A Brief History of Early Animation 1890 -1950 Essay

2062 Words Jun 24th, 2012 9 Pages
A Brief history of early animation 1890 - 1950

While experiments in creating moving images can be traced back to 180BCE it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that animation was truly realised through the advance of technology and creativity of the early pioneers such as J. Stuart Blackton and Emile Cohl. Driven by a desire to capture motion, many artists tried their hand at animation once the technology arrived, and up until the 1940s new and improved techniques for animation were being created every decade. Animation’s rise in popularity with the people and the advancement in techniques and technology culminated in a “golden era” in the US, where animation became a commercial and social triumph. Investigating this initial forty years of
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Motion pictures were quite new, and movie audiences were quite naive and still getting accustomed to the idea. The idea of a drawing coming to life was almost unheard of. McCay decided to animate a Dinosaur to prove that his drawings were moving. The notion of bringing a dinosaur "to life" was astonishing. (Van Eaton Gallery, N.D)
In 1913 the mammoth task of animating Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) began. McCay enlisted the help of a young neighbour, John A. Fitzsimmons to help trace the backgrounds while McCay devoted his efforts to animating Gertie himself, ten thousand drawings in total. Upon release Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 McCay and his animated creation were a hit. The film was a landmark title not only for having the first animated star, but for being the first with a proper storyline as well (Goldman, 2005). Up until this point animation had been mostly the work of individual artists experimenting and exploring the new craft, earning a living doing so but none were particularly commercially successful. However this was all about to change with the rise of business minded men such as John Randolph Bray.John R. Bray initially became aware of the commercial possibilities of animation after seeing McCay’s Little Nemo; specifically Bray focused his aim at the thriving movie theatre business. From this realisation Bray went on to make his first animated short called The Artist’s Dream (1913) which garnered moderate

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