August 17, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Wrapping the Tom and Jerry set, What’s Next, and “Scrappy’s Television” (1934)

First, in Thunderbean news:

The long awaited Flip the Frog Blu-ray is through replication, and we’re working on the final aspects of the booklet. We’ll be announcing shipping soon.

We’re also doing our yearly Halloween special blu-ray This year’s entry is called Halloween Cartoon Party! It’s available on pre-order at

My own obsession with Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry cartoons is about to end since the set is nearly done! It’s been a handful of very concentrated weeks trying to get to the end of the project, and we’re now at a point where that is happening. The final versions of all but two films are done as of this moment. One film, Polar Pals, is getting a revision this week from a new scan of a 35mm nitrate print, and the other film, Dough Nuts, has a new scan from a rare print with original titles, courtesy of Thad Komorowski. The set is really looking nice; I’ll be happy to see the set going off to replication in the next week or so.

I think I’ve said more than once here that I get sort of pensive as each of these Thunderbean Blu-ray things get finished. What I didn’t really talk about is that, after that, I tend to watch the whole set, smiling as I’m looking through everything, thinking about what other people are experiencing when they’re watching the first time. I think the important thing is the enjoyment of these films, so whatever we’ve had to do technically to give the film a good presentation should be hidden, really.

The three “major” projects that have been waiting in the wings and getting just a little work are the Rainbow Parades, Volume 2, Comi- Color Volume 1, and the Lou Bunin set. All of them will be starting major work in the coming weeks, and the small Thunderbean team is very welcoming of the challenges to come on these. All three of these sets include working with a lot of master materials in 35mm. The scans are looking great.

And… in an attempt to forget about Tom and Jerry for a minute— here’s a Scrappy cartoon!!

Scrappy’s Television (1934) is a cartoon I had a 16mm print of many years back, but lost to the ravages of Vinegar Syndrome years back. I’ve been lucky enough to get a print again and just scanned it. It’s a pretty strange one.

Television in 1934 was of course a reality, but not a reality to the general public. This sort of two part cartoon concentrates on Scrappy’s expertise (or not so much) in making a Television, then watching a boring violin performance and a series of noisy animals – then switches to Scrappy and Oopy (accompanied by his usual cat and bird friends) watching a prize fight between Max Baer (the Boxer, not the actor) and Ed Winn (the actor/ radio personality). Max Baer sure likes to eat!!

This cartoon, admittedly, is a bit of a pot boiler. At least there’s a lot of great poses and fun animation. I’m pretty fond of this period in the Scrappy series as Sid Marcus takes over direction after Dick Huemer’s departure. I think it is still pretty fun, and I especially love the idea that Televison was such a novel idea at this moment that it could be the subject of this film.

Have a good week everyone!


  • Funny! There are still a lot of Scrappy cartoons I haven’t seen, and this one is new to me. The woman screaming “Geeve eet to heem!” is meant to be Lupe Vélez, “the Mexican Spitfire,” who attended boxing matches at Hollywood Legion Stadium every Friday and made a spectacle of herself by standing on her seat and yelling at the pugilists. It’s heard in some other cartoons of the ‘30s, for example “Porky’s Romance”, and one of the Willie Whoppers.

  • It’s more likely to be Primo Carnera vs. Ed Wynn. Notice how he’s portrayed as a giant–Carnera was 6′ 6″ and known as “The Ambling Alp.”

    • Baer and Carnera both appeared in “The Prizefighter and the Lady” (1933). Here’s a photo of them with Jack Dempsey as the ref:×788.jpg

    • Plus there’s also his between-rounds meal choice being spaghetti.

    • You’re right. Baer wasn’t the heavyweight boxing champ until June of ’34, about five months after this cartoon was released. Primo Carnera would have been the champ, and as noted elsewhere, the choice of da spaghet for the meal is a clear tip off.

      Interestingly, Wynn did appear on an experimental NBC television broadcast in 1936. Wynn’s turn on “The Fire Chief” was still active as of 1934, though his ratings were in decline and he left the show in 1935.

  • I’ll give the Scrappy and Krazy Kat films credit. They seemed to tinker around future Technologies, things to come, and science fiction more than the other cartoon studios of the era. They’re kind of fascinating in a way.

  • This isn’t related to Scrappy at all, but I feel Steve (or Jerry for that matter) would be the best person to answer this; I want to make a video on the history of cartoons being used as advertisements, but I’m not quite sure where to look for info on the early days of this practice (I.E. Boy Meets Dog, Butcher Baker Ice Cream Maker) Would these types of cartoons shown in theaters, ads and all? I’ve read some of these (notably Mickey’s Surprise Party) were run at special booths run by the advertisers, how common was that? Any sites/books and such that touch upon the topic would be very helpful as well.

  • I couldn’t see any caricatures of Lupe Velez on screen in this cartoon. The referee looks like a caricature. Is it John Garfield?

    • When I first saw it I also thought it had to be a caricature, and that it resembled Jack Dempsey; then today David Wilt in his comments here posted a link to a period posed photo of Max Baer, Primo Carnera (who’s my vote for the fighter caricatured in the cartoon) and Dempsey, who’s dressed as a referee.

    • John Garfield began his film career in 1938, four years after this Scrappy cartoon was released.

  • Note the presence of Art Davis and Sid Marcus (with his trademark hairdo) in the audience at 5:47–5:49. Could be other staffers depicted with them that I don’t recognize.

  • Thanks for mentioning the Bunin disc. I’m so looking forward to Alice in Wonderland.

  • In 1933 the movie “International House” centered on a demonstration of television by a Chinese inventor in the titular hotel. The television kept picking up musical acts while W.C. Fields, Bela Lugosi, Burns & Allen, Franklin Pangborn and others ran around the hotel.

  • Oh yeah, TV was mysterious and exotic in the earlier ’30s. Not only INTERNATIONAL HOUSE (1933), but there was MURDER BY TELEVISION (1935) – an absolute disappointing “dud” of a mystery movie – and TRAPPED BY TELEVISION (which is a lot better by comparison). INTERNATIONAL HOUSE is probably the most entertaining with skits by W.C. Fields, Burns and Allen, etc. Even Bela Lugosi turns up as a suspicious character in it! (He turns up as two characters in MURDER BY TELEVISION, but … don’t waste your time watching that movie, unless you have to – research purposes, or whatever.)

    Years ago, I saw a DVD-R of a videocassette taken form a 16mm “dupe” of a late 1920’s MGM thriller where Lionel Barrymore was the bad guy in disguise. Get this – he had a TELEVISION contraption to spy on people and just about every low-budget mystery movie and serial cliche’ you could think of were ALL in this movie, for probably the first time! (I need to look this up with Barrymore’s filmography and see if I can find the title of it!)

    The 1933 MICKEY MOUSE daily comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson – in the story “Blaggard’s Castle” have the mad scientists use an early TV device. (It’s not in the movie version called THE MAD DOCTOR, sadly! At least, I don’t think so!) So, yes, people were very intrigued by television experiments in the ’20s and ’30s. By the ’40s – when TV broadcasting was actually starting to happen – the movie studios, of course, feared the possible “competition” form it!

    • AHH-HAA! I found the silent movie I was thinking of with the early TV device! It’s called THE THIRTEENTH HOUR (1927) with Lionel Barrymore as a supposedly saint-like public benefactor who is a murderous jewel thief in disguise. There’s a Rin-Tin-Tin like dog hero, a “closed circuit” TV device, sliding panels, etc. – all the cliches’ that Monogram and other studios making low-budget thrillers and serials would latch onto. I THINK this was meant as a comedy-thriller but I found it pretty amazing that this film set the blueprint for the kinds of movies actors like George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, etc. would be making for lower-budget productions for close to 20 years. Apparently, a 16mm print survives, but I’ve only seen poor VHS dupes of that!

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