Another essential collection of rare 1930's cartoons.
Lee David Glover | Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom | 02/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Van Beuren studio made some very interesting cartoons during 1929-1936.
This collection includes several black-and-white Aesop's Fables cartoons, which, although unsuccessful at the time, they are real gems. The B/W cartoons are a combination of bizarre, surreal gags with basic animation. Some good cartoons in this category includes "In a Cartoon Studio", a spoof on the making of a cartoon, and "Candy Town", where two cats eats all the candy contained inside the moon, only to be chased by a bottle of castor oil and a spoon! Strange, but brilliant!
Also, the DVD includes the original Tom & Jerry (no, not the cat & mouse, but a tall, thin man and a short, fat guy). Although the characters themselves are bland, the cartoon themselves still shows off the odd sense of humour that is typical of the studio. One example is in the cartoon "Piano Tooners", where Tom plays a bad note on the piano, only for Jerry to "catch" the note, and then flushes it down an off-screen toilet! Another Tom & Jerry cartoon is "Wot a Night" (their first cartoon), which is a spooky but very weird cartoon.
However, the B/W cartoons were not successful, and so Van Beuren assigned Burt Gillett (who directed Walt Disney's "Three Little Pigs") to create a new colour cartoon series called "Rainbow Parade". Gillett tried to make these cartoons as good as his previous boss, but that's why these cartoons are generally not as good as they should be (although they are not terrible), because he tried to imitate Disney rather than innovate. Characters like Molly Moo Cow and Toonerville Trolley were not good choices, and neither was the return of Felix the Cat, as he was turned into a goody two-shoes kind of a character. Oddly enough, the Felix cartoons were some of the best efforts of the series. Perhaps the best cartoon was "The Sunshine Makers", where the happy elves tries to bring happiness to a bunch of gloomy elves by bombarding them with sunshine milk. The series ended in 1936 when the Van Beuren studios closed down, due to its distributors RKO switching to Walt Disney for their cartoons!
There are 21 cartoons in total, and all are of good picture and sound quality considering they are public domain cartoons. Most of the Rainbow Parade cartoons have their original titles restored, with only a few B/W cartoons retaining their original titles.
Overall, this is good collection of rare cartoons, and is still an essential purchase for classic animation lovers. Personally, they should have included a few more B/W cartoons, but I'm more than happy with this DVD!"
Van Beuren cartoons are downright nutty
Mark Stoneburner | 08/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Van Beuren is a sadly forgotten studio and is one of the funniest and goofiest of the 30s! WOT A NIGHT Is Tom and Jerry's first screen appearance (not the cat and mouse Tom and Jerry, the two humans). It's funny, spooky and crazy but it's not just there to making a great cartoon. It starts out great but right after Tom and Jerry are locked in the haunted house things start to go a little downhill, this is a pretty good cartoon none-the-less. Oh yeah, and The black skeletons are NOT offensive. OPENING NIGHT Is just plain weird. It's pretty weak and the bland "Cubby Bear" is just not top-notch like the other big Van Beuren characters "Tom and Jerry" and "The Little King".TUBA TOOTERS Gives a bad name to the Tom and Jerry cartoons. It's boring compared to the others.You almost might as well skip over it but I wouldn't if I were you. I never trust these guys that make the reviews, anyway!PALS (A.K.A CHRISTMAS NIGHT) The best Van Beuren cartoon and my 17th favorite cartoon of all time!!! And that's including "What's opera Doc?", "The Band Concert", "Popeye the Sailor meets Sinbad the Sailor" and other classics! The animation is better than most of the other Van Beurens and it's worth watching over and over again! The Little king his a hilarious character (adapted to screen from the Otto Solgow's comic strip). PIANO TOONERS Here's Tom and Jerry at their best (exept for the goofy ending). The beginning is the best part!MOLLY MOO COW AND RIP VAN WINKLE When you see cartoons like this you wonder how the same studio could have produced "Pals" and "A dizzy day" ("A dizzy day" is not on this collection). It's boring and stale and full of errors. And Molly Moo Cow has nothing in common! THE SUNSHINE MAKERS Fantastic! One of the best cartoons produced by Van Beuren!MAKING 'EM MOVE Starts promising but isn't as good as you would expect!Van Beuren was great, there's no doubt about it!"
Cartoons that time forgot: The Van Beureuren collection
STEVEN STONE | Lauderdale Lakes, Florida United States | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must for cartoon fans. Great stories, brilliant color, and a trip down memory lane for those of us over 40. Show them to the kids and let them see what real animation was like. PLEASE PUT OUT A VOLUME 2"
Twisted Animation From the Van Beuren Studio
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Van Beuren was a B-grade animation studio in the Max Fleischer vein. Regardless of the tight budgets, Van Beuren produced some bizarre and truly memorable cartoons during the early 1930s - particularly those featuring the musical antics of Tom and Jerry. "Cartoons That Time Forgot" includes some of the duo's best shorts: "Piano Tooners," "Wot a Night" and "The Tuba Tooter." Another minor classic is "The Sunshine Makers" (1935) in which cheerful dwarfs conquer grim-faced gremlins with bottles of sunshine. Unfortunately, Van Beuren's misguided attempts to emulate Disney and resurrect Felix the Cat fall flat. Though an uneven collection, this DVD has several underrated gems worth seeking out."