A Van Beuren Production

A History of the 619 Cartoons, 875 Live Action Shorts, Four Feature Films and One Serial of Amedee Van Beuren


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About the Book

Prolific American film producer Amedee J. Van Beuren (1879-1938) did not start out in the film industry. After a decade spent in business and advertising, Van Beuren turned his intellect and creativity towards acquiring a foothold in film and began building his empire. He is best known to animation fans for his bizarre cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s, featuring such zanies as Molly Moo Cow, Cubby Bear and Tom and Jerry (not the cat-and-mouse duo). But the majority of the 1,499 films produced by Van Beuren between 1918 and 1937 were live-action short subjects—travelogues, comedies, musicals, sports reels and more. His roster of star performers included Bert Lahr, Shemp Howard, Ethel Waters and (indirectly) Charlie Chaplin. Van Beuren also made several feature films starring legendary big-game hunter Frank Buck, and a 12-episode serial headlining horror icon Lon Chaney, Jr. Capped by a complete list of his films, this engrossing chronicle of Amedee Van Beuren’s vast output is the first all-inclusive history of one of moviedom’s most successful and least-known filmmakers.

About the Author(s)

Hal Erickson is the author of numerous media-related books and was for many years a primary editor of the All-Movie Guide website. He lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Hal Erickson

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: 63 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8027-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4098-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Introduction: Amedee Van Beuren (and a Cast of Thousands) 3
1—Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew 23
2—Topics of the Day 31
3—Ernest Truex 41
4—Animated Cartoons, Part One: Aesop’s Fables 46
5—Henry and Polly 61
6—The Grantland Rice Sportlights 64
7—Walter Futter’s “Curiosities” 74
8—Smitty and His Pals 79
9—The Song Sketches 90
10—The Vagabond Adventures 95
11—Animated Cartoons, Part Two: Tom and Jerry, Cubby Bear, The Little King, Amos ’n’ Andy 108
12—Floyd Gibbons Supreme Thrills 119
13—The Liberty Short Short Stories 123
14—Frank Buck: Bring ’Em Back Alive (1932); Wild Cargo (1934); Fang and Claw (1935) 127
15—The Charlie Chaplin Mutual Comedies 142
16—The Last Frontier (1932) 150
17—The Van Beuren Musical Comedies 157
18—The Dumb-Bell Letters 169
19—Animated Cartoons, Part Three: Burt Gillett and the Rainbow Parades 175
20—Adventure Girl (1934) 185
21—Easy Aces 193
22—Struggle to Live 199
23—Sports with Bill Corum 204
24—World on Parade 209
The Van Beuren Filmography 217
Selected Bibliography 233
Index 235