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Stop motion animation! It’s arguably one of the most painstaking art forms ever created, a peculiar–even uncanny–blend of live action and inanimate objects. While many of us associate it with, say, Jack Skellington and the ubiquitous Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, its history goes back decades before Tim Burton got that twinkle in his eye.

Image result for ladislas starevich

Even a decade or two before Polish-Russian animation pioneer Ladislas Starevich got that twinkle in his eye.

In fact, stop motion animation goes back practically to the dawn of cinema. And since this blog is all about that dawn of cinema, throughout this month we’re going to be studying just how this unique art form got started. And, of course, tip our hats to several silent era animation pioneers.

Image result for brontosaurus the lost world

And a pioneering film or two!

I’ll admit that as a kid, aside from the Rankin/Bass cartoons I usually found stop motion animation a little too uncanny–even downright unsettling. (Half the films we’re mentioning this month would’ve probably creeped me out back then–ah, silly youth!) But as I grew older, I began to appreciate the talent and incredible patience of stop motion animators more and more. And their delicate work is perhaps even more incredible to me when it hails from the pre-plastic age of handcranked cameras.

So I invite all of you to join me as I examine the early years of this strange, meticulous style of animation. It should be a fun few weeks!

A sample! (Credit: silentmoviegifs)

…To say the least! 😉

13 thoughts on “

  1. I am so into this! I have always loved stop motion and I remember one of the more stand out discoveries to me about the silent era was that Willis O’Brien went back that far. That blew my mind!
    I am really looking forward to all you have in store this month!
    🥳<—this is me because of SSSMAA2019… (that’s Silentology’s Silent Stop Motion Animation August…2019) Lol!

  2. On a completely different subject…. I’m sure you already know this but I wanted to make sure other silent movie fans knew that TCM is doing their Summer Under the Stars this month and our beloved Buster will be featured on August 19th!!!😀. ALL Buster ALL day!!!!

    … And the best thing about it is that August 19 is my day off that week!!! I’ve already warned my family to expect NOTHING from me except giggling!!!!😆

  3. Cool idea Lea!
    BTW, One silent stop-motion film I would love to find is a film Frank Goldman (Francis Lyle Goldman) made for Bell telephone which shows a telephone assembling itself in stop motion. He apparently remade the film the film a couple times in sound. The first sound remake in 1932 “Getting Together” through Audio-Cinema (a division of AT&T), and later in 1947 “Just Imagine” through Jam Handy.

    • I’d watch that for sure! I have an antique wall phone that dates from 1918 and always keep my eyes open for a good condition candlestick phone. Glad you enjoying the articles so far!

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