The Toys are Alive! - Thurs. July 23rd - 8PM

Oddball Films presents The Toys are Alive!, an imaginative, inspiring, and slightly creepy program of 16mm short films and animation full of antique playthings come to life. From the miniature circus of Alexander Calder to stop-motion animation and bizarre educational films, rediscover your early obsession with sentient toys.  Marvel at the childlike wonder instilled in legendary artist Alexander Calder as he plays with his miniature kinetic sculptures in Calder’s Circus (1963).  Grant Munro's anti-war short Toys (1966) brings to life your GI Joes, but as it turns out, that's not a good thing. Everyone's favorite little green buddy, Gumby gets into shenanigans with toy trucks in the original 1957 short Toy Fun.  Fall in love with Ivo Caprino's enchanting stop-motion interpretation of Hans Christian Anderson's Steadfast Tin Soldier (1955) in gorgeous Technicolor. The whole attic comes alive with discarded dolls and tchotchkes having a grand old time in the Friz Freleng cartoon The Miller's Daughter (1934). Watch out for that creepy clown puppet, because he might turn you invisible to answer the question Parents: Who Needs Them? (1973), a bizarro mental hygiene primer with terrible dubbing. Plus, two of Lajos Szabo's hilarious Lego Sports Shorts; Figure Skating (1986) featuring a rowdy ensemble of dancing penguins and the skiing bear of Downhill Skiing (1986) and a smattering of snippets and secret surprises all highlighting re-animated antique toys, dolls and playthings.

Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117

Highlights Include:

Calder’s Circus (Color, 1963) 
Before his rise to fame as the artist to popularize the mobile, kinetic sculptor Alexander Calder created and travelled with a miniature moving circus out of wire, wood and cloth. In 1963, filmmaker Carlos Vilardebo filmed the icon performing his circus. As Calder exhibits the piece, we watch as Calder blurs the line between presentation and play. This remarkable circus comes to life, sometimes on it’s own, sometimes in conjunction with other elements and always in an astonishing manner.

Gumby in Toy Fun (B&W, 1957)
 Everybody’s favorite little green shape shifter, Gumby and his B.F.F. Pokey head into the toy box in this rare original short by Claymation Master, Art Clokey.

Toys (Color, 1966)
Grant Munro, frequent Norman McLaren collaborator, directed this clever anti-war toy short using the stop-motion technique. It all starts innocently enough with kids coveting the toys in a store window with a groovy soundtrack.  But then the war toys come to life and the ensuing violence is quite less than playful.

Looney Tunes: The Miller’s Daughter (B+W, 1934 Friz Freleng)
A little shepherdess figurine is broken and forced to the attic for repair.  Her shepherd goes to her aid, and three "hear-no-evil" etc. monkeys in the attic imitate the Three Stooges.  Soon the whole attic is the site of a musical, with dancing and singing when the shepherdess is repaired. Directed by Isadore "Friz" Freleng and animated by a young Chuck Jones!

Parents: Who Needs Them? (Color, 1971)
One for the schlock history books, this bizarro educational primer features one of the most disturbing and creepy puppets we've ever found within these walls.  Little Jimmy is a careless, sloppy and ungrateful boy who can't see all that his long-suffering parents do for him.  That is, until his disgusting clown puppet comes to life, waves his magic wand over the young boy's face as he sleeps (not creepy at all), and turns little Jimmy invisible until he learns a valuable lesson in gratitude.

Two Lego Sports Shorts!

Figure Skating (Color, 1986, Lajos Szabo)
A hilarious new find from Hungary and part of a series of olympic sports acted out by Legos.  The couple on the ice are at the top of their game as they disintegrate into separate blocks, rebuild in different costumes, let out a swarm of penguins and skate out legos hearts, but is it enough showmanship to win the gold?

Downhill Skiing (Color, 1986, Lajos Szabo)
Another Lego sports short!  It's time for the downhill skiing competition and one bear is determined to make the grade.  Both shorts are in beautiful color and win the gold in comedy!

Steadfast Tin Soldier (Technicolor, 1955, Ivo Caprino)
A gorgeous print of an even more enchanting story from Hans Christian Anderson.  A beautiful and delightful mix of live action and stop-motion animation that brings to life the tale of a little tin soldier who is in love with a ballerina doll.  Even as the soldier is mistreated, lost, broken and ultimately burned, his love continues and is met with the ultimate sacrifice. A Norwegian production made for the 150th anniversary of the original story in Denmark.
The Ball That Wanted To Play (1971, Color)
It’s really very simple: the ball wants to play! As he bounces around a quiet English village, he tries to coax the toys he encounters to come out and have some fun. All prove to be completely uninterested, even a frisky pup! Is there any relief for this frustrated orange sphere?

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.