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Posts Tagged ‘history of animation

Eh… What’s up, Doc?…

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The inimitable Chuck Jones— animator, and director of well over 200 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts (plus TV specials and feature films) starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester, Pepé Le Pew and others from the Warner Bros. menagerie– on “how to draw Bugs Bunny”:

From the terrific film Chuck Amuck.

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As we keep an eye out for Elmer, we might send rhyming birthday wishes to Ben Jonson; he was born on this date in 1572.  While Jonson is probably best remembered these days as the author of hysterically-funny satirical plays like  VolponeThe Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, he was also an accomplished poet, whose work  (especially his lyric poetry) was tremendously influential and his Jacobean contemporaries and on the Carolines.

Jonson was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and is often remembered as a rival– probably, given the competitive atmosphere of the theater in those days, accurately.  But it was Jonson who provided the prefatory verse that opens Shakespeare’s First Folio (which Jonson may, some scholars believe, have helped to edit).  Indeed, it was Jonson who animated the view of Shakespeare as a “natural,” an author who, despite “small Latine, and lesse Greeke,” wrote works of genius.  But lest one take that as back-handed praise (Jonson was himself classically educated), Jonson concludes:

Yet must I not give Nature all: Thy Art,

My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.

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Written by LW

June 11, 2012 at 1:08 am

The Joys of Knowing History, Illustrated…

 

from “Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus” (click here to view)

Animated drawings were introduced to film a full decade after George Méliès had demonstrated in 1896 that objects could be set in motion through single-frame exposures. J. Stuart Blackton’s 1906 animated chalk experiment Humorous Phases of Funny Faces was followed by the imaginative works of Winsor McCay, who made between four thousand and ten thousand separate line drawings for each of his three one-reel films released between 1911 and 1914. Only in the half-dozen years after 1914, with the technical simplifications (and patent wars) involving tracing, printing, and celluloid sheets, did animated cartoons become a thriving commercial enterprise. This period–upon which this collection concentrates–brought assembly-line standardization but also some surprisingly surreal wit to American animation. The twenty-one films (and two Winsor McCay fragments) in this collection, all from the Library of Congress holdings, include clay, puppet, and cut-out animation as well as pen drawings. Beyond their artistic interest, these tiny, often satiric, films tell much about the social fabric of World War I-era America.

See these and other important– and enormously entertaining– animated films from 1900-1921 at the Library of Congress’ “Origins of American Animation“– Krazy Kat, Keeping Up With the Joneses, The Katzenjammer Kids, and more than a dozen other joys (that don’t start with “K”).

 

As we debate whether Windsor McCay or George Herriman was the greater genius, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that Mary Mallon– “Typhoid Mary”– died of a stroke on North Brother Island, where she he had been quarantined since 1915.  She was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever… before which, she inadvertently spread typhus for years while working as a cook in the New York area.

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Written by LW

November 11, 2011 at 1:01 am

Relatively speaking…

Max Fleischer and his lady love (source)

Max Fleischer and his brother Dave were giants in the history of animation.  The most significant competition to Walt Disney in the formative years of the art, they created Betty Boop and Koko the Clown, and brought Bimbo, Popeye, Superman, and Gulliver’s Travels to the screen.  Along the way, they invented a number of technologies and techniques that have become essential to the form.

Rotoscope by Max Fleischer, patent drawing from 1914

But possibly the the strangest– and arguably the most wonderful– thing they ever did was this 1923 short film blithely and elegantly explaining the concept of relativity:

TotH to Curiosity Counts.

As we await the animators of our new paradigms, we might wish a minimal(ist) birthday to Philip Glass, award-winning composer and first cousin once removed of (R)D friend and hero Ira Glass; Philip was born on this date in 1937.

Philip Glass

 

 

 

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