Monday, March 26, 2007

Cartoon Time!

What could be a better antidote for my current spate of health care-centric posts than an entry about cartoons?

I just received my copy of VCI Entertainment's "ALICE IN CARTOONLAND" DVD last week so I thought I'd share.

Back in the 1920s, before "Walt Disney" was an international household name, our boy produced a series of silent-era cartoons about a young girl (the titular "Alice") interacting with animated characters within a cartoon universe.

After Walt struck gold with Mickey Mouse, a distributor glommed onto these cartoons and added a soundtrack for distribution in the new sound-era of the 1930s. This collection is sourced from these "Raytone" prints. These original nitrate 35mm prints look sharper and have better soundtracks that the 16mm dupes I've seen over the years.

I'd give this collection my highest recommendation, except for one thing. VCI felt compelled to use something called DIGITAL VIDEO NOISE REDUCTION (DVNR) during their film-to-video transfer process. DVNR is peachy-keen for live-action films, as it can get rid of lines, scratches and dirt artifacts. Unfortunately, with cartoons, the DVNR mistakes the outlines of fast-moving drawings for something to be removed, so you end up with patchy, crappy looking drawings like the elephant on the left, below.

DVNR aside, a bonus that makes this collection a "keeper" in my book is the inclusion of three more silent-era-but-dubbed-with-sound subjects! These are the "Krazy Kids Kartunes!" (Note that VCI calls them "Krazy Kid Cartoons" most likely to avoid a KKK connotation!)

These sort of left-field finds are always of interest to me! There is DVNR on these shorts as well, but the effect isn't as severe as seen on the "Alice" comedies. Here are some random screen shots from "Hitting The Trail":

That's all the time we have for cartoons today, kiddies! Remember to tell your mother to look for the red, yellow and blue balloons on the wrapper of every loaf of Wonder Bread!



Blogger Judy said...

You know, as supposedly politically incorrect and primitive as these old cartoons are, they seem so much better (to me) than the preachy, stoopid "real life" cartoon dramas that are all over kids TV these days. These old cartoons were FUN.

Thanks for the memories!

March 26, 2007 11:52 AM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

What Wizard said!

Give me the Chuck Jones era Bugs over the TMNT anyday!

Man I wish I still got the Cartoon Channel. Do they still show the old clasics?

March 26, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger Bardouble29 said...

I love the old cartoons!

March 26, 2007 5:52 PM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

Wow, these cartoons are way, way, way, way before my time.

Did you watch these on radio as a boy or something?

Uh, I think there may be something wrong with my eyes...

Could you come and take a look?

March 26, 2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My word, you have some of the most interesting things on your blog. I don't think I would even have thought of giving something like that as a gift. Excellent.

March 27, 2007 1:09 AM  
Blogger Mike Matei said...

I'll have to buy this dvd.

March 27, 2007 2:06 AM  
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