Michigan-based video distributor Inkwell Images has just released, this week, a set of previously lost Toby The Pup cartoons on DVD and blu-ray. This series of forgotten cartoon shorts – created by famed Disney/Fleischer animator Dick Huemer and produced by Charles Mintz – lasted one season in 1930-31 with twelve cartoons in theatrical release through RKO.
Associate producer Ray Pointer has found five cartoons from the series and coupled them with a brand new 16-minute documentary – narrated by Huemer’s son, with additional input from veteran animator Berny Wolf – which is peppered with several full length examples of Huemer’s animation at Raoul Barre (Mutt and Jeff) and Max Fleischer (Koko The Clown) studios.
Animator/historian Mark Kausler provides in-depth and expert audio commentary for each cartoon, pointing out lots of tidbits, facts and trivia of interest in each scene.
The following season (1931-32) Huemer started a more successful series for producer Mintz, Scrappy, which were released by Columbia Pictures. That series ran for roughly eight years – and has yet to be seen on DVD. The rumor is that Mintz essentially buried the Toby negatives once the Scrappy series began – a series lost to history for over 85 years.