PARCEL POST PETE’S NIGHTMARE (1916)
Article 4784 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Tom E. Powers
What it is: Early cartoon
Parcel Post Pete encounters a lion who chases him.
Once you get away from some of the better known names in early animation (like Emile Cohl and Winsor McCay), one finds a severe dropping off of quality; in fact, many of them come across as barely more than slightly animated comic strips. This one at least has a certain amount of action to it, there’s more footage of the lion chasing the postman around than there is of people speaking words in comic strip balloons. Still, the animation is very sloppy (though the poor quality of my print and the choice of anonymous-sounding “silent movie” music bear part of the blame) and the comic timing is nonexistent. As for the fantastic content, some of the action is patently impossible (characters running across telephone wires, for example) and there’s a scene where the lion doubles in size (though, quite frankly, you’re not sure whether it’s an intentional effect or a side effect of the sloppy technique). In short, this one is best appreciated for its historical value; beyond that, there’s little reason to give it a viewing.