OutOfOdor
2021-01-09T15:24:54Z
This is a list compiling the various cartoons bootlegged by the pirate distributor Astra TV/Cinepix Inc./Cinema-Vue for television sometime in the 1950s, and released as part of their "Whimseyland" package*. According to industry trade publications, 150 cartoons were at least initially included as part of this package - although, per those same publications, the company added cartoons to the package over time. One quick squib in an issue of Variety from 1956 reveals the library was expanded to about 350 black-and-white cartoons and 52 color shorts (including some Mutt and Jeffs, more than likely likely the redrawns released by "Modern Film Sales"/Screen Attractions in the 30s).

In addition to distributing the cartoons as a stand-alone package to television stations, the Astra/Cinepix outfit also packaged various holiday-themed cartoons in their package into a hour-long special called "Jingle Dingle's Christmas Party", featuring a puppet character by that name who introduced said cartoons. A 16mm print is known to exist in the collection of Mark Kausler, but the special itself is not currently online for my viewing. The company also planned to distribute cartoons featuring Dutch cartoonist Marten Toonder's "Tom Puss" character, but these cartoons aren't the concern of this thread, and I'll direct you to an article linked at the bottom of this post about those.

Some years after the distribution of this package, many prints from the Astra collection were acquired by NY entity Radio and Television Packagers and were used as the source prints for a good deal of the infamous redrawn colorized versions of various cartoons prepared for their "When Funnies Were Funny" package.

Mention must be briefly made of a company called Screen Attractions, a predecessor to this outfit and run by the same person who later founded Astra, Morris Kleinerman. Many of the films included in the "Whimseyland" package (like the Mutt and Jeff and Pat Sullivan "Charley" cartoons) were previously handled by this previous venture of his, either released to theaters or as prints for home use. This outfit was also the one that released the colorized versions of the silent Huemer-era "Mutt and Jeff" cartoons in the 30s.

The print of "Egyptian Daze" (actually "Mummy O'Mine") R&TVP used for their redrawn version even features the text "A Screen Attraction" on its end slate, and it's more than likely that whenever a cartoon was distributed by them, it's a sure bet it was eventually included as part of this package.

Anyhoo, now that we've gotten the Astra backstory out of the way, here's the list!

(*A company known as Brumburger also distributed a series of cartoons under the "Whimseyland" name, and featuring the exact same graphics on the cover as the 16mm Whimseyland boxes I've seen before. However, these were 8mm prints meant for home use, and a closer inspection of the cartoons offered suggests a closer relationship with the home movie companies Atlas Films and Carnival Films, judging by the titles listed. I have no idea what the relationship Brumburger must've had with Astra, but these cartoons will not be listed despite the exact same brand name as the Astra package.)

A Duck Came Along = "Along Came a Duck" (Van Beuren, 1934) (likely)
A Fireman's Life = "Hook and Ladder Hokum" (Van Beuren, 1933)
A Fox Gets Caught = ??? (unknown European cartoon. )
A Good Time = ???
A King’s Christmas = “Christmas Night” (Van Beuren, 1934)
African Daze = ???
African Safari = "On the Pan" (Van Beuren, 1934)
Alaska Daze = "Snow Time" (Columbia, 1932)
Animal Rhythm = "Alaskan Knights" (Columbia, 1930)
Baby Sitting = ???
Batter Up = "The Magnetic Bat" (Fables Studios, 1928)
Bunk and Bunk = "Barnyard Bunk" (Van Beuren, 1933)
Cat in Toyland = ??? (most likely "Felix Trips Thru Toyland" [Sullivan, 1925])
Cats and Cats = "Cats in a Bag" (Terry, 1936)
Charley at the Circus (Pat Sullivan, 1918)
Cholly Polly (Columbia, 1942)
Christmas Up North = ???
Cigar Store Indian = ??? (Maybe "The Last Indian" [Terrytoons, 1938])
Cinderella = “Once Upon a Time” (Audio Productions, c. 1937)
Country Boy Rabbit = “Country Boy” (WB, 1935)
Day at the Circus = ???
Dog Missing = “Dog Gone” (Mutt and Jeff, 1926)
Egyptian Daze = “Mummy O’Mine” (Mutt and Jeff, 1926)
Felix on the Water Wagon = combo of "Woos Whoopee" and "Whys and Otherwise" (Sullivan, 1930 and 1927 respectively)
Felix Revolts (Pat Sullivan, 1923)
Felix Seeks Solitude (Sullivan, 1926)
Felix Seeks the Future = "Futuritzy" (Sullivan, 1928)
Felix Trumps the Ace (Sullivan, 1926)
Goats and Whiskers = “Billy Goat’s Whiskers” (Terry, 1937)
Heavenly Daze = “Koko’s Paradise” (Fleischer, 1926)
Home Sweet Home = ??? (Maybe the Bubble and Squeak of the same name?)
Icy Daze = ???
Imitation Kitty = ??? (possibly "Copy Cat" [Fleischer, 1941])
Invisible Revenge (Mutt and Jeff, 1925) (Presuming this is originally an Astra print, by way of the "Charley at the Circus" music appearing in this.)
Junior Camera Bug = ???
The Lady in Red (WB, 1935) (retitle unknown, if any)
Lumberjack = “The Saw Mill Mystery” (Terry, 1937)
Magazine Rack= “I Like Mountain Music” (WB, 1931)
Mexicalli Lilly (Boyd La Vero "Marty Monk" cartoon, 1932)
Midnight Frolics (earlier prints)/Midnight Follies (later prints) = "We're in the Money" (WB, 1933)
Midsummer Day Dream = "Bosko’s Woodland Daze" (WB, 1931) (possibly also distributed under the latter name as well, given the print sourced for the R&TVP redrawn has the original name accompanied by Astra's fanfare)
Misses His Swiss = “Felix Misses His Swiss” (Sullivan, 1926)
Missing Links (McCrory "Life Cartoon Comedy", 1926)
Mister Do-All = “Jack from All Trades” (Sullivan, 1927) (A 16mm print with Screen Attractions has also been sighted of this cartoon, titled "Jack of All Trades".)
Moonlight for Two (WB, 1932) (I know of no print with Astra titles, but Goopy Geer is prominently featured on the graphic seen on extant "Whimseyland Cartoons" boxes. R&TVP's print calls it "Barnyard Frolics", but until an Astra/Cinepix print shows up with that title, I'll just label it by its original name.)
Music and Charm = "The Villain Still Pursued Her" (Terry, 1937)
Off to the Races = “Ups and Downs” (WB, 1931)
Old Folks at Home = ??? (Maybe "Parrotville Old Folks"?)
On Duty = “One More Time” (WB, 1931)
Peppers and Peppers ="The Dog and the Bone" (Terry, 1937)
Playful Pup = "His Off Day" (Terrytoons, 1938)
Racing Fever = ??? (TBA McCrory "Life Cartoon Comedy")
Rag Dog (Van Beuren, 1935)
Saddle Daze = "Cactus King" (Van Beuren, 1934)
Sailing, Sailing - TBA Carpenter-Goldman "Sailor Jack" cartoon
Santa's Arrival = ???
Scare Crow and the Wolf = ???
Simon and His Goose = ??? (probably “Simple Simon” [Iwerks, 1935])
Soda Clerks (Mutt and Jeff, 1925)
Spring Cleaning = “Kiko’s Cleaning Day” (Terry, 1937)
Springtime (Disney, 1929)
Swiss Daze = ???
Sunken Treasure = "Felix Braves the Briny" (Sullivan, 1926)
Tee Time (Sullivan, 1930)
The Dancing Bear (Terry, 1937)
The Happy Kittens = ???
The Inventor = “Felix Turns the Tide” (Sullivan, 1922)
The Magic Fish = "The Tale of Emeylia" (Russian cartoon, 1938)
The Magic Lamp = "Maid in China" (Terry, 1938)
The Non Stop Fright (Sullivan, 1927)
The Shanty Where Santa Claus Lives (WB, 1933) (likely retitled, rename unknown)
The Slight Fantastic = "Three's a Crowd" (WB, 1932)
The Scared Rabbit = “The Timid Rabbit” (Terry, 1937)
The Under Dog (Fables Studios, 1929)
Tray for Dog = ??? (Likely "Old Dog Tray" [Terry, 1935])
Tuning In (Van Beuren, 1929)
Wanted a Doggie = "Happy and Lucky" (Terry, 1938)
Where Am I? (Mutt and Jeff, 1925) (B&W version of c. 1934/5 redrawn version)
Zoo Logical = "Bonzo the Dog" cartoon (Geo. Studdy/New Era Films, 1925-6)

In addition, according to archivist Tommy Stathes, Astra duped many Stuart/Guaranteed Pictures reissues of various "Aesop's Fables" by Paul Terry's studio (of which "Batter Up" could very well be). When titles from that package are confirmed to have been including in the "Whimseyland" package at some point, they will be added.

LIKELY:
Aroma of the South Seas
Mixing in Mexico
Slick Sleuths
The Globe Trotters
The Skating Instructors
Westward Whoa (all Mutt and Jeff, 1925-6) (These films were previously handled by Screen Attractions and redrawn by them in the 1930s. It's likely, considering they were in Kleinerman's film inventory when he was compiling this package, that he used either the colorized or original B&W versions in it.)


MAYBE:
"Accidents Won't Happen" (Mutt and Jeff, 1925) (R&TVP print keeps the original titles, but uses the loop of Sharples cues Astra got a lot of mileage out of for background music. Astra has been known to leave the original titles in on occasion [e.g. "Charley at the Circus"] so it's plausible this is one of the rare Astras with the titles intact. Could just be an instance of an anonymous editor at R&TVP lifting these from another print and using them as soundtrack however.)
"Goode Knight" (Van Beuren, 1934) (One Official Films reissue print found on a few public domain cartoon compilations has an Astra end title at the end, but may have been spliced onto the print later on, considering the picture and sound quality on the ET isn't as sharp as the actual cartoon.)

Some of these I don’t have access to the original B&W Astra prints that were used as sources for Fred Ladd’s redrawns, but I can tell they were sourced from this distributor because of the distinctive title cards.

Thanks to Tommy Stathes, S.C. MacPeter and "hidden36" for additions and corrections to this list, and just helpful information regarding these cartoons. Cartoon researcher extraordinary "Don M. Yowp" also deserves a bit of thanks, for his article "The Other Cartoon Tom Cat" , which talks about this fascinating company a bit, and was the source for a good bit of information in this post.
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-09T19:12:46Z
Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 


However, there are a few that I dunno if they're Astra or not:
Batter Up = “Play Ball” (Terrytoons, 1932)
Country Boy Rabbit = “Country Boy” (WB, 1935)
Lumberjack = “The Saw Mill Mystery” (Terrytoons, 1937)
Misses His Swiss = “Felix Misses His Swiss” (Sullivan, 1926)
Off to the Races = “Ups and Downs” (WB, 1931)



The answer is yes, and there were many many dozens if not hundreds of these prints. Astra and Cinepix were the same outfit, simply repackaging things under different names at different times.

nickramer
2021-01-10T05:24:37Z
Weren't those the ones that had that redrawn Felix short where he was colored orange and had odd '70's sounding music added?
PopKorn Kat
2021-01-10T06:15:07Z
Originally Posted by: nickramer 

Weren't those the ones that had that redrawn Felix short where he was colored orange and had odd '70's sounding music added?



Yes, they were indeed.
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-10T06:33:58Z
Originally Posted by: nickramer 

Weren't those the ones that had that redrawn Felix short where he was colored orange and had odd '70's sounding music added?



Put more clearly, it was prints from these TV packages that were eventually used for those redrawns.
kazblox
2021-01-10T16:26:52Z
Batter Up is actually "The Ball Park," directed by Frank Moser and released in May 19th, 1929.
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-10T18:12:20Z
Originally Posted by: kazblox 

Batter Up is actually "The Ball Park," directed by Frank Moser and released in May 19th, 1929.



Indeed it is!
Leviathan
2021-01-10T20:13:06Z
Was "Felix Braves the Briny" in the Astra TV package? that was another silent Felix that got redrawn in Color.
OutOfOdor
2021-01-10T22:12:18Z
Thanks for reminding me! It was, retitled "Sunken Treasure".
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
OutOfOdor
2021-01-10T22:15:02Z
Realized I never included "A Fireman's Life"/"Hook and Ladder Hokum" here, which I'm pretty sure is an Astra/Cinepix bootleg print....
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-11T00:39:04Z
Anytime you see that specific title card background, absolutely yes. Felix Braves the Briny was "Sunken Treasure" in the Astra package. As I said, that package was the source for the redrawns, and the fake title (and especially the title card design) is a giveaway.
OutOfOdor
2021-01-11T01:10:59Z
There's also this end title, another tell-tale sign of an Astra print:
UserPostedImage

It appears Ladd or his editor took some music on his redrawns directly from the Astra prints. Their usual opening fanfare music can be heard in "Spring Cleaning" and "Bosko's Woodland Daze", and the music in "Invisible Revenge" shows up in their print of "Charlie at the Circus". The sequence of Sharples tracks heard in "Accidents Will Happen" and "Mickey's Follies" can be heard in a few Cinepix and Astra prints. I just dunno if these were on the prints themselves or they just took them from some other Astra print and laid 'em over whatever redrawns they felt like.

I'm guessin' there were a few that were completely silent, hence the new music tracks - although the Astra version of "Soda Jerks"/"Clerks" has some lovely, jaunty stock music in it, while the Ladd redrawn has funky 70s stuff instead.
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-11T18:08:55Z
It was a combination of both...use what was on the prints already, and I'm sure in the case of Soda Jerks, "This is an especially wild cartoon...let's pep it up with some sassy new music cues." But one thing I will say is that sometimes Astra's prints of the same cartoons varied from time to time, with different faked title card designs and different music tracks laid over the same things. It really was a shoddy enterprise. Those minor details didn't really matter to the head honcho (or the public). There was no late 2010s Porky Pig-like concern for such minutiae in that sort of scenario and time period.
OutOfOdor
2021-01-11T22:31:52Z
I would honestly like to think that in the case of "Soda Jerks", they just thought the jaunty stock music heard in the Astra print sounded a bit old-fashioned and they decided to give it more of a wild, kitschy 70s soundtrack to fit with the times, to "pep it up" a little.

Speaking of stock music, Tommy, ever heard of a website called Library Music Themes? They might be able to help with some of the more intriguing, non-Sharples stock tracks used by Astra and other companies.
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-12T00:45:04Z
Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

I would honestly like to think that in the case of "Soda Jerks", they just thought the jaunty stock music heard in the Astra print sounded a bit old-fashioned and they decided to give it more of a wild, kitschy 70s soundtrack to fit with the times, to "pep it up" a little.

Speaking of stock music, Tommy, ever heard of a website called Library Music Themes? They might be able to help with some of the more intriguing, non-Sharples stock tracks used by Astra and other companies.



I don't think I'd heard of it before, but thanks for sharing. Re: Astra again...the print R&TVP secured of Soda Jerks might not have even had the same music track as the one you hear on my YouTube upload. We may never know...and it may never really matter for much! At least we've still got the films in question. 😉
OutOfOdor
2021-01-12T02:28:47Z
Good point. I'm not a seasoned film collector like yourself, so I had no idea about the alternative music tracks and whatnot. Once again, thanks for stopping by.
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-14T07:43:34Z
Screen Attractions is an older incarnation (1930s) of the same company as Astra/Cinepix. There were quite a few Mutt & Jeff and Charley cartoons in the package partly because the company was handling that material as far back as the late 20s and 30s, and didn't just dupe one or two random ones from other sources.

Also, I thought you would like to know that Astra's title for Bosko's Woodland Daze was actually Midsummer Day Dream. I'm not sure why it was corrected for the redrawn.
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-14T07:47:10Z
I noticed R&TVP'S "Toy Shoppe" missing from the list, and Astra's two titles for that short (We're in the Money) were Midnight Frolics (earlier version) and Midnight Follies (later prints).
OutOfOdor
2021-01-15T01:39:41Z
Once again, thanks for dropping in with your insight, Tommy.

Wait, the Astra print of "Bosko's Woodland Daze" is actually called "Midsummer Day Dream?" Huh. Maybe Ladd had access to a different version than the one you have which kept the original name, but that's entirely conjecture.

I'll admit, I wasn't kinda sure as to if "Love Bugs" was Astra or not. Was the "Kiko's Cleaning Day" cue ever used by Astra themselves, or was it just thrown in there and "Cinderella" by Ladd's editor?

About "Screen Attractions Corp."/Modern Film Sales - yes, I'm aware of their connection to Astra and Cinepix. Knowing they distributed redrawn Mutt and Jeffs to theaters in the 30s, makes total sense that they'd include a few of these in the package. Speaking of them, I noticed a few titles listed on your old, archived website as part of one of your Vintage Film DVDs, apparently Screen Attractions prints: "Slight Fantastic" and "Racing Fever" - were these later included in the Astra/Cinepix package, by any chance? I'm also kinda wondering the same about Mutt and Jeff in "Where am I?" The ending music heard in Ladd's version is also heard in a few Astra bootleg prints.

(Speaking of - I swear, there were two 30s redrawn version from Screen Attractions/Modern Film Sales of that short. The one that was included in Ray's set with the peppy 20s jazz in the background, and the version with the (horrid!) ad-libbed dialogue used as the basis for Ladd's 70s version.)

One thing I kinda wonder - are there cartoons that were included in both the Astra package and the Cinepix package?
"With all respect to the great mousetrap."- Popeye, "The Spinach Overture" (1935)
Tommy Stathes
2021-01-16T00:39:26Z
Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

Once again, thanks for dropping in with your insight, Tommy.

Wait, the Astra print of "Bosko's Woodland Daze" is actually called "Midsummer Day Dream?" Huh. Maybe Ladd had access to a different version than the one you have which kept the original name, but that's entirely conjecture.



You bet...and who knows. I wrote to Ladd once about some of these things, and the gist I got from him is that there were lots of small details that didn't matter in the long run and that he might not have remembered anymore.

Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

I'll admit, I wasn't kinda sure as to if "Love Bugs" was Astra or not. Was the "Kiko's Cleaning Day" cue ever used by Astra themselves, or was it just thrown in there and "Cinderella" by Ladd's editor?



From the sounds of it, Love Bugs was probably an Astra print...but those cues were probably messed with by a R&TVP editor. I've never heard strange reuses of specific original film cues in title cards for other things in the older prints.

Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

About "Screen Attractions Corp."/Modern Film Sales - yes, I'm aware of their connection to Astra and Cinepix. Knowing they distributed redrawn Mutt and Jeffs to theaters in the 30s, makes total sense that they'd include a few of these in the package. Speaking of them, I noticed a few titles listed on your old, archived website as part of one of your Vintage Film DVDs, apparently Screen Attractions prints: "Slight Fantastic" and "Racing Fever" - were these later included in the Astra/Cinepix package, by any chance? I'm also kinda wondering the same about Mutt and Jeff in "Where am I?" The ending music heard in Ladd's version is also heard in a few Astra bootleg prints.



If something was a Screen Attractions release, you can bet it was probably in the later TV packages. They were sticklers about keeping, reusing, and duping more and more things as time went on. The more the merrier. I think my Slight Fantastic is a pre-TV print but Racing Fever is a TV-era print. But in short, all of those Mutt & Jeffs were Astra offerings. No question about that.

Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

(Speaking of - I swear, there were two 30s redrawn version from Screen Attractions/Modern Film Sales of that short. The one that was included in Ray's set with the peppy 20s jazz in the background, and the version with the (horrid!) ad-libbed dialogue used as the basis for Ladd's 70s version.)



There was probably only one version of the redrawn picture for these shorts in the 30s, but there were definitely multiple versions of the soundtracks. The tracks might date from different periods, not sure. I think I have two or three with dialogue, whereas those same films are commonly heard with different tracks, sans dialogue.

Originally Posted by: OutOfOdor 

One thing I kinda wonder - are there cartoons that were included in both the Astra package and the Cinepix package?



Not sure if I didn't make this clear enough earlier, but Astra and Cinepix were virtually the same company...meaning most of the material overlapped. If the Cinepix moniker came after Astra or vice versa, this would only mean that more material kept being added to the overall package as time went on.