Steve Stanchfield has done it again. An animator, educator, cartoon historian and film preservationist, Stanchfield has spent the last few years curating several first-class DVD compilations devoted to the long-forgotten New York-based Van Beuren Studios. His previous efforts include sets devoted to their Aesop’s Fables, Little King and Cubby Bear series. His latest DVD is his best yet: Van Beuren’s Toddle Tales and Rainbow Parade Cartoons. This collection features the best from Van Bueren’s latter years, 1934-1935, when Burt Gillett, Tom Palmer and Ted Eshbaugh were brought in to revitalize the cartoon shorts. They came up with Toddle Tales, which combined live action-and-animation with sometimes disturbing results, and the Rainbow Parade cartoons, which used a limited two-color palette in the most garish ways imaginable. Highlights of the set include the best versions of these cartoons I’ve ever seen (many with long lost original titles). The Sunshine Makers, in particular, never looked so good – it’s worth the price of the set alone. There are rare model sheets, home movie boxes, deleted scenes and more in the Bonus section. Stanchfield puts a lot of TLC into these DVD collections – and it shows. I recommend this highly to anyone, especially those who love 1930s-style animation.

Jerry Beck

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