Monday, January 19, 2009

Proof that I'm a big-time nerd (or "All that effort for nothing")

I was going through YouTube few weeks back and I discovered that somebody has uploaded most of the "Blue Racer" cartoons there.



For those not in the animation geek circle, "The Blue Racer" was a 1972-74 animated series that was produced by DePatie-Freleng for theatrical release via United Artists. By 1960s studios stopped making short cartoons for theaters but Freleng continued to push more through until the end of the seventies. The Blue Racer was one of the last to be made for theaters.

As for what it was about, it's sort of a reverse Road Runner, in that it's the predator that was fast. In this case, it was a snake named Blue Racer, who was always after a racially-insensitive Japanese Beetle.

The cartoons, looking back, aren't great. The characters never shut up and most of the gags are reused from the old Warner Bros. cartoons.

The reason why I'm writing about this is because of the extreme lengths I went into finding copies of these cartoons. Few years back there was very little available on the internet regarding this series (there wern't even any information on who directed these shorts!). It rarely aired on television, if at all, as the snake seemingly disappeared after its theatrical run ended.

Since I like tracking down rare cartoons, I decided to try and find these cartoons. I searched and searched and finally found a German copy of one of the shorts. Soon after I found a faded 16mm print, which I spent $$$ on (and I spent more $$$ converting it to DVD). Then I found a 35mm theatrical print, which costed MORE $$$.

Finally, Jerry Beck discovered the DePatie-Freleng website I was running at the time and he got me to assist on his Pink Panther book. In exchange I got time-coded copies of several BR shorts. Around the same time a cartoon fan from England had some BR shorts taped from BBC.

All in all I probably spent tons of money just tracking down some BR shorts. But I had a growing collection and I was beginning to know more and more on who worked on these cartoons.

Then, and out of nowhere, Boomerang, Cartoon Network's sister channel, suddenly started airing Blue Racer cartoons on their Pink Panther block. Just months after I got the BBC copies. It was all of a sudden and I did NOT expect this.

It took me a while for me to realize that I could've saved money if I had just waited a couple years. I never got Boomerang but somebody thankfully recorded all 17 of them for me.

All that effort, and it was mostly for nothing.

Maybe I'll do the same thing with "Calvin and the Colonel".

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