Dreams of Toyland (1908)

Article 4646 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-5-2014
Directed by Arthur Melbourne Cooper
Cast unknown
Country: UK
What it is: Early stop-motion animation

A mother takes her little boy to a toy store, where he picks out an assortment of toys. That night he dreams the toys come to life.

This short is half real-life and half stop-motion animation; it is the dream that is fully animated. At heart, it seems like a pretty standard trick short with no real plot; once you get to the dream, you expect nothing more than whimsical, happy scenes of toys moving of their own accord. Then you start to notice things; the little toy who is running from a bus that is trying to chase him down, the bear attacking passers-by, various animals attacking the toys and vehicles running them down…no, this short is anything but whimsical and happy, and the word “dreams” can be taken rather ironically here. The stop motion is fun, if primitive, and I did like how the dark turn added some variety to the action at hand. I managed to find this on YouTube.

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