YMMV / Van Beuren Studios

  • Acceptable Targets: The Cubby Bear episode "Indian Whoopie" which is based around once acceptable stereotypes of North American Natives.
  • Archive Panic: 189 sound cartoons alone, and 347 silent Aesop's Fables films (although how many still exist isn't known).
  • Channel Hop: Of the pre-TV variety; Felix was previously made by the Pat Sullivan studio and distributed by at least five different companies (Paramount, Winkler, Educational, First National and Copley Pictures). By 1936, Van Beuren licensed the character for their studio, and for that brief period they were distributed by RKO Pictures.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • In "Sultan Pepper", the scene where the Sultan visiting the Little King drags off the fattest woman in his Harem to be shot off-screen because "13 is bad luck."
    • In "A Dizzy Day", there's a scene where Sentinel Louie seemingly goes to the rescue of a woman being beaten up by her husband. What does he do when he gets to the house and finds her husband beating her up? He KOs her with a punch and shakes hands with her (surprised) abusive spouse before walking off.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • In "The Fatal Note", the Little King, despite his childish personality, turns out to be more than willing to fight his own assassin head on, duels with him and comes out on top in the end.
    • Meta-example; despite never receiving an Academy Award nomination and being a virtually forgotten studio with no real acclaim going for it, "The Sunshine Makers", by sheer miracle, was nominated as a runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons list.
    • Another real life, serendipitious moment of awesome is that in spite of how neglected the films are, virtually all of their sound films have survived the ravages of time in some form, and this allowed the studios Image Entertainment and the cartoon studio Thunderbean to go out of their way to find the best existing source material for the cartoons, and give them the best possible restoration efforts, on par with any Disney collection, and release them on home video to the public—all for what was considered a second rate cartoon studio that's been gone since 1936! And then Thunderbean announced they're giving these short films a pristine blu-ray release...
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: One of the best things about the cartoons is Gene Rodemich's rich musical scores. Take for instance the use of "Siamesische Wachtparade" and "Siamese Patrol" in "Toy Time" (1932), the opening Moonlight Bay number of "Silvery Moon" (1933), and the Cab Calloway-esque "Kickin the Gong Around" number in "Fly Frolic" (1932). Winston Sharples would take over his position late in the studios life, and he also brought wonderfully rich music scores to his shorts.
  • Cult Classic: The shorts have a surprisingly large fan following for such an esoteric studio (to where an entire facebook group for the studio shares billing alongside Terry Toons), due in part to how easy it has become to view all the cartoons, and the surreal, Fleischer-esque qualities of the pre-1934 shorts. Also helping is that Thunderbean has restored and re-released much of their library on DVD, and is planning on releasing them in blu-ray format as well.
  • Ear Worm: The cowboy song number in the Tom & Jerry short "In The Bag", especially the part where the duo starts scat singing—it will get stuck in your head.
  • Ending Fatigue: The ending of "A Close Call". The films conflict is wrapped up a little over halfway through the cartoon, and the rest of it its runtime before the "Aesop" is a very slow paced wedding scene for the protagonists.
  • Follow the Leader: This was Van Beuren's greatest weakness as a studio; while their animation was as off the wall as you could get, their cartoons were very derivative of what other studios were doing, and they were clearly handicapped by their inability to create unique characters. Many of their early 30's cartoons take their surreal cues straight from their next door rival Fleischer Studios; "The Farmerette" even has an obvious Betty Boop stand in, even voiced by one of her actresses, Bonnie Poe. One of their sound fables, "Panicky Pup", is an obvious knockoff of Fleischer's "Swing, You Sinners!" Their Tom and Jerry is a flaccid attempt at a Mutt and Jeff-esque duo, and their Milton Mouse and Cubby Bear, as well as their interpretation of Felix the Cat, are obvious Mickey Mouse knockoffs. Their Toddle Tale and some of their Rainbow Parade cartoons ride off the coat of Disney's Silly Symphonies series.
  • Growing the Beard: Zigzagged. It's generally agreed that the studio made a substantial upgrade in it's production values from 1934 and onward, due in part to slicker inking, larger budgets which allowed more polished animation and an upgrade to Technicolor, thanks in part to the studio bringing in Disney alumni Burt Gillett, who had previously directed the hit short Three Little Pigs. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Toonerville Trolley shorts, the cartoons became substantially less entertaining and more derivative of Disney as a side effect, and the studios inability to create a hit character series still lingered to where they started adapting hit comic strips of the day instead (and Gillett reeked havoc on the studio internally due to his blatant personality flaws and indecisive, perfectionist directing style). And then RKO ironically cancelled their distribution contract in favor of screening the Disney shorts anyway, abruptly sending the studio to its grave in 1936.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the Aesop's Fables shorts from 1930, centered around a robot, is called "The Iron Man".
    • Before Waffles and Don Dog being reinvented and renamed as the characters Tom and Jerry, Waffles (Tom's precursor) was in fact a cartoon cat, not unlike the more famous Tom Cat.
    • Winston Sharples was the composer for all of the Rainbow Parade cartoons, among them being the three Felix the Cat shorts made by the studio. Fast forward 23 years later, and he would become the regular composer for the Trans-Lux Felix the Cat cartoons.
    • In "A Little Bird Told Me", the name of the newspaper the protagonist bird works for is called the Birdville Daily Bugle.
  • Padding: In "A Dizzy Day", the scenes where Sentinel Louie and his horse run and swim to get to their destinations is used twice in a row (although its flipped sideways the second time), and because its roughly 40 seconds of animation that adds nothing to the film, it just feels like a cheap shortcut done to pad out the cartoons length.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: A criticism of some of the Gillett era Van Beuren shorts, most notably his short lived Toddle Tales shorts and shorts like "Pastrytown Wedding".
  • Uncanny Valley: The clock with a real life human face in "Grandfather's Clock". It looks downright creepy!
  • Values Dissonance: More than a few of their cartoons feature racist depictions of African natives, African-Americans, Native Americans and other ethnic groups, and some cartoons like "A Dizzy Day" and "Sultan Peper" feature very sexist gags too.
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