The Return of Felix the Cat? Not Yet, But Here’s “Skulls and Sculls” (1930)

Hi everyone. After several weeks of working digitally around the clock, this last week has been more packing Flip the Frogs than anything else. As the weekend approaches, I’m happy to be working with our small team in getting back to working on some new films and spending a little time looking through hard drive archives.

In Thunderbean news:

First thanks to everyone for sending lots of leads on Noveltoons after last week’s post. So far it has led to finding three things in better quality than I ever thought I’d see. More on this series soon!

With Flip being out the door and the Tom and Jerry set going to replication next week, it’s been a bit of an empty nest here this week while Rainbow Parades, Mid Century Modern Volume 3, Bunin and the Comi-Color project is getting organized. There’s another project that I’m even more excited about than any of these, but I’m not talking about it at all until it’s done – it’s near and dear to my heart.

I’ve also been working on some of the films for the Fleischer project and organizing hard drives with all the pieces of the above projects, and really enjoying seeing everything we’ve got so far. The Halloween party set is finally going out early next week— hopefully just in time for Halloween. The Tom and Jerry Blu-ray, now finished, will be sent in early November.

One of the Thunderbean projects that managed to get put on a somewhat indefinite hold was a collection of the original Felix the Cat shorts. I’ll go into greater detail about what happened with that project at some point, but the short version of the story is that we scanned well over 100 shorts for the set from archives and collectors around the world before the project came to a harsh and unexpected stop as the rights for Felix were transferred to Classic Media/Dreamworks in 2014. We still have all those scans of course, and more, and as project partner Dave Gerstein and I have discussed for some time, we need to let all these cool films ‘out of the bag’ finally and put them in everyone’s hands. We hope the project get back on its feet sometime soon.

Laugh Felix, laugh! I have you in my sights!

This week, we’ve also been looking at materials and working with Tommy Stathes on several titles for his ‘Cartoons on Film’ label. So many cool things coming up soon that have been in the works for many years while he’s been gathering all sorts of amazing material. My friend Dave Grauman has been doing a great job on many of the films, and I’m happy to see things looking really good as I wrap some things here.

Next weekend, I’ll be in Los Angeles with students from the College for Creative Studies for the Lightbox animation conference. It’s a wonderful time to catch up with friends, alumni and colleagues on these projects. If you see me, say hi! I’m really looking forward to the trip.

Thad Komorowski’s ‘Cartoon Logic’ was able to get his Kickstarter funded for the Aesop’s Fables collection. Now he’s trying to reach his stretch goal— and almost there with eight more days to go. You can check out the Kickstarter here.

And.. onto today’s cartoon! Happy pre-Halloween!

As I’m going through the Felix project archives (my most backed up hard drive) I’ve found that most of the films are at least decent in quality— but there are some exceptions. Skulls and Sculls (1930) is one of the last of the Felixes from the first era, but oddly is one that I’ve never seen a really good print of. I do have a few short nitrate clips of the film in terrific quality, but they are short and splicy, making it even more frustrating in some ways. Since it’s nearly Halloween, I thought I’d share the not-so-great print we do have. While not a top entry in the series, it’s still kind of spooky and odd, and I enjoy the changing model and the rubbery animation throughout- it leaves one wondering where the series would have gone if it managed to live further into the 30s.

This particular print seems to have suffered from water damage at some point. It’s a somewhat modern (70s) dupe. Hope springs eternal for better materials!

By the way, if you want a shirt of Felix getting drunk, here’s your opportunity.

Have a great week everyone!