This is a short cartoon from 1938 by George Pal advertising Philips radios. Special effects pioneer George Pal was the king of what is known as “replacement animation” in the world of stop motion animation.
Replacement animation is an extremely labor intensive process (in the already inherently labor intensive process of animation) where different elements of an animation puppet are removed and replaced with another similar item in a slightly different pose. A single character can potentially have hundreds of replaceable elements in different poses.
It is very common for this technique to be used with character’s heads… Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas is a good example of a very-well done puppet with replaceable facial poses.
The Phillips Broadcast animation is remarkable in how much of it is done with replacement animation… the heads are replaceable on all the characters… but so are entire bodies. The shapes distort and transform wonderfully with the kind of physical exaggeration generally only seen in hand-drawn animation.
It boggles the mind how much labor must have gone into this short film. It has to be seen to be believed. It is truly a masterpiece of stop-motion animation.
Any day I can feature some George Herriman is a good day… and these days, between the Krazy Kat dailies reprints at Comic Strip Library News and Mark Kausler’s CatBlog, the Herriman Saturdays at the Stripper’s Guide, and stuff that just shows up miscellaneously, I’m happy to report that this seems to happen almost every time I post.
TODAY’S FEATURED ITEM: Boing Boing and Drawn! point us to the new, easily searchable, and overwhelming Time-Life photography archive hosted by Google featuring over 10 million historical images, many of which were never before published. What an amazing resource. Above is a crop from a photo I found there of Charles Schulz gleefully squirting a child with a squirt gun… click the image to go to the archive.
Here’s an example I scanned of Billy Bragg by C.W. Kahles (the man who brought us the previously posted Billy Bounce strips). I don’t know the year on this one. I don’t believe the prolific Mr. Kahles ever did a comic strip that didn’t feature a protagonist with an alliterative name describing their character.
More rare Opper strips from Allan Holtz at The Stripper’s Guide! One particularly interesting item features most of Opper’s characters that were current at that time in one strip… a panel from it can be seen above. See the strips here and here.
Also, another of Mr. Holtz’s wonderful Herriman Saturdays, reprinting some of George Herriman’s extremely rare early editorial cartooning work. This week includes more coverage of the previously mentioned Shriners’ convention.