I know, I know… you think I’m simply a shill for everything Craig Yoe and Steve Stanchfield produce. I admit I’m a minor contributor to many of their projects… but ya gotta believe me: their stuff is great! Both are back this week with two new items I can’t recommend highly enough:
Making ‘Em Move:Rare Behind the Scenes footage of Vintage Animation Studios, is the new DVD from Stanchfield’s Thunderbean Animation studio. I really thought I knew of all the classic studio “behind-the-scenes” films – like the Paramount Popular Science short (from 1939) at the Fleischer Studio (included on the Warner Bros. Popeye Vol. 2 dvd set), Disney’s Reluctant Dragon feature (1941), the Universal Cartoonland Mysteries (1936) short that goes to the Walter Lantz studio, heck even Gertie The Dinosaur (1914)… but none of those are included here. Instead Steve packs this disc with ten rarely seen films made from 1919 through 1967 that are equal parts educational, entertaining and eye-opening!
The set begins with the long lost educational film, How Animated Cartoons Are Made (1919), featuring animator Wallace Carlson showing us how they did it at the pioneering Bray Studio. This print has been gorgeously restored from an uber-obscure 28mm original! Other incredible finds on this disc include the Jam Handy Drawing Account (1941) featuring animator Robert Allen explaining the nuts and bolts (literally) of cartoon production in the 1940s; Old Chinese Proverb (1941) featuring a look inside the Jerry Fairbanks (Speaking of Animals) Studio; rare color footage of animators at work at Terrytoons in the 1940s; Disney animator Clair Weeks setting up a modern (1956) animation studio in India; and Otto Messmer animating the giant electric Time Square billboards. There is also a Disney behind-the-scenes promo from a forgotten RKO Newsreel; a rare Paul Terry Social Security sales pitch; and just for fun, Van Bueren’s rubber-hose animation classic Makin’ ‘Em Move (1931) – which is probably the most accurate film in the whole bunch!