Library features 100 years of animation

The Red Deer Public Library is celebrating 100 years of animation this Sunday with a showing of Walt Disney’s early animations.

The free film series begins Jan. 12th and runs from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Snell Auditorium located in the lower level of the Library.

The fun will continue on the second Sunday of every month with a showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) on Feb. 9th and the original Fantasia (1940) on March 9th.

Kim Whiting, adult services assistant with the Red Deer Public Library explained that the idea to celebrate the past 100 years of animation was a way to combine the adult and children’s areas of the library as well as celebrate the Library’s 100th anniversary taking place in 2014.

“We wanted to do a film representation of the evolution of animation starting in the 1920’s then 30’s and by the end of 2014 we hope to work up to present day,” said Whiting. “It’s a great way to show people how things have changed and a great free program to parallel the library’s centennial celebrations as well.”

The Library pays homage to these first 100 years by showing some of Disney’s earliest animated works, such as Steamboat Willie released in 1928 which depicts a tricky mouse named Mickey who neglects his work on the steamboat, opting to make music using the animals aboard the boat.

Forms of animation can be dated back to the second century with the creation of the Chinese zoetrope, a device that spins like a top with static images posted to the outer circular wall to mimic motion.

However mainstream animated motion pictures did not appear until the release of the short film Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 by American cartoonist Windsor McCay.

McCay and his team hand drew every one of the 10,000 frames used for the film.

From here animation took off with the opening of large animation studios such as John Bray Studios and Walt Disney Studios who used assembly line animation processes to quickly produce motion pictures and in turn putting artists such as McCay out of work.

In 1915 Max and Dave Fleischer released such classics as Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor Man.

This set the stage for Otto Messmer of Pat Sullivan Studios to release the well-known Felix the Cat series in 1920 which was later distributed by Paramount Studios and attracted a large audience.