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The Bootleg Files: The Juggler of Our Lady

BOOTLEG FILES 594: “The Juggler of Our Lady” (1957 Terrytoons animated short).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It’s just one of those things that slipped through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It would be lovely.

Among the major animators of the post-World War II period, Gene Deitch had one of the most erratic careers, with output that ranged from memorable (the Oscar-winning “Munro”) to excruciating (the near-unwatchable feature “Alice of Wonderland in Paris”) to mind-boggling (those disturbing Tom and Jerry cartoons from the early 1960s). Deitch first gained prominence in the early 1950s at the United Productions of America (UPA) studio before moving to Terrytoons, where he became creative director. At the time, Terrytoons turned out a series of noisy and frenetic works that lacked the artistic polish of Disney or the subversive wit of the Warner Bros. output. Indeed, even Deitch would ruefully admit that his studio “made the most gross and grotesque cartoons in the galaxy.”

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The Bootleg Files: Detective Felix in Trouble

BOOTLEG FILES 580: “Detective Felix in Trouble” (1932 Japanese amateur animated short).

LAST SEEN: A video of this rare film is online at the Japanese Animated Film Classics website.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The unauthorized use of the Felix the Cat character.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.

Today, it seems that anyone with a video camera and a mania for popular movies can make their own fan film based on the latest multiplex hit. But the concept of the fan film is not new, by any stretch. The earliest known fan film was a 1925 short “Anderson’s Own Gang Comedy,” a South Carolina-lensed riff on the Our Gang series.

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