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.