Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

23 DECEMBER, 2011

Max Fleischer’s Original 1947 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Animation

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How Santa’s ninth reindeer made his on-screen debut.

In 1939, Robert L. May conceived of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a poem, published in a booklet by iconic department store Montgomery Ward. But “Santa’s 9th Reindeer” didn’t become etched into the nation’s collective imagination until May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, adapted Rudolph into a song in 1949. (What makes the story all the more curious and poetic is that Marks was Jewish, yet he created some of the most popular Christmas songs we know today.)

But Rudolph made his first screen appearance two years earlier, in 1947, in a cartoon short produced by animation pioneer Max Fleischer. The film was later reissued by the Handy (Jam) Organization — who also brought us such gems as a manifesto for makers (1960), cinematic homage to mid-century design (1958), and an animated explanation of how radio broadcasting works (1937) — with the song added in. The 8-minute animation, now in the public domain, is a vintage treat of the most delicious variety:

Fleischer’s film was eventually adapted into a lovely children’s storybook in 1951, illustrated by Richard Scarry.

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15 DECEMBER, 2011

Viewers Like You: Edward Gorey’s Animated Intro for PBS’s Mystery

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Lessons in giving from the master of the macabre.

I have a well-documented soft spot for legendary mid-century illustrator Edward Gorey, whose stories about mischievous children and curious creatures influenced generations of creators as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Tim Burton, and who even eleven years after his death managed to delight us with one of the best children’s books of 2011. But what catapulted Gorey into cultural cachet were his animated introductions for the PBS show Mystery! in 1980 — an absolute micro-treat of Goreyesque grim whimsy.

As a regular supporter of public media (and myself the proprietor of what’s essentially a donation-based public service), I’m particularly delighted by Gorey’s refreshing take on the familiar “viewers like you” message — easily the most charming way to ask for a donation.

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01 DECEMBER, 2011

Lovely Stop-Motion Book Trailers for Stiefvater’s Fantasy Trilogy

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Cut-paper werewolves and newspaper fairies, oh my.

Even though I hardly read fiction, I’m a notorious lover of book trailers, so I found myself mesmerized by these three stop-motion gems for Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Hall fantasy trilogy — Shiver, Linger, and Forever. The most striking part? Stiefvater did the art and the animation and the music herself — I bow.

(It’s also interesting to observe how much better both the technology and the animation technique have become between 2009, when Stiefvater made the first trailer, and the 2011 release of the last one.)

And for the ultimate in book trailer artistry, don’t miss Kirstin Butler’s selection of the 7 finest book trailers of recent years.

via Ebook Apothecary

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