LITTLE NEMO (1911)
aka Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics
Article 4181 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Winsor McCay and J. Stuart Blackton
Featuring Winsor McCay, John Bunny, George McManus
What it is: Live action/animation
A cartoonist makes a promise that he will make some of his comic characters move through animation.
In the history of motion pictures, Winsor McCay is primarily known for giving us one of the great early animated shorts, GERTIE THE DINOSAUR. This one predates it, and serves as something of a warm-up for that one. The structure is basically the same; the live action sequences begin with McCay stating his goal to a group of people. We then have a few scenes of him at work, usually with the addition of some comic pratfalls (usually involving lots of pieces of paper falling onto the floor). The movie concludes with the presentation of the animation. This one isn’t quite at the level of the Gertie short, largely because the animation, though well done, is rather aimless; it lacks the characterization and the interaction that add to the charm of the later movie. Still, as a warm-up, it’s interesting, and part of the animation features two characters sitting on thrones in a dragon’s mouth, so there is some fantastic content.