Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Hi everyone! I'm back!

Apologies for the delay, as my relocation to Norwich took longer than I thought, and a few difficulties were encountered during my stay (I won't bore you with the details). However, everything is more or less settled, and I'm able to resume posting again! But in the meantime, my PC is still in Plymouth, where I'll be staying during the Christmas and New Year period.

And for the next two weeks, I intend to finish my series of Lost Columbia Cartoons posts before I relaunch my blog, which will focus on rare and unusual classic cartoons.

As a special Christmas present, I've reloaded the festive Famous Studios cartoon "Santa's Surprise", for you to enjoy during the festive season!

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Arrivederci, for the time being...

Hi guys!

Most of you have notice my recent lack of posts on my blog. This was due to me working nights for the past three months, meaning that I didn't have as much time to post here as I would have liked. For this, I apologise.

Also, I'm going to move to Norwich and start my new job there, but due to the huge distance between Norwich and Plymouth (where I'm currently staying), it's going to take a month moving all of my stuff there, and I decided that my PC will be the last thing I'm taking, so I will not be online for the whole of October (I should imagine the cold turkey will be unbearable)!

But I will start posting here again in November, in which I will post more clips of the remaining "Lost Columbia Cartoons". I've also decided to focus solely on classic theatrical cartoons, with a slant towards the rare and the unusual. Talking about the latter, watch out for a new series of posts showcasing some wacky-looking redrawn cartoons!

To anyone I'm making trades with, it's alright to post them to my old address. As it is in fact my parents' address, I know that they will arrive safe and sound. If you want to post them to my new address, please wait until November when I will be able to contact you.

Please note that an automated message will be sent to you if you e-mail me, but I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Oh, I almost forgot! The video clips on my blog will still be available throughout October.

See you guys in November!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - Spark Plug

It's been a very busy couple of months for yours truly, hence the irregular posting, for which I apologise. But over here in Blighty, we had a bank holiday weekend, which allowed me the time to do something special - another cartoon reconstruction!

This "lost" Columbia cartoon (released 12th April 1936) features Barney Google's attempt to win a derby with his horse, Spark Plug (ain't that a great name?). It is the third of the four Barney Google cartoons that Charles Mintz produced, and is IMHO the best one the Screen Gems studio did.

This apparantly survives in the Columbia archives as a 16mm B&W print, but I was able to do a virtual reconstruction using three silent home-movie prints, using the redrawn version as a template. A few brief missing scenes here and there, but nothing greatly vital to the story. In fact, the redrawn version also has a few missing scenes that are present in my version.

This version will be available on this blog for two months. Yep, you read that right (lol!). Enjoy!

Spark Plug
Uploaded by ldglover

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - Mysto Fox

Apologies for the long delay in posting.

Mysto Fox (released 29th August 1947) is the only Fox & Crow cartoon not currently existing in its original form. The soundtrack of this cartoon is what apparantly survives in the Columbia archives, but it does exist among collectors as a 16mm B&W television print without any opening & closing titles.

I'm proud to present the complete surviving print, available to view on this blog for four weeks:

Mysto Fox
Uploaded by ldglover

Monday, July 09, 2007

Naughty But Mice - My Own Restoration

I seem to be posting nothing but lost Columbia cartoons during the past couple of months, so just to break the monotomy a little, here's my own restoration of the well-known PD cartoon Naughty But Mice, with one missing scene reinstated from an old NTA print (hence the lower quality). Please excuse the DVD "play" graphic at the start of the cartoon (I was unable to remove it):

As always, this video will be available for four weeks only.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - Patch Mah Britches

Patch Mah Britches (released 19th December 1935) is the second of the four Barney Google cartoons made by Screen Gems, and was directed by Sid Marcus.

This apparantly survives in the Columbia archive as a 16mm B&W print (whether this is a sound or silent print I'm unable to find out), but during my years of trading and collecting, I can only obtain a copy of a shortened home-movie silent print. A redrawn, colourised silent version (full-length) is also available in the collectors'/traders' circuit, which I also have in my collection.

It is from this sole home-movie print that I've made available to view on my blog. Like the first short, it's not particurly funny, but due to its rarity (King Features, at the time, insisted to movie studios that all films starring their characters - with the exception of the Popeye, Blondie, and Flash Gordon films - be destroyed after ten years), it's still an essential watch. Hope you enjoy this as much as the first one:

The cartoon will be available for four weeks only.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - River Ribber

This cartoon (released 4th October 1945) is a sequel to an earlier cartoon Professor Small & Mister Tall (26th March 1943), which does survive in its original (albeit re-released) condition. For those of you who haven't seen the first film, here's a very funny exerpt:

This sequel, however, is missing from the Columbia archives, but it does survive in the collectors'/traders' circuits as a 16mm B&W version, without any front and end titles.

Unlike the first film (which sport angular designs and stylistic backgrounds that would later be associated with Screen Gems's successor, UPA), this cartoon features more conventional animation and design, with the two principal characters being redesigned quite significantly (Prof. Small is now almost-bald and clean shaven). The cartoon was directed by Paul Sommer, who also co-directed the original with John Hubley.

The films features the main characters in charge of a steamboat on the Mississippi river, and is challenged by a familiar face to a boat race. This film is not as good as the original, but it does have some amusing moments.

This exerpt is taken from the start of the film.

River Ribber exerpt
Uploaded by ldglover

This video will be available for four weeks only.

Watch out for my next post, which will feature more Barney Google!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - Tetched In The Head

Tetched in the Head (released October 24th 1935) marked the debut of comic-strip character Barney Google, created by Billy DeBeck. Charles Mintz had high hopes that his transfer to the animated screen would be a big success, but that did not happen. The character did not have the qualities to be an animated cartoon star, and was quickly retired after just four cartoons. Watching this and his later cartoons, it's not hard to see why. They're just not funny.

This cartoon apparantly only survives in the Columbia archives as a 16mm B&W copy, but it also exists in the collectors'/traders' circuits as an experimental redrawn colourised short (without any sound) and several truncated B&W silent prints.

Using the redrawn version as a template, I've managed to reconstruct the cartoon using three different silent prints. It's almost complete (at least one very-brief scene is missing, during the introduction of Barney). I've decided not to add a music sound track, as I don't think it's really necessary.

Hope you like this version. Enjoy!

Barney Google - Tetched in the Head
Uploaded by ldglover

This video will be available for the next four weeks.

I'll be making posts of the other three Barney cartoons in the near future.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - King Midas Jr.

Firstly, apologies for the recent lack of posts. Been a busy few weeks for yours truly.

And secondly, for this series, I decided not to make screenshots of whole cartoons, and instead I will post short video extracts of the remaining Columbia cartoons (but watch out for the occasional complete cartoon). The reason for this is because my computer just can not cope with DVD playback (I mainly get frozen pictures), which results in making the process of obtaining screenshots time-consuming, tedious, and just damn annoying! Nevertheless, I do hope that these video extracts will prove fascinating to you good folks.

Ok, I'll stop moaning about my computer now!

Today's post will be...

This cartoon, King Midas Jr., was directed by John Hubley and Paul Sommer, and was released on 18th December 1942. This apparantly no longer exists in the Columbia archive, but does survive in the collectors'/traders' circuits as a complete 16mm colour print.

The short focuses on King Midas Jr, who is given the power of touch by his infamous father. Unfortunately, a mix-up by the angels/telegram boys results in him turning everything he touches into...rubber!

This 1m 30s extract is taken from the ending where, after his futile attempt to eat a banquet without turning everything rubbery, he attempts suicide, but it's not that easy! However, there is some hope for the little king (which relates to a conservation effort during WW2)...

King Midas Jr exerpt
Uploaded by ldglover

This video will be available for the next four weeks.

Monday, May 07, 2007

DVD Review: The Goodies - The Complete LWT Series (Network - Region 2)

“C’mon everybody, it’s gibbon time!”
Despite the BBC’s reluctance to repeat any episodes of The Goodies (bar the miraculous showing of the “Winter Olympics” episode last year – the first repeat for 20 years!), Network’s “Best Of” DVD compilations has proved to be best-sellers. And now, Network is releasing the entire last series featuring the antics of the inventive-yet-idiotic do-gooders who will do “anything, anytime”, with Tim Brooke-Taylor as the patriotic coward, Bill Oddie as the scruffy rebel, and Graeme Garden as the corduroy-wearing scientist. The main difference, other than this is not a compilation, is that this set comprises their entire output for ITV!
Frustrated with waiting for the BBC to give them the go-ahead for another series, and due to the need of money by Graeme and Bill, the trio decided to accept an offer from LWT. After the 1981 Christmas special, the ITV series started on January 1982. Despite a poorly-suited 6:30pm showing on Saturdays (the BBC broadcasted their shows after the 9pm watershed), it did receive a respectable amount of viewers, but according to LWT (who just had a change of management), not enough to justify the high cost of making the series. Locked in a three-year contact but not required to make any new shows, the trio had no choice but to pursue separate projects (however, they were allowed to reunite to provide voices for the BBC cartoon Bananaman). Even though they never officially split up, it was the end of the madcap trio.
However, we are treated to some great episodes, including their enrolment as oversized dwarves, battling the spread of football hooliganism into ballet, their search of the missing Arthur C. Clarke (and having an encounter with Bigfoot at the same time), Bill disguising as a Swedish au-pair to look after (and get rid of) his replacement – a baby robot, and Graeme selling a new line in pets – people dressed as dogs!
As many fans also know, the series was very heavily influenced by the American theatrical cartoons, mainly Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. This series contains such references as the Roadrunner and Disney’s Snow White. Also, there are animation references in the use of props, such as the one featured below (no prizes for guessing who the character is).
Although the series can not match up with the earlier BBC shows, there are still uproaringly funny after 25 years. Funny moments include the return of Kitten Kong, Bill on a destructive rampage on his birthday, and a punk rendition of “I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside” (containing possibly the only bleeped-out swearword in the entire series). I don’t mind admitting that I had the fit of the giggles during the beginning of Bigfoot, where “Arthur C. Clarke” (who is really Graeme in disguise) tries to prove his crackpot theory that the Loch Ness monster…
…is in fact “a common garden rhinoceros, floating upside-down underwater, holding a French loaf in his mouth, balancing a tortoise” (it sounds more plausible).
Sadly, despite initial news that the seven episodes will be digitally-restored, the episodes are in fact straight-transfers from the archive tapes (perhaps they blew the budget on the bountiful extras). For 1980’s videotape, the picture and sound quality is very acceptable with little damage. As we come to expect from Network, all episodes retain the opening LWT logo, adcaps, and endcaps.
Unlike the previous sets, all the episodes are on disc 1, which includes commentaries by Tim, Graeme & Bill on two episodes. Like the previous sets, Bill leads the way with Graeme being the most-quiet participant.
However, disc 2 contains a mouth-watering selection of extras, even more than their previous sets. The set includes two loosely-related sitcoms: Doctor in the House and From the Top.

Doctor in the House, loosely based on the Richard Gordon books, centres around the antics of the good-natured medical student Michael Upton and his laddish mates. Most of the first, and the entire second series were written by Graeme and Bill, just before The Goodies first started. The episode featured on this set, Doctor in the Box, is about the goings-on during a filming of their medical college, with Graeme making a cameo appearance as a TV chairman. The first two series are already available from Network (DD Home Entertainment has also released the first series as a mail-order release).
From the Top is a children’s sitcom starring Bill (who co-wrote the series with his wife, Laura Beaumont), and is about a forty-something bank manager who quits his job and enrols on an acting school with a bunch of teenagers. Made soon after the unofficial break-up of the Goodies, it further showcases Bill’s song-writing talents. In this episode, Growing Up…& Out (the opening episode of the second series), Bill discovers that this fellow students were growing out of their uniforms, and appeals to the headmistress that they should be allowed to wear what they choose. Unfortunately, he didn’t account for their extreme tastes (one girl turns up in a squeaky rubber dress). It is interesting to note that Bill co-wrote the theme tune with ex-Monkee Michael Dolenz, who was also the director-producer of the first series.
Also featured are five songs performed by the Goodies on two 1970’s ITV music shows: Shang-A-Lang and Look Alive. The selection features most of their chart hits, including Black Pudding Bertha and the infamous Funky Gibbon (sadly, Graeme’s microphone didn’t work properly during the performance).
Also included are individual and group interviews taken from the ITV archive. Sadly, Network was supplied with “cropped-widescreen” versions of a couple of This Morning interviews (which were broadcast in the early 90’s, before the days of widescreen broadcasts). The interview footage was edited to remove any clips of other TV shows, but as this would be a clearance nightmare, it is perfectly understandable.
The remaining extras include a stills gallery and a couple of news footage, including Tim being a judge in a 1981 turkey competition.
To round off the package, a very-informative booklet is provided, giving extensive details of all the programmes and the extras.
Despite the lack of restoration, this is still a hilarious and essential DVD set. The humour has not aged at all, and the extras are plentiful and pleasing. If Paramount Comedy saw fit in repeating the ITV episodes, we can hope that they (or any other satellite/cable station, but preferably the BBC themselves) will broadcast the long-neglected BBC shows. Highly recommended.
DD Home Entertainment currently has no plans to release their own (mail-order) DVD set.

Images (C) ITV Productions & Network
Text (C) Lee Glover. Not to be copied without permission.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - The Greyhound & The Rabbit

This lost cartoon (released 19th April 1940), which exists in the collectors'/traders' circuit as a 16mm B&W print, focuses on the wacky goings-on during a greyhound race.

The Columbia cartoons during the end of the 30's (and the beginning of the 40's) were becoming routine and uninspired, but there were a few good gems, especially this one directed by Sid Marcus. When viewing this cartoon, it does indicate that he was becoming influenced by the Warner Bros. cartoons around that time (he later wrote some darn good stories during his two brief spells with the WB cartoon studio). When he returned to Screen Gems during its final few years, he directed some classic cartoons with full-blown LT humour, such as "Up & Atom" and "Boston Beanie". IMHO he was certainly the best Screen Gems director during the late 30's-early 40's, and would have been adaptable to the Tashlin cartoons had the producer not let him go.

This cartoon is so full of wacky moments, I felt it is best to present it for your viewing pleasure rather than make screenshots from it. Anyway, enough of the lecture. Enjoy this cartoon:

The Greyhound & The Rabbit
Uploaded by ldglover

The cartoon will be available for four weeks only.

More lost Columbia cartoons shortly. Stay tooned!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Lost Columbia Cartoons - He Can't Make It Stick

He Can't Make It Stick, a cracking anti-Hitler cartoon, currently survives with a complete soundtrack, but the first-half of the picture is missing (the picture eventually starts after 3 min 40 sec). It was released on 11th June 1943, and was directed by Paul Sommer and John Hubley. But it was the brainchild of storywriter Milt Gross, the cartoonist who directed the zany Count Screwloose cartoons during his brief stay with MGM.

The cartoon starts off with two women talking about a mysterious paperhanger (voiced by John McGleish) who is about to court a largely-built widow (representing Germany). The widow has three children, two follow the crazed stranger's every word, while the other is very suspicious (and gets treated badly whenever he speaks up against him). The widow and the paperhanger instantly fall in love (this is where the surviving picture starts)...

And soon, they were married.

Later, we return to the widow's home.

The paperhanger shows off his new wallpaper design.

The whole family applauds...

Except for one person...

He claims his wallpaper is so "wunderbar", soon the whole world will be using it.

"And now, we mix the paste."

He seems to be in trouble...

And no matter how much he tries...

He can't make it stick!

"It won't stick!"

And sure enough...

There's no paste left.

But he comes up with an idea: He'll get some from his neighbours, in exchange for his wallpaper.

But no matter where he goes...

He can't make it stick!