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A Tribute To Abe Levitow (1922-1975)

Editor’s Note: Today, a special holiday weekend extra: In honor of what would have been his 100th birthday, a little tribute to animator/director Abe Levitow. Podcaster James Nobes (Nostalgia Talk) of Halifax, Nova Scotia, wrote the bio below – with additional writing, visuals and video contributions from Devon Baxter and Mike Kazaleh. Thank you to...

Tinker Bell Peanut Butter Commercials

Suspended Animation #378 In the 1950s, almost all television advertisements were live performers extolling the virtues of the products sponsoring the television show. In fact, sometimes the actors in the sponsored show were required to do the actual advertisement themselves with Desi Arnaz not only loving Lucy but Phillip Morris cigarettes, as well...

Halas and Batchelor’s “Piping Hot” (1959)

Gas commercials are always a good way to start or end a Thursday, but first, some Thunderbean news: This has been a week full of film friends in different ways. My friend Eric Grayson came up to Thunderbean world headquarters (!) to chat with David Grauman, Becca Smith and myself about several projects in progress, including the restoration of the...

Flights of Fancy (Part 28): Learning Wright from Wrong

Our instruments are beginning to give indication that we are nearing our final destination. In no particular order, we’ll attempt to wrap up remaining contributors to television aviation over the next few weeks, then finally move on to new trails, after this longest subject excursion in the history of this column. Jay Ward studios would cover just...

Otogi Production’s “Sparrow in the Gourd” (1959)

Otogi Production (translated as “Fairytale Production” in English) is one of those studios that deserves a closer look when it comes to discussing anime history. The animation studio was founded by Ryuichi Yokoyama (1909-2001), author and cartoonist best known for his long-running comic strip Fuku-chan, which ran in Asahi Shimbun newspaper from 1936...

New York Animation: The Many Incarnations of Mutt & Jeff Studios

1916: the first quarter of the animated cartoon bowl is underway. Winsor McCay observes from the sideline after John Bray punched the ball from his hands and filed enough patents to dominate the field. Max and Dave Fleischer eagerly signed on with Bray. Paul Terry was there too, grudgingly, after Bray dropped a flag on the play when Terry tried to open...

The Satanist’s Apprenctice

Suspended Animation #377 “The Satanist’s Apprentice” was first aired in the United States on on June 6, 2021 as part of the television series Legends of Tomorrow. It is part live action and part animation. It was written by Keto Shimizu and Ray Utarnachitt. The series that began in 2016 features a group of DC comic book heroes who are brought together...

Updates, Eyvind Earle Restoration Project, and “The Tuba Tooter” (1932)

I’m really enjoying this summer more than usual. It’s been a really good mix of around-the-house and getting things a little spiffier here combined with jumping into film and blu-ray projects, often until they’re finished. I’ve been looking at the list of things we’ve started and the steady progress is gratifying. The best thing about Thunderbean is...

Flights of Fancy (Part 27): What’s Way-Up, Doc?

Despite its principal character being a rabbit, Warner Brothers was a little behind others in “hopping” wholeheartedly into TV production. It instead preferred to sandwich old animation into compilations with new wraparounds, such as in the successful “Bugs Bunny Show” package. It tried out a few pilots (not of the air variety), but none of them aired...

Max and Dave: Color Classics 1936-37:

One suspects that what was going to attract the exhibitors to the new series of Color Classics was the improved palette, now that the exclusive hold on the 3-strip Technicolor process had been broken, and others were able to utilize its choice hues. (Not that anyone would notice today from the condition of many of the PD prints circulating, which have...

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