Saturday, February 08, 2014

This Month In Animation History

The Animation Guild's President Emeritus Tom Sito has been good enough to dig through his massive archive of significant February dates in animation (and entertainment generally), and present them to members. We give you a preview here:

Feb 2, 1922 - Twenty-one-year-old Walt Disney started Newman’s Laff-O-Grams in Kansas City.

Feb 5, 1953 - Walt Disney’s Peter Pan premiered. ...

... and a bit more:

Feb 10, 1940 - MGM’s “Puss Gets The Boot” the first Tom and Jerry cartoon and the first collaboration of the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

Feb 16, 1987 - “Family Dog” episode on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories TV show. The first direction by Brad Bird.

Feb 23, 1935 - Walt Disney’s Mickey & Donald cartoon “The Band Concert”. This was the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon.

Feb 25, 1932 - TOONTOWN SCANDALS. Former Australian prizefighter Pat Sullivan was the producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons, the first true animation star. Although animator Otto Mesmer actually created him, Sullivan’s name is the only one on the titles. Felix was one of the top film stars of the 1920s. Lindbergh supposedly had a Felix doll with him in the Spirit of St. Louis and his body shape was the prototype of Mickey Mouse and dozens of other characters. While Mesmer quietly drew pictures Sullivan lived the fast life of a roaring twenties celebrity. 

Mrs. Marjorie Sullivan had been having an affair with her chauffeur. After a nasty scene when husband confronted wife and the chauffeur fled, Mrs. Sullivan mysteriously fell out of her window to her death. The scandal was front page news and Sullivan never got over it. He drank himself to death, which during Prohibition wasn’t easy to do. Sullivan’s death and his failure to get Felix into sound cartoons doomed his studio. Otto Mesmer went on to animate the first Broadway light signs but did not receive any recognition for his contributions to animation until he was re-introduced to the public at a Bob Clampett night at the Museum of Modern Art in 1975.

Feb 28, 1953 - Chuck Jone’s short cartoon “Duck-Amuck” debuts - called by Steven Speilberg the Citizen Kane of Animation.

February Birthdays: George Pal, Nathan Lane, Thurl Ravenscroft, Frank Frazetta, Matt Groening, Faith Hubley, Gahan Wilson, Paul Terry, Joe Oriolo, Edward Gorey, Tex Avery, Laura Croft, Mister Magoo.

An expanded version of Mr. Sito's "Great Dates in Animation" will appear in this month's Peg-Board.

Add On: And Gertie, she is 100 years old today.


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