Monday, February 18, 2008

The History of Animation 8 - Winsor McCay: Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend (1921)


"Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend was a newspaper comic strip written and drawn by Winsor McCay beginning in 1904. It was McCay's second successful newspaper strip, after Little Sammy Sneeze secured him a position on the cartoon staff of the New York Herald newspaper. Rarebit Fiend was published in the Evening Telegram newspaper, which was published by the Herald at the time. The editor of the Herald required McCay to use a pseudonym for his work in the Telegram to keep it separate from his Herald strips, so McCay signed all of his Rarebit strips as "Silas", borrowing the name of a neighborhood garbage cart driver."

"McCay intended his Rarebit Fiend strip to be an amusing morality play, meant to comment on the dangers of overindulgence.[citation needed] It focuses on various people who have a passion for various foods - often, but not always, Welsh rarebit. Each strip features a different protagonist known as a Rarebit Fiend (who is rarely named in the comic strip, and who changes from strip to strip) in the course of strange dreams and nightmares. Upon awakening, the protagonist blames his dreams on eating the rarebit, or whatever other food he ate, thus exacting the price for their folly."

"McCay's famous character Little Nemo — who later had his own strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland — first appeared in Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend within the first year of its existence. Unlike Rarebit Fiend, which was intentionally created for an adult reading audience, Little Nemo was intended for children. McCay went on to write and draw Little Nemo for the New York Herald."

"McCay produced four hand-drawn animated movies based upon his Rarebit Fiend, all within the same year (1921):
- The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Pet
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: Bug Vaudeville"

Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend - Bug Vaudeville:

"Film pioneer Edwin S. Porter had earlier produced a movie version of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend in 1906, though this is not considered to be a true "animated film" but rather an early exercise in trick photography."

Here is the 1906 Dream of the Rarebit Fiend:

From the description:
"May Thomas Edison, Edwin S. Porter, Carl Stalling and Raymond Scott forgive me for this act of irreverent impudence. I was puttering around in my film restoration lab late one night when I tripped and dropped this film in a vat of Warner Brothers cartoon music. Sometimes, film restoration work isn't pretty! This film was originally made in 1906, based on Winsor McCay's comic strip of the same name. It was Edison's blockbuster of the year."

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?

Popular Posts (of all time)