By Philip Witham
just couldn’t describe my childhood without mentioning Bugs Bunny. For me, Saturday mornings were a time of pure happiness – a tumult of giggles and laughter. Some of my fondest memories come from those mornings, sitting on the couch with my dad and my brother, cramped with laughter. Cartoons, while not the centerpiece of my childhood, were a streak of brilliant color, brightening it. Bugs Bunny, the Cookie Monster, Optimus Prime, they were all figures in my childhood remembered with a nostalgic fondness. It’s the same for many others. For my father, it was The Flinstones and The Jetsons – for my younger brother, SpongeBob Squarepants and Thomas the Tank Engine. There’s a golden age for nearly every individual – a time of simplicity and happiness, cream-pies and cookie eating. And at one point, we all grow up. We watch the shows we grew up on, fade into the unknown – unwatched, forgotten, cancelled – as our childhood ends. Just like us, cartoons age. The animation industry has undergone a progressive change of style and values as its audience has changed. This article celebrates the history of the cartoon and its impact on the mind of Americans in the past century. 1832 was a simpler time. There was no such thing as Technicolor or cathode ray tubes, just good, wholesome paper. The first animations were delivered by phenakistoscope, spinning wheels of paper with images, or frames, printed at points on the outside of the circle. When viewed through a slit, the spinning wheel displayed an animation, created
by the individual printed images. Despite its simplicity, it was the first invention to make a moving image – a technological breakthrough using principles of light explored by physicists such as the great Newton. From the phenakistoscope, more complex devices appeared. The phenakistoscope was soon succeeded by the flip book, then the zoetrope, and finally the praxinoscope, more commonly known as the first projector. Pioneering animators released cartoons similar to those today, more than mere repeating movements, but shorts with distinct beginnings and ends. And as soon as animators established the technology for animation, cartoons became less of a scientific feat and more of a means of expression. Animators became entertainers rather than inventors. And, in some ways, cartoons became an art form as well as form of entertainment; it became a method of satirizing society and reflecting the thoughts of an age. One such animator began his career in the rear of a small office building in Los Angeles. It was only a few years before the beginning of the Great Depression when Walt Disney was just beginning to build himself a studio. The stock market had not even crashed and Disney was still struggling to start his business. His first attempts to create a marketable cartoon series were often shot down by multiple setbacks. He lost the rights to one of his first creations as well as the
Published on Oct 25, 2010
Published on Oct 25, 2010
This is the October edition of Menlo-Atherton's student magazine. Doesn't the weather make you want to curl up by the fire with a nice copy...