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  • Aesop's Fables from the Van Beuren Studio, Volume 1
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Aesop's Fables from the Van Beuren Studio, Volume 1

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Aesop's Fables, Volume 1 is a compendium of the most delightfully bizarre, surrealistic, and strangest animated cartoons of the depression era; and of the small New York-based Van Beuren Studio that created them. The series features a cast of characters including skipping hippos, musical monks, dancing architecture, bony piano-playing spectres, drunken singing turtles and amorphous fowl dancing themselves into graves. Their antics are supported by dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish panoramas, and invigorating musical scores by Gene Rodemich, popular dance band leader of the 1920s. Thunderbean is proud to present this excellent quality collection of 16 Fables from the original series, all digitally transferred from original film prints, including original 35mm theatrical nitrate material, with restored original titles cards; and re-recorded soundtracks. In over 70 years, the images have never looked fresher or the soundtracks crispier and full-bodied. Titles include: Happy Polo (a 1932 reissue of 'The Polo Match' 1929); Summertime; The Iron Man; Haunted Ship and Gypped In Egypt (both with Waffles & Don); A Romeo Robin; Noah Knew His Ark; Hot Tamale; Making 'Em Move; Fly Frolic; The Family Shoe; Farmerette; Chinese Jinks; The Cat's Canary; Toy Time; and Silvery Moon. Bonus Features include: An Æsop Fables Primer (overview and notes on the cartoons); Meet The Maestros (profiles of Josiah Zuro, Carl Edouarde, and Gene Rodemich); About Fables Music (revealing titles of familiar melodies in Fables, Disney and Iwerks cartoons), Side by side comparison Animation Sequence (Toy time and Silvery Moon), an Æsop Fables sing-a-long, original cylinder and 78 rpm recordings of fables melodies and best-selling sides by Gene Rodemich and his orchestra. Picture Galleries Posters, packages ,advertisements, original and reissue title cards; and the Æsop Fables Movie Book (1931 children's publication by the Van Beuren staff).


Product Details

  • Actors: including Waffles and Don, Milton Mouse, Farmer Al Falfa, Noah, The Farmerette, etc Various forgotton cartoon characters, Gene Rodemich, Carl Eduarde Bonnie Poe
  • Directors: Harry Bailey, Mannie Davis, Eddie Donelly, Steve Muffati John Foster
  • Producers: RKO, Pathe Van Beuren
  • Format: Animated, Black & White, Collector's Edition, Full Screen, Limited Edition
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Thunderbean DVD
  • Run Time: 145.0 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009SY9QY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,204 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Walker on September 28, 2005
The vintage cartoon films produced by the Van Beuren studio usually appear in rather worn out form on cheapo public domain DVDs. This is definitely not the case here. Excellent print sources,with their original title card graphics also restored, make this the highest quality presentation of the Van Beuren Studio's black and white sound cartoons to yet appear! Add in the extras as identified in the product description, and the value of this DVD release multiplies ten-fold for vintage animation enthusiasts. Thunderbean studios have put a lot of TLC into this production and it shows! You may have never heard of these cartoon film titles, but many of them are pure gold none the less. Highly recommended!

Del Walker.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Gammill VINE VOICE on March 22, 2010
Verified Purchase
Another rare and wonderful treat from Thunderbean! I had only seen 2 of these cartoons, and only in cheap, public-domain prints on the internet. The Van Beuren Studio has become my favorite forgotten cartoon studio, thanks to their wonderfully weird and very funny shorts. Here's a list of the cartoons on this disc:

Happy Polo (1929)
Summertime (1929)
The Iron Man (1930)
The Haunted Ship (1930)
Noah Knew His Ark (1930)
A Romeo Robin (1930)
Hot Tamale (1930)
Gypped in Egypt (1930)
Makin' 'em Move (1931)
The Family Shoe (1931)
The Cat's Canary (1932)
Toy Time (1932)
Fly Frolic (1932)
The Farmerette (1932)
Chinese Jinks (1932)
Silvery Moon (1933)

There is also a wealth of supplemental material, incuding posters, audio clips, and other related memorabilia. The cartoons themselves look mostly great, with some occasional soft spots or graininess. But I highly doubt anyone will undertake a further restoration of these all-but-forgotten cinematic gems. It's nice, too, have unedited cartoons without Leonard Maltin or Whoopi Goldberg showing up to inform me that racist humor is bad (that's right, Warner Bros...I'm looking at YOU). Having said that, if you're likely to be offended by racist behavior in these 80 year old cartoons, maybe you should stay away.

To be fair, not every cartoon in this collection deserves "classic" status. Van Beuren was always a hit-and-miss studio when it came to their cartoons. But surreal classics like "Silvery Moon" and the Waffles and Don adventure "Gypped in Egypt" make this a keeper. If you are a lover of early sound cartoons like I am, this certainly belongs in your collection.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Osborn on May 1, 2010
Another disappointing release. I love these cartoons and would absolutely be tickled pink would they ever get a proper release, which it seems is impossible because very few people in the DVD production field is willing to do the required time-intensive work on Public Domain releases. These $15 Thunderbean releases are only slightly better than other releases (a little brighter in contrast and 16 cartoons per disc instead of 8). If you want to see how it SHOULD be done, buy any of the Disney classic cartoon sets. The cartoons in the Thunderbean sets appear to have been taken directly from the Chinese Digiview sets available from Walmart for a dollar. A good 15% of the image is cropped off the four sides. The full title cards are NOT restored and are likewise cropped. There has been minimal if any attempt to clean up the image on these films. Thunderbean claims to love these cartoons but are unwilling or unable to properly restore them. A good set for $5, maybe.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LOUIE on September 14, 2005
very fine prnts of priceless early sound cartoons. no overlap with the ub iwerks collection. i want more! also want early warner bros.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank van Kampen on September 26, 2005
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If you are interested in animation history this dvd can't be ignored for your collection. I can't add more than what's already is said and wrote about it. It is admiration for those creative and innovative skills. Enjoy!
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