Charlie Horse “It’s a Grand old Nag”
Several criticisms have been posted online on the quality of the print included of the Charlie Horse cartoon in the lost works section of Beany and Cecil The Special Edition Volume 2. We felt that it was important to clear the air of all the speculation on the subject.
“It’s a Grand Old Nag” was originally planned to be one of the two key pieces in the lost works section of the 2000 release of Beany and Cecil The Special Edition Volume 1. We approached Republic Pictures the rights holder at the time, but they were unable to locate any version of the film in their library. What was surprising was that they still required a payment of several thousand dollars to clear the footage even without their own physical possession of the film.
We decided that the cost would adversely affect other aspects of the project and that we could not afford to include “It’s a Grand Old Nag” on B & C The Special Edition Volume 1.
By the time we were considering whether to move ahead and release Beany and Cecil The Special Edition Volume 2 in the latter part of 2008 we had learned that Paramount Pictures had purchased the Republic library and was the new rights holder. We contacted Paramount to try to find acceptable terms to clear the footage. Paramount did a search and also could not locate any elements of the cartoon. Due to the fact that Paramount could not locate any elements and also because as they described “It’s a Grand Old Nag” as a one shot cartoon with no other ancillary value, we were not charged any rights clearance fees.
We did try to check through various online film archive databases but never found any 16 or 35mm negatives of the film and no 35mm prints of the film. We decided to move ahead with our fallback position of using the family archival 16mm print.
(A little history on the print used)
In 1962 nearly fifteen years after he made the cartoon, Bob Clampett contacted Republic Pictures asking to purchase a print of the film. As he pointed out in a letter to Herbert Yates, Clampett wanted to be able to show his son Bobby and daughter Ruthy one of the color cartoons he had made years earlier.
Republic did fulfill Clampett’s request. Clampett did screen it for his kids and later showed it occasionally (particularly when requested) at University presentations. Although it wasn’t run frequently over the years, the film stock has not aged well. The color in the film stock did not hold particularly well, certainly a result of age and also the fact that the reel had been moved several times into different storage facilities with different levels of climate control.
We felt that because “It’s a Grand Old Nag” was Bob Clampett’s last theatrical cartoon, it was important enough to include on this edition. If anyone is aware of any superior surviving print, please let us know about it.
Another reason to include material from “It’s a Grand Old Nag” is that Bob Clampett kept the original pencil test from the film. We are proud to include this the only pencil test that we have ever seen from one of Bob Clampett’s films.