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Creator: Van Beuren Studios

Van Beuren Studios (pronounced Van Burr-en, by the way), lasting from 1928 to 1936, is the least known cartoon company of The Golden Age of Animation, yet its brief history is dotted with interesting films and major animation talents.

If asked what Van Beuren Studios was famous for, most people today would probably look at you with a blank stare, not knowing that the little known production company also helped lead the pack when it came to classic cartoons of their time.

Van Beuren Studios was started by an upstart named Amadee J. Van Beuren. Paul Terry was also involved in the studio’s history, but later left to start his own production company, called Terrytoons. Van Beuren’s most recognized characters were called “Tom and Jerry,” but bear no relation to the cat and mouse characters released by MGM Studios eight years later. Their success was modest, yielding 26 cartoons in all. Aesop’s Fables, the studio’s other front runner gave rise to the now not so recognizable Cubby Bear, one of the series’ stars.

Walt Disney Studios had already made a splash with music and sound effects in their early toons, and Van Beuren promised to follow suit and do the same later on. The producers hired Disney veterans Burt Gillett and Tom Palmer to create a new series in hopes of jump-starting the B-list studio’s reputation. The somewhat well-received series was called “Rainbow Parade”, a series of lavish Silly Symphonies clones, also starring licensed characters like "Toonerville Folks" and "Felix the Cat".

Despite the studio’s mild successes during its waning years, it was forced to closed its doors when RKO Radio Pictures decided to release Walt Disney cartoons, rather than those produced by Van Beuren.

—description cited from Toonjet.Com.

Like many non-Disney/Warner Bros. cartoon studios, critics and historians generally tend to give Van Beuren the footnote treatment, writing off the cartoons as cheaply produced drivel—but this isn't quite true. For all the sloppy animation and one-note characters, there are some inspired gags here and there, as well as some very good musical scores provided with each cartoon. Despite this, many of the shorts were scattered and lost for a long time, due to their public domain status and lack of care. The fact that the studio's role in the History of Animation was very minor and tangential compared to the other studios didn't help. Fortunately, thanks to recent DVD collections, especially from Thunderbean, the bulk of this studio's sound output is available on DVD for viewing. Research copies of the entire Van Beuren sound output are available for animation historians on Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research website.

Works of the studio:

  • Aesop's Film Fables
  • Cubby Bear
  • Amos N' Andy
  • The Little King
  • Tom and Jerry: No, this isn't the cat and mouse duo we're talking about here. note 
  • Toby the Pup: Van Beuren took over production of this short-lived series after the Charles Mintz studio abandoned it.
  • Burt Gillett's Toddle Tales
  • Rainbow Parade: A series of lavish color cartoons, starring such fare as Molly Moo-Cow, Parrotville, and Toonerville Trolley.
  • Felix the Cat: Three of the Rainbow Parade shorts were centered on him in an attempt to revive the series and give Van Beuren a true star character. Unfortunately, Felix lost all of his established personality and was turned into a stock Funny Animal.

     Sound Film Filmography 

1928

  • Dinner Time: Dec. 17 Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry

1929 (all copyright dates)

  • The Faithful Pup—May 4—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry, Harry Bailey
  • Concentrate—May 4—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • The Jail Breakers—May 6—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Woodchoppers—May 9—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Presto Chango—M Ay 20—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Custard Pies—May 26—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Skating Hounds—May 27—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Stage Struck—June 25—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Bug House College Days—July 23—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • House Cleaning Time—July 23—Aesop's Fables—John Foster
  • A Stone Age Romance—August 1—Aesop's Fables—No Credit
  • The Big Scare—August 15—Aesop's Fables—Paul Terry
  • Jungle Fool—September 15—Aesop's Fables—John Foster, Mannie Davis
  • Fly's Bride—September 21—Aesop's Fables—John Foster
  • Summer Time—October 11—Aesop's Fables—John Foster
  • Mill Pond—October 18—Aesop's Fables—John Foster
  • Barnyard Melody—November 1—Aesop's Fables—John Foster
  • Tuning In—Nov. 7—AF—no credits
  • Night Club—Dec. 1—Aesop's Fables—John Foster, Mannie Davis
  • Close Call—Dec. 1—Aesop's Fables—Harry Bailey

1930

  • The Iron Man—Jan 4—Aesop's Fables—Foster
  • Ship Ahoy—Jan 7—Aesop's Fables—Foster
  • Singing Saps—Feb 7—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Sky Skippers—Feb 14—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Good Old Schooldays—March 7—Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Foolish Follies—March 7—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Dixie Days—April 8—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Western Whoopee—April 10—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • The Haunted Ship—April 27-Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Noah Knew His Ark-May 25, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Oom Pah Pah—May 30, Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Bugville Romance—June 8—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • A Romeo Robin—June 22—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Jungle Jazz—July 6—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Snow Time—July 20, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Hot Tamale—Aug 3—Fables—Foster
  • Laundry Blues—Aug 17—Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Frozen Frolics—August 31—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Farm Foolery—Sept. 14, Aesop's Fables—Foster
  • Circus Capers—Sept. 28—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Midnight—Oct. 12—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • The Big Cheeze—Oct. 26—Fables—Foster
  • Gypped in Egypt—Nov. 9—Fables—Foster, Davis
  • The Office Boy—Nov. 23—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Stone Age Stunts—Dec. 7—Aesop's Fables—Foster
  • King of Bugs—Dec. 21—Fables—Foster, Bailey

1931

  • Toy Town Tales (AKA Toyland Adventure) Jan 4-Aesop's Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Red Riding Hood—Jan 18—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • The Animal Fair—Feb 1—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Cowboy Blues—Feb 15—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Radio Racket—March 1—Fables—Foster
  • College Capers—March 15-Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Old Hokum Bucket—March 29, Fables—No credits
  • Cinderella Blues—April 12, Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Mad Melody—April 26, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • The Fly Guy—May 10, Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Play Ball—May 24, Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Fisherman's Luck—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Pale Face Pup—June 22—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Making 'Em Movie (AKA In a Cartoon Studio)-July 5, Aesop's Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Fun on the Ice—July 19—Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Wot A Night—Aug 1, Toma nd Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Big Game—Aug 3—Fables—No credits
  • Love in a Pond—Aug 17—Aesop's Fables—John Foster, Mannie Davis
  • Fly Hi—Aug 31—Fables-Foster, Bailey
  • Polar Pals—Sept 5—Tom and Jerry, Foster, Rifle
  • The Family Shoe (AKA The Golden Goose)—Sept. 14—Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Fairyland Follies—Sept. 28—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Trouble—Oct. 10—Tom and Jerry, Foster, Stallings
  • Horse Cops—Oct. 12—Fables, Foster, J.J. Mc Manus
  • Cowboy Cabaret—Oct. 26, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • In Dutch—Nov. 9—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Jungle Jam—Nov. 14—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Rufle
  • The Last Dance—Nov. 23—Fables—no credits
  • A Swiss Trick—Dec. 19—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings

1932

  • Toy Time—Jan. 27—Aesop's Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Rocketeers—Jan 30—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Rufle
  • A Romeo Monk-Feb. 20—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Rabid Hunters—Feb 27—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Fly Frolic—March 5, Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • The Cat's Canary—March 26, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • In the Bag—March 26, Tom and Jerry—Foster, Rufle
  • Joint Wipers—April 23—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Magic Art—April 25—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Pots and Pans—May 14, Tom and Jerry, Foster, Rufle
  • Happy Polo—May 14—Fables—No credits
  • Spring Antics—May 21—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • The Tuba Tooter—June 4—Tom and Jerry, Foster, Stallings
  • Circus Romance—June 25—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Plane Dumb—June 25—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Rufle
  • The Farmerette—June 28—Faboles, Foster, Bailey
  • Stone Age Error—July 9—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Redskin Blues—July 23—Tom and Jerry-Foster, Stallings
  • Chinese Jinks—July 23—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • The Ball Game—July 30, Aesop's Fables—Foster, Rufle
  • Wild Goose Chase—Aug. 12, Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Jolly Fish—Aug. 19—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Nursery Scandal—Aug. 26—Fables—Foster, Bailey
  • Bring 'Em Back Half-Shot—Sept. 9, Fables—Foster, Davis
  • Barnyard Bunk—Sept. 16—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Rufle
  • Down in Dixie—Sept. 23—Fables, Foster, Baileu
  • Catfish Romance—Oct. 7—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • A Spanish Twist—Oct. 7—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Feathered Follies—Oct. 21, Fables, no credits
  • Venice Vamp—Nov. 4—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • Piano Tooners—Nov. 11—Tom and Jerry, Foster, Rufle
  • Hokum Hotel—Nov. 18—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Pencil Mania—Dec. 9—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Pickaninny Blues—Dec. 12—Fables, Foster, Davis
  • A Yarn of Wool—Dec. 16—Fables, Foster, Bailey
  • Bugs and Books—Dec. 30—Fables, Foster, Davis

1933

  • Tight Rope Tricks—Jan 6—Tom and Jerry—John Foster, George Rufle
  • Silvery Moon (AKA Candy Town)—Jan 13—Aesop's Fables—John Foster, Mannie Davis
  • A.M. To P.M.—Jan 20—Aesop's Fables (Sentinel Louie)—Harry Bailey
  • Tumble Down Town—Jan 27—Aesop's Fables—John Foster, Bailey
  • The Magic Mummy—Feb 7—Tom and Jerry—Foster, Stallings
  • Opening Night—Feb 10, Cubby Bear—no credits
  • Panicky Pup-feb 24, Tom and Jerry—Foster, Bailey
  • Love's Labor Won—Mar 10, Aesop's Fables-Foster, Davis
  • The Last Mail—March 24, Cubby, Davis
  • Happy Hoboes—March 31, Tom and Jerry—Stallings, George Rufle
  • Puzzled Pals—March 31—Tom and Jerry—George Stallings, Frank Sherman
  • Runaway Blackie—April 7—Cubby-Bailey
  • Hook and ladder Hokum—(AKA Fire Fire)—April 28Tom and Jerry, Stallings, Tish Tash (AKA Frank Tashlin)
  • Bubbles and Troubles April 28—Cubby—Davis
  • A Dizzy Day-May 5—Aesop's Fables—Harry Bailet
  • Barking Dogs—May 18—Aesop's Fables—Mannie Davis
  • In the Park—May 26—Tom and Jerry—Frank Sherman, George Rufle
  • The Bully's End-June 16, Aesop's Fables—Bailey
  • Indian Whoopee—July 7—Aesop's Fables—Davis
  • Doughnuts—July 10—Tom and Jerry—Sherman, Rufle
  • Fresh Ham—July 12-Aesop's Fables-no credits
  • Rough on Rats (AKA Scat Cats)—July 14—Aesop's Fables—Bailey
  • The Phantom Rocket—July 31—Tom and Jerry—Sherman, Rufle
  • The Nut Factory—Aug 11—Cubby—Davis
  • Cubby's World Flight—August 25—Cubby—Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising
  • The Fatal Note—Sept. 29—Little King—No Credits
  • Cubby's Picnic (AKA Picnic Problems)—Oct. 6—Cubby—Muffati, Eddie Donnelly
  • Marching Along—Oct 27—Little King, James Tyer
  • The Gay Gaucho—Nov. 3—Cubby—Rollin Hamilton, Tom Mc Kimson
  • On the Pan—Nov. 24—Little King—No credits
  • Galloping Fanny (AKA Gallping Hooves)—Dec. 1—Cubby—Muffati, Donnelly
  • Pals (a.k.a. Christmas Night)—Dec. 22—Little King—James Tyer
  • Croon Crazy-dec 29—Cubby—Steve Muffati

1934

  • The Rasslin' Match-Jan 5—Amos n' Andy—George Stallings
  • Jest of Honor—Jan 19—Little King—Stallings
  • Sinister Stuff (a.k.a. Villain Persues Her)—Jan 26—Cubby Bear—Steve Muffati
  • The Lion Tamer—Feb 2—Amos N' Andy—Stallings
  • Jolly Good Felons—Feb 16—Little King—Stallings
  • Goode Knight—Feb 23, Cubby—Stallings
  • Sultan Pepper—Mar 16, Little King, Stallings
  • How's Crops? (A.K.A. Brownie's Victory Garden)—Mar 23, Cubby—Stallings
  • A Royal Good Time—April 13, Little King, Stallings
  • Cubby's Stratosphere Flight-April 20—Cubby, Stallings
  • Art for Art's Sake—May 11—Little King—Stallings
  • Mild Cargo (A.K.A. Brownie Busk the Jungle)-May 18—Cubby—Stallings
  • Cactus King—June 8—Little King—Stallings
  • Fiddlin' Fun—June 15, Cubby Bear—George Stallings
  • Grandfather's Clock—June 29,—Toddle Tales—Gillett, Jim Tyer
  • Pastry Town Wedding—July 27—RP—Gillett, Eshbaugh
  • Along Came a Duck—Aug 10—Toddle Tales—Gillet, Steve Muffati
  • A Little Bird Told Me—Sept 7—Toddle Tales—Gillett, Tyer
  • The Parrotville Fire Department—Sept 14—RP—Gillett, Steve Muffati
  • Mischevious Mice—Cubby Bear—Unreleased—Harman and Ising

1935

  • The Sunshine Makers-Jan 11, RP, Gillett, Ted Eshbaugh Runner-Up on Jerry Beck's 50 Greatest. Cartoons list.
  • Parrotville Old Folks—Jan 25, RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Japanese Lanterns—March 8,RP—Gillett, Eshbaugh AKA Chinest Lanterns
  • Spinning Mice—April 5—RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Picnic Panic—May 3—RP, Gillett, Palmer
  • The Foxy Terrier—May 31—RP, Gillett
  • The Merry Kittens—May 31—RP, Gillett, Shamus Culhane
  • Parrotville Post Office—June 28—RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Rag Dog (ALA Three Little Kittens)—July 19—RP—Gillett
  • The Hunting Season—Aug 19—RP (Molly Moo Cow)—Gillett, Palmer
  • Scottie Finds a Home—Aug 23—Rainbow Parade—Gillett
  • Bird Scouts—Sept 20—RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Molly Moo Cow and the Indians—Nov. 15, RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Molly Moo Cow and the Butterflies—Nov. 15, RP—Gillett, Palmer
  • Molly Moo Cow and Rip Van Winkle—Dec. 17, RP—Gillett, Palmer

1936

  • Toonerville Trolley—Jan 17—Rainbow Parade—Gillet, Palmer
  • Felix Goose—Feb 7, RP, Gillett, Palmer
  • Molly Moo Cow and Robinson Crusoe—Feb 26, RP—Gil, Palm
  • Neptune Nonsense—March 20, RP, Gil, Palm
  • Bold King Cole—May 29, RP, Gillett
  • A Waif's Welcome—June 19, RP—Palmer
  • Trolley Ahoy—July 3—RP (Toonerville Trolley)—Gillett
  • Cupid Gets His Man—July 24, RP—Palmer
  • It's a Greek Life—August 2, Rainbow Parade—Dan Gordon
  • Toonerville Picnic—October 2—RP—TV Troll—Gillett

Tropes related to the studio:

  • Animation Bump: Once Burt Gillett got to the studio, the animation improved considerably over the previous shorts.
  • Beary Funny: Cubby Bear.
  • Body Horror: In a scene in a Tom and Jerry short, where they are visiting the Swiss Alps, they eat a strange kind of cheese that causes swiss cheese like holes to open up in their body!
  • Brawn Hilda: Katrinka in the Toonerville Trolley series.
  • Butt Monkey: Mr. Bang in the Toonerville Trolley series.
  • Captain Ersatz: Milton Mouse, who was an obvious ripoff of Mickey Mouse. Incidentally, by the time of "Hot Tamale", Milton looked identical to another Mickey Mouse clone: Foxy, of Warner Bros. cartoons. As with Foxy, Walt quickly got wind of Van Beuren's ripoff and forced them to never use Milton again. This didn't stop them from creating another, less blatant ersatz of Mickey, called Cubby Bear.
  • Cute Kitten: "Merry Kittens".
  • Distressed Damsel: Cubby Bear's love interest Honey, who seems to exist only to be rescued by Cubby.
  • Everything's Better With Cows: The "Molly Moo Cow" shorts.
  • Expy: Their Tom and Jerry were just human versions of previous Van Beuren characters Waffles the Cat and Don Dog.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang in the Toonerville Trolley series.
  • In Name Only: Only the earliest Aesop's Fables cartoons were loose adaptations of the actual Fables; later entries usually revolved around cats, mice, and the disgruntled Farmer Al Falfa.
  • Public Domain Animation: All of their cartoons have fallen into the Public Domain, which made it easy for Thunderbean to re-release them once they found the best source materials available.
  • Sissy Villain: The Butterfly Professor from "Molly Moo Cow and the Butterflies".
  • Sudden Anatomy: Molly Moo Cow's feet can turn into hands whenever the situation calls for it.

Toon Us InProducersVIFX

alternative title(s): Van Beuren Studios
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