Early Animation: A Look Back
[Editor’s note: Kathie Flood, NewsBank’s Senior Project Manager for Historical Newspapers, knows the content of our historical newspaper archive as well as anyone in the company. From time to time she will be making guest blog posts on our NewsInHistory site to showcase a particularly interesting newspaper edition from our collection.]
Short, silly cartoons – a splash of entertainment, a quick smile brought to a child’s face.
In this digital age, nearly anyone with some skill in graphics and computers can pull together a few drawings, some narration and music to produce a cute animated short.
But it wasn’t always quite so easy. Try imagining it – 7,000 hand-drawn pictures, shrunken down AND set to music without the helping hand of technology to synchronize film frames and sound effects to the milliseconds. Each frame needing to be photographed and assembled by hand.
How did animators get the job done nearly 80 years ago? What went into creating some of the most beloved – and still instantly recognizable – characters of the day?
The short answer? Dedication. Incredible artistic skill. And, according to Walt Disney, a whole bunch of boredom.
So much has changed – think color! But, so much is the same! Those talented artists still spend weeks on each creation – although today the tool may be a computer tablet rather than a scratch pad. Post-production still incorporates a musical score – more often than not, computer generated now. And the finished product still brings a smile to our faces.