Thanks to Tom Sito we learned that on this date in 1914, Earl Hurd patented animation ‘cels’ (celluloids) and backgrounds. Before this cartoonists tried drawing the background settings over and over again hundreds of times or slashed the paper around the character and tried not to have it walk in front of anything. By the late 1990’s, most cels & cel paint had been replaced by digital imaging.
This 1963 Academy Award-nominated cartoon, “Now
Hear This” was the second in a series of mostly abstract cartoons directed by
Chuck Jones while he was at Warner Bros.
Coming, as it did, at the end of the “Golden Age of Animation” it drew
(pun!) on modernist tendencies in the visual arts, all the while still telling
a traditional story. This character,
although unnamed, instigates several silly sleight-of-sight/hearing/hand gags
played upon the main character, Colonel Blip.
Blip mistakenly (as he later finds out) has thrown out his hearing device and
has replaced it with one of the Devil’s horns (who is shown one-hornless during
the title sequence at the beginning of the film.) This new horn amplifies sound tremendously
and causes the Colonel much mayhem and consternation. Extremely rare production art from this
pre-cursor to the even more abstract “The Dot and the Line” of 1966.