Saturday, September 17, 2011

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #3

This week's entry of cartoons from Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic starts out with "The Dachshund and the Sausage," also known as "The Artist's Dream." It was produced by Jon Randolph Bray, who was a newspaper cartoonist who got interested in animation in 1910. When he showed this cartoon to Carles Pathé (a producer-distributor), Pathé encouraged him to make more cartoons!

Bray's second film introduced the character of Colonel Heeza Liar, loosely based on Baron Munchausen. The first film in this series was "Colonel Heeza Liar in Africa," but unfortunately I couldn't find that one, so here's a later entry, "Colonel Heeza Liar at the Bat"!

Among Bray's innovative techniques involved using backgrounds being printed on translucent paper, and then on different sheets, specific portions were whited out so that only the part that had to move needed to be animated (this was before cels, remember). Later, Bray also patented a method for varying grays in cartoons, something that hadn't been done before! Although Bray had offhandedly mentioned the use of a celluloid product, it wasn't until Earl Hurd applied for his patent in 1914 that cels started being used to make cartoons!

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