I’m happy to announce that the long awaited Blu-ray/DVD combo, Ub Iwerks’ Willie Whopper is finished and shipping this week! The pre-orders are being packed as you read this, and the set is also now available on Amazon
here (with great box art, above, by Stephen DeStefano):
Ub Iwerks Willie Whopper cartoons are a wonderful little series, all gathered together for the first time on Home Video. This is the first in a series of sets we’ll be releasing of the Iwerks’ films.
It’s been quite a journey on this project- it’s been in progress for nearly the whole year. While a little bumper and a lot longer than I had hoped, it’s happily finished well. The team worked really hard to make the set look as good as possible,and having access to the best master materials was both a joy and a challenge. We’re especially happy to have both the color entries in the series restored from their original camera negatives.
As the project was in progress, many members of the team commented that they had a new appreciation of the animation in the series. After working for many months on the digital restoration of the cartoons, I do as well. The early to mid-30s is a period of great improvement at all the studios in nearly all areas of filmmaking, with the Iwerks cartoons becoming more polished. The talented staff on these films went on to produce many great films in the years to come.
Extras on the set include a 12 page liner notes booklet, Still Galleries of Publicity, original production art and products, surviving pages from Willie Whopper Outlines and Scripts (including the never-produced ‘The Early Bird’), Bonus cartoons, Jazz Recordings features in Willie Whopper Cartoons and more.
David Shepard of Film Preservation Associates has been an amazing partner on the project, making sure it moved forward well and granting full access to he finest material throughout. UCLA Archives and the Academy have also been valuable resources throughout, as have the wonderful and generous collectors, who provided the bonus materials. J.B. Kaufman wrote really nice liner notes for the set; I wrote some notes about the production, and Chris Buchman did a great job with liner notes on the music featured in the cartoons. I think we’ve done good service to the films and the creators, collectively. Thanks to all.
Here are a few frames from the restorations on the set – click to enlarge:
At Thunderbean, we’re not able to get as many projects done this year as we had hoped, but we’re all very happy with the outcome of the ones we have so far – and the others will be done before too long- helped along by the revenue from the two sets that just finished. For this waiting with baited breath, the Private Snafu set is in replication right now and will be back in the coming weeks. The special ‘Thunderbean Thursday’ set is also almost done and will ship as soon as we can.
The pre-order bonus Willie Whopper glass is shipping directly from the factory within the next week or two (but of course you’ll have the disc set first).
Here’s a little montage of clips from the new set. Thanks to everyone for their support, suggestions and help.
Now, onto Flip the Frog!
Have a great week everyone!