It’s hot as heck here this week, and because of that, I’m likely still improperly dressed for the occasion, but at least at home I can get away with that! Rosalie Waldman told me a story a while back about Jim Tyer showing up at Famous in the usual three-piece, then, upon sitting, taking off everything until he was down to boxers and an undershirt to work at his desk! I can relate. I wonder if the same could be said about the crew working on the Toby the Pup cartoons? I appreciate their sweat, creative or otherwise.
As the weeks go on here, I’m trying to cram as many things into each day as possible. Today I’ve been listening to music from Rainbow Parade cartoons in an attempt to make music-only versions of some, or at least sections, using the ‘stock music’ that was from these cartoons. While things are moving along rapidly on many fronts, It’s still not going fast enough for my own taste, but each day its getting a little less stressful seeing things get accomplished. This week’s goal is to (if possible) free two projects entirely from being here that I’m helping friends with, and sending off all the film I can manage to get scanned this next week to two different places. Sitting down and getting to animate a little is a treat at this point, but I’m getting jealous of seeing other scenes come in for the titles and just want to wrap it up nicely. I’m hoping to take a break and sit down to watch some cartoons at some point this week, on film if I can manage. Maybe some Toby the Pup. Progress continues on the Thunderbean front of course, with news updates on the near horizon about new sets and finished ones.
As I was tumbling through some of the blu-rays to put on my watch list, I really wish Olive Films had released *all* the Betty Boops (including her appearances in the Talkartoons). I also wish they had completed the rest of Betty Boop’s face on the cardboard sleeves for the packages!
It’s amazing that some films of a series are available in beautiful quality while others just aren’t. I’ve been getting Boops scanned here for one of our sets, and just wish *all* of them could be from the negatives, or at least from excellent 35mm prints.
So, this week, I thought it might be fun to have *your* top ten cartoons you’d like to see a beautiful copy of (but are only available in fair or poor ones – or not at all). A few on my list are things I’m working on currently that are waiting to get scanned, so at least some of my own list will come true soon!
Here’s mine – in no particular order:
Balloonland (Iwerks, 1935). The b/w separations exist on this wonderful short, and are on the schedule to be scanned. I’m super excited to see what it looks like- let’s hope the negs are not too curled at one end!
Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Fleischer, 1936). I’ve always wanted to see what this looked like in really good color and sharpness. One of the first prints I bought was an old and very red NTA one, long since traded. While there’s a few better versions out there, I’m sure they still pale compared to what this looked like originally; looking at Popeye Meets Sinbad from the same year indicates that it must be wonderful.
The Lumberchamp (1933) Honestly, seeing the King of Jazz segment in HD recently made me long for some dignity for Lantz’s early and somewhat scruffy shorts. There is only the small smattering included on the DVD sets. This is a favorite of mine among others. They just need someone to care enough.
Goofy Goat (Antics) (Ted Eshbaugh, 1930). As I stare at the 16mm Official Films print sitting here, I continue to hope that, somehow, someday, a color print of this film will show up. It’s really hoping against hope at this point, but you never know.
Sheep Shape (Famous Studios,1946) I’ve never seen a decent color print of this particular short. It’s clearly ‘inspired’ by Avery’s Red and Wold pictures, but odder. Without giving away the ‘gag’, Blackie’s particular brand of cross dressing (and subsequent parading around in his bra after taking half his costume off) is especially strange for any cartoon. The NTA red prints are all we’ve been able to see of this one, but maybe someday Paramount will open its vaults….
Bugs Bunny Show segments, in color. These are high on my holy grail list. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever get that lucky. Seeing some reconstructed using color neg and Black and White prints, on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set, was still pretty cool.
Flying Fists (Iwerks, 1930). I know, this is one on the set we’re working on, but there’s quite a few people that have a collective memory of seeing it in color not that long ago- are they imagining or misremembering that??!? As far as I can tell, no color print has surfaced of the second Flip the Frog cartoon, and I’ve carefully gone through *all* the material on this film at UCLA and picked the best material for the set.
On person sent me some color frames from their ‘rare’ print and I was excited; eventually that person had to admit they had faked them. There’s a version on Youtube in faux color, but it’s not real, sadly. Of course, I’d take *any* or all of those easily Flip the Frogs that were shot in color and are missing in color prints now.
Small Fry (Fleischer, 1939) Heck, I’d like to see 35mm restorations on all the Color Classics series, but this would be the next highest on my own personal list. I can’t imagine how much better this film looked in Technicolor, especially the ‘scare the kid straight’ scene with a reprise of the title song.
Sliphorn King of Polaroo (1945). Would LOVE to see this on Blu-ray. 16mm prints in color on this one are hard to find, so being able to see a decent print on the DVD was a treat. Still, they all deserve even better. This one is a personal favorite of mine— but wouldn’t it be nice to see all the Lantz shorts in High Definition?
Scrappy’s Art Gallery (1934). There’s a lot of Scrappys I really like, but I really do think this one belongs on on the national registry for its inventiveness. While not a perfect film, its a near-crime that none of these are available from Columbia. Here’s the scan I did years back from my own 16mm print:
That’s all from me for now. So, what are *your* picks? Till next week, Steve