Celluloid Beginnings...and Endings

In July 1914, animator John Bray began applying gray shades to his drawings to eliminate the reoccurring flicker from using all-white paper backgrounds. This use of shades marked the first introduction of celluloid to animation, but at the same time, a young animator from Kansas City developed a more direct and game-changing application of celluloid to animation. Earl Hurd, a young animator and mechanical inventor, quickly applied for a patent in 1914. The illusion of movement was achieved via Hurd's process: "by drawing upon a series of transparent sheets. In my process a single background is used for the entire series of pictures necessary to portray one scene...I prefer to paint the figur

Miss Minnie

Mid-May marks the preview of "Plane Crazy" at a local Los Angeles theater in 1928. This silent short signals the screen debut and first peek audiences had at Mickey AND Minnie Mouse! A landmark advent in animation, "Plane Crazy" is often recognized as Mickey Mouse's debut, but let us not forget his mouse-eared companion — Minnie Mouse. Minnie is the feminine counterpart to Mickey who, ever devoted to her mouse, wholeheartedly plunges into Mickey's various exploits. "Plane Crazy" sets the tone of the Mickey/Minnie dynamic in an animated homage to the aviation adventures of Charles Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight. An independent mouse, Minnie definitely 'squeaks' her mind, but it wasn't unti

Our Mother's Stories

The magic implanted into young minds which sparks imaginations usually begins with the songs, games and stories we are introduced to from our earliest interactions. For most of us, this is rooted in the bonds and stories we share with our mothers through birth, or by choice. In our earliest years, our mothers are generally—and generously—the source behind every need met: food, touch, comfort, love. As we grow, they weave into us a childhood of stories and experiences—hopefully more with laughter than tears. Then, they send us off with faith in our ability to go forward into the world to find and tell our own stories. When much of the larger world seems lacking in these core sentiments, our m

A 'VISIBLY' LEGENDARY LINE-UP!

For any film lover, the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival is always an epic event. Each year, the screenings and events become grander and larger, and indeed, the 2018 Festival was brimming with its share of classic reunions and memorable moments. This year, consistently on everyone's lips, was the buzz surrounding a unique panel I was deeply honored to present, under the auspices of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, entitled: An Invisible History — Trailblazing Women of Animation. The need for balancing this 'her-story' within a wider audience of viewers was never more apparent than while chatting with a noted festival presenter (whose expertise was technologically-based). A

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