Lost Fleischer Found: Ace Of Spades

Cartoon historian Tom Stathes continues to amaze me with his rare finds and research into silent-era and early talkie animation. Tom has recently begun a regular series of public screenings in the New York area, highlighting many gems from his remarkable collection. Next Friday at Attic Studios in Long Island City, Stathes is collaborating with Cinebeasts to present Travelaffs, a selection of vintage Looney Tunes, Van Beuren, Ub Iwerks, and Fleischer goodies, taking you to Italy, China, Spain, and the politically incorrect Congo. The show starts at 7pm.

Even if you think you’ve seen it all, this show is must. Tom has located a long lost Fleischer Talkartoon, Ace of Spades (1930, released January 1931) and will present its first public showing in almost eight decades. And its a good one – with card sharp Bimbo out to win a poker tournament – all done in rhyme, with the usual cross-eyed Fleischer menagerie, zany rubber-hose animation, and Mickey Mouse-like rodents running loose. Here’s a few clips to whet your whistle, assembled by co-conspiritor David Gerstein:

For more information on the public screening, check Tom’s blog and the event’s official Facebook page.


  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    Rare and hard to find, surely, but “lost”? If it has NTA titles, surely there are more prints around. Regardless, an awesome cartoon I had the pleasure of seeing in its entirety with David, sorry I can’t see it projected.

    • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

      Yes, in this case, “lost”.

      The terms “rare” and “hard to find” indicate a knowledge that those films exist. “Lost” being different from “Non-Existent” which, for example, SPREE FOR ALL (the 1946 Snuffy Smith Noveltoon) seems to be.

      Surely there were prints, once upon a time, of BUZZY BOOP AT THE CONCERT, WAY BACK WHEN A TRIANGLE HAD ITS POINTS (Stone Age) and THE FATAL KISS (a Daffy Ditty) but no one seems to have one today (and if someone does, contact me ASAP!). I consider these “lost” because I have no idea where any of these cartoons are, but I hold out hope they exist. Lost until someone finds it.

      A viewable print of ACE OF SPADES was “lost” until Tom found the one he acquired. I hadn’t seen it in my 30 years (yike!) of looking for it.

      I consider many titles, still sitting uncirculated, that we know exist at MoMA, UCLA Archive and the LoC to be “rare”. Likewise, I consider the 16mm versions you may have of Looney Tunes or Tom & Jerry with original titles “rare” or “hard-to-find” because we know you have them.

      “Lost” is for films I couldn’t see because no one had a print I could view. The good news is, obviously, that ACE OF SPADES is no longer “lost”.

      • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

        Thanks for clarifying. It’s a great cartoon for sure. Maybe Bimbo’s status as a ‘negro’ had something to with its scarcity?

      • The Gee

        Personally, I hope that isn’t the case. I’d feel better if it just slipped through the cracks.

        Bimbo/Bosko was such an odd character that was changed constantly during its existence/usage, wasn’t it?

  • http://www.janetklein.com Janet Klein

    ooooooooh no! too good and we’re on the wrong coast!

  • Kristjan

    Poor me living in different country altogether .

  • Polyvios

    Good for you! You have found that lost cartoon Tom.
    Aren’t you gonna show it here in boston?

    What I meant to say is that aren’t you gonna show the cartoon here in Massachusetts?

  • Roberto Severino

    I wish I could see the whole cartoon for myself, but I live nowhere near New York. :( It looks great based on the YouTube clip though.

    Great job, Tom!

  • http://mitchworks.blogspot.com Mitch Kennedy

    It looks fantastic! It’d be great if it was posted online for everyone to see..

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    Wow, surprisingly Bimbo was cooler before he dated Betty Boop.

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    Tom’s an amazing young man ! Howard Beckerman and I couldn’tve put together our program and exhibit on NY animation history without Tom’s help ! Whatta collection !!

  • Sat

    Wow! Beautiful clips. I hope someday these early Bimbo shorts will get the DVD treatment. Stuff like “Swing, you sinners” is amazing.

  • Eddie Fitzgerald

    Wow! A really charming and cartoony film! I love the backgrounds showing the crowd, and the singing was terrific! I wish I could get hold of more music like that!

  • dbenson

    Talking about inappropriate travelogues, one of the Looney Tunes Golden Collections had a Buddy cartoon where he shows a newsreel. One bit has a rubber-hose Jimmy Durante as a tourist in Germany, being chased by an equally rubber-hose Hitler swinging a hatchet. This was very early 30s, and the only explanation I could come up with for the gag was that Durante’s nose looked “Jewish” to Hitler.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ Mick

    brilliant… I love that stuff. Pure fun for it’s own sake should be the aim of cartoons

  • http://miltonknight.net Milton Knight

    Sounds like Billy Murray doing dialect with a Gospel choir.

  • cb

    I just came back from this show. It was, frankly, spectactular. Ace of Spades was easily the best cartoon of the bunch, it totally blew me away. I had not known of it from cartoonbrew, I didn’t know it was lost. I just went to this show blind and this was the cartoon that made the biggest impression on me. I usually do not like old bw cartoons, but this show gave me such an appreciation for them. I have to see more now.

    Not only was this show fantastic, but the ambience of the show was great. They had cigarette girls in period outfits selling cigarettes and candy. Most people in the audience got all dressed for the occasion. For gawd’s sake, if that don’t make you wanna come to NYC and see these shows, nothing will.

  • Ludovicus Arteaga

    Please contact the Paramount legal department (as I have) and report Tom Stathes for publicly exhibiting a copyrighted film (Ace Of Spades) for profit without permission. Since he refuses to share the film in a legal manner, without profiting from it, on youtube or by trading and yet he turns around and flagrantly profits from a copyrighted film in a public exhibition which is completely illegal. You may contact Paramount legal department at: (323) 956-5000 or [email protected]