Thursday, October 30, 2008

Animation in 1919

Allan Holtz's blog, Stripper's Guide, dedicated to comic strips, has reprinted a 1919 article by an animator named Bert Green from The Student's Art Magazine, explaining the process of animation as it existed at the time. Among the revelations are:
Cartoons like the “Katzenjammer Kids,” “Happy Hooligan,” “Mutt and Jeff,” etc., that run five hundred feet, require a staff of from fifteen to thirty people, men and women, to produce this amount of animated cartoon a week, with salaries ranging from ten to three hundred dollars per week, so you can readily get some idea of the time and expense involved. Cartoons such as these contain from two thousand to three thousand drawings, and it takes two photographers one solid week working into the nights under pressure to photograph these drawings.
There are references in the article to Winsor McCay and Frank Moser. One other interesting thing is that Green's assistant was a woman referred to as Miss Kelly, with no first name mentioned unfortunately.

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