Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Attention Bob Clampett Fans

Barrier: Just when did you become a director at Warners?

Clampett: At the end of 1936. Leon gave me a color cartoon sequence in a Joe E. Brown feature picture called When's Your Birthday? It featured all the signs of the zodiac as cartoon characters.
The above quote comes from Mike Barrier's interview with Bob Clampett from Funnyworld #12. On Wednesday, April 2, at 7:15 a.m. Eastern time, Turner Classic Movies will be running When's Your Birthday? and I'm looking forward to seeing it for the first time.


Thad said...

Thanks for the alert, Mark. I will definitely try and catch this!

Joe Gannon said...

Did anyone notice that there was a line in the opening credits "Color sequences by Technicolor"? So maybe that cartoon sequence was originally in color, perhaps? Or did I miss the color sequence? Seems like a lousy restoration job if that couldn't restore the color. Or maybe a print or negative with the color in it doesn't exist any more.

Mark Mayerson said...

To combine technicolor and black and white, the prints would have to be spliced together as they are developed using very different processes. My guess is that the initial run proved disappointing at the box office, so later releases of the film didn't bother with the expense of printing and splicing technicolor into the rest of the print and just printed the whole thing in black and white.

David L. Loew was an independent producer who initially released this film through RKO. Who knows if the original materials for this film still exist of if the copy screened on TCM was even restored from a 35mm print? Had Loew been a real studio or sold his holdings to a real studio, it's more likely that the technicolor elements would have survived.

Having seen the film for the first time, I'd have to say that the Clampett footage was somewhat disappointing. It really has the look of his Loony Tunes unit of the time, but the script, which probably originated elsewhere, is weak.