Classic Cartoon Video Podcasts

Michael Barrier posted an article excerpt on his site from yesterday’s WALL STREET JOURNAL that said the Vintage ToonCast, which is an independent site that broadcasts classic public domain cartoons, is beating out mainstream corporate podcasts like the one for ABC’s LOST. What the article didn’t say is that the Vintage ToonCast will soon be getting some competition from ReFrederator, a new podcast being prepped for launch by Frederator, which promises to deliver one classic public domain cartoon everyday.

Unfortunately, the WALL STREET JOURNAL article is behind a subscription barrier, but here’s part of the excerpt that Barrier posted on his site:

One of the most popular podcasts currently online was made 63 years ago and stars Bugs Bunny.

On iTunes this past week, beating out ABC’s podcast for “Lost,” in which the show’s stars are interviewed, was a video podcast called Vintage ToonCast. It’s a free weekly posting of cartoon shorts from the 1930s and ’40s, with adventures of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Woody Woodpecker. The first, in December, of the 1943 short “Falling Hare,” has been downloaded close to 50,000 times.

While big entertainment companies are focused on charging viewers to download TV shows and music videos, this podcast and others like it are a reminder that there’s plenty of competition online from free media. The early animation clips shown by Vintage ToonCast are no longer protected by copyright and can be freely distributed by anyone. Any money made by podcasts usually comes from ads on the podcasts’ Web sites, or occasionally, product mentions in the podcasts themselves.

“Anyone could be doing what I’m doing,” says Vintage ToonCast creator Josh Cuppett, a 25-year-old chemical engineer at an environmental services contracting company, who is also a budding filmmaker. Mr. Cuppett gets the clips from Internet Archive (archive.org) a nonprofit “Internet library” offering free access to historical digital materials. The classic cartoon collection was provided to the archive by Film Chest, a company that collects old film clips and stock footage.