Tune in to Turner Classic Movies on the evening of
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The news has been circulating for some time, but it's with great pride that I finally report here that Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting some rare, early New York Animation from the collection of yours truly. It's a rather rare event, and one that's wholly exciting: early, rare, and obscure animation is being spotlighted on a major television channel. Turner Classic Movies is one of the finest outlets for this type of material, as it's the most highly-regarded source for classic and early film on television.
Meeting and talking with TCM staff led to the concept of their showcasing some items from my early animation collection. With the help of close friend and research colleague David Gerstein, I put together a selection of films that will be outlined below. Gerstein was also responsible for research and overseeing musical scores, which were beautifully executed by Robert Israel and Ben Model. It's incredible how well a new musical score can enhance the experience of viewing a silent cartoon.
|Jerry Beck (r) on the TCM set with host Robert Osborne (l)|
Now, for the details Cartoons on Film blog readers want to read...some notes on the cartoons showcased as part of the New York Animation hour. Like the other showcases for the evening's broadcast, this segment is prefaced with a brief conversation between TCM host Robert Osborne and Jerry Beck, who reappear to introduce different sections of the show.
Please see the bottom of this post for a special message!
Silent Era Animation from the collection of Tom Stathes at 12 midnight Eastern/9pm Pacific
All films have been digitally remastered, in HD, from 16mm film prints. Film scans and restoration by Process Blue. Further post production, editing and restoration carried out by Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Animation; to you I am extremely grateful.
|The Haunted Hotel|
|The Artist’s Dream|
The Artist's Dream (1913). Produced by J.R. Bray. Proudly presented by yours truly as well as the Bray Animation Project, this film was Bray's first successful animation project. For a few years prior to 1913, Bray had attempted animating his wildly popular Little Johnny and the Teddy Bears comic strip. He later reminisced, albeit glumly, that it would take far too much time and effort to make an animated cartoon--without shortcut techniques--especially considering that there were backgrounds and more than just one character to reproduce in each frame. By 1913, Bray had discovered (and patented) a process by which backgrounds could be printed and only the areas of the frame or character(s) that needed to move in a particular frame could be painted or drawn on top of that sheet, accordingly. This process was likely 'adopted' from Winsor McCay by Bray after a visit to McCay's studio, and the infamously litigious Bray later took legal recourse against McCay who did not take out a license on Bray's patent. In this novelty film, featuring live-action sequences intercut with animated segments, Bray plays an artist who draws a dachshund on his easel. Shocked, upon returning to the easel various times after the dog has either moved around or stolen sausages placed above a cupboard (during the animation sequences), Bray summons a friend to take a look at the situation. In the final animated segment, the dog explodes after eating more sausages. It turns out this was all a dream--at the end of the film, Bray is awoken by his actual wife, Margaret, who thinks he should quit napping and get back to work. The Artist's Dream was a highly exciting offer to Pathe at the time, who did well with the film, and signed Bray on to produce many more animated cartoons at a time when there was no such product regularly offered in theaters. Dream was the beginning of an animation empire, and more about its (and Bray's) significance can be found at the Bray Animation Project website. In the 1940s or 50s, Bray gave the film an alternate title; The Dachshund and the Sausages, and replaced all of its main and inter-titles. New close-up shots of the dish containing sausages were also added to aid continuity in viewing an already aged and problematic print. These changes are present in this newly remastered version, as no original version of the film has surfaced to date. Music by Robert Israel. Special Thanks to Cinematheque Quebecoise.
|Down on the Phoney Farm|
|Bobby Bumps Starts for School|
|Trip to Mars|
|Fireman Save My Child|
|The Bomb Idea|
|Scents and Nonsense|
It’s time for that special message I mentioned earlier!
If you support seeing this kind of material on television, please make your concerns known. Turner Classic Movies relies heavily on viewer feedback and sentiments expressed on their online forums. If you enjoyed this broadcast and want to see more, definitely say so here. Jerry Beck also strongly urges you to share your thoughts with TCM. I thank you kindly for your support!
For those of you who caught this broadcast, I hope you enjoyed it thoroughly and were able to appreciate the lovely high-def transfers, restoration work, and brilliant new music scores. Any of you who have questions or concerns about these early cartoons or my work in collecting, archiving and sharing them, can definitely contact me at cartoonsonfilm (at) gmail (dot) com.