Cartoon Animation - An Evolving Art Form

Written by Jake Gorst

The past 150 years has seen tremendous strides in technological and scientific research and invention. Who would have ever imagined that men would walk onrepparttar moon or that open heart surgery could be performed with robotic assistance? Still, with all of these advances man has consistently failed in one field of research:repparttar 124164 creation of life from inanimate material.

This desire, coupled with an inborn need to find creative expression, has lead to some interesting discoveries. Man has developedrepparttar 124165 illusion of creating life from nothing. Spectators of this illusion are at times amazed and often carried away from reality, even if just for a few hours.

We are talking aboutrepparttar 124166 art of cartoon animation. Using various methods an artist hasrepparttar 124167 ability to make his drawings move and speak. With modern computer technology,repparttar 124168 artist?s drawings may even appear to interact with withrepparttar 124169 observer. Walt Disney, a monumental figure inrepparttar 124170 history of animated film once said, "Animation can explain whateverrepparttar 124171 mind of man can conceive."

What isrepparttar 124172 history of this art form? What advances has it made in recent years?

A Brief History of Theatrical Animation

On December 28, 1895,repparttar 124173 world of art and entertainment took a drastic turn. Upon invitation Georges Méliès, a well known Paris magician, attendedrepparttar 124174 first public showing ofrepparttar 124175 Cinématographe. Méliès never forgot that evening.

"The other guests and I found ourselves in front of a small screen...after a few minutes, a stationary photograph showingrepparttar 124176 Place Bellecour in Lyon was projected. A little surprised, I scarcely had time to say to my neighbor: 'Is it just to have us see projections that he has brought us here? I've been doing them for ten years.'

"No sooner had I stopped speaking when a horse pulling a cart started to walk toward us, followed by other vehicles, then passerby - in short,repparttar 124177 whole vitality of a street. We were open-mouthed, dumfounded, astonished beyond words inrepparttar 124178 face of this spectacle."

How exciting it must have been for early pioneers of motion picture to learn and develop their art! Within a very short period of time, these individuals began experimenting with different forms of expression through this new and mysterious medium.

In 1896 J. Stuart Blackton, a native Englishman who emigrated torepparttar 124179 United States, walked into a studio that would change his life and launch a new industry inrepparttar 124180 motion picture field. Blackton was a journalist and illustrator forrepparttar 124181 New York Evening World. He was sent to interviewrepparttar 124182 inventor ofrepparttar 124183 Vitascope, Thomas Edison.

Blackton immediately fell in love withrepparttar 124184 cinema. That same year he founded a production house called Vitagraph. Within a very short period, he discovered that by exposing film frame by frame and manipulating a scene between exposures,repparttar 124185 illusion of motion could be produced with inanimate objects. Atrepparttar 124186 time, a standard movie camera would expose eight frames per turn of a crank. Camera operators learned how to alterrepparttar 124187 camera to expose only one frame per crank, andrepparttar 124188 technique of animation became known as "one turn, one picture."

In time, Blackton realized that he could bring drawings to life using this method. In 1906, Vitagraph released a short film entitled "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces." Blackton?s hand draws a man and a woman on a blackboard. When his hand leavesrepparttar 124189 frame,repparttar 124190 faces roll their eyes. The hand appears again and erasesrepparttar 124191 emboldened animated characters.

In 1905, Winsor McCay, a cartoon illustrator forrepparttar 124192 New York Herald, created a strip called "Little Nemo in Slumberland." This cartoon became so popular that it was developed into a Broadway musical. In 1911, McCay leftrepparttar 124193 paper and began working forrepparttar 124194 New York American. During this time, he began experimenting withrepparttar 124195 idea of using animated pictures as part of a vaudeville act. His first project was a film adaptation of "Little Nemo." With no story line, "Little Nemo" was a beautiful study in movement.

McCay?s second film was entitled "The Story of a Mosquito." The film, a story of a mosquito?s encounter with a drunken man, was a hit. Some theatergoers felt that McCay was performing a trick with wires, not understandingrepparttar 124196 the nature of drawn animation.

To prove that his drawings were actually moving McCay responded by producingrepparttar 124197 film "Gertierepparttar 124198 Dinosaur." Ten thousand drawings inked on rice paper were used in creating this masterpiece. Gertie debuted February 1914 in Chicago as part of a vaudeville act. Asrepparttar 124199 film was projected on screen McCay stood nearby and interacted withrepparttar 124200 animated dinosaur. Gertie laughed and cried. Audiences loved it. The film had a storyline and a star -repparttar 124201 first of its kind in animation history.

As time passed, other artists became involved inrepparttar 124202 animation industry. In 1923, Walt and Roy Disney formedrepparttar 124203 Disney Brothers Studio and signed a contract with Margaret J. Winkler, a New York film distributor, to produce six short films based onrepparttar 124204 Lewis Carroll book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." These films featured a mix of live action and drawn animation. The fifty-sixth and last Alice Comedy film was released on July 15, 1927.

In 1928,repparttar 124205 Walt Disney Studio released "Steamboat Willie,"repparttar 124206 first cartoon built around a soundtrack. This film featured Disney?s latest character, Mickey Mouse. It was a sensation.

Inrepparttar 124207 years following "Steamboat Willie" Disney?s studio developedrepparttar 124208 novelty of animated film into an art form that could express emotion and personality. In December 1937,repparttar 124209 studio released "Snow White andrepparttar 124210 Seven Dwarfs,"repparttar 124211 first full length animation feature. Skeptics called this project "Disney?s Folly," stating thatrepparttar 124212 public would not sit through a lengthy animated feature. They were wrong. Snow White was a smash hit and maintains an audience today.

Over a sixty-three year period,repparttar 124213 Walt Disney Studio has produced 38 animated features and countless animated shorts. Other companies such as Warner Brothers, MGM and DreamWorks have also produced notable animated theatrical works.

Animation andrepparttar 124214 Television

Animation (usually made-for-theatre cartoons) hitrepparttar 124215 small screen as early as 1930, but due to high production costs andrepparttar 124216 fact thatrepparttar 124217 television audience was minute, it was relegated to a non-commercial, experimental novelty.

On July 1, 1941repparttar 124218 U.S. Government allowedrepparttar 124219 National Broadcasting Company (NBC) to become a commercial entity. This meant that NBC could now charge for commercial advertising between and during broadcast entertainment. Botany Mills wasrepparttar 124220 first company to produce animated commercials. These commercials (seven in all) featuredrepparttar 124221 Botany Lamb pluggingrepparttar 124222 company?s line of wool ties.

Shirley Temple Stories

Written by Stephen Schochet

Whenrepparttar Twentieth Century Pictures company had their expensive merger withrepparttar 124163 Fox Film Corporation in 1935, studio head Daryl Zanuck was depending on two contract stars to pullrepparttar 124164 new company through its money troubles. Tragedy struckrepparttar 124165 same year when Will Rogers died in a plane crash in Alaska. Zanuck turned his financial burden onrepparttar 124166 shoulders of six year old Shirley Temple (she was actually seven but wouldn't find that out till she was twelve).

Fox had signed her in 1933, a bad year for Hollywood with record numbers of movie theaters closing throughoutrepparttar 124167 country. Her ability to sing and dance was off-putting to some scouts atrepparttar 124168 studio who called her,"a precocious little monster". Later when she became their chief financial assetrepparttar 124169 attitude aroundrepparttar 124170 lot changed. One time little Shirley walked intorepparttar 124171 commissary and was picked up by a friendly executive," How are you doing sweetheart?" The room went quiet. Everyone was staring. If he dropped her, everyone there could lose their job. Very gently he put her down and backed away.

In real life Shirleyrepparttar 124172 actress longed to have a normal existence, so Zanuck made her yearn forrepparttar 124173 same onrepparttar 124174 big screen. Depression era audiences fell in love with her determination and optimism. Because her films required no great special effects, locations or famous co-stars, they made enormous profits making her perhapsrepparttar 124175 most valuable movie star a studio ever had, which occasionally caused resentment. She once had a scene with Lionel Barrymore who flubbed a line then screamed bloody murder when she corrected him. Another time she worked with Adolph Menjou who leftrepparttar 124176 set cursing," That little blankety blank is making a monkey out of me." Not everyone felt that way. Her dancing partner in The Little Colonel (1935), Bill "Bojangles" Robinson often held hands with Shirley as they walked together throughrepparttar 124177 Fox lot. And John Ford who resented Daryl Zanuck assigning him to direct Shirley in Wee Willie Winkie (1937) came to respectrepparttar 124178 child's work ethic. Zanuck rightly blamed Ford's bad influence when Shirley started to addressrepparttar 124179 short mogul as "Uncle Pipsqueak."

She was a highly merchandised fad. She could have retired onrepparttar 124180 sales of Shirley Temple dolls alone. Once Director Alan Dwan was speeding to Twentieth Century Fox when he was pulled over by a policeman. "Ok buddy where'srepparttar 124181 fi-- Say! Is that one of those Shirley Temple police badges on your passenger seat? My daughter would kill for one of those. OK buddy, give me one of those badges and we'll forgetrepparttar 124182 whole thing."

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