Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

Article 2101 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-16-2006
Posting Date: 5-14-2007
Directed by Winsor McCay
Winsor McCay, George McManus, Thomas A. ‘Tad’ Dorgan

A cartoonist bets that he can bring a dinosaur to life and make it walk and move. He wins the bet using an animated film about a dinosaur named Gertie.

No, this wasn’t the first animated movie – it wasn’t even the first by Winsor McCay, who had earlier made one called HOW A MOSQUITO OPERATES, but it is still tremendously entertaining after all these years. I love all the little quirks McCay gives his creation; she can’t resist taking a few seconds from following her orders to snack on a tree or tussle with a woolly mammoth or ogle a bizarre sea serpent. McCay even manages to get himself into the animation at the end when he takes a ride on Gertie’s back. The beginning and end of the movie are live action, and document the story behind the making of the film; I don’t know if the story is true or not, but if it is, it’s almost as if the movie combines its own “making of” documentary with the main action. It even throws in a little slapstick comedy in the mix. At least one imitation was made of this movie, and McCay himself worked on a sequel that was not released.


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