphan WIllie, are now all finished; the new 35mm material on Village. Collaborators David Gerstein and Devon Baxter have been hard at work designing pages for the still galleries. They’re really looking great.
Finally, here is the almost finished package for the two-volume set, by Alex Kirwan. Commentaries are still in progress, and then it’s off to replication. The next you’ll hear about this set here will be when its back. I’m excited and exhausted!
I think the first experience with an actual Technicolor print was a water damaged 1939 Snow White Trailer, bought at a little shop in Roseville, Michigan called ‘The Nostalgia Nook’ in the early 80s. I was 14 when I bought this original trailer, of course on nitrate film! I remember taking it to my high school photo class and doing frame blowups on their enlarger, having no idea the material was highly flammable. The color was somewhat pastel on that trailer, even faded out somewhat. I had no idea it was Technicolor or nitrate of course.
At one of the first film conventions I went to I bought a 35mm trailer for $5. It was for the John Wayne movie The War Wagon, and now I understood something about Technicolor! The colors jumped off the film in a way that all the other color films I had didn’t – I was absolutely sold. When I was able to finally have a print in 16mm I could project it was this one — Red Riding Hoodlum (1957). This old rental print (with the number 53 punched right into the film) had color like I had never seen on a Lantz cartoon, having grown up watching them on TV in the usual broadcast Eastman prints. There was something so different and special about how it looked in projection when I first saw it – and, happily, some of that magic shows up when you scan these prints on a good scanner.
By 1957 the production qualities of the Lantz shorts were not once they once were, but when I was a kid, whenever this particular cartoon came on my brother and I were always happy, waiting for Smoky the Bear to show up! The timing of those particular gags (and the Lantz studio actually making fun of how he was in limited animation in the commercials of the time) was really, really funny to us. The gag about “That Pesky Malnutrition’, while in bad taste, is somehow still quoted by me once in a while when really hungry (or when we’ve eaten something especially bad).
So, here is that IB tech print. Note that the print looks pretty different in color content than any others you’ll see (somehow the teals in this print are blue in any other prints I’ve seen except for ones in IB). I wish I could show this to you in a big auditorium, but over the internet machine will just have to be good enough. Have a great week everyone!