Thursday, September 5, 2019

Winsor McCay

Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM, TCM is running a two-hour block called "The Cartoons of Winsor McCay. McCay was a cartoonist who, in the early 1910s, started making a series of animated films. This was extremely difficult, because he started in the days before cels were invented. Cels were used when you had things in the background that were static: you could make one image to be the background, while the characters or things that moved would be in the front. Before cels, the entire image had to be re-drawn for every frame.

McCay apparently made ten shorts, of which some only survive as fragments; TCM's synopsis implies that all ten are airing. I know TCM ran at least some of them in the past, as I saw How a Mosquito Operates and Gertie the Dinosaur on TCM, but I don't remember when. At any rate, all of the movies should be in the public domain since they were all made before 1924. Here's Gertie the Dinosaur, which combines live-action and animation as there's an extended establishing sequence at the beginning.

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