Animation historian and cartoon archeologist Steve Stanchfield is back with another double header of rare 1930s cartoons from the long-forgotten Fleischer-rival, Van Beuren Studios. His latest Thunderbean DVDs are The Complete Animated Adventures of Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry and Aesop’s Fables Vol. 2 – and again, I recommend these highly to anyone – especially those who love 1930s-style rubber-hose animation.
The Tom & Jerry set (with gorgeous Milton Knight cover art) is particularly amazing. These hilarious cartoons are obscure to begin with, so a real treat is the fabulous film prints Stanchfield digs up and lovingly restores. Many of the cartoons look really great, especially A Swiss Trick (1931) from a 35mm nitrate sepia-tinted, spliceless print, with its original titles intact. This is as close as we’ll ever get to experiencing one of these cartoons the way audiences saw them in the early 30s. It really makes a difference.
Also on the T&J set, galleries of original trade ads, posters, home movie boxes, picture books, and four additional cartoons starring Tom & Jerry precursors, Waffles and Don. Stanchfield goes an extra five miles here, with the inclusion of a comparison reel of Tom & Jerry animation against a rare Egyptian knock-off by the Frenkel Brothers. Priceless stuff.