12.13.2006

The Holy Grail of Animation

The Holy Grail of Animation
The other day, Brandon, our resident "Technology Specialist" here at Primal Screen, came up to me and asked, "Ward, what do animators consider as 'The Holy Grail' of animation?" He asked me this because he was considering flying to New York to see an extremely rare screening what many cinemaphiles consider as "The Holy Grail" of cinema: Out 1, a 13 hour long 1971 film directed by French New Wave director Jacques Rivette. There is only one English subtitled print of the film, and that one print will be screened at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NYC this weekend. (To read more about this film, click HERE.)

SO -- What would you consider The Holy Grail of Animation? What cartoon, short film, or feature (or anything else) that you've heard about but have never seen -- preferably something that is practically impossible to see -- that has achieved legendary status throughout the years?

Bob Clampett's Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves (1943) comes to mind. Anything else that you've heard or read about that's considered a rarity to actually find on videotape, DVD, or film?

To get the ball rolling, I asked several of my animation contacts this very question and the answers I've received so far are as varied as there are animation styles out there. One thing is certain: everyone has their own personal take on what they consider a 'Holy Grail'. Whether it was something that was seen during childhood or historically lost and/or forgotten films, these 'grails' all represent something special to these animators. Here are some of their answers (I'll update this often when I receive any new replies):

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Animation historian Jerry Beck has a great deal on his Grail List:

I have many personal "Holy Grail's". For example, I'd love to see original Technicolor prints of the four lost Columbia BARNEY GOOGLE cartoons (I have silent, korean colorized versions that were never publicly released). I'd like to see the lost Snuffy Smith Paramount Noveltoon SPREE FOR ALL (1946). I'd like to see all twelve of the Dick Huemor TOBY THE PUP cartoons (RKO, 1931). Luckily several have resurfaced in recent years.

The four or five United Artists' DAFFY DITTIES cartoons by Frank Tashlin (from 1945-6) and the Republic JERKY JOURNIES (1947) are essentially lost (though I know of several fragments in collectors hands).

The biggest Holy Grail's for Warner Bros. cartoon buffs would be the lost ending to THE HECKLING HARE (Tex Avery, 1942). The abrupt ending has confounded cartoon fans for years... and it is this bit that caused Avery's dismissal from Leon Schlesinger Productions.

I probably could go on and on. There are lost Fleischer cartoons, Columbia cartoons, even lost Terrytoons. Maybe those should stay lost. Gene Deitch is looking for his first entertainment cartoon (done at UPA) HOODY DOODY AND THE MAGIC HAT.



Animation historian, professor, author, and animator John Canemaker:

I would love to see all of the influential, innovative short films of the late George Dunning available to the public. especially THE WARDROBE; THE APPLE; THE FLYING MAN; DAMON THE MOWER; THE MAGGOT, and THE TEMPEST (a work-in-progress).


Dan Sarto of AWN:

There is an old MGM cartoon I saw in college 25 years ago, Uncle Tom's Cabana I believe it was called, that featured the wolf going nuts over the pretty singer at the club, etc....I have no idea if that's available, but I'd put it in the same category.


Tom Knott from Laika:

The top of my list is:
George Pal's pre-Hollywood Puppettoons.
I've seen a few of these but not all. I understand that many are deteriorating and need major restoration.



Tom Sito lists some things that are not actual films:

The Original Preston Blair book, with all the real copyright charactrers in them ( I have a copy),
I'd like to see the notes from Don Graham's first lecture at Disney in 1935.
Maybe Meile Cohls shorts done in the US, based on McManus Life WIth Father, which were all destroyed in a fire at the E'Clair film vaults in New Jersey in 1911.



Animator Joel Trussell:

Youtube's pretty much put an end to any holy grails for me. I remember a few years ago being on a quest for John K's early work with Mighty Mouse, but it was only available on PAL tapes. I would've had to put down a $200 deposit to rent a PAL vcr in order to see them and I passed. Now I can just type it into Youtube and presto!

I mean c'mon, you can even get the Mighty Orbots opening sequence there...LINK

Black Coal for that matter too...LINK

My holy grail now is Lucas' Electronic Labyrinth, which you can see here, but not with the original soundtrack...LINK

Step it up Youtuber's! I know you've got it somewhere out there.
Ahhhh technology...



Fellow Atlantan animator Clay Croker offered up his list (he's since added more in the comments -- read here):

The original version of The Thief should be at the top of EVERYONE'S list.

My "personal conquest" list is much quirkier.

* The 1967 animated Spider-Man pilot is at the top of THAT list. (I saw about 75% of it at a convention 25 years ago)

* The italian(?) or french(/) version of A Christmas Carol that I saw numerous times as a kid...

* The Chuck Jones' produced Dennis The Menace cartoon that ran on "The Curiousity Shop" in the early 7o's

* The first Fat Albert animation that ran on a 1960's Bill Cosby special, where he was about 20 feet tall and buildings collapsed around him as he ran.

* more Jot cartoons...some really weird ones I remember.

* and LOTS of GREAT animated commercials from the 1950s and 60s!

I'll think of some more, but those are off the top of my head.

I realize that these aren't classics, but I would really love to see 'em
again, regardless...



Animation historian and author Michael Barrier:

I've been immersed in Walt Disney for the last few years, so herewith some candidates from Walt's output:

1) The two missing Laugh-O-gram fairy tales--Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.

2) Any of the missing Disney silents in the Alice and Oswald series, especially those from 1927-28.

3) Any of Disney's 1921-22 Newman Laugh-O-grams in their original form (the surviving reel is evidently a patchwork).

4) The Little Artist, the (apparently) unfinished film that Disney and Fred Harman made together circa 1921.

5) Any examples of Walt's work at Kansas City Film Ad in 1920-22.



Animation professor and Animation Journal editor Maureen Furniss:

Hi - my TA is madly searching for Hot Wheels cartoons. He's a TV animation historian and really wants them in any way, shape, or form. As for me, I've always lamented that UPA films are so hard to find. I think the main reason Hellboy DVDs sold at all is that Gerald McBoing Boing and The Telltale Heart are in the supplements. I've got a copy of a 'Sony Classics' video that went out of print long ago, and the colors are horrible (a huge problem when teaching UPA to students who are already doubtful about anything made more than about ten years ago). But I'd even like to see other UPA works in circulation -- beyond the Boings and the 'classic' one shots that the studio's so famous for (Rooty Toot Toot, etc.). And then there's the original Gumbys . . .

Of course, being an historian of experimental work, there's a whole bunch of stuff in my 'hard to see' category. For example, James Whitney's "Lapis."



Fellow Cartoon Brewer and author Amid Amidi:

I doubt most of these are commonly sought after by a large percentage of animation fans, but my "holy grail" list includes: a nice print of the animated segments of THE FOUR POSTER, short films by Fred Mogubgub, the FAT ALBERT pilot, the PETE THE PUP tv pilot by Milt Gross, Manuel Otero's MAITRE, the storyboard for the second FLEBUS short, John Sutherland's industrial film ROMANCE OF CHEESE, the commercial output of UPA-NY and the original pilot for UPA's DUSTY OF THE CIRCUS.

And if an entire studio can be included in the list of "holy grails" I'd nominate the British outfit WM Larkins Studios. This is about as lost as a studio can become and their work has been criminally forgotten and buried. They produced tons of amazing industrial films and theatrical commercials during the 1940s and 1950s. The real genius there was a guy named Peter Sachs, but other big names in animation like Bob Godfrey, Philip Stapp and Richard Taylor also worked there. I want to see all of their work. Some of their industrial work is documented HERE.


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Many respondents mention Richard Williams' original cut of The Thief and the Cobbler as the ultimate Holy Grail of Animation. The film could also be described as The Magnificent Ambersons of animation, as the film was recut and reedited, much to the horror of the filmmaker. Began in 1968, "Thief" was a project that Dick Williams noodled with throughout the years, even hiring animation legends Art Babbitt and Grim Natwick to work on it. After it was seized by Completion Bond, the final watered-down version was eventually released in 1995 in North America as ARABIAN NIGHT -- a mere shell of William's original vision (there are many work prints floating around out there as copies of copies on VHS with some amazing animation that did not make the final cut).

Recently, filmmaker Garrett Gilchrist did the painstaking job of putting together the definitive version of "Thief" -- the one that closely resembles Dick's original version. You can view The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut on YouTube in segments, but I'd rather wait to have a nice quality version once it's available.

Oh, I forgot to add that another oft-mentioned "Holy Grail" from the many animators who replied to my question is Disney's Song of the South. There's been a Japanese Laserdisc version available for years now (I've got a VHS copy from that disc), providing many within the industry the one and only chance to see this film in in its entirety. Last released in the theatres in the mid-80's, it's been holed up in the Disney vault ever since. There was a possibility of "Song" being released on DVD this year (as perhaps part of the popular Leonard Maltin-hosted "Disney Treasures" -- which are more aimed at adults), but Disney chief Rob Iger shot that possibility down. (You can read a transcript of the reasons why Iger decided not to release the film on DVD at a shareholder's meeting HERE.)

So...what film or cartoon do you consider the "Holy Grail" of animation? Would love to hear what others have to say.

108 comments:

  1. I was lucky enough to see "Coal Black" on the big screen in Glasgow, Scotland of all places. I happened to be there when they were showing some sort of Warner Brothers' cartoon festival, so I went. I had no idea that cartoon existed or would be shown. Mostly, at the time, I was just embarassed. I couldn't really enjoy the animation for what it was. I think as more of these pieces and their makers are known, the more likely some local venue will show them again as they were meant to be seen.

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  2. i think a high quality version of the "Thief and The Cobbler" footage put together as best as possible and with any missing pieces that they put out a request for a few years back (did they ever end up getting anything from that bulletin?) would be the holy grail for me.

    but then i have a personal holy grail thats more of an open ended question about a fleeting vision from my mid 70s youth:
    i remember seeing a cartoon on tv(it might have been a halloween special) about a little boy that gets lost in a haunted house. he is following after a little girl and at one point there is a huge stairwell that he falls or slides down. one thing i remember for sure, at the end of the short the curse is lifted from the house and all of the mushrooms growing in the front yard turn into little kids.

    ^i have no idea what this movie was, but maybe someone will know.

    wait-there is also another animated halloween special that i want to see again where three kids wish they were to remian the monsters they dressed up as (werewolf, dracula, & frankenstein) and a witch hears their wish and grants it. this short had really interesting colors with each monster being painted a solid color - a blue werewolf and an orange frankenstein.

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  3. A completed version of Yurij Norstein's film, "The Overcoat," is the film I'd like most to see.
    Second to that is John Hubley's version of "Finian's Rainbow."
    Unfortunately, it's probably too late for that to change the history of animation to something more adult and intelligent.

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  4. All the b/w Fleischer Popeyes especially "A Dream Walking" and a British cartoon cqlled "The Selfish Giant". I love the music in that one

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  5. Song of the South! Get a bootleg on Ebay. The animation is excellent and so is the color.

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  6. I'll toss in any working copy of Walt Kelly's hand animated, "We Have Met the Enemy And He Is Us", Pogo short.

    That would be nice, Santy!

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  7. As long as the term "Holy Grail of Animation" refers to that which changed the animation landscape forever and isn't just another name for "a few of my favorite things," I have to vote for the first episode of Tezuka Osamu's "Tetsuwan Atomu" [aka "Astroboy"]. At a time when American animation was dialing it back with the limited animation shows of Hanna-Barbera and consciously doing retreads of sitcoms such as "The Honeymooners," Tezuka created an extremely memorable character in the person of Atom and told stories that went far deeper than situation comedies. And by pioneering television animation in Japan, Tezuka made possible everything that was to follow from "Evangelion" to "Sailor Moon." Many of the shows and features mentioned by others have become part of animation history; the appearance of "Tetsuwan Atomu" MADE history.

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  8. John Hubley's feature flim version of Finian's Rainbow. I understand it was pretty well boarded and audio recorded before they killed it. There must be cool preproduction art from it somewhere.

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  9. the Fleischer Stone Age series !

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  10. I´d LOVE to see Quirino Cristiani´s "El Apostol", the very first animated feature (made in 1917 in Argentina) Actually, I´d love to see any of his movies, but there´s pretty much no copies of anything he made, as far as I know...sigh..

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  11. I know most of the folks here have mentioned films or shorts...but as an artist I would like to point out a tool of the trade. The Blackwing Pencil...the holy grail of pencils. The one pencil that animators preferred back in the day.

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  12. Garrett's THEIF & THE COBBLER: RECOBBLED CUT is available on DVD from Garrett, and at only $10, it's a must-have. He's done a bang-up job, with animated menus, tons of extras (pencil tests, art galleries, etc.), and most importantly, probably the best version of THEIF we'll see for some time. Trust me, you should get one.

    That said, those lucky Frenchies get to have a Tex Avery box set (tho I hear the transfer is terrible), so why can't we have one, too? :(

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  13. i'd like to see the Chuck Jones version of A Christmas Carol.

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  14. :)
    Such a wonderful topic for discussion!

    Ya know, the VERY first thing to pop into my head... A fellow animator told me not too long ago that back in the 80's or 90's, Eric Goldberg was starting some preliminary test animation for a "POTENTIAL" 'Calvin and Hobbes' feature!!!

    I have NO idea how true this is, but if ANY animation of Mr. Goldberg's featuring C&H does truly exist, how can ya NOT want to see that?!

    I would venture to guess that Mr. Watterson wanted NO part of an animated 'Calvin'... So, alas...
    ---------------------------------
    And ANOTHER holy grail of sorts for ME...
    ANY rough animation that Jeff Smith and his guys did for the sadly deceased 'Bone' Feature.
    I wonder if it will ever get done?...
    :)
    Thanks for letting me join in the fun!
    -Dagan

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  15. I second the motion on Toby the Pup (got 4, want to see the other 8) and early Puppetoons, plus any discarded pencil tests from Disney.

    Other stuff that would be great to find would be the lost Spider Pit sequence from King Kong, and the remaining lost films of Charley Bowers and Ladislas Starewitch. My ultimate holy grails for animation are close cousins of the puppet variety...any early episodes of Jim Henson's 'Sam & Friends'. I have also long awaited to see the SNL Land of Gorch sketches which are finally released on the season 1 SNL box set.

    -Ken Priebe

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  16. I would like to find any kinescopes from Bob Clampett's puppet shows. Since they were syndicated, there's got to be some 16mm prints floating around of Thunderbolt the Wondercolt, Buffalo Billy and Time for Beany. Also, Crusader Rabbit's that aren't for sale on eBay, and the color version.

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  17. I'd kill or die for a copy of "Escalation" - Ward Kimball's independant anti-Vietnam, anti-LBJ film.

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  18. Like Michael Barrier, I'd call the missing Disney silents of 1927-28 my holy grails.
    Right behind these on my list come the missing Winkler Oswalds and Mintz Krazy and Toby shorts.
    I'd also like to see Pat Sullivan's TAIL OF THOMAS KAT, HOW CHARLIE CAPTURED THE KAISER, and more Paramount Felixes besides the two that have surfaced.

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  19. Danish animation lore tells us that the cartonist/actor Robert Storm Petersen, in Denmark best known as Storm P., did a blackboard cartoon as early as in 1906, borrowing a camera and cameraman from the company he worked for. He claimed this before his death in 1946. It has never been substantiated, and the earliest animated films known by his hand are from 1919. If his early claim is true, it would put him way up there with the James Stuart Blackton and Emile Cohl...

    My own holy grails would be much the same as Tom Sito's and Michael Barrier's, with the addition of wanting to see more EARLY bar sheets (Steamboat Willie?) to see the progression of the way of timing of the early shorts...

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  20. I've wanted to see the Paramount "Stone Age" cartoons, and that "Holiday themed" Pogo special that Chuck Jones directed.

    Jones didn't animate an entire Dennis the Menace cartoon. Dennis only appeared as a moving drawing on a drawing board for one episode of "Curiosity Shop"

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  21. The one animated film I would like to see from the past more than any other is A Midsummer Night's Dream - a stop-motion animated film by the Czech filmmaker Jiri Trnka.

    Everyone agrees that Trnka is key figure in the history of stop-motion animation - yet this film (considered one of his best) is not available on either DVD or VHS.

    You can see two short clips from the film on this page:
    http://www.darkstrider.net/gallery2a.html

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  22. Coal Black is on Youtube, for those that dont mind seeing it...kinda blurry and oogly-looking.

    I want to see the Uncut version of fantasia's Centaur act. I've only seen screenshots.

    That and Richard William's version of A Christmas Carol.

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  23. "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me." 1962. Richard Williams.

    The perfect animation short with the incomprable voice of Kenneth Williams (no relation).

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  24. Let me second the call for the Fleischer Stone Age series. And better copies of Max 'n' Dave's color cartoons. And the handful of missing Betty Boops. And from my kiddie days, THE MIGHTY HERCULES TV show. And where is a good collection of CRUSADER RABBIT? And... well, anybody else like Spunky & Tadpole?

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  25. Recycling my comment from "Drawn!":

    Possibly Gerald Scarfe’s “Long Drawn-out Trip” … it was the piece that got him hired by Pink Floyd, but he says it’s not something he would be able to release, due to questionable legality (copyright-related).

    I’ll second “Song Of The South”, too … that’s one that I’m on a mission to see sometime before I die. :)

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  26. The problem with these Holy Grails is that when you finally attain them the magic is gone. I saw "Coal Black" at an academic conference in the 80's. It was amusing, it was fine WB, but I had to ask myself... "THAT's what all the fuss was about? A Fat Albert cartoon is more offensive than that."

    I concluded that many film historians have been writing about films they haven't really seen.

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  27. Well for us theres a couple, firstly gotta be the test animation that was done on the "Herobear and the Kid" movie!!
    Also the Stop-motion tests from Mars Attacks, before it went all cg!

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  28. My Holy Grail is pretty much the uncut You're An Education from WB with the Hugh Herbert footage restored. I'd been hoping it was found for the Golden Collection, but no such luck. I don't even know anyone who even has any details on it at all, beyond 'it got cut at some point'.

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  29. Just saw a really amazing piece of animation. Never seen anything like it. Play off the dick and jane books from the 50s, but gets really weird (in a good way of course). By Run Wrake who has done some really cool stuff lately
    http://www.atomfilms.com:80/film/rabbit.jsp

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  30. I'd like to see the lost animation gems of pre-cultural revolution China-'Where is mama?' 'The Cowherd's Flute', etc. I've seen beautiful clips from animation created entirely with ink and brush in the style of Qi Baishi.

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  31. Richard Williams 1971 "A Christmas Carol", with animation by (among others) Ken Harris, drawn directly on cels with long since defunct German Mars Omnichrom grease pencils, shot in two frame dissovles all the way through. This is (as far as I know, anyhow) the only film to win both the Emmy and the Oscar (1972), yet it has only appeared on video once, in a subpar slow-speed limited VHS release. Never available on Laser Disc nor DVD. Might be on YouTube, but sharper focus is required for optimal viewing. This state of affairs should be remedied.

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  32. I first saw "Coal Black" in a special program of "forbidden" cartoons at the UC Theater in Berkeley in the 80s. The fellow presenting the cartoons said that the only complaints he got about that cartoon were from white liberals. All the blacks that talked to him wanted to know where they could get a copy.

    Steve Sherman said, "I would like to find any kinescopes from Bob Clampett's puppet shows. Since they were syndicated, there's got to be some 16mm prints floating around of Thunderbolt the Wondercolt, Buffalo Billy and Time for Beany."

    For a price. 4 eps of TfB, 1 of TtW, lots of B&C cartoons and extras. (I'm not one of those sellers.)

    I bought it when it was first offered. For me, the high point of the TfB eps was Cecil visiting the White House and getting carried away with singing "Ragmop" accompanied by a Harry Truman puppet (Butler).

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  33. SONG OF THE SOUTH is available at the Bay, if you're not averse to bit torrents. The best version is ripped directly from a Japanese laserdisc to DVD. It's a 4-gig or so download. There are some DIVX and other lesser derivations available, but stick with the DVD-R.

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  34. Hey DanO - That Halloween special is called "Witch's Night Out", and it was released on VHS. Try Ebay, that's where I got my copy.

    My big one is a widescreen copy of "The Last Unicorn", and it's coming in February.

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  35. Clay (C. Martin) Croker here.

    Is there a Holy Grail? It seems it all depends on what you still have and haven't seen. "Song of the South" has been in my collection (LD)for some time...and it might be a fringe benefit of growing up in the south, but I've had the opportunity to actually see it in a theatre a number of times --the last time being 1987 in Tallahasee. Practically my whole life I had heard about Richard Williams' almost-legendary "Thief" film, But I conquered that giant in 1992 (Though a complete print somewhere down the line is still a must). Even Coal Black seems pretty acessable to me (even before You Tube-which by the way is a TERRIBLE way to view that action)...these days I'm actually more surprised if another artist still HASN'T seen it.
    C.Jones/Williams Xmas Carol -check.
    Fliescher Popeyes -check.
    I'm feelin' pretty privilaged to have seen or own as much great "Holy Grails" as I have...or do.
    But when Wardo emailed me about this I was in the middle of some legal crap and my selects were as I said, just off the top of my head...once I had time to think about it a minute I realized the nearly-criminal amount of stuff I missed.
    LIKE...

    TERRYTOONS!
    Are they just going to rot in Viacom's vaults? They could release box sets similar to Disney Treasures...*sigh* If only anyone in power felt that way about them.

    MIGHTY HEROES,
    DEPUTY DOG,
    SILLY SIDNEY,
    HECKLE AND JECKLE
    MIGHTY MOUSE

    It's frustrating to see merchandising and T-shirts at conventions of these characters and the cartoons are NOWHERE! Do kids even know who the Hell they are? (Which makes it all the more odd that the only show the kids on NBC's "Medium" seem to watch is...Deputy Dog! NBC!!--Not VIACOM/CBS!)

    There are a LOT of Columbia shorts I haven't seen.
    I have virtually NO "Fox and Crow" cartoons...the only ones I've ever seen were in San Diego or L.A.
    (Thanx Jerry!)

    Then there's "THE BELL SCIENCE SERIES" films I haven't seen most of again since I was in 4th grade.
    I've never even seen a complete listing of those great films! I bought one recently I'd never even heard of off eBay that was animated by Chuck Jones with Maurice Noble designs!

    "THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW!"- Linda Simenski told me about a decade ago these shows are on the lost list (I said "Put me on a plane and give me an expense account I'LL find 'em" --she thought I was kidding...)

    Titles for the 1970's "Sylvester and Tweety Show" --I can still hear the music in my head (Hell, for that matter those Sylvester 9-Lives commercials from around the same time)

    and while we're at it, throw in
    "The Road Runner Show" and all those Plymouth Road Runner commercials.

    I know there's lots, lots more...but one last thing stands out for me at this moment...

    When I was about seven or so I saw a movie that had an animated sequence in it that involved camels and their humps somehow...and it was done in --as I recall-- a minimilistic UPA type style. I'd sure love to know what that was. (It made such a big impression on me that after I saw it I uncustomarily ran to my mom with a crayon and a piece of paper asking her to draw the one of camels for me instead of tackling the task myself. I NEVER did this again, as her drawing was so BAD that when she revealed it to me I burst into tears!)

    Oh--and I DO remember the Curiousity Shop episode John A. mentioned and the one I'm referring to is different episode. (I remember being faked out by that scene when it aired) Whether Jones had anything to do with it (Besides that Curiousity Shop was his Show) a Dennis the Menace Cartoon did air on that show. Though I saw it twice (both times at my grandparents in florida) all I basically remember is that it began and ended with Dennis' folks downstairs, and Dennis upstairs jumping on his bed. At the time I thought it was pretty close to Ketcham.

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  36. For the past five years I have been searching for a Van Beuren CINECOLOR Rainbow Parade cartoon in its original form.

    Ted Eshbaugh's "Snowman" cartoon in its original two-color form I am desperate to see.

    The Republic Cartoon: "Its a Grand old Nag".

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  37. How about the cartoons from Romer Grey's short-lived studio? Many of the greats did their earliest work there, and since nothing was ever finished, it's highly unlikely that a black market print will pop up on the internet anytime soon.

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  38. Dudes, I really want to see Dali's Fantasia piece. Ward told me he saw it at the beginning of The Triplets of Belleville movie screening. Has anyone said MICKEY'S RUNAWAY BRAIN? It was released on a rare Disney's treasures dvd. Mickey goes all ape shit!(I love it) Also a must see is "Simon In The Land Of Chalk!" which aired on CAPTAIN KANGAROO. I really want to watch every episode of HANNA BARBERA'S Harlem Globetrotters episodes. I love the raw look of Iwao Takimoto's designs in it. Clay gave me a VHS with that and Heckle and Jeckyl episodes on it, but I wore that out quick. Another tough find is Bakshi's "COONSKIN" and "HEY GOOD LOOKIN" (I own 'em both) Don't forget WOODY WOODPECKER. Trust me, I can dig up tons of favorites. Though "Holy Grail" is a pretty strong category.

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  39. Chiming in with "The Thief and the Cobbler"! It's a fantastic movie in its original version. It's no so much that it was cut down, but it's up there with Brazil in terms of horrible re-cuttings. At least Terry Gilliam got his way... Richard Williams didn't. Even worse, we can't even see the lousy Miramax Films version in the Panavision format since they opted to release it in pan & scan!

    What really sucks is that it's such a great film that no one knows about and can't even see. I've recommended "Thief" to people and they come back dumbfounded after seeing the heavily edited Miramax Films version in pan & scan. It's sort of like recommending Beethoven's Ninth Sympthony, only for them to experience only the first two movements as interpreted by Kenny G.

    The rest of the films Williams made are a real pain to find in decent quality. I'd love to see the early short films (like The Little Island), A Christmas Carol, and even Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure. From looking at a few compilation reels in circulation, I'd love to see compendiums of his commercials too!

    I set up a lot of Williams films for viewing on Google Video if anyone is interested: http://www.ctufilms.com/cobbler/index.htm

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  40. I second that desire to see Eric Goldberg's mythical Calvin & Hobbes test-- if it exists, that is. Could you imagine, though? :D

    FYI, Watterson has given thought to the idea of an animated C&H, as well as expressing "a real awe for good animation."

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  41. I'd like to submit the adult-language version of John Korty's TWICE UPON A TIME. It was originally aired only three times on HBO in the 1980's before being pulled due to a threatened lawsuit from Mr. Korty.

    This version was hysterical, as anyone fortunate enough to have seen it will testify!

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  42. I would like to see "Redux Riding Hood" apparently a fantastic Disney Short from the late ninties, which seems to have been buried and forgotten.

    Also, the Live action "Sweatbox" documentry about how the Disney Execs were fouling up the animation department. I wish I had been able to attend the Toronto Fim Festival Screening of it.

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  43. I would love to see a complete print of 'TAKEN FOR A RIDE', a Mintz Krazy Kat cartoon. Even with it's deteriorated ending the cartoon deserves to be available ... absolutely fantastic! Also 35mm remastered Fleischer Color Classics ... these have been maltreated for too many years.

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  44. Disney's 2004 DVD collection of war shots, but im pretty sure I can ebay it.

    Kimba the White Lion and Astroboy were on it, but they have been released on really nice DVD transfers of late...

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  45. The Mysterious Cities of Gold is a funny one. Clips can be found on Youtube, but if you want to go out and buy it on DVD, or watch a repeat on your favourite cartoon channel, forget it. Nobody knows who owns the rights apparantly, and I have a feeling it will stay that way for wee bit longer still. Shame.

    Wether or not you can call it a Holy Grail is another argument all together (it was an eighties cartoon series after all!)

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  46. Reading other's grails I feel quite lucky to live in Germany since I had the chance to see a lot of them. Song of the South was on german TV recently, Coal Black toured the country within a program of non-licensed 16mm prints of Tex Avery stuff in the 80's, I saw Lapis at an experimental film festival and Te Wei's "The Boy and the Flute" at Annecy (it was made mostly with cutouts of rice paper and feathers, as revealed by a short documentary on arte TV). And one day I even saw "Don Quihote" by Vlado Kristl which is by far the most intense animated short I ever saw.

    My list? Thief and Cobbler, but even more The Little Island by Williams. Flebus. Some east european cartoons from the 60's which I only know by a picture in a book.
    Non-existing films: Stray Toasters or Electra Assassin (by Bill Sienkewicz) as animation. Tank Girl completely animated. Thankfully Hewlett promises to do a Gorillaz movie.

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  47. I can help on one of the Holy Grails: "Uncle Tom's Cabana" was on the "Compleat Tex Avery" LaserDisc set. I don't think this set was too heavily edited. After all, it had "Droopy's Good Deed" with the line "Hey, blackie! Any more babes in there?"

    So many good Holy grails have already been mentioned. all I can think of to add would be Chuck Jones' "Cricket on the Hearth." And the first "Fat Albert" special, which I'm presuming is different from the pilot, right? This one aired in prime time once, animation was all pencil, story had Fat Albert dump his buddies because they made fun of his fatness, etc.?

    Just need to get more of our animation history on good quality video, that's all.

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  48. Since this is a "Holy Grail" search, The top of the list would be Monty Python member, Terry Gilliam's 1974 short feature "The Miracle of Flight." I saw it once and it is just as twisted as all his other animated shorts. The short features all kinds of characters who tried to invent as way for man to fly. My favorite is still the stupid king who roudned up all the best scientists in the world, booted each one out of his tall tower window, showed "Fly!" to each one. After all died trying, the king grumbled, "No, still not got it right."

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  49. MOMOTARO UMI NO SHINPEI (Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors): The first Japanese animated feature-length film, a propaganda effort released in the late spring of 1945 in which Japanese folk-hero Momotaro with an army of cute little bunnies and monkeys liberates a Pacific island by conquering bumbling, caricatured British soldiers (reportedly, their voices were done by British POWs).

    The film was rediscovered in the 1980s and released on a Japanese VHS, but I've spent years unsuccessfully trying to track down a copy.

    Much pre-1945 Japanese animation was lost during the bombings of Japanese cities during WWII. There've been a couple of 1930s-1940s Japanese animated shorts on YouTube, and I'd love it if someone could track down more for US release.

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  50. ...Actually, my "Holy Grail" is a bit more of a personal one, and probably not up there with some of the ones mentioned above. But what the frack? I'll bite:

    In early 1966, Filmation was working on a Metamorpho cartoon for See-BS. According to various sources - including the letter column for the comic book itself - there were six issues in the can, ready for airing, when all of a sudden Batmania hit like a tidal wave. While ABC had the rights to the live-action adventures of Batman, See-BS, through the same contract that got them Superman, Aquaman, and the rest of the DC Universe circa 1965-66, had the rights to the Caped Crusaders. They ordered an immediate stop to the Metamorpho show, and Filmation went to work on a crash program to get what would become the Batman-Superman Hour on by the following fall season. The six episodes of Metamorpho were shelved, where they've remained ever since.

    ...So that's my holy grail. Granted, it'll probably be typical Filmation "quality" for the era, but I'm still strongly curious as to how close to the original comic they stayed.

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  51. I've been looking for Heckyl and Jeckyl for quite a while. Pretty much anything.
    I was slightly shocked to read Uncle Tom's Cabana in that Holy Grail list as I was easily able to download that from Acquisition--I'd be more than happpy to share it with anyone. It's sooooo racist. I also grabbed this cartoon by Tex called Aviation Vacation that's almost even worse just by the design of the characters.
    I love Tex Avery, sucks though that so much of that stuff was so blatantly racist.
    Anyone else find it odd that so many of these "holy grails" are based on some form of biggotry? Holds a pretty bad mirror back on our society at that time. Anyway, off my soapbox.

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  52. When I was a very tiny kid a local station broadcast the SCRAPPY cartoons. They were great. I haven't seen them since. I'd buy a DVD of those instantly. I have already found and devoured the SCRAPPYLAND.COM website, I have the old MINDROT SCRAPPY issue, and I grabbed a couple of blurry SCRAPPY cartoons from the web. These weird little cartoons shouldn't be lost.

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  53. "Here Comes The Grump", Depatie-Freleng's early 70's psychedelic Saturday morning cartoon. And Terry Gilliam's opening titles for "The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine".

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  54. Surely this is the holy grail of animation, no?
    http://www.spiteyourface.com/python.php
    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    No, seriously, the one thing I would love to see but know I never will, is a full cut line-test version of Transformers the Movie - because I think some of the basic motion is incredible, but a lot of it got buggered up in colour and clean up.
    There, I admitted it.

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  55. Another vote for Mysterious Cities of Gold! Sure, it was an 80s TV cartoon, but it was one of the best of that decade-- Miyazaki was even rumored to have worked on it (he didn't). I've heard that it was rereleased on DVD somewhere (Japan? France?) but as far as I know, it's not available in English.

    Can't think of anything else save for a sci-fi feature animation which aired on Nickelodeon in the 80s and have since forgotten the name of.

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  56. I too would love to get my hands on a copy of the HBO version of TWICE UPON A TIME. I was very lucky to have caught it once on TV, even more amazing consdiering we didn't have cable and I saw it at a friend's house.

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  57. Runaway Brain screened one year at the San Diego Con with some of the animators and directors present.

    How about a DVD release of Tom Terrific?

    Will Vinton did a clay-animated music video of John Fogerty's "Zanz Kant Danz" which has been kept in the vault because the subject is the very litigious Saul Zaentz. They showed it once while I was a Cinema student at USC in the 80s as part of a Vinton salute. Very funny.

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  58. This is a fascinating discussion.

    Most of the greats have already been covered, but I'd like to mention a more recent one:

    In 1994, a 1/2 hour Halloween animated special aired based on Gary Larson's Far Side! It captured the offbeat quality of the cartoon panel very well, and the animation was very good 2D animation.

    Luckily, my wife has an EP video of it that she taped that night, because as far as I know, it's never been repeated and never been released.

    I'd love to see a sharp DVD release of this, because it seems to have dropped out of sight and memory.

    - bernie

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  59. I'd like to see the entire run of the Bugs Bunny Show. I remember seeing a lot of this as a kid on Saturday mornings, but I know a lot of it is missing. Also the original Peanuts commercials for Ford.
    Someone mentioned wanting to see the Chuck Jones Pogo Holiday Special: it had been released on VHS at one time.... you may want to scour Ebay for a copy. Although I don't recommend it...

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  60. I have several "holy grails":
    -Ernest Pintoff´s FLEBUS, the oddest Terrytoon of all time (as well as Pintoff´s other shorts: THE VIOLINIST, THE CRITIC, etc.)
    -All of Shamus Culhane´s and Ralph Bashki´s Paramount cartoons from 1966-67 (so far I just saw recently MY DADDY THE ASTRONAUT on YouTube).
    -A "lost" feature from Spain, SUEÑOS DE TAY-PI (Dreams of Tay-Pi), made in 1951 at the Balet y Blay studios in Barcelona. Sort of a musical revue performed by animals set on a tropical island, it was an all-time flop and had an extremely restricted release; no surviving copy is known.
    -Another "semi-lost" Spanish feature, ÉRASE UNA VEZ (Once Upon a Time) also made in Barcelona in 1950 by Estela Films. This was an adaptation of Cinderella, but due to pressures from Disney who were doing their version of the same tale at the same time, it couldn´t be called LA CENICIENTA (that´s Cinderella in Spanish), hence the title change. Although it was made in color, only a b/w copy has survived.

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  61. Most of my list has been mentioned by others (Williams' Thief, Coal Black, Song of the South, the original Centaur animation from Fantasia), but another on my list that I haven't seen anybody else mention yet is "The Sweatbox" documentary done by Trudy Styler's company during the Disney production that became "Emporer's New Groove".

    I still look for it at film festivals and mentions of it online.

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  62. Lots of great entries here! Thanks to the internet, a few of these obscure gems are coming to light. Most of the ones I can think of have been posted here already. A widescreen DVD of "Cats Don't Dance" with extras would be really great! I will also vote for Mysterious Cities of Gold, one of my all-time favorite shows. If you do a google search for "Tim Skutt" you can find a great quality DVD set in english.

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  63. 1.) The Bloom County Christmas special, A Wish For Wings That Work.

    2.) Another vote for Richard Williams' A Christmas Carol. I have it on VHS from ABC Films but it needs to be put out on DVD somehow.

    3.) Fred Stuhr's college-era shorts, plus an acknowledgement from Tool that he, not Adam whatshisface, was the director of Tool's first two videos, "Sober" and "Prison Sex."

    4.) Little Ghost Q-Taro. I don't know why I want to see more of that, but it's very Japanese, very black-and-white, and a lot of anime people got their start on that series.

    5.) Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures on DVD, with commentary by Ralph Bakshi, John Kricfalusi and Jim Smith.

    6.) The Last Days of Coney Island, that "film noir" feature animated film that Ralph Bakshi is working on at his home studio in New Mexico. The clips he showed at Comic Con two years ago were awesome.

    7.) A theatrical re-release, and a decent DVD release (Manga Entertainment botched it when they did it) of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise.

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  64. My holy grail is would be a uncut and subtitied Mach GO GO GO.

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  65. An animated version of the Japanese fable "The Stonecutter" often played as filler on 1950's television. It was exquisite, richly designed with Hindu designs and just as detailed in its story content. There have been a few versions made of the story since then, but none ever compared to the original.

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  66. I've been seeking and not finding vintage stop motion Japanese animation. For instance Mochinaga's own works. I saw a series of stop motion Japanese folk tales as a child on PBS that I don't know the animators of.

    Teasingly I saw an exhibition of Tadanari Okamoto where they had some original figures, and some okay but not really good quality VHS playing on small monitors and a wonderful yet frusterating illustrated book, you know, why not have a DVD to go with the book, but no.

    There is a Kihachiro Kawamoto DVD out but I guess I didn't really take to his style. I've also been wanting to see "Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors" for a number of years.

    I don't know the legal issues, but Japan now has an anything before "Godzilla" is public domain copyright law. So probably cheap and questionable quality DVDs will start to flood some markets. Last week I was seeing "Snow White", "Cinderella", etc for under $5 in most places in Tokyo selling DVDs. But of course that sort of situation never encourages good looking image quality.

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  67. Wow, I'm amazed by all the responses with this post. I guess I've touched on a special topic here.

    Should I put all these Holy Grails in a special post? That way everyone could resort back to it, perhaps?

    Let me know.

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  68. Clay,

    Could the camel sequence have been from Williams' "Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure"?

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  69. I second Yuriy Norshteyn's feature film "The Overcoat" - although technically it's not really lost as he's still working on it, he's been at it for over 20 years, and the unfinished film has been screened in various places. I saw a few clips of it in various documentaries and it looked amazing. Even better than "Tale of Tales". Not amazing in the "look how many polygons there are" kind of way, amazing in the sense of a complete mastery of a rarely-used technique. Norshteyn's character animation is trully among the best I've ever seen. I talked to Kihachiro Kawamoto at the OIAF, and he told me that Norshteyn is getting funding from Suzuki (head of Ghibli) at the moment. Strange as it may seem, there seems to be some optimism that he may actually finish his film in a few years. Now that would be an event!

    Second on my list is a restored version of "The Thief and the Cobbler", though I think for the foreseeable future we'll have to make do with Garret's DVD. A proper restoration would cost a lot of money (many original materials were thrown away by the Asian studios which were sent them after Williams was kicked out), and Richard Williams himself wants nothing to do with it (he's working on a new feature, apparently - maybe if THAT'S successfull, the money will come).

    Third, I'd love to see the feature films of Karel Zeman, who's considered to be one of the founders of Czechoslovakian animation. English-subtitled versions are quite hard to find.

    Fourth, anything by Quirito Cristiani (this has been mentioned already) - he created not only the world's first animated feature, but also the first animated feature to have synchronized sound in 1931. All of his films are thought to be lost now.

    Fifth, the remaining short films of Lotte Reiniger. The DVD of 1926's feature film "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" is widely available (beautiful film), but nothing else by her is. A German-language DVD collection of her work has already been released, but I wish somebody would make an English-language set.

    Sixth, a proper restoration and DVD release of the USSR's first feature-length traditionally-animated film, "The Lost Letter" (1945 - propavshaya gramota).

    Seventh, an English-subtitled DVD release of "The King and the Mockingbird", which is apparently one of the most influential animated films (certainly within France). The French have this very annoying habit of not giving their best films international releases.

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  70. Re Maureen's post above, here are places to see James Whitney's Lapis (and Yantra) - there are prints in the collections of Center for Visual Music (LA), Academy Film Archive (LA), Centre Pompidou (Paris). CVM and Pompidou have new preserved prints (not for distribution, on-site only). At present, Lapis is scheduled to be in the Whitney Museum, New York's Summer of Love exhibition, beginning May 2007 for 4 months. In 2005 it was screened for many months as part of the Visual Music exhibition at MOCA LA & the Hirshhorn.

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  71. Nope...This was around 1969 or 1970 that I saw it, and it was part of an otherwise live-action feature. I think it was a story that a mom was reading to her kid(s). I'm going to guess from what little I can remember that it was probably from the late 1950's or early 1960's. (I have the Raggedy Ann film btw) Thanks for the guess, though!

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  72. Japanese animé LITTLE PRINCE & THE EIGHT HEADED DRAGON.

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  73. The lost Total Television production "Here Come The Beagles". Apparently, the editor of this show was working on them and died, and his widow threw out all the master negatives. Sad.

    "The Alvin Show": The Bagdasarian family finally has their property back, so one might hope this delightful show would be on DVD shelves in the near-future, hopefully UNREDUBBED! You listenin', Rossie Jr.?

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  74. Totoro by Studio Ghibli

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  75. The impression I get reading these reponses is that there is no single Holy Grail of Animation. One person's "I've never seen this and I must have it on DVD" is another's "I have a bootleg or I caught it on YouTube and that's good enough for me". Any Holy Grails I list are drawn from my personal preferences, and aren't necessarily something I think the whole world needs or wants to see.

    I would rather like to see "Song of the South" again and I have some sort of vague fantasy of having all the Disney features on DVD lined up in chronological order someday. But I hontesly dothink that will happen in my lifetime. A director's cut of "The Theif and the Cobbler" would be cool also, though I kind of wonder if it would really resolve all the story issues of the "Arabian Knight" cut. Having just recently learned of them, I'd love to see the fabled Goldbreg "Calvin and Hobbes" footage and the William's "Christmas Carol", especially the latter. And I'd really dig seeing whatever exists of the "Bone" movie, assuming that the film is indeed stuck forever in the bowels of development hell.

    Additionally, I have two personal Holy Grails, that haven't been mentioned here yet. One is a short oil on glass film called "Korova" ("The Cow") which I believe comes from Russia. I saw it in one of my first animation classes in college and was struck by how beautful it was. Unfortunately, the VHS it was released on sells for way more money than I'm willing to spend to see it again. The other Holy Grail is something I'm not even certain exists. Back when the "Fantasia" sequel was still in early production, Glen Keane apparently pitched a sequence set to Beethoven's Ninth. Of course, when "Fantasua 2000" actually came out, the Beethoven selection was the Fifth Symphony with the triangle butterflies. Nonetheless, interviews I read suggested that Keane was pretty determined to do his "Ode to Joy" sequence, even going so far as to say he'd do it without Disney involvement. I'm sure there's at least some concept work in existence (though it's sadly absent from the DVD) and if it's out there, I'd dearly love to see it.

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  76. Several people mentioned wanting to see the Richard Williams' version of "A Christmas Carol". While it certainly deserves a DVD release , there is a fairly good print posted on Google Video. If you download it directly from Google Video (instead of watching it in the GoogleVideo flash movie player) you'll get a pretty decent mp4 movie version that plays well in Quicktime.

    Go to Google Video and search for Richard Williams A Christmas Carol .

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  77. I am still waiting to see "Great (Isambard Kingdom Brunel)" (1975) - it won the best animated short Academy Award and I have wanted to see it again since seeing it in the 1970's - it was a similiar to Schoolhouse rocks with great victorian type animation and catchy songs....

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  78. I remember watching a cartoon in grade school about electricity. The main character was named Reddy Kilowatt. Apparently the cartoon was produced by Walter Lantz in 1947.

    Also, "Clerow Wilson and the Miracle of P.S. 14", (1972), directed by Corny Cole and produced by DePatie/Freleng. Flip Wilson growing up in Jersey City in the late 1930s!

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  79. For years I had vague childhood memories about this show. It was an Anime show about three aliens who come to earth and disguised themselves as Rabbit, a Duck and a Horse.

    Before the internet I used to ask about this show at conventions and such but no one had ever heard of it.

    For a long time I wondered if the show really had ever existed at all but thanks to internet I finally found out about it on the Toon Tracker website. The show was called the Amazing Three. The Aliens had been sent to earth to decide if the war-hungry Earth is a threat to the rest of the galaxy and should be destroyed or not.

    According to the Toon Tracker website: The Amazing 3 has not been released on video, as the existing 16mm prints as well as the audio tracks has been lost or destroyed in the US, but there could still be some in the archives of television stations or collectors' homes around the world. There seems to be no record of where the 16mm prints were distributed

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  80. The World Beneath Us which was the cartoon shown at Disneyland featuring the story of oil. From what I have seen, some nice Eyvind Earle backgrounds and some Ward Kimball caveman animation.

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  81. I'd have to vote for the Fleischer's Mr. Bug Goes to Town, better known as Hoppity. A friend had a VHS tape of the classic, but I never got to see it. The backgrounds look fantastic. Paramount sacked Max and Dave in (I think) 1942, so it was never released. Being a feature, it's not likely to be on Youtube any time soon.

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  82. I've always been curious about the work of Quirino Cristiani, particularly El Apostol and Peludopolis. Even if the animation and story are reputed to be nothing remarkable, they're both landmarks of a sort.

    But there's pretty decent evidence that there are no prints extant anywhere. So looking for those really is like questing for the Holy Grail.

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  83. My personal "holy grail" is Terry Gilliam's "The miracle of flight". Does anyone know where it can be seen?

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  84. The Mysterious Cities of Gold is available on DVD in North America as Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or. It is widely available in my city in French. In fact, I have never seen it in English.

    Although it's been mentioned repeatedly, I'd like to see a definitive cut of The Thief and The Cobbler because I think I'd enjoy it, and moreso The Song of The South so I could stop hearing about it. I don't think it should be suppressed, but I've heard some rather insensitive comments over the years responding to why people might not like some of the imagery. It's a big tradeoff for 30 minutes of animation. When I was 7 or 8, the movie was released and my parents did not allow us to go. I still think they did the right thing at the time.

    There is a lot of emotional wear and tear around The Song of the South for me, but it should be available to people. Release it and end the controversy, but then it will be time to deal with the consequences. Now people old enough to be my children might be watching it and my friends will have to make the related choices about how to discuss it with them.

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  85. Sara, Aleksandr Petrov's earlier paint-animated films (including "The Cow", "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" and "The Mermaid") are available on the French DVD of "The Old Man and the Sea" (his Oscar-winning 1999 film).

    Search for it at places like chaletfilms.com or amazon.fr. The cover looks exactly like the English-language version of this DVD, but the English one does not contain his earlier films - it only contains the Oscar-winning film as well as the short Hemmingway documentary that it was paired with in IMAX theatres.

    There are no English subtitles, unfortunately.

    I remain hopefull of a DVD release of Petrov's works in English eventually, because he's recently completed an amazing-looking film called "My Love" that I hope will get him some more recognition. Check out a few scenes from it over here:
    http://www.pascalblais.com/it_petrov_08.html

    By the way, the Thief and the Cobbler is really worth watching, even by downloading it from Google video (click the "download for PSP/video iPod" link - the wonderfull restored DVD version is also available on some torrent sites). You will not believe how much better it is than "Arabian Knight". If you've only seen "Arabian Knight"... just trust me on this. I saw "Arabian Knight" for the first time after seeing Garret's restoration, and it was tortuous - absolutely, absolutely horrible.

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  86. What about any of the footage from the early "Black Cauldron" years. Burton, Dejas, Ron/John & co. had to have completed some pencil tests. Plus the reported completed footage personally edited by Jeffery K. himself. (I picture him with these oversized PeeWee scissors & Elmer's paste)

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  87. One film I've wanted to see for years was Hanna Barbera's "Rock Odyssey" only because my girlfriend worked on it as an animator.(she also claimed to have modeled for the main character.) As far as I know, the finished film was a mess (she told me that a lot of people involved in the production were on drugs at the time)and it was never released, although it was shown a few times at special screenings.

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  88. Since most of the Censored 11 are in public domain, can't somebody easily make a DVD of them?

    Personally, I'd like to know or find proof if Gary Panter ever showed my old Captain Saucers to Matt Groening way back when. There's a good possibility that I'm an unsung influence on Futurama. Just ask Polly Phemus...

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  89. For those 80's survivors who remember Boston/Cambridge's Off the Wall theater (RIP), I actually remember them showing not only Coal Black on the bigscreen, but the Lost ending of Warner's "Heckling Hare" at one festival:
    Bugs and the dog screech to a stop, say "Nyah, fooled you, didn't we?", turn...and promptly walk off a SECOND cliff--The cartoon fades out as they plummet toward the camera again. (Tex reportedly intended them to fall three times, but the studio had enough.) It exists, it must be out there somewhere!

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  90. On my must see list, for starters: Richard Williams' "The Little Island"; Hugh Harman's "A Rainy Day" and the 'Bosko' "Happy Harmonies"; Bob Godfrey's "Alf, Bill & Fred"; The Gene Deitch Terrytoons (Gaston, Silly Sidney, The Fabulous Fireworks Family, Flebus & The Juggler of Our Lady) - in cinemascope, please; hard to find U.P.A. titles, such as "Willie the Kid", "Georgie and the Dragon" and "Fudget's Budget", as well as seasons one and two of the "Gerald McBoing Boing Show"; Hubley's "Old Whiff" (the only toon in "smellovision"); the George Pal adaptations of Dr. Seuss ("It Happened on Mulberry Street and "The 5,000 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins"); a restored version of Bunin's "Alice in Wonderland" AND the Columbia Color Rhapsodies (especially if they're all as good as Iwerks' "Skeleton Frolics"). There are a slew of oscar-winners that have never made it to video (e.g. "Is It Always Right To Be Right?"; "The Crunch Bird"; "Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature"); also some Zagreb studio curiosities ("Tup Tup" and "The Game", both oscar nominated) and Ofuji's "Ghost Ship" and "The Whale" (the latter admired by Picasso). There's more! Ward Kimball's Monty Pythonesque "It's Tough to be a Bird" and the rest of the hold-outs from Disney ("Lorenzo", "Dali", "Redux Riding Hood" and "Donald in Mathmagic Land"); "Winds of Change" (Metamorphoses) with the original music score and/or a decent wide-screen transfer of the American release (with narration by Peter Ustinov and funky disco score by Costandinos) - and Jean Image's "Jeannot l'Intrepide (Johnny the Giant Killer) - complete, newly remastered and in French. Gene S.

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  91. For me the Holy Grail is a long list but it can be summed up in one word, "Oscar". I was kind of surprised that no one mentioned Academy Award winners other than Dan Goodsell and esn.

    Go to Wikipedia and look at the list under "Academy Award for Animated Short Film". Let's not make things hard on ourselves and since it might be hard to find the winners on DVD alone, can you find them all on DVD or VHS? Too hard? How about online? Let's not worry about finding them for either download or YouTube separately, can you find all the winners using both combined? Let's make it even easier, including all the sources named above, then adding TV and theaters and skipping all the nominees, how many have you seen? Remember that at one time these short films were considered the greatest achievment in short animation for the year they were made. Because they have won the highest award a film can win and being beautiful works of art, you'd expect the world would be flooded with them, instead of being ingored (e.g. Mr. Magoo, Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom) or outright banned (e.g. Three Orphan Kittens, Der Fuehrer's Face).

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  92. Steve StanchfieldDecember 19, 2006 5:30 AM

    This is a great list! As an animation collector and producer of DVDs, a lot of those films above were on my wish list for a lot of years...

    My holy grails are almost all strange or lost cartoons. If I coudl have had access to those Romer Grey drawings I would have shot them- I wonder if that guy still has all of those....

    The film collectors (and Ebay) have helped make a lot of the really rare stuff available- sometimes a rare print is about the only way to see soem of these things...

    My current Holy Grails are:
    *The rest of the KINEX studio shorts (strange stop motion shorts produced especially for Kodak's home movie market in 1928-1930)
    *Goofy Goat by Ted Eshbaugh, in COLOR. First of the lifelong missions.
    *The missing Disney Oswald cartoons
    *A complete sound print (including those strange outtakes) of Les Elton's MONKEY DOODLE (and ANYTHING else Les Elton did)
    *Daffy Ditty Cartoons by Frank Tashlin
    *That color print of TEAPOT TOWN by Ted Eshbaugh (I know where it is, but getting it is the hard part!)
    *Mintz' Toby the Pup cartoons (a life long mission!)
    *The recolored MUTT AND JEFF and BUGOFF feature (no one has this, but Milton Knight discribed it to me years back as having live action belly dancer footage mixed in with the recolored cartoons- I can't even imagine what this looks like..)
    *The Soundtrack for 'An Egyptian Gyp' (a 'colortone' cartoon from 1930)
    *The rest of Cartoon Films, Inc. Commercials

    Steve Stanchfield Thunderbean Animation

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  93. Great post, and great comments!

    Of all the ones I've read, I'd say the one true "Holy Grail" is Here Come the Beagles, mentioned by Cap'n Quisp. Can you imagine? An entire TV series, lost to the sands of time...

    Nearly all the other "grails" mentioned can be found either on YouTube, Google Video or on bootleg DVDs (including such "lost" titles as Linus the Lion-Hearted and The Amazing 3). It might take a little searching, but it's out there, Scully. Ain't technology grand?

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  94. Y'know, I'll just bet some 16mm copies of "Here come the Beagles" episodes are still out there somewhere.
    For what it's worth there's an albums worth of Beagles tunes as bonus tracks (for some reason) on a Banana Splits Bootleg CD I see at conventions from time to time. The music is very beatle cartoons-era inspired, though in all honesty the majority of the songs aren't all that great.

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  95. As a mere artist who one day hopes to see his work move and come to life, 2 Holy Grails for me;

    1) The Selfish Giant, already mentioned earlier.

    2) Simple Gifts. An hour of approx. 7 shorts, each relating to the season in some way, each animated by different people. My fave, The Great Frost, from Virginia Woolf's Orlando..like Vogue covers from the 20's come to life. Ran 2wice on PBS in the early 80's

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  96. My "Holy Grails" run towards the modern, but there are certainly a few:

    Song of the South and the uncut Fantasia-Thanks to the Treasures, I can honestly say that these are the only "forbidden" Disney films I have yet to see that aren't readily available.

    The Lantz library-Other than an old Woody Woodpecker record (which I still have on hand, but no record player), I have never seen a single Lantz cartoon (the only major Golden Age studio I wasn't exposed to as a kid, no less).

    Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies-Unlike most, I tend to enjoy the Filmation canon (though mostly Fat Albert and their action-adventure shows), but this special strikes me as so odd that I need to see it before I die.

    The Filmation canon (such as it is)-What is out there on DVD (except the Star Trek animated series) is sourced from PAL (since Hallmark supposedly destroyed the 35s for their chunk of the Filmation library) and edited, which drives me batty. While it's certainly not a priority to most, I'd like to see these restored to their proper speed and without any edits.

    The original Fat Albert special-Bill Cosby apparently disliked the original special greatly, so it's likely not to resurface. But it would be nice to see why he disliked it so much.

    Dungeons & Dragons as aired on DVD-Besides the ridiculous music replacement, the DVD set lacked the proper intros and credits for each episode (with the second season intro included being a fuzzy PAL transfer), and most of the "Today, on D&D" trailers not present. I for one would like to know just how Marvel and CBS tried to tease "The Dragon's Graveyard", which had the heroes going out to kill Venger, the series villain.

    The DePatie-Freleng Spider-Woman and Fantastic Four cartoons-Within a few years of these shows being produced, Friz retired, and DePatie-Freleng was bought out by Marvel and became an action-adventure studio (with most of Friz's old animators credited as sequence directors on all of Marvel and Sunbow cartoons). I'd like to see these shows to understand just what Marvel liked, and how a studio heavily slanted towards comedy was able to switch gears so quickly and completely.

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  97. What? No "Bambi vs Godzilla"? Guess I'm an animation buffoon ;)

    --Rock
    (Ward's computer geek cousin)

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  98. This version of The Thief and the Cobbler misses one of the most amazing scenes in the movie, which I saw on English television when I was visiting London in the fall of 1988. I suspect it was an episode of "The South Bank Show" hosted by Melvin Bragg. Anyway, the scene must have been an expanded version of the atmospheric but very short introduction that the recobbled version starts with. In it, one has the powerful, incantatory narration while looking from a distance at the golden city. The camera or shot moves into the city in an amazing, surreal, hallucinatory and spiralling way, as if created with the most complex dolly shot in all of history, although it's all done by animation, of course. It was absolutely magical. I thought the narrator for that scene was Vincent Price, which would explain the drawings of the wizard's hands which one sees in the recobbled version's opening.

    If I had to review the film: First of all, it's great to see this masterpiece, or the remains of a masterpiece, in some sort of recognizable form. I saw the execrable American butchering in the 1990s, and every moment, every second of that made me squirm with displeasure. Here, I'd say that the best parts are the scenes of evil, with their deep, saturated colors and visionary power. The comical and heroic characters generally have a cutesy feeling, and a lot of the shots of the golden city, all candy-colored pastel and soft-focus drawing, look rather dated in a 1960s/1970s way. But the scenes of evil are undying classics.

    If you are not burning a CD and you simply want to view the movie, you only need to download 4 .vob files from the numerous files in the bittorrent: vts_01_1.vob, vts_01_2.vob, vts_01_3.vob, and vts_01_4.vob. That should save you some on download time.

    Then you might want to do what I did, which was to convert the .vob files to .mpg files. I used my free file conversion software from eRightSoft, and then watched the files with Windows Media Player, which all worked out fine.

    If someone has better movie making software than I have, or is more skilled than I am, maybe it would be a good idea to make the four .mpg files, then splice them together and then post the film as a zipped file at Rapidshare.

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  99. Really fascinating thread. I'd love to see the uncut "Black Cauldron". I met Andreas Deja at a screening of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood, and he told me that he wouldn't be surprised about an eventual release, which appeased me and yet simultaneously made me even more anxious for a release of it.


    Another ultra-rare Disney artifact is Tim Burton's 1982 Disney Channel film "Hansel and Gretel", which was aired only once and is primarily animated from what I've read.

    "Escalation" is a great pick.

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  100. "Black Cauldron" underwent so many revisions and changes that it would be difficult to define where one production ended and the other began (I wouldn't mind seeing some of the work Don Bluth, John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman did on that film).

    I was lucky enough to see Burton's "Hansel and Gretel" short on the Disney Channel (but I don't have it on tape, unfortunately). It was a live-action film (with some animated effects).

    Re: "The Beagles". There are prints of at least three complete episodes floating around (two in black and white, one color), and an entire episode was apparently posted to Google Video (but has since been pulled). FYI.

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  102. Re: Amazing 3 (W3)
    It seems that the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art was able to screen the opening episode of The Amazing Three this past April. So maybe there are other episodes hidden away somewhere...

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  103. I as able to finally get a copy of The Box from Fred Wolf Films for the project.

    I was able to find all the animations except for one:

    35 - 1966 - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature - John Hubley and Faith Hubley, Producers

    We contacted Emily Hubley directly but she's busy working on her first feature film and has basically
    closed herself off to the world. I did contact the Library of Congress, and the Archives, and they both
    only allow the 16mm film to be viewed on premises!

    If you have any knowledge on where we can find a copy please get in touch with myself
    at kittysafe(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thank you!

    Jonathan

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  104. You can buy alot of old 'lost' cartoons at BuyoutFootage.com under classic cartoons http://buyoutfootage.com/pages/pd-toons_a.html, but it takes some searching. Song of the South and Coal Black are available on eBay occasionally. I bought Coal Black.

    For a long time a B&W wartime cartoon with carrier pigeons was my grail, until I found it and bought it on a Daffy Duck wartime collection. Mati Hari is a curvy foreign pigeon working for the Nazis to intercept American carrier pigeons to seduce them to get their messages. She kisses a dopey pigeon for an uncomfortabley long time, melting him into butter. As a kid, this was the hoottest thing I had ever seen on TV (in the 1970s). She looks something like Jessica Rabbit, with hair over one eye and a leg garter. She was probably the inspiration for Jessica.

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  105. another vote for "the Great" animated docu-com about Brunel and a plea for SOMEONE to have a copy of Lorenzo Music's "Carlton your doorman" cartoon which CBS showed only once...
    ah, the memories

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  106. I would love to be able to see a animated short that we saw in the 80's on HBO. It would often be shown at the end of the cartoon "Dot and the Kangaroo". It was called "Learning to Walk" or "Learning How to Walk". We often speak of this cartoon at family gatherings. It is amazing how something we saw so long ago is still etched in so many of our memories.

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  107. The "true" Holy Grail is a "RED" lion title card "Droopy's Good Deed"! This is the only original version, and it contains a short scene of Spike holding an obese black woman in his arms after he saved her from the burning house. All other versions are "re-issues" and have been modified from the first release.

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  108. Hi!,
    If anyone knows anything that can lead to finding a color print of "Erase una vez... La Cenicienta" (Estela Films, Spain, 1950), or any trace of its distribution outside the country of origin, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Irela

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