Steve Stanchfield’s Ann Arbor-based video company Thunderbean Animation has announced its latest restoration effort and DVD/blu-ray release, Van Beuren Classics, a set of 17 cartoons in all new digital HD transfers from 16mm and 35mm prints.
This set includes stunning 35mm restored prints from the long forgotten New York-based animation studio Van Beuren Productions (released back then by RKO), and includes two of the Ted Eshbaugh Rainbow Parade cartoons, Pastry Town Wedding and The Sunshine Makers, which have become cult classics. Stanchfield says, “The 17 cartoons span from 1926 through 1936. It’s a good primer on the studio, with films from all years of sound production, and featuring most of the major stars, and an example of each series.”
The set includes:
Pastrytown Wedding (1934) is a lush and clever production directed by Ted Eshbaugh. We’ve included both the original version edit as well as the Cushman’s Flour 1940 reissue version.
’Wot a Night (1931) is the first of the Tom and Jerry series (not the cat and mouse – the earlier humanoid characters), and features both funny gags and often even funnier animation.
Silvery Moon (1933) is one of my all-time favorites, with two cats going to the moon to eat copious amounts of candy while dancing.
Sultan Pepper (1934) Starring Otto Soglow’s The Little King, features the king attempting to have a late-night trist with a Sultan’s Harem, not the usual subject matter for a cartoon.
Barking Dogs (1933) with Cubby Bear is a strange lesson in social justice.
The Office Boy (1930) has perhaps the closest to Mickey and Minnie imposters of any studio (the film was named in Disney’s legal complaint against the studio).
“It’s very hard to find many of the Van Beuren cartoons in 35mm, but we’ve been pretty lucky in locating quite a few,” says Stanchfield. The set is for sale (pre-release) starting today on Amazon. It’s off to replication next week and will be sent out somewhere around the 15th of March. Stanchfield says that all pre-release orders before March 15th will receive an extra disc (!) featuring cartoons that didn’t make it on the set.
Here’s a sample of the contents: