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2/03/23

Why the Heck Have I Never Heard About This Before?!

What the heck, Leonard Maltin, Michael Barrier, and whoever else?! So Bray Studios produced cartoons into the Thirties?! 

I discovered this totally by accident while looking at Thunderbean DVDs and seeing this one called Technicolor Dreams and Black and White Nightmares (if that doesn't describe animation accurately I don't know what does). I say this Ted Eshbaugh name, and made like John Wayne in True Grit: "Who's he?" I quickly checked Cartoon Research and The Big Cartoon Database and experienced what fanboys call "sense-of-wonder" at this finding. The Bray Animation Project has a page on it, because there ain't no Bray fanatic like Tom Stathes.

Apparently Eshbaugh's some sort of cult director. He was also the genius behind Van Beuren's notorious Sunshine Makers.

So, other than this and Republic's cartoons, are there any Golden Age obscurities being hidden from me?

Tea Pot Town. Even at Bray, cartoons are sure normal!

9 comments:

  1. Ted Eshbaugh may be a cult figure, but the dozen or so cartoons he made in the 1930s and '40s form an impressive body of work with a distinctive artistic style. His Van Beuren cartoons, as well as "Goofy Goat Antics" and "The Snow Man", used to turn up pretty regularly on public domain DVD collections back in the day. I appreciate and share your sense of wonder. Eshbaugh's cartoons are definitely worth examining, though a few of them may be hard to find.

    As for other Golden Age obscurities, have you heard of the Romer Grey studio? Romer was the son of western novelist Zane Grey, and he had a cartoon studio in 1930-31. They made at least two, but no more than four, cartoons starring Binko the Bear Cub, but as far as I know only one survives ("Hot Toe Mollie"), though a lot of the studio's records and artwork were unearthed some years ago. The studio is noteworthy for its impressive roster of animators who would go on to greater things: Preston Blair, Ken Harris, Robert McKimson, Jack Zander, etc.

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    1. I've heard of Zane Grey (as a Western buff), but had no idea about this. Thanks!

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  2. What makes a "B" Studio significant is usually if its' workers went on to greater heights. I'm not sure if anyone can name anyone from Bray Studios, or if any of them went on to big careers, or if they just spent the rest of their lives living in a garage.

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    1. Collecting coins with Bugs Bunny's face on it.

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    2. or Burger Chef Space Jam coke cups (each sold seperately)

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    3. A lot of people from Bray went on to big careers in animation: Walter Lantz, Paul Terry, Pat Sullivan, Shamus Culhane, Grim Natwick, Clyde Geronimi, David Hand, etc.

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    4. The fact that it is difficult to find Bray cartoons is probably why authors in the past never mentioned it.

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  3. Bray made educational and industrial films for decades after getting out of the entertainment business. I suspect in any animation in them was sub-contracted.
    Almost all the references to Tea Pot Town I've found involve some kind of tea exhibition in England in 1936. The film was registered there on June 3, 1936 by Exclusive Films for the Empire Tea Market Expansion Bureau. I've found two showings for community groups in the U.S. in 1937.

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