Back in September 2016, I beat the drum for an Indiegogo project instituted by Tommy José Stathes—early animation historian, archivist, preservationist, and societal gadabout—that would bring to DVD/Blu-ray fifteen early animation shorts starring the irrepressible Bobby Bumps, a beloved cartoon tyke who headlined a good many one-reelers for the John Randolph Bray cartoon studio between 1915 and 1925 (Bobby was created by J.R. Bray animator Earl Hurd). Stathes, who owns one of the largest silent film cartoon collections in the world, has made it his mission to share these goodies through his home video company Cartoons on Film; the organization is dedicated, to quote the website, “to shar[ing] these masterpieces and prevent[ing] them from being forgotten ever again.”
Cartoon Roots, was reviewed by yours truly at my “Where’s That Been?” column at ClassicFlix back in April of 2015…and in the interim, I had purchased its sequel Cartoon Roots: The Bray Studios – Animation Pioneers with every intention of writing it up in this space at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. The delay on this requires a bit of an explanation: I have two Blu-ray players here in Castle Yesteryear. One of them is connected to the desktop computer in my bedroom…but it no longer plays new Blu-rays because the software that came with the computer insists I pay for an update before it will commence with the Blu-ray thing. (I simply refuse to submit to this kind of extortion. It’s akin to paying for sex.)
The other player is in the living room…and since the TV out there is often held hostage by my MSLSD-obsessed father, it’s a little difficult scheduling time to watch any Blu-rays. I try to do it after he’s officially called it quits for the day (and has headed off for sleepy bye) …but by the time, I’m usually too exhausted to watch anything myself. (Also, too: my mother suffers from insomnia, and she’s been known to wander out into the living room at that time of night after getting the full two hours of shuteye. I know the last thing she’s going to want to do is watch silent cartoons.) It wasn’t until I finally decided that I would stop putting it off and just tear off the shrink wrap that I realized—this is a DVD/Blu-ray combo. I could have watched this on the DVD player in my bedroom. So mea maxima culpa to you, Tom…but as I have noted so often here on the blog in the past—I can be a real idiot at times.
on a presentation of early New York animation shorts hosted by cartoon guru Jerry Beck and TCM oracle Robert “Bobby Osbo” Osborne.