As we’re all still limited in our activities, I’ve found that things here continue to be busy as ever, just busy with different things! I’m sure many of you are finding this to be true as well.
I’m working a lot on a few things right now, but have been concentrating on the Rainbow Parade set, a special set of Popeyes and Stop Motion Marvels 2. Some really amazing material that showed up today. I was so excited that one of these was almost the article this week, but, under advisement from friends, I’ll wait just a little longer to talk about that or show pictures- I’ve learned my lesson in the past!
Things have honestly been busier than ever as we try to get some sets completely in the can. The pieces for each of these projects are varied and come from all over the place. This week, I picked up some nitrate (with social distance), worked with three freelances on various covers, started to compile DPX versions of films into quicktime movies, color graded and cleaned 7 films (between the freelancers), got some more films from Europe via Google drive. In addition, I’ve been trying to get some projects I’ve helped friends with off the Thunderbean plate.They’re all sticky though and take time, but I need to get them out the door. Luckily, they’re looking swell.
The hope is to have as many projects in the can as possible that don’t require as many outside resources to finish right now. As we finish each, I’l devote Thunderbean Thursday to talking a little about one rather than the usual pieces here. The next few weeks will be pretty interesting here, with some things you’ve never seen, so watch this space!
What are *your* essential films from each series?
I’ve been organizing my film collection while waiting for students between meetings here, and found myself working well into the night a few days back to finally get things in better order. I started thinking about what cartoons are essential from each series/ studio, and thought it might be fun to pic 5 characters or series and name your ‘essential’ film in each series. It’s a little hard in that sometimes there’s lots of cartoons in that series that are. When picking films for the animation history class I teach, I often try to think of what may be the best example to show of this or that particular genre…including some not-so-great films to represent some not-so-great series!
Here, in no particular order, are 5 ‘essential’ films from various series. Would love to see five of yours, and why!
1) Popeye (1960 series) Barbecue for Two (1960) The pilot/ demo for the 60s series, and easily the strangest of them. Popeye gets to wear his old duds rather than his white sailor suit, and Bluto doesn’t have a name (Popeye refers to him as ‘Junior’ much to his protest. I really wish the whole series looked more like this, but instead we’re just left with this as a document to the confusion starting the series. The voice acting is the real star here, along with some funny poses and animation by lots of cartoon vets.
2) Scrappy: The Dog Snatcher (1931) Now, if it were up to me, Scrappy would get a few complimentary films as part of this list, but if it Had to be just one (and it does) it’s this. Fleischer-esqe sensibilities in story and design, along with a largely New York crew help set the tone for the films to follow. Plus, who doesn’t love a film were a little boy skins a dog to uses it’s skin as a costume?
3) He-Man: Star Child. A dreadfully saccharine entry in a fairly dreadful but iconic series. Anything you need to say about He-Man (except for Skeletor) can be found here in large doses.
4) Pooch the Pup: The Lumber Champ (1933) There’s a lot to like here. Non-stop gags with the usual (to this period) Lantz swimmy-ness in execution and timing, a catchy song, and two trees inexplicably looking like Groucho and Harpo. What happened to Chico? There’s also a vaguely homophobic joke and two characters split it two upright. My own favorite moment though may be Pooch reaching into a gun pointed at him and removing the bullets! You really couldn’t ask for anything more from the Lantz outfit at this point. I rate this cartoon as the best of this series.
5) The Pink Panther: Pink-A-Boo (1966) Even though this film recycles some gags from Freleng Warner Brothers cartoons, it’s a really fun entry, and that mouse reminds me enough of Ignatz to keep things interesting. I really enjoy a lot of the Pink Pathers, but it seems too obvious to pick the first one, so here’s my second.
Ok, so now it’s your turn. Make sure to include your ‘whys’! have a good week all!