Excitement

Classic Movie History Project: Day 2 – The Films

King Kong

It’s been an incredible Day 2 here at the Classic Movie History Project, with remarkable essays on animation history and the production code.

No kidding: If you aspire to be a film history geek, read these entries.

You’re welcome.

The Wizardry of Animation

gertie-1

F for Films: The Animated Films of Winsor McCay

Winsor McCay created Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), along with nine other known animated cartoons. “Though it may be a clichéd turn of phrase, there is no one to whom the statement ‘ahead of his time’ applies better than to McCay in the field of animation,” writes F for Films.

fatal_footsteps_lc

Way Too Damn Lazy to Write a Blog: Willis O’Brien Meets Hal Roach – The Way-out Universe of Charley Bowers

Way Too Damn Lazy to Write a Blog celebrates cartoonist, illustrator and special effects designer Charley Bowers: “Bowers became a comedy star in 1926, headlining 2-reelers that successfully blended silent film ‘sight gag’ humor with way-out stop motion animation.”

fleischer-popeye-the-sailor-meets-ali-babas-forty-thieves-1937-1

Noirish: The Fleischer Animations

The Fleischer brothers, creators of Betty Boop and Popeye, “created an animation business that for nearly three decades rivaled Disney and, but for circumstances, might today occupy the position in our world that Disney occupies,” writes Noirish.

king-kong-4

Christina Wehner: Willis O’Brien and Stop Motion Animation

Willis O’Brien’s influence in stop motion animation lasted for decades. “When Ray Harryhausen made his last movie The Clash of the Titans in 1981 and Tim Burton produced A Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993, they were…using the same technology pioneered by Willis O’Brien in 1925,” writes Christina Wehner.

Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie

Champagne for Lunch: The Early Years of Disney Magic (1923-1937)

Champagne for Lunch looks at another influential American animator, Walt Disney. “Here is the story of American feature animation in the 1920s and 1930s…” writes Champagne for Lunch. “It’s a tale of failure, betrayal, and triumph. It doesn’t start with a mouse.”

Mary Blair of Disney

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Mary Blair, Everyone’s Favorite Disney Concept Artist

Mary Blair was considered one of the most cutting-edge concept artists working at Walt Disney’s studio. “It was during [World War II] that Blair was able to experiment and hone in on her unique style and flair for colors,” writes Phyllis Loves Classic Movies.

Karel Zeman

Love Letters to Old Hollywood: The Czech Méliès, Karel Zeman

“[Karel] Zeman was an animator from the 1940’s up until his death in 1989,” writes Love Letters to Old Hollywood, “a genius who often combined live action and animation to beautiful effect.” His work has inspired artists such as Ray Harryhausen and Tim Burton.

The Production Code

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Movies Silently: Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Silent Movie Mischief Before the Code

“Most classic film fans know that after 1934, the movies were toned down considerably,” writes Movies Silently. “What they may not know is that the crazy tug-of-war between censors and filmmakers extended all the way back to the dawn of film.”

Design for Living

Cinema Gadfly: Design for Living

One of the most daring films of the pre-code era was Ernst Lubitsch’s Design for Living. “This film, from 1933, feels more honest about human relationships and their possibilities than most films today,” writes Cinema Gadfly.

Aurora at Once Upon a Screen will be hosting Day 3: The People (Groundbreakers & Family Business).

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