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More Classic Animation on DVD


Not to be overlooked in this year of great classic cartoon DVD releases (the Droopy collection goes on sale today) are these programs from our friends at Thunderbean Animation and Inkwell Images.

Steve Stanchfield from Thunderbean has been rescuing obscure cartoons for years and his previous compilations are text book examples of How-To restore and present this vintage material on DVD. His latest videos, The Little King and Cultoons, Part Two are vital additions to the collection.

The Little King is a collection of all ten uber-rare Van Beuren cartoons based on the classic comic strip by Otto Soglow. These films were produced in 1933-34 and, in addition to being animated by Jim Tyer, they are as surreal as anything the Fleischers were doing at the same time. As a bonus Steve includes the one Fleischer attempt to animate the Little King (co-starring Betty Boop) in 1936. And, Steve includes two rare Sentinel Louie cartoons from 1933 (this character was the “topper strip” on The Little King’s Sunday pages). If it can be imagined, these are even more off beat than the Little King.


Thunderbean’s second Cultoons collection is subtitled “Animated Education” as it contains 13 educational, industrial and commercial films from such diverse talents as Fleischer Studios, Terrytoons, Hugh Harman and UPA. These are the rarest of the rare and this set includes some informative – and hilarious – audio commentary by the likes of Mark Kausler, Milton Knight, Steve Worth, Mike Kazaleh and that little old winemaker… me.

We’ve plugged Ray Pointer’s program of rare uncut Alice Comedies before. But if you haven’t picked this up yet, now is the time. Ray has recently revised the collection (adding Alice Gets Stage Struck) and restored many cut scenes with rare footage only available here. These DVDs are highly recommended.

  • Bugsmer

    All three of these DVDs sound great. Does Ray include all of the Alices known to exist?

  • I second the motion that the Thunderbean DVDs are awesome! I was quite impressed by the Little King shorts.

    You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Milton Knight sing along to ‘Once Upon a Time!’ The hilarious commentary by everyone on Navy Training Films is not so much a historial retrospective but more a wacky rambling of MST3K-type sarcastic frivolity. Great funny stuff.

  • uncle wayne

    Thank you! I have (or, rather, had) always enjoyed the strip….as he is “mute!” He never fared (too) well in the other medium, tho!

  • Oh, yeah, Ken! Many of those comments are hilarious, though some seem a little “inside.” Come to think of it, that was part of the fun of watching MST3K as well!

    We salute you, you Michigan-born cartoon packagers!

  • Del Walker

    Ray Pointer and Steve Stanchfield have different approaches in how they present their animation material, but both are equally excellent. Always look forward to their new releases!

  • Nate

    Andy Heyward being a featured commentator on the Tex Avery DVD is like when Adam Ant turned up in that Motown retrospective.

  • I am personally excited to hear about the Alice in Wonderland shorts. Virginia Davis, who was little Alice in many of the animated gems will be signing autographs for fans at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen, Maryland, in September. She is 89 years old and still active, but rarely attends film festivals. It’ll be a treat to watch the cartoons from this DVD and then meet her personally at the convention.