“Puzzled Pals” (1933) Gets Nicely Cleaned Up

First, in Thunderbean land:
I got some great news this morning- the last piece of the long-in-the-tooth’ Flip the Frog’ set has been completed and on its way here. When I got home from the school I dusted off the top of the Flip the Frog drive 4 (where all the final assets are built) and crossed off the final piece. Now it’s back to a little final nit-picking and sending these two discs off to replication- with a pit stop with the brain trust to take a look at them.

At almost the same time, The Van Beuren ’Little King’ Blu-ray set rounded the almost final corner. I did a Blu-ray build of the set yesterday with all the updated and extensive bonus stuff (wonderfully written and designed by Chris Buchman, upgraded from the DVD edition). I’m waiting for one more original title card (from ‘On the Pan’) that is being provided courtesy of Tommy Stathes (thanks so much Tommy!). With that addition, there’s only two VB Little Kings that are missing their original titles on the set (Jest of Honor and Sultan Pepper) and those original titles have never shown up as far as I know, anywhere. Here’s the almost finished cover, by Juan Lucero.

With the addition of Diamant’s digital restoration software, we’ve been able to move forward much, much faster on so many things. They’ve been great in helping set up the software. For the Fleischer restoration project, we’ve been working on Inkwell Imps (from the 35mm master materials), cleaning them up at over 5k. I wish all material was in such brilliant condition from the silent era.

The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry set is moving along really nicely too. Ciara has steadily worked on this set between other things for several years now, and materials have been getting upgraded as we go throughout the progress. With the new software things will move even faster now, so the next stages will be trying to get to the point where we can have chairs of Diamant for all the Thunderbean freelancers. Here’s a peek at what our “internal” document looks like while we’re tracking these things through cleanup.

A few months back and again last week, one of the Cartoon Research readers and Thunderbean customers sent us some hard drives as a gift. They’re so appreciated and have made our lives so much better— and if you want I’ll mention you by name, or feel free to add a comment. Thanks again so much!

Getting these two titles out the door gives us the bandwidth to work on what’s left on Tom and Jerry and the second half of the Rainbow Parade series. As we move those films into restoration we’ll be chatting about them more here and sharing what we’re doing. Other sets we’ll be staying pretty quiet about until we’re properly dressed for the occasion.

Lots of special sets are in progress here as well. Once the films are scanned they’re pretty easy to get together, and I’m really enjoying building them. We’ll keep doing these for at least a little longer since there’s still so many things we’d like to scan and have out there. There’s a new special set called Raiding the Vault available at the Thunderbean Shop too.(JERRY-LINK thunderbeanshop.com).

In the bigger picture, we’d like to have one of the official titles out every month, sometimes two along with some of the special discs through the rest of the year, and that’s now looking very possible. It’s turning out to be a pretty good period here.

And— this week’s cartoon!!

Mary has been doing some puzzles on-line for the last few weeks as she watches me wrestle with the Little King set, so I’ve been thinking about this particular cartoon. Teacher and cartoon co-conspirator Scott Christy has been doing some work on the Thunderbean sets for a while, and did a fantastic job on Puzzled Pals (1933). It’s not the top cartoon of the series, but a pretty fun one. The baby in the film is just about as bad as any child could ever be – no wonder the town is trying so hard to not let the stork bring it to anyone. I especially love the scenes with this kid’s deadpan expression as he roughs up our hero. The day is both ruined (and ultimately saved) by an out of control vacuum cleaner. The scan for this short is (mostly) from Mark Kausler’s very nice 16mm print. While this one isn’t completely done and cropped for a final version, I thought I’d share it this week. This is the first whole film Scott cleaned up by himself, and he did a fantastic job! We’ll finish it out by steadying and and adding the original credits in. So far the original title sequence hasn’t shown up on this one, but let’s hope it does someday.

Have a good week all!