S. C. MacPeter
(This is a long post, lots to take in)

My friend, Tommy Stathes, through his CartoonsOnFilm business) has dun done it again! Here is some news (from Tommy himself) for an exciting premiere on TCM, TOMORROW!

Tommy Stathes wrote:

Fans of our Cartoon Roots home video releases are well aware of our longterm love for silent animation. And now we can show you where that love came from. Before Mickey Mouse: A History of American Animation, a watershed 1982 anthology from documentarian Ron Schwarz, served as many Gen X and millennial film fans’ first look at the earliest cartoon stars and creators. From Krazy Kat to Farmer Al Falfa, Felix, and Koko the Clown—from Max Fleischer to Earl Hurd and Walt Disney himself—Schwarz rounded up an unforgettable group of rarities and rare facts. However, Schwarz' valuable anthology, once a TV standby, has been unavailable for decades. We’re proud to announce that, by arrangement with the filmmaker, Cartoons On Film is bringing Before Mickey Mouse to home video and digital media for the first time!
What can a viewer expect?

• More than a dozen complete cartoon shorts and extended excerpts
• Narrated documentary footage with vintage photos and ephemera
• What, no Mickey Mouse? Nope, like the title says… he really ISN’T here!
...But many other classic cartoon stars are.

​Total runtime: 59 minutes.

Before Mickey Mouse: A History of American Animation (1982) is now available exclusively from Cartoons On Film for streaming outlets, television broadcast, as well as academic use and public screening engagements. Contact us.

This documentary is expected to appear in physical media form as part of our Cartoon Roots series of Blu-ray and DVD releases in late 2023. Stay tuned.

For those wondering how the doc is presented by CartoonsOnFilm, This IG Post  explains all!

Tommy Stathes wrote:

I’ll always remember this day. This morning, I formally acquired the rights to my longtime friend and colleague Ron Schwarz’s seminal documentary, Before Mickey Mouse: A History of American Animation (1982). This included all of Ron’s relevant papers, video, and film materials. Photo of us courtesy of our wonderful Notary Public, who shall remain nameless here!

When I was a little kid in the 90s and already deeply interested in this stuff, I read somewhere that a VHS copy of this doc was held at the Donnell Library on 53rd Street. I had also read that Ron’s doc included The Artist’s Dream (1913), which birthed the animation industry…and was otherwise unavailable to the general public at that time. I just HAD to see this documentary…

So, my mother took me on the Long Island Railroad into midtown Manhattan one afternoon and we made our way to the Donnell. I was ecstatic when we went in, asked for the tape, and a librarian found it for us. Checked it out, took it home, watched in awe—and I promptly made my own VHS dupe for keepers. It’s a story Ron absolutely loves. Thanks be to Mom! 💜

Ron’s film was immensely inspiring to me. It’s been one of many puzzle pieces that factored into what I wound up doing with archival early animation film-finding and more recently, restoration and re-releasing. Ron and I eventually connected (initially through some fierce eBay bidding wars for such cartoons!) in the mid-2000s and we later became friends, enjoying a couple of 16mm screenings at each other’s homes in the ensuing years.

Ron’s film, as far as I can tell, was the first feature-length documentary focusing on a wide variety of silent era animation. It’s an important milestone for that reason alone, and I’m eternally honored that Ron has passed his torch and legacy on to me.

In the near future, you’ll all be able to enjoy the results of a fresh new hi-res scan, one or more TV broadcasts, and the first ever true home video release of the film—some 40+ years after it first debuted!

But this isn't all! After the re-premiere of the documentary (at 5:45 PM EST), expect a batch of 8 classic cartoons from 1922, newly restored! Here's some sneak peek photos below (thanks to Jerry Beck)! Try to guess the cartoons!



Don't forget, it begins TOMORROW, 5:45 PM EST for the doc, and about an hour later for the cartoons!
Nice. I was expexting them to air in the primetime programing block though.
S. C. MacPeter
Sadly think the timeslot would've been out of Tommy's hands, but still definitely a good timeslot. Me thinks the doc will showup on streaming not too long after the airing, so those who miss it may have a chance to see it before it hits home video
Mark Braun
If ANYone catches this streaming, post it! I managed to catch the animation after it aired today; no repeat dates!
S. C. MacPeter
Originally Posted by: Mark Braun 

If ANYone catches this streaming, post it! I managed to catch the animation after it aired today; no repeat dates!

Can happily confirm both programs are on HBO Max, having watched them on the service just now. Those who missed, give them a chance, or another watch!