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Old 02-20-2017, 08:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You review video games, you retard, and not particularly well.
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Speaking of weird and trippy cartoons check out Liquid Television from the early 90s. I think it was an MTV thing but was shown here as an independent series.
I'll certainly look into that, thanks.
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My response was more relating toward the fact that TH is really getting monotonous with his journal ideas. This could easily fit into his Couch Potato journal.
Do me a favour and read my intro; it explains it all and I have no intention of repeating myself for your benefit. TVM.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Before the Box: Trailblazers that set the template for cartoons

Timeline: 1911-1914


As I said in the introduction, I don't really consider all animation to be cartoons, and my intention is to keep away from movie animation, but in order to properly position the history of television cartoons it would appear to me necessary, even vital, to look back to how they originally came to be. After all, television cartoons were not invented on telly, but began life in the only way people could see them, which was on the silver screen. Often used as a “short” to prepare people for the main movie, they became very popular and although it was Walt Disney who first really took the reins, as we shall see shortly, and made the cartoon a separate and important event rather than just a backup for a film, he was not the first to animate drawings. That honour goes to a man by the name of Winsor McCay, and he had three important animations out before Uncle Walt was even thinking about that mouse.

Little Nemo or Winsor McCay: The Famous Cartoonist of the NY Herald and his Moving Comics (1911)

As a way of introducing what would basically be the first ever cartoon, Winsor McCay, who as you can see from the above subtitle worked as a cartoonist for the New York Herald, and in fact worked under William Randolph Hearst, the supposed inspiration and model for the protagonist in Orson Welles's classic movie Citizen Kane decided to shoot much of the movie in live action, setting up the story whereby he bets a group of laughing colleagues that he can animate drawings. Although the film is over eleven minutes long, the actual animation sequence lasts barely four, and is nothing more than a flip-book like we all used to use and make as children (didn't we?) but it's easy to scoff at this now. When you think though that this was just after really the turn of the twentieth century, and that actual movies were yet in their infancy, it's quite an amazing feat. Deaf to the laughter of his peers, McCay promises to produce four thousand drawings by the next month, and by showing the drawings through a Vitagraph camera he does exactly what he boasted he would, animating the drawings and making them move.

It's truly remarkable. This is 1911, remember, when there were no editing, special or indeed any effects, and yet this film really fools you into thinking, not only that the characters on the paper move, but that they do so seamlessly. And they don't just move up and down or left to right: there's a whole story being played out here, even allowing Nemo himself to “draw” a princess for himself, present her with a seat in a dragon's mouth which then bears the two of them away. And because he has drawn all the pictures with coloured ink, this is, in a very real sense, not only the first animated film, but the first colour animated film! At least twenty years before movies had colour. Amazing. Just totally amazing.

(You can skip to about 8:45 for the animation)
I know you'll look at it and say it's crude by today's standards, and I guess it is, but remember this is one hundred years old! And it's almost completely flawless in its motion. Even the early silent movies jerked and missed frames; this is totally seamless. My hat would be off to this guy, if I wore a hat.

Not satisfied with that, he went on to produce another “animated movie” the next year, this one being totally silent (no music) and in black and white but just as impressive. How a Mosquito Operates is another classic of early animation by this man, who can surely be called nothing short of a genius?

But his piece de resistance would come with Gertie the Dinosaur, produced in 1914, and the last of his animations before Hearst put his foot down and ordered him to concentrate on his day job, drawing cartoons for the newspaper. How a man like Hearst could fail to see the potential in McCay is just staggering. Gertie is even better than the other two films, with McCay actually integrating himself somehow into the animation, in such a way as to make it look like he climbs on the dinosaur's back and it takes him for a ride! Unbelievable!

Even more stunning: this man who had basically invented a whole new system of animation – virtually, in fact, invented animation itself – refused to hoard his secret or protect his methods. “Any idiot that wants to make a couple thousand drawings for a few hundred feet of film is welcome to join the club”, he said, and never patented his idea. His last major work was the first record of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 by the German Navy. It's an amazing piece of work, again, this time requiring no less than 25,000 drawings, and really comes to life on the screen. It's of course not a cartoon, but a serious animation, again positioning McCay at the very top of his field, a field with few if any others in it at his time.

McCay declared himself – probably deservedly – as the “Originator and inventor of animated cartoons”, but during a meeting with other animators he deplored the way these men were turning his “art” into a “trade”. He died in 1934 as a result of a cerebral embolism. It would not at all, I believe, be hyperbole to call this man the father of cartoons, and he certainly set the ball rolling, a ball others would pick up and run with over the next few years.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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My response was more relating toward the fact that TH is really getting monotonous with his journal ideas. This could easily fit into his Couch Potato journal.
I find it mildly amusing that you seem to take offence every time I open a new journal, but never comment further than that. In other words, you see a new journal from me, you post your sneering comment about how unnecessary you think it is, and that's the last we ever hear of you. You never post anything meaningful after that, never join in. I have to admit, it comes across as really spiteful. Doesn't bother me, as such, but I'd prefer you to keep comments like that to yourself. What does it matter to you if I have a hundred journals (target set for 2020!) as long as the mods approve them and don't have a problem with me having all these journals? After all, at least when I open a journal I stick at it, unlike so many of the half-begun ones you have started yourself and then dumped when you lost interest. I'm not saying they weren't good ideas, but when I have an idea I generally see it through.

Not that I need to explain, but for the sake of clarity I will. Here are my thought processes that led to this journal.

1. I was writing the review for Jaws in my film journal, and thinking about going Pixar next.
2. I checked and found that, despite what I had initially thought, there are only 17 Pixar movies, and many of these are sequels, even sequels to sequels.
3. I thought then why not do all the Disney ones too?
4. That led to a thought about cartoons.
5. I then thought I'd do that in The Couch Potato, obviously, but once I decided it was going to be a history of cartoons, and given that I am working on new material for The Couch Potato, in particular Game of Thrones coverage, I didn't want to take over the journal with this new history, nor did I want to just do it piecemeal, fitting it in where I could.
6. I briefly considered doing the "journal-within-a-journal" thing I did with Excelsior! in my comics journal, but that wouldn't work for a history.
7. The only option then open to me was a new journal.

tl;dr: I've no problem with you not liking, or being interested in, my journals, Ki, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't post your snarky comments in them. It helps nobody, makes you look bitter and petty, and in the long run, it's certainly not going to make me stop creating new journals. So it's just a waste of your time, time you could perhaps spend better looking after your own journals, nomsayin?
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It's just too much fun.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It's just too much fun.
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:15 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I like how Ki can dish it out in journals like he did here but gets upset and threatens to report everyone if we decide to start discussing relevant music in his journal.
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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He's a bit of a bitch isn't he?
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Timeline: 1919-1923
Fast forward five years after Gertie the Dinosaur had made her mark and established Winsor McCay as the first true animator of cartoons, and you have the debut of a little guy that most of us (certainly people of my age anyway) will be familiar with. Whereas Gertie was a simple creature who responded to commands (though she could disobey, as she does in the cartoon, throwing Jumbo the elephant into the lake and eating trees instead of carrying out her master's commands) Felix the Cat was the first truly anthropomorphic creature to walk across a cinema screen, again, more than a decade before Mickey Mouse.

Felix the Cat (1919-1932, 1953 - )
Although some doubt seems to exist as to who actually created him, it's generally accepted that Felix was the work of Australian cartoonist Pat Sullivan, and his creation became a big hit on the big screen, starring in his own adventures and, even though silent, able to connect to the audience and communicate his feelings through facial expressions. The first film to feature Felix was Feline Follies, released in 1919.

In this first short he is not called Felix, but Master Tom (one would assume, from tomcat) and initially at least walks on all fours, like a domesticated cat, but is soon standing on his hind legs and behaving more like a human than an animal, as he falls in love with Miss Kitty White and does his best to win her heart. It's a clever if simple little cartoon, with attention paid by Sullivan not only to Tom and his lady, but to extraneous factors, such as the mice popping up out of the floorboards as Tom prepares himself for his date, and then doing a little dance when he's gone. The romance of two cats meeting is given a realistic twist when, as Tom proudly declares to his lady love “I have only nine lives to live, and I'll live them all for you” (how romantic and cute!) the neighbours hear only yowling and screaming, and shout at the two cats to get lost. Undeterred, Tom sets up another date, the following night at the trash can, and this time he brings a banjo and plays it while Kitty White dances happily. Back at home, the mice are wrecking his house and eating all the food.

In a very clever demonstration of what could be even then done with cartoons, and as we already saw could be accomplished in McCay's work, Sullivan makes Tom play notes, then take them out of the air and make go-karts out of them for him and his lady. When he gets home he goes asleep, not noticing or caring about the state of the house, but when his owner wakes up and sees the mess she throws him out of the house. He goes to see Kitty, but is less than happy to see he now has a whole brood of kittens to look after! In a perhaps grim ending, he runs to the local gasworks and lies down, taking his own life.

I didn't expect such a dark ending, but the film did well so people obviously didn't catch on to that, or just laughed at it, I guess the same way we would later laugh at Tom being beaten up by Jerry, or the Coyote falling off a mountain into the distance. That's the thing I guess about cartoons: they're not real, and they don't purport to be (later, more sophisticated animation such as The Simpsons and Family Guy etc do, but that's a different matter) and the idea of a character dying, or suffering immense injuries in one scene and then coming back in the next would become a staple of cartoons as the decades wound on. Pure escapism, anything could happen in cartoons and there were no consequences. Pianos, anvils and rocks regularly fell on characters' heads, they suffered all sorts of injuries, even death, but were right as rain the next time we saw them. Still, you'd have to admit that there is a certain darkness in cartoons often, but in general it's not taken seriously. The fact that this one ends with the main character committing suicide rather than face up to his responsibilities as a parent speaks perhaps to the prevalent attitude of the time, and I guess at its heart it's quite brave.

Master Tom was back a week later with a second feature, Musical Mews, though I can find neither information on nor a video for that, and for the third outing for the little black and white cat – now walking upright like a human – the name was changed to Felix, resulting in The Adventures of Felix, which debuted just before Christmas 1919. Again, no video appears to be available, but it was immensely successful, and by 1923 Felix was a star. He even had his own film, Felix in Hollywood, where he got to meet cinema stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin, and was written about by noted author Aldous Huxley. Felix became famous not just for his cuteness and cleverness, but for the sense of surrealism and fantasy that his world occupied. His tail became a tool he could shape to whatever he wished, using it now to make an exclamation mark (remember, this was still the era of silent movies), now a shovel, now turning into a bag to trick his owner into carrying him to Hollywood.

Another thing this movie did (as did the first Master Tom/Felix cartoon) was to use actual speech bubbles in the drawing, though they were more speech rectangles really. Whereas before, any speech had been communicated by a blank screen showing an ornate card – you know the kind of thing – and then cutting back to the character who had said it, here we see the words appear above the heads of Felix and his owner, at the same time as they are spoken. The mouths don't synchronise obviously – I don't think they even move – but it's a much better and more immediate representation of the actions of the characters without having to cut back and forth. The integration into the cartoon of popular themes – sword fights, cowboys etc – was surely another good way to secure the approval of the audience, who would have bought into such a story. The cuteness of Felix himself can't be oversold, and you find yourself rooting for him in every scene, despondent for him when he fails to land a movie role and then delighted when he manages to make his dreams come true.

By now Felix had also become the first cartoon character to metamorphose into a brand, with toys, clocks, all sorts of things sold with his image on them, to say nothing of being sung about and even starring in his own comic strip. His popularity inevitably spawned imitators, and of course he was the template for such later cartoon cats as Sylvester and Tom, while he also amassed his own entourage of co-stars, including Skiddoo the mouse, his nephews Inky, Dinky and Winky (surely the inspiration later for Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald Duck's nephews) and of course his girlfriend from the early Master Tom cartoons, Miss Kitty White. He also had the honour of being one of the first images to be broadcast on the new television medium, when RCA broadcast the image of a papier-mache doll of him. Later his image would be co-opted by everyone from the New York Yankees to an American Naval bomber squadron, and as time and technology moved on, he would make the inevitable transition to the small screen as television grew more popular and more widely available.
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