The Sunshine Makers

Rob Jaiven

Rob Jaiven

Rob Jaiven has been an animation art collector and dealer for over 35 years. Many of the most famous pieces of animation art known to exist have been sold by his company Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles.
Instead of growing up and putting away his childish things, after years as a mathematician Rob quit the academic life, took those childish things out again and began his company. Suddenly in the early 1980's these childish things became fashionable and sought after. Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles continues to buy and sell the oldest, rarest and most desirable pieces of animation art. Rob also serves to educate collectors and is happy to answer questions and to talk about animation art with anyone who has an interest.
Rob Jaiven

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The Sunshine Makers is a story of happy gnomes who have the ability to distill sunshine and bottle it in milk bottles, which they deliver around the village. The scenes with the gnomes are in reddish-orange and white. The forest nearby is inhabited by goblins and they are sad. Their scenes are all in blue-and-white. The goblins can’t stand sunshine, because it makes them happy. “They don’t want to be happy. They want to be sad. They’re happy when they’re sad. They’re always feeling bad.” They attack the gnome village, but the gnomes fight back by bombarding the goblins with milk bottles. Soon the goblins are assimilated and everyone is happy. Why milk? Well, the cartoon was “brought to you” by the Borden Milk Company. I don’t believe as is often stated that Borden’s actually commissioned the cartoon, rather that they paid to have the ending added after The Sunshine Makers was completed. This wonderful cartoon was produced by Van Buren Studios and released by RKO pictures in 1935. 

 

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Those gnomes definitely did worship the sunshine; that’s for sure. That worship can be understood in more than one way. Many people interpret the film a bit differently and see it somewhat ahead (sic) of its time. If you’re old enough you might even remember it playing between sets by the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East in 1969 and 1970. (But if you remember it you probably were not really there.) Those gnomes do look just a bit too much like Jerry Garcia. And I guess that the type of sunshine being bottled and distributed by these little Jerry Garcias were actually milk? Who knows for sure exactly what is was supposed to be? One thing – original animation art from this film is essentially non existent. And it sure is one great cartoon.

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