Saturday, 20 December 2014

Somewhere in Dreamland - [Max Fleischer's Color Classics series] - [1936]

Sources: wiki/

Somewhere in Dreamland was a 1936 film based on the titular song. This film was part of Max Fleischer's Color Classics series. The film was produced by Max Fleischer, directed by Dave Fleischer, and was animated by Fleischer veterans Seymour Kneitel and Roland Crandall.[1]


A young brother and sister carry a wagon with pieces of wood, gathering them for their stove. They pass by five merchants' shops: a tinker's, a tailor's, a toy merchant's, a butcher's, and a baker's. The children see confectionaries at the window. They lick the window to pretend they're tasting the cupcakes. As he sees the children, the friendly baker comes out with cupcakes for them, but they already left. The merchants gather to make a plan because they want to help those poor children. The children reach home, and they are welcomed by their mother with a kiss. Then, they eat dinner: hard bread and flat water. The children eat quickly, with the boy saying "I'm still hungry, Ma." She then cries, because they are very poor, due to the Great Depression. The boy tries to make her feel better by assuring her that he was "only foolin'" and their mother kisses them good night. They get in their pyjamas, and they each sing a part of the song, as they fall asleep beneath their very tattered sheets. She turns off the candle light, and goes to bed so sadly.
In their sleep, they enter a land with a welcome sign, an arch of pillows with the word "Dreamland". They walk happily through the wondrous land, which includes trees where they can pick beautiful clothes and shoes, a syrup river, an ice cream cone field with lilies pouring chocolate and caramel syrups, an animal cracker carousel with doughnuts, a field of popcorn-making corn stalks accompanied of flowers filled with melt butter to dip the popcorn in, wonderful toys, and two luxurious beds. They laugh happily, and fall asleep, only to wake up the next morning. To their surprise, a large feast is on the kitchen table, provided by the Merchants. They ask, "All for us?" The merchants say, "All for you." They shout in joy, but the boy sticks a fork on his bottom, to check if they weren't dreaming again. The children then laugh as a chorus sings "Somewhere in Dreamland, tonight."

Song's lyrics

I'll see you somewhere in dreamland
Somewhere in dreamland tonight
Over a bridge made of moonbeams
We'll find our clouds are silver lined
Each little star in the cosmos
Shining our welcome so bright
Dreams will come true for me and you
Somewhere in dreamland tonight


  • This cartoon is available on numerous public domain cartoon compilation DVDs and VHS tapes, but some of the included prints omit the first three minutes of the cartoon, instead starting with the children singing "Somewhere In Dreamland" in their beds before going to sleep.
  • Some copies of Somewhere In Dreamland circulate with NTA openings and closings, with the "in TECHNICOLOR" and "COPYRIGHT 1936 PARAMOUNT PRODUCTIONS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED." bylines censored with a black bar on the main title card, while others circulate with original Paramount openings and closings. This is one of very few Color Classics to widely circulate with original Paramount title cards, whereas the rest had to have their openings digitally recreated.
Color Classics Series Fleischer Studios Run time: 8:56 

Released in 1936, this enchanting film offers a prime example of Max Fleischer’s patented set-backprocess (sometimes erroneously called the ‘stereoptical process’). Using this pioneering system in which animation cels were filmed against actual 3-dimensional sets, Fleischer animators were able to create a depth of field and lushness unique to animation at the time. 
This was also the Studios’ first film using three-strip Technicolor; a complex process that involved an overhaul of the entire machinery and processing of filming. Although the process, invented by Herbert Thomas Kalmus, had been in use for a few years, Disney had secured exclusive use of the process through 1935.
The film's story, in turn both moving and playful, follows two impoverished children who go to bed hungry and dreaming of a better life, and awaken to find their dreams come to life. In contrasting the daily hardships of urban life with the magical enormity of a child’s fantasy world -- full of delicacies and delights --Somewhere in Dreamland creates a moving and poignant portrait of life in Depression-era America.
Rather brilliantly, the animators increase the impact of this contrast by waiting until the Dreamland sequence to take full advantage of the magical, 3-D effect created by the set-back process. To see this, pay attention to how the flat, somewhat monochromatic background of the film's early urban scenes gives way to the expansive and more intricately detailed layers and colors of Dreamland.
The title song, with music by Murray Mencher and lyrics by Charles Newman, was written specifically for the film.  
Somewhere in Dreamland

I'll see you somewhere in dreamland
Somewhere in dreamland tonight
Over a bridge made of moonbeams
We'll find our clouds are silver lined
Each little star in the cosmos
Shining our welcome so bright
Dreams will come true for me and you
Somewhere in dreamland tonight
The film is part of the Color Classics Series that started in 1934 and continued for seven years. A total of 36 films were produced for the series and two were nominated for an Academy Award: Best Short Subject (Cartoons): Educated Fish (in 1938) and Hunky and Spunky (in 1939).
Directed by
Dave Fleischer
Produced by
Max Fleischer
Adolph Zukor (executive)
Voices by
Mae Questel
Music by
Murray Mencher
Charles Newman
Animation by
Seymour Kneitel
Roland Crandall
Distributed by
Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
January 17, 1936
Color process
Running time
8 minutes 55 seconds

Patent drawing for the set-back process


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