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Aesop's Fables by Van Beuren

2003? Felix the Cat in "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg" on DVD Video Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome and Nancy Drew...Reporter. The Felix the Cat cartoon is copyrighted 1936 by the Van Beuren Corporation. $2 at Target, Santa Rosa, Nov., '05. 

There is not much reference to the fable in this pleasant cartoon. Felix has Goldie churning out golden eggs, from which he makes coins that he gives out to people. Captain Kidd steals Goldie and takes her to sea. Felix shoots himself onto the captain's ship and rescues here. In the last scene, he uses canons to fire coins to the townspeople. Good fun.


2004 Cartoon Craze.  DVD.  Taiwan: Digiview Productions.  $3.99 from oddestnotions on Ebay, Oct., '17.  Two extra copies. 

Here are eight Van Beuren cartoons from about the 1930's, starting with "Close Call," "Dizzy Day," and "A Toytown Tale."  As generally is the case with Van Beuren "Aesop's Fables" cartoons, they are not really from traditional Aesopic material.  They are described in the cartoons themselves as "sugar coated pills of wisdom."  As is true of cartoons more broadly, there may be more going on underneath the cartoon's surface – politically and philosophically – than is immediately apparent.


2005 The Golden Age of Cartoons: Aesop's Fables: Cartoon Classics from the Van Beuren Studio, Volume 1. Thunderbean Animation. DVD reprint of cartoons from 1930 through 1933. $8.93 from Thunderbean, Ann Arbor, MI., April, '08.

There are, as in Volume 2, sixteen "Aesop's Fables" cartoons on this DVD.  There are also engaging bonus features, including, for example, a side by side comparison of a sequence from "Toy Time" with an earlier cartoon.  I tried "Gypped in Egypt" and "The Farmerette" and found them fun but harmless.  I had trouble accessing a number of the bonus materials. 

2009  Aesop's Fables: 21 Classic Cartoons.  Alpha Video Classics: Alpha Home Entertainment.  $10 from an unknown source.

Might this dvd of 21 "Aesop's Fables" cartoons by Van Beuren Studios between 1929 and 1933 be related to the 2009 dvd "Aesop's Fables from the Van Beuren Studio, Volume 2"?  "Toy Time," as on our dvd "2004 Cartoon Craze," remains a classic as two mice frolic through a toy store, playing with toys and then using them to terrorize the attacking cat.  I also tried the first two cartoons on the disc.  "Happy Polo" breaks animals down into machines and has separable parts frequently coming together again.  A romantic interest between two mice is interrupted by an intruding cat.  Even goalposts take on characteristics of humans and machines!  "Summertime" has animals playing plants as orchestral instruments.  The animation in these cartoons is by our standards rudimentary.


2009 Aesop's Fables from the Van Beuren Studio, Volume 2. Thunderbean Animation. DVD reprint of cartoons from 1928 through 1933. $12 from Thunderbean, Ann Arbor, MI., June, '10.

There are sixteen "Aesop's Fables" cartoons on this DVD. I tried three of them and enjoyed them. They are a curious mix of fantasy, song, dance, and mayhem. My favorite here is "A Toy Town Tale" from 1931. Toys come alive, march around, get into fights, and fall in love. An apparently frequent feature of the cartoons involves imaging animals in their geometric parts and letting them come apart and get back together. At least one cartoon, "Presto Chango" from 1929, does have an Aesopic element: a final saying allegedly from Aesop and supposedly summing up the cartoon. This DVD has some nice additional features, including views of an Aesop's hanky book -- unfortunately without the hanky! -- and an array of buttons, many of which I have collected. Theirs may even be a full display.