mid-century_mod mid-century_mod

Stanchfield’s “Mid Century Modern” DVD

For those of you still recovering from the overdose of eye-candy contained in TCM’s UPA: Jolly Frolics Collection here’s a additional blast of 50s design goodness you simply gotta-have. Animation archaeologist Steve Stanchfield has just released his latest DVD compilation: Mid Century Modern Animation. It’s an incredibly cool set of theatrical cartoons, industrial films and vintage commercials that embraced the modernism movement of the era. Disney fans: this set features the largest collection of those 50s Disney “Alice in Wonderland” Jello promos, stylized Tinkerbell Peter Pan Peanut Butter commercials, and the Nash and Rambler automobile spots featuring Tom Oreb’s redesigned Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.

Other highlights on the disc include a rare reel of the Soundac TV Weatherman shorts and a Shamus Culhane commercial sample reel. I hate to admit it, but Steve located a much better copy of UPA’s Magic Fluke than the one that appears on the Jolly Frolics set (it’s from a rare 35mm Technicolor print but contains a few splices). UPA’s industrial Big Tim, from a beautiful 35mm IB tech nitrate print, and John Sutherland’s Oreb/Haboush design masterpiece Destination Earth, transferred from a mint 16mm IB, are here. There’s much much more – shorts and oddities, like Grantray Lawrence’s lost pilot Planet Patrol, a rare workprint of a Paramount Popeye cartoon, and Zagreb’s The Cow On The Moon (1959).

The quality of this material is superb, the presentation is perfect and the DVD is labeled “Vol. 1” – indicating that Steve has more goodies up his sleeve. Check out these frame grabs below – if this is your cup of tea, I highly recommend you pick up his Mid Century Modern Animation as soon as you possibly can.

  • cool but it will probably never come out in the uk.

    • Daryl, I’m certain Steve will be more than happy to ship to anyone with a mailing address anywhere on Earth. This isn’t TCM.

    • True, but you can still order from the US. (It’s region free!)

  • looniINmiami

    Tom Oreb has IT!

  • Great, I Can’t Wait to get mine

  • Nick

    I’m excited for all of these DVD’s, but don’t they all seem a few years too late? I feel like the mid-century modern craze has mostly come and gone at this point, in favor of a more indie comic look, which is even starting to ripen. Don’t get me wrong, I live for UPA and mid-century modern design, but where was all this cool stuff 5 or so years ago when it was undeniably more popular?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I don’t read those.

    • dbenson

      These days the usual pattern is for rights holders to clean out the vaults when there’s a big studio reboot of a given property or genre, or when a certain period or look becomes trendy. It doesn’t always hold, however, for various reasons — some involving rights, some involving authors/producers who don’t have the time or resources to rush a work to market, some involving limits of technology (especially when dealing with PD or otherwise neglected materials).

      That said, good stuff doesn’t have an expiration date. At worst, you need a bit of history to really get it.

      PS — Anyone who doesn’t already have Thunderbean’s Noveltoons disc, add that to your order.

    • Funkybat

      I was a fan of midcentury art & design before it was cool, and I’ll remain a fan of it after it’s cool.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Looks good!

  • Sarah

    How come there’s only one copy available?

    • A lot of Thunderbean sets list only one copy available. Some quirk of how they were listed, I guess.

    • Justin Delbert

      Steve is a third party seller for his products on Amazon. There’s plenty of copies avaliable

  • frame of dogs with helmets on – that backround and instruments rocks.

  • Bonita! Can’t beat the moody colors.

  • Jody Morgan

    It’s been a long, long time since I’ve ordered something so quickly after learning of its existence. I think the last time may have been a Thunderbean DVD too, come to think of it…

  • Bryan

    Didn’t this come out last year? (or was that just for GAC forum?)

    • Chrisron

      Yes, GAC members could get a pre-release last year, but the 2012 version also includes Shamus Culhane showreel, The TV Weatherman spots by Sondac, Planet Patrol (a late 50s cartoon pilot), a 35mm print of Magic Fluke and better organization on the commercials.

  • top cat james

    To quote Daffy from “Rabbit Fire”: “Drool, dah-rool!”

  • Tory

    wonderful release, I will have to get it someday along with a number of Thunderbean releases I am missing

  • I always assumed these releases would all be rather poor quality public domain or illegal copies. Is that not the case?

    • David Gerstein

      Steve Stanchfield’s Thunderbean releases are made from public domain materials (because these films are in the public domain), but restored in often-unprecedented high quality. If you’re interested in the content, try one; you won’t be sorry.

  • I ordered mine this morning and it has already shipped. Should go nicely with the UPA Jolly Frolics I just received today. Pure inspiration!

  • Robert Schaad

    Love the Thunderbean dvds. Keep ’em coming!!

  • And as it’s region-free and not forbidden to purchase from outside of North America, this time I actually can do that.