MORPHEUS MIKE (1915)
Article 5274 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Willis H. O’Brien
What it is: Early stop-motion animation
A hobo saves a woman’s laundry from a goat, and is rewarded by a meal which is unfortunately stolen by an animal. Then the hobo dreams he is ordering from a menu in caveman times.
One of the things I love about the original KING KONG is that the title creation had so much character, and I find that useful to remember when exploring O’Brien’s very early stop-motion animation shorts. In the short time we spend with this one (it runs only three minutes), we do get hints of character from both Mike and the housewife; no, you can’t call either of them fully developed, but there are touches that add dimension to them. That may compensate somewhat for the fact that as a story, there’s not much here. It would have been fun to see the caveman sequence expanded to a much longer short; here, it feels like an abrupt change of scenery from the rest of the short. I think it’s most useful to see this short as another step in O’Brien honing his craft.