Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Laugh-O-Grams Follow Up

Once again, I have to highly recommend the Inkwell Images DVD featuring the Legendary Laugh-O-Grams. This is more than just a brief collection of some long out of print films. It is packed with information about Walt, the Laugh-O-Gram company, and how the films developed.

It was while watching some of this material tonight that I realized I had not made the point in the previous post that Walt had drawn all the animation in the Laugh-O-Gram films himself. That’s right, these films are the only ones that are drawn completely by Walt Disney, so they are doubly important.

While the animation, such as it is, does not inspire confidence, that point is interesting, because you can see in the drawings a sense of detail and texture that is missing in some of the later Laugh-O-Gram films. It’s probably not enough of a distinction to really make a difference, but it does speak to the point that Walt had an eye for what makes an appealing cartoon.

Also, these cartoons were being made by Walt in his parents’ garage, with a camera he was “borrowing” each night from his day job at the Kansas City Film Ad company. It was this contract with the Newman Theatre that convinced Walt to go ahead and form Laugh-O-Grams.

His work at Kansas City Film Ad got him interested in animation, and he began reading like crazy about it. The main book he was reading was Animated Cartoons by E.G. Lutz. Rudy Ising talks about that on the DVD, that none of them knew what they were doing, but instead were just reading the book and following along. Considering what little resources and education these men had when they began, what they ended up accomplishing was incredible.

Alright, just wanted to get that information out there before we begin on the fairy tales. I’ll be watching Little Red Riding Hood and then commenting on that next. Looking forward to it!

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