Cat no. 2684

Her Second Birthday

Running time5:31 Black & White Silent 1932-1933 Fleet, Hampshire

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A record of a girl’s second birthday with an animated dream sequence.

Genre:

AmateurAnimationFantasyHome MoviesTNA ProjectWomen's Filmmaking

A record of the second birthday of June Thubron. The spontaneous actions of a little girl on finding her birthday presents. A record of her actions without any adult direction. The little girl plays with her birthday presents on the lawn and also waters flowers in the garden before falling asleep. In a stop-frame animated sequence subtitled 'Dreamland' towards the end of the film, her new toys come alive.

Shots include:

Logo: Thubrons [top of title card] Limited [bottom of title card] with head of puppy poking through hole cut into middle of card

Shots of the back garden of the Thubron’s house, an unidentified man stands on the patio (possibly June Thubron’s grand-father Mr J Thubron or perhaps her father); June Thubron walks off patio area onto lawn, holding a stuffed toy (possibly a dog), she drops it on the ground and picks up one of her new birthday presents, a larger stuffed toy (dog), she carries the large stuffed dog toy towards camera; June Thubron walks across lawn to possibly another of her birthday presents, a cot, and possibly either her grand-mother (Mrs K Thubron) or her mother is seated on the lawn, the little girl plays with the cot while the woman watches, she places her large stuffed dog toy in the cot; June Thubron runs towards camera with her large stuffed dog toy, places her toy on the tricycle; June Thubron then pushes a chair on wheels vigorously across the lawn; June Thubron runs away from the cot containing her large stuffed dog toy, and then moves the cot; June Thubron shows a stuffed toy penguin to an unidentified individual off-screen; June Thubron moves the cot to a shadier area of lawn; June Thubron with a small watering can waters flowers in garden, and a tree in tub, she looks off-screen; June Thubron plays with the chair on wheels; June Thubron sucks her thumb, drops her large toy dog to floor, then places it on a rug, she lays a cushion on ground, lies down on the cushion, and sucks her thumb, before getting up; June Thubron strokes her large stuffed dog toy; she lays on the cushion with the large stuffed dog toy beside her.

Intertitle: Dreamland

Shots after the intertitle include: an animated sequence in which June Thubron’s toys/ birthday presents, including the large stuffed dog toy, a doll, Mickey Mouse and a stuffed toy horse, fall from cot; the dog and mouse stand, the dog listens to the mouse, both toys walk towards the horse and tricycle; the mouse tethers the horse to the tricycle; the dog climbs on the tricycle; the mouse rides the horse as the horse pulls the tricycle across lawn; the toys stop and the dog and mouse disembark; the mouse climbs on back of the dog; the dog walks across the lawn to a toy rabbit; the dog sits and the mouse falls off its back; the mouse, dog and rabbit stand; June Thubron opens her eyes; her toys disappear from the lawn; June Thubron looks directly into the camera lens.

Background Information:

An example of an award winning amateur film that evolved from a film originally intended to be a private record. The film appears to have been shot in three sections. The first on the occasion of the Thubron’s grand-daughter’s second birthday. The second and third after they decided to adapt the private record into a competition film and to experiment with stop-motion animation.

The production of the film, Her Second Birthday, was discussed in the January 1934 edition of the IAC Bulletin [pp. 12-4] by Mrs K Thubron.

Mrs Thubron indicates that the film was intended to be a private family record of her grand-daughter’s second birthday. The film, which features her grand-daughter June Thubron, was not originally intended to be shown ‘outside the family circle’, let alone submitted to an amateur film competition. It was intended to be a private family record of June’s birthday.

Mrs Thubron explains that her grand-daughter’s birthday presents were placed in a specific location in the garden, that she had not previously seen them and that June was allowed into the garden after her breakfast. Mrs Thubron does not indicate who shot the film and it is not known whether it was her husband or herself. Mrs Thubron further indicates that the camera recorded in full June’s actions on entering the garden and that she was allowed to play as she wished, without being ‘spoken to or posed in anyway’.

Mrs Thubron further indicates that the animation sequence was a later addition. It was filmed and appended to an edited version of initial record after the Thubrons decided to enter the film into competition. Mrs Thubron indicates that they had wanted to create a stop-action film for some time. Although Mrs Thubron’s account is not entirely clear, it suggests that the shots of June placing a cushion on the ground were also filmed at a later date after her birthday. The animation sequence was filmed ‘some weeks’ after these shots.

Notes:

June Thubron, in adult life, was a starlet in British films, working under the name of June Thorburn.

Featured People:

June Thubron Mr J Thubron [possibly] Mrs K Thubron [possibly]

Featured Buildings:

Grovebrook, Gough Road, Fleet, Hampshire [possibly]

Institute of Amateur Cinematographers

J Thubron; K Thubron

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