Introduction to animation: 1906-1937.

It is believed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, created in 1937 was the first animation, although animation has in truth been around more than 20 years prior to this film. Here is a short introduction with what is plus minus the first 30 years of animation. For the first thirthy years there are a lot of “debuts” because of the “freshness” of this medium.

In 1906 J. Stuart Blackton’s Humorous Phases of Funny Faces is released. It is a three-minute short in which Blackton’s hand can be seen animating drawings of faces and people against a plain blackboard ( The first short in 1908 comprised solely of animated images, Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie, receives its premiere in Paris ( The first use of stop motion is to be seen in Humpty Dumpty Circus in that same year.

  • Then in 1914 Earl Hurd invents the process of cel animation, which would revolutionise and dominate the industry for much of the 20th century. In
  • 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur is widely considered the first animated short to feature a distinguishable character, as animator Winsor McCay brings a walking, dancing dinosaur to life.
  • The first feature-length animated film, Quirino Cristiani’s El apostol, is released in 1917 (all known copies were destroyed in a fire).
  • Felix the Cat makes his debut in 1919 and becomes the first famous animated cartoon character and the first colour cartoon appears in 1920, John Randolph Bray’s The Debut of Thomas Cat.

 Walt Disney animates his first animated short, Little Red Riding Hood in 1922 and 6 years later Mickey Mouse makes his debut in the six-minute short Plane Crazy. Disney’s iconic line of animated shorts, Silly Symphonies, kicks off its prolific run with The Skeleton Dance. Betty Boop debuts as a woman/dog hybrid in the short Dizzy Dishes in 1930, the same year Warner Bros. Looney Tunes makes its debut with Sinkin’ in the Bathtub. Quirino Cristiani’s Peludopolis, which tells the story of a military coup against a corrupt president, boasts the first instance of sound within a feature-length animated film (1931). There are no surviving copies of the movie in existence. The first full-color, three-strip Technicolor animated short, Flowers and Trees, is released in 1032. The film wins Disney an Oscar for Best Short Subject. King Kong, which features several stop-motion animated characters, is released in 1933 and Popeye makes his debut with Betty Boop in the seven-minute short Popeye the Sailor. In 1933 Ub Iwerks invents the multiplane camera, which allows animators to create a three-dimensional effect within two-dimensional cartoons, two years later, the Russian film The New Gulliver becomes the first full-length feature to employ stop-motion animation for the bulk of its running time. And finally, the beginning and the end of this week’s topic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney’s initial foray into the world of full-length animation and the first such production to emerge out of the United States, is released in 1937.

The next post will contain more about the beginning of Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker. bye*

Felix the cat 1919 Get a Horse - Animation Cell 2 King Kong

 Snow White 1937

Gertie the dinosaur


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