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A Conversation with Walter and Gracie Lantz:The restored original 1981 telecast, Plus the story of Classics 34, The Bijou and a lifetime of moving picture exhibitions.

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Long before TCM there was CLASSICS 34, an atmospheric cinéma showcase hosted by Chris Buchman for WNIT (PBS) in Elkhart, Indiana. In 1981 Walter and Gracie Lantz visited Chris for an engaging chat and to celebrate Woody Woodpecker's 40th birthday. Offered here is MEET WALTER & GRACIE, the edition of the show as originally intended to be seen - now fully restored, with an amusing prologue explaining the necessity for the restoration. Act Two presents an overview of CLASSICS 34; and Chris Buchman recounts his first encounter with Walter Lantz, the origin of the Lantzes' visit to his show and the unforeseen technical dilemmas of the taping session in his affectionate memoir WALTER & ME. Act Three highlights Chris' pre-Classics 34 movie exhibitions including turns at Baltimore's famous Peabody Bookshop & Beerstube, Corner Theatre and Johns Hopkins University. The Finalé is comprised of delightful vignettes from CLASSICS 34, the Hallowe'en spoofs with future Emmy-nominated, puppeteer, Rob Lovett, and such guests as Carmine Coppola, Buddy Rogers, Dennis James, and others . EXTRAS: Walt Lantz Cartoons 1920-1941; Ipana & Kelloggs adverts; Walter & Gracie Album; Classic 34 & Bijou Galleries; Gracie Filmog; more. Incidentally, the guest appearance by Walter & Gracie Lantz on Chris' television show is the longest they ever did for television and this July 9th marked the 33rd anniversary of that telecast. Appox: 4 Hrs 10 Min

Product Details

  • Directors: Chris Buchman
  • Producers: Blue Mouse Studio, in Association with Thunderbean Animation
  • Format: NTSC, Color, Full Screen
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Blue Mouse Studio/Thunderbean
  • Run Time: 250.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KHFSJOM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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You will find hours of great content on this disc. The interview with Walter and Gracie Lantz is a joy to watch, and the supplements (as well-described in the product description) are all interesting and fun to explore. Highly recommended for anyone looking for something unique and interesting.

The "Extras" section has some great cartoons, including 4 "Jimmy on the Job" shorts, which, though crudely animated, are very funny. It also includes the Dinky Doodle cartoon "Little Red Riding Hood" and the Col. Heeza Liar cartoon "Knighthood", which both feature live footage of a very young Walter Lantz interacting with the animated characters. They have even restored the Ipana ad (albeit with sound missing for that short portion only) to the ending of "Boy Meets Dog".

For a deeper dive into Lantz's lesser-known work, be sure to also check out the Thunderbean DVD Lantz Studio Treasures Starring Oswald
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For those familiar with Baltimore in the 60s and 70s or northern Indiana in the early 80s, the name Chris Buchman will no doubt recall his elaborate presentations of classic feature films both from the silent and early sound era, fascinating lost short subjects, golden age animation, accompanying detailed film history and related ephemera. The piece de resistance of Chris Buchman’s nostalgic moving picture presentation legacy was Classics 34. This was a Saturday night staple on PBS affiliate WNIT (for northern Indiana and southern Michigan) showcasing all of the above, invitingly and knowledgably presented by Buchman in partnership with his longtime collaborator and accomplished artist Rex Schneider. I was fortunate to be associated with this boundlessly creative team as a producer of the series while a staff member at WNIT. For many in the region, the tradition on Saturday nights was to make some popcorn, fix your favorite beverage and settle in for an entertaining and informative evening with old friends: Chris and Classics 34. The series was famous for bringing to life the era of a respective evening’s feature presentation - replete with posters, lobby cards, production stills, glossies of the stars, period equipment and tons of background on the film and the shorts/cartoons imparted engagingly by Chris. Chris’s enthusiasm for film history was infectious and the series soon became a fan favorite and major fundraiser for the station. Interviews with stars or period guests further enhanced the authenticity and aura of Classics 34. A highlight of which, being a very rare interview with the creator of Woody Woodpecker (among other famous cartoon characters), Walter Lantz and his wife Gracie.Read more ›
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It was wonderful to see the Lantzes so thoroughly enjoying themselves as they reminisced about their careers. Chris Buchman drew them out knowledgeably and engagingly, resulting in an encapsulated history of animation in general as well as of the career and creations of Walter Lantz.

Many other very talented individuals, such as co-producer and distinguished artist Rex Schneider, also appeared in and/or contributed to this work, as is evidenced by the amazing artwork, music, puppetry, etc. I found it particularly interesting to see the steps involved in creating, developing and building a stage background set.

The “Classics 34” TV program retrospective was very entertaining. It was also an interesting and somewhat disillusioning peek into the behind-the-scenes workings of public television, and perhaps all television production.

I work in a library, and I think this DVD should be in the collections of public libraries as well as in entertainment-history specialty libraries and museums. It will be interesting and entertaining for knowledgeable animation and live-action movie aficionados as well as for the general public. I enjoyed all of it and learned a lot from it.
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A nice interview with the Lantz's done in the 80's. Walter talks about his career starting in the Teen's. It has a nice group of extra's a group of cartoons from the 20's thru the 50's. Well worth picking up a copy.

The quality of the interview is from an old local TV show taken from video tape. The video quality is only fair most likely taken from the only existing copy - however the cartoon are taken from recent transfers.
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