The Best Cartoon You’ve Never Seen!

There’s been a list of cartoons I’ve wanted to see forever – and, chances are, if you are as much of a diehard fan as I am, you have a special list as well of the same sort of thing. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but I was thinking about the *absolute* musts. So, maybe this list should be called “If you were dropped off on a desert island and couldn’t leave, what lost cartoons would you want to be there?”.

My list is shorter these days, with some of the holy grail titles actually found and available now. I couldn’t be happier about that honestly- but there’s still many more.

In some ways, the Thunderbean “Cultoons” discs are sort of the first and longest attempt to at least have some of the sort of forgotten kinds of shorts available. Still, all these years later I’m still looking for many of these sorts of things. I’d love to revive these with new HD scans at some point.

So, as of now, these are mine if I had to limit it down to 10 films. What are yours? Please leave ‘em in the comments this week.

1) The Bug House. Toby, the long-lost pup, has had a majority of his few adventures hidden away for much, much too long. The Bug House is one of the ones that hasn’t shown up completely as of yet, and if it does I hope I’m probably dressed well enough to manage to get it in possession. I find the Tobys to be completely charming, and maybe, just maybe, someday this and others will surface. You never know when some industrious YouTuber manages to find a print somewhere, somehow and manages to upload it, complete with Bulgarian Television titles or something. Maybe this time someone will see this and get it touch and we’ll scan it. If that happens, I promise I won’t try to trademark Toby the Pup for all use in home media to attempt to stop any additional producers from putting out a set.

2) Benny the Bear in A Cowboy I Would Be. I had dreams for years that, while looking through a stash of nitrate film, that suddenly Benny the Bear would poke his early 30s head out. There’s at least three prints that were made of this cartoon (at least according to the Copyright catalog) so if one manages to show up we’ll all be treated to what has to be a film classic. On Tralfaz’s blog from January 13, 2013, there’s a great find about Brucker:

March 20, 1930

A series of animated cartoons in color will be produced by Elias Brucker in association with Photocolor. Milt Gross will write the scenarios. Brucker has a five-year contract with Gross and Thomas A. Johnstone for the production of these shorts, the first of which will go into work within two weeks in the East.

From the Copyright Catalog

This announcement is after the first Benny the Bear was Copyrighted- and it’s pretty clear those never got made. So, one has to wonder what happened to this short. My guess is that it never saw release officially, and was used as a demo or was never sold. Maybe one of these days someone will be sorting through one of the hundreds of reels at the Library of Congress and, behind a clip of the Gorilla from King of the Kongo, there would be two minutes of Benny the Bear hitting his butt on fenceposts, just like Binko and Marty.

3) Goofy Goat (in color). I’m a bit of a broken record on the pursuit of this particular cartoon. Now that there’s good color, high definition versions of his Rainbow Parades, Wizard of Oz and The Snowman, it’s only fitting that the first of the Eshbaugh epic is finally found, if it exists at all. There’s at least a lead….

Goofy Goat and his Gal

4) The White Guard (1947). More Eshbaugh magic, maybe. This is one that I *know* exists. I lost an Ebay bid years back and know who got it. At one point, there was even the possibility of borrowing it, but then the owner got nervous about it being out of his hands. That dates back at least 15 years now, but if the print hasn’t shrunk like a prune or succumb to some other tragic death, maybe there’s a chance of finally getting it. It was a Kodachrome 16mm print. Who knows what this looks like, but we do know it’s an educational film about taking care of your teeth.

5) He Auto Know Better (1930). This is a commercial by Audio Cinema short for Aetna insurance. Years back, thanks to Jerry Beck, I was able to find a print of ‘A Desert Delemma’, another short also for Aetna. My guess is that this one was animated by Cy (Sy) Young as the other one is, who would soon after make one of the first color and sound cartoons, Mendelsohn’s Spring Song. I’m sure Cy changed the spelling to “Sy” to hide his Chinese heritage- and it’s spelled the same on his later effort.

6) The Adventures of Pinocchio (1936). A film never finished. This Italian Animated feature, by Raoul Verdini and Umberto Spano, was poised to beat Disney’s first feature film to the box office. Even though it’s reported that a lot of footage was completed, it’s hard to say what was really done since all footage seems to be lost. There are stills from the film that exist, but who knows if it will ever show up. Then again, a Binko the Cub did.

7) Felix Fans the Flames (1926). Here’s one I actually *had*- but it’s lost now. I managed to get the most beat up 16mm print ever of this cartoon from a fellow collector, only to hand it off to another young collector who, in turn, gave it away to a collector who put all his films in storage in Texas and moved to Malaysia. You can’t make this stuff up. One of these days maybe,just maybe, I’ll able to recover that print and check it off the list of lost Felix the Cat cartoons.

8) Mop Up (1945). Tex Avery directed a single Private Snafu cartoon in 1945- the last of the series in theory. What happened to it is anyone’s guess after it and it’s artwork was packed up, lock, stock and barrel and sent to the government. I was able to find information at the Us National Archives that it was delivered, but what that means isn’t clear. Other films that were delivered were actually finished, so it’s hard to say if the film ever had a final negative made. There’s more to research here, along with all the films made for the Navy.

9). Mr. Peanut and his Family Tree (1939). Another Ted Eshbaugh short, produced for the World’s Fair. It’s understandable why these particular films are lost since they were made for a specific event- but I do hope we get lucky at some point and find out someone has them. I can only imagine what this must look like.

10) The Popeye and Olive short made for Jack Mercer’s Bachelor party. This is one that will *never* be found. It was made at the Fleischers after hours and shot in pencil drawings. It was definitely made, but it’s a pretty good guess that whoever had it didn’t keep it. Maybe though, someday, someone will unravel a batch of home movies and there it will be.

Jack Mercer and Margie Hines

Ok— there’s my list— now it’s time for *yours*. Cheers and good luck in your own quests!