Saturday Morning Cartoon

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Happy Tex Avery Day! Today, February 22nd, has been declared a local holiday by the animation legend’s hometown of Taylor, Texas (though his birthday is not until Wednesday). He is being honored with a Texas State Historical Marker, and Taylor is celebrating with a screening of his cartoons, guest speakers and a portrait unveiling. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the legacy of an artist who sometimes seems just a bit under-appreciated next to the likes of Chuck Jones and Walt Disney. Tex Avery Day hasn’t yet gone nationwide, but it certainly should. He spent many years at Warner Bros. and then at MGM, creating such characters as Droopy, Daffy Duck, Screwy Squirrel and Bugs Bunny. The fact that there isn’t already a national holiday for the guy that brought us Bugs Bunny seems like something of an oversight, right? His work is immensely influential, and some of his cartoons regularly turn up on lists of the greatest animated films of all time. Now, 34 years after his death, is a good a time as any to look back on his finest moments.



Today, February 8th, is the 100th birthday of the world’s oldest living dinosaur. Gertie, a charming and playful brontosaurus, was created by pioneering American animator Winsor McCay back in 1914. She dances, she does tricks and she has an enormous appetite. And, given that she’s a cartoon, she’s got a much better chance of survival than the rest of her species, buried forever under Alberta or somewhere similar. February 8th is actually the anniversary of the first time McCay and Gertie “performed” together. The original Gertie the Dinosaur cartoon was part of the animator and cartoonist’s vaudeville act. He would stand next to the screen and command Gertie to perform tricks for the audience, perfectly timed to his short film. Unsurprisingly, this was incredibly popular and McCay’s vaudeville performances began to occupy so much of his time that he began to slouch on his print work for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. When the tycoon cracked down on McCay’s distracted schedule, the animator decided to turn the original Gertie animations into a longer, theatrically released short. He stuck a live action framing device around Gertie’s tricks, in which he and some friends visit the Museum of Natural History in New York and he makes a bet that he can take the skeleton of a brontosaurus and bring it back to life.


So you’ve wondered what the characters from Lost would look like if they were on a Saturday Morning Cartoon? Well, wonder no more!

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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