Monday, February 25, 2008

The History of Animation 9 - Winsor McCay: The Centaurs (1921)


"Winsor McCay, sometimes called "America's Greatest Cartoonest", was a pioneer in animation in first part of the 20th century. Back when Movies were still new, McCay was doing true "Motion Pictures." He was most famous for one of the first animations seen by the public Gertie the Dinosaur and for the cartoon strip Little Nemo in Sumberland.

"The Centaurs is fragments from the animated film that most likely was never seen in public. It was made around 1918-21 which is 20 years before Fantasia (1940), the most famous Centaur animation sequence."

"This is only fragments of the original because most of the footage is lost forever due to nitrate deterioration in a Long Island gararge. Upon opening the cans of 35mm film, most of what was found was powder. What little survived is still a wonder.
The Centaurs was originally a was full motion animationed 35mm film, displayed at 18-20 fps."


This is our last blog on Winsor McCay.

- Little Nemo (1911)
- Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist... (1911)
- How a Mosquito Operates (1912)
- Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
- The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918)
- The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1921)
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Pet (1921)
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House (1921)
- Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: Bug Vaudeville (1921)
- Gertie on Tour (1921)
- Flip's Circus (1921)
- The Centaurs (1921)
- The Midsummer's Nightmare (1922)

Winsor met a tragic end, where his newspaper editors squeezed him and controlled him. As a result, he had to stop doing cartoons in 1922, and the next 13 years of his life were devoted to illustration, comics, and retirement.

Winsor was an animation enthusiast. He loved to draw. However, he lacked the business background that put Pat Sullivan (Felix the Cat), Walt Disney (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), and Max Fleischer (Koko and Betty Boop) on top. He could have taken Nemo and Gertie into mass production, but he decided to do his work himself and felt like more of an artist and a performer than business man.


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