Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bumps in the road

Since my “Silent Cinema” review this week was on a film that made it to DVD through generous contributions from Kickstarter viewers like you (little PBS joke there), I figured I’d whip into shape an extra post to alert the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear faithful of another crowdfunding project underway to bring more silent treasures to DVD and Blu-ray.  Tommy José Stathes—early animation historian, archivist, preservationist, and international man of mystery—has been at the forefront of the efforts to collect and preserve silent film animation classics, thus making them available to modern audiences via the magic of home video.  (If you happened to catch a special on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ in October of 2014, 100th Anniversary of Bray Studios, you saw Mr. Stathes chatting it up with TCM Oracle Robert “Bobby Osbo” Osborne.)

Tom’s the CEO of Cartoons on Film, an outfit very similar to Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions in that rather than wait for one of the major companies to say “Gosh, Tommy…I just don’t think there’s an audience out there for silent cartoons…and if there is, it’s a miniscule one that wouldn’t even begin to justify our ginormous executive salaries” he decided to start his own DVD/Blu-ray label, dedicated to “gradually mak[ing] archival films available to worldwide audiences and scholars through vehicles such as home video.”  In tandem with Thunderbean Animation—another organization specializing in releasing cartoons from the past—Cartoons on Film put forth a collection entitled Cartoon Roots, which I reviewed for ClassicFlix in April of 2015.

In July of 2015, Stathes kicked off another Kickstarter project to raise funds for a second Cartoon Roots release, The Bray Studios: Animation Pioneers—the goal was met in less than a week (ultimately resulting in a total of $15,227), and the finished DVD/Blu-ray combo (it looks positively spiffy) arrived here at Rancho Yesteryear some time back; I’ve just yet to free it from its shrink wrap (ask Andrew “Grover” Leal about this idiosyncrasy of mine…better yet, don’t) but it will be done soon because I want to write a review for the blog.  The fundraising went so well that a stretch goal was announced, soliciting funds for a third Cartoon Roots volume—the subject of this post.

There’s a current campaign to raise money for what will be released as Cartoon Roots: Bobby Bumps and Fido.  Bobby Bumps, a mischievous little shaver created by animator Earl Hurd, was the star of a number of cartoon shorts released between 1915 and 1925—it was the first series to use the cel animation process, which made animating cartoons a heck of a lot easier.  Tommy has selected fifteen shorts for this release (he’s acquired nearly three dozen over the years; you can read about his Bray Studios restoration project here) and after starting the fundraising at Kickstarter, Operation: Bumps moved to Indiegogo in an effort to further achieve the goal.  This fundraising originally ended in August of 2016…but because the release was only half-funded the decision was made to extend the campaign to the end of September—which was a positive outcome for your humble narrator, since I wanted to throw some money into Tommy’s guitar case…but alas, I did not have the fundage.

But…I will have received the necessary funds this week (probably by the time you’ve read this), and will definitely donate to a worthy cause (when I looked this morning, it had achieved 73%)—I just thought I’d pass this along to interested parties to see if we can shake some additional coinage out of the couch cushions.  Put somethin’ in the pot, boy…give what you can.


faustina said...

Thanks, Ivan, for letting me know!
I've thrown my two cents into the hat, as I'm sure Sam would have done!

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Faustina assured us:

I've thrown my two cents into the hat, as I'm sure Sam would have done!

Thanks, Faustina -- slowly but surely, it's getting there!