HISTORY OF THE CARTOON 1900-1919
Some of the first cartoons made were semi-cartoons, about the Englishman Birt Acres and Walter Booth's Tom Merry from 1895. In 1901, Walter Booth made The Devil in the Studio, which was followed by The Famous Illusion of De Kolta and Artistic Creation. The mentioned films used a so-called undercut camera, which means that the photographer rotated slowly on the camera's crank, thus taking fewer pictures of a movement, in these cases by the artist at the drawing board. When the finished film was then shown at normal speed (then 16 frames / sec.), It looked as if the artist was producing his drawings or figures in a flash. Booth's first real and fully-animated cartoon, The Hand of the Artist, was produced in 1906, and the following year followed his equally fully-animated Comedy Cartoons. (Note 1)
However, it is the English-American James Stewart Blackton (1875-1941) who is considered to have made the first real cartoon in the world, namely Humorous Phases of Funny Faces from 1906.
See Humorous Phases of Funny Faces here:
The following year came his The Haunted Hotel (1907), followed by a number of other cartoons from his hand. In these cases, Blackton used the recording technique that later became common in all cartoon production, namely, to record one or two images at a time of the series of drawings that were to be used to produce a certain movement and, in a broader sense, a course of action. (Note 2)
In 1908, the Frenchman Emile Courtet (1857-1938) also began experimenting with the cartoon medium himself. However, he is better known under the pseudonym Emile Cohl, and under that name he began around 1878 a career as a so-called cartoonist. As such, he worked for some of the major Parisian magazines.
In 1907, Cohl was hired by Gaumont Film, and here he was given the task of directing trick films in the style of the famous films by Georges Méliès. In 1908, Cohl began experimenting with cartoons, and to that end he created a very special and very simple character, who was given the name Fantôche ("The Doll", also referred to as "the matchmaker"). With the rather special character as the main character, Cohl produced in the years 1908-10 a series of short cartoons, starting with Fantasmagorie, which was 36 meters long and played barely 2 minutes. Cohl's cartoons were often drawn in white on black cardboard, but he also drew in black ink on a white background.
See Phantom Magic here:
In 1912-14, Emile Cohl stayed in New York, where he collaborated with George McManus on a series of short cartoons, the main character of which was the baby Snookums, which is somewhat reminiscent of the baby from McManus' famous cartoon The Newlyveds (1904; "The Newlyweds") . This cartoon was also the forerunner of the even more famous cartoon Bringing up Father (1913), known in Denmark under the title "Gyldenspjæt". See more about this later.
Emile Cohl continued to make cartoons until 1918. In the latter year, in collaboration with another French cartoonist and cartoonist, Benjamin Rabier, he produced the cartoon Les Aventures des Pieds-Nickelès. But by the end of World War I, Cohl had gone bankrupt, and he then saw himself relegated to making what was offered by more or less worthwhile commercials.
In Georges McManus ’famous cartoon The Newlyweds, there is a baby, a little troublemaker, reminiscent of baby Snookums, which gave rise to a series of short cartoons. Emile Cohl assisted McManus on these films, but also made his own cartoons during the two years he spent in New York.
Emile Cohl spent her last years in a retirement home in Orly. One day it happened by accident that his beautiful, chalk-white beard caught fire, and he was so burned that healing was impossible. Cohl died of his burns on January 27, 1938. (Note 3)
Early American cartoon
In the first two decades of the 20th century, American cartoon production took place mainly in New York. One of the earliest producers of commercial cartoons was the French-Canadian cartoonist Raoul Barré (1874-1932). He settled in New York in 1903 and initially drew his own comics.
Barré began his cartoon career in 1910, where he made commercial cartoons with his colleague William (‘Bill’) C. Nolan. In 1913, Barré founded his Raoul Barré Animated Cartoon Studio in New York, which attracted talented cartoonists who would later make a career in the American cartoon industry. These were names such as Frank Moser, Dick Friel, Burt Gillett, Al Hurter, Dick Huemer, Isidore Klein, Ted Sears, Frank Sherman, Mannie Davis, George Stallings, and Ben Harrison. Several of these cartoonists were later employed by Fleischer and Disney. (Note 4)
In 1915, Barré produced one of the first cartoon series, entitled The Animated Grouch Chasers. The series was produced for none other than film pioneer Thomas A. Edison, and it featured several recurring main characters: Kid Kelly, the dog Jip, Hercule Hicks, and Silas Bunkum. The animated series The Animated Grouch Chasers also experimented with technical and artistic improvements and innovations, such as depth of image, panning backgrounds and foregrounds.
In collaboration with Frank Moser and George Stallings, Barré produced Tom Power's "Phables" the same year, about which, however, there is no further information, except that the series was also called Joys and Glooms. At that time, Barré had come in contact with the cartoonist Thomas ('Tom') Bowers (1889-1946), and together they founded Barré - Bowers Studio, primarily for the purpose of producing a cartoon series based on the cartoonist Bud Fisher's famous cartoon Mutt and Jeff, 1907, in Danish called Store Klaus and Lille Klaus, without the series having anything to do with H.C.Andersen's fairy tales of roughly the same name. (Note 5)
Barré-Bowers Studio produced one Mutt and Jeff cartoon a week, so it went strong. Among the titles were In the Submarine, Jeff's Toothache, House Painters. The films were produced during the First World War and it came to characterize some of the films, such as. William Hohenzollern, Sausage-Maker.
However, the collaboration between Barré and Bowers deteriorated over time, and in 1919 the partnership was dissolved. Bud Fisher then took over the company and renamed it Mutt and Jeff Studio, which continued production until around the mid-1920s. However, the Mutt and Jeff series was also outsourced to other cartoon studios, such as Paul Terry and even to Thomas Bowers.
The then 45-year-old Raoul Barré then resumed his employment as an advertising and illustration artist, but in 1926 returned temporarily to the cartoon industry. For a year he worked for Pat Sullivan Studio, especially on the most famous cartoon series of the time Felix The Cat. But Barré's health had begun to decline, and in 1929 he probably returned to his hometown of Montreal. Here he resumed his interest in painting and alongside that he drew caricatures and illustrations for newspapers and magazines. However, he had not completely given up his great interest in cartoons, and in 1932 he was surrounded by plans to realize a comeback in animation. Before that, he died on May 21, 1932.
Cartoon history particularly remembers Raoul Barré for his original efforts in creating the cartoon series The Animated Grouch Chasers. In addition, he can with good reason be described as a pioneer figure in commercial cartoon production. It is in part also his merit that so many animators were given the opportunity to use and develop their talent under his gifted leadership.
However, there is one of Barré's students whose name must first be mentioned now, namely Patrick ‘Pat’ Sullivan (1887-1933). He was born in Australia, but moved to New York in 1914, where he was hired the following year as an animation student at Barré-Bowers Studio. Here he came to make cartoons under the supervision of a man who a number of years later had to make a name for himself as a director of e.g. movies with comedian W. C. Fields and a series of movie comedies. His name was Gregory la Cava, and we will hear more about him in a slightly later context. But as early as 1916, Pat Sullivan was given the opportunity to make a cartoon series based on his own cartoon character Sammy Johnsin. In addition, he adapted a then famous cartoon character, the vagabond Nervy Nat, into a cartoon series. The figure and the series were due to the illustrator and illustrator James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960), and the series ran in the American magazine Judge in the years 1903 to 1907. (Note 6)
Pat Sullivan soon set up his own cartoon studio and called it Pat Sullivan Studios. One of the employees was named Otto Messmer (1892-1983), and this had already in 1914 made a one-minute animation test for Universal Pictures. The test was titled Motor Matt and his Fliv. That same year it led to a collaboration with another cartoonist and animator Henry ('Hy') Mayer (1868-1954) The two made the cartoon The Travels of Teddy, presumably a satire on the travel-loving president Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt, who also became topic for JR Brays cartoon series Colonel Heezaliar. (Note 7)
Pat Sullivan was reportedly hugely popular with his staff, due to his anti-authoritarian leadership style. Otto Messmer, who joined the company in 1916, became head of his own cartoon department at Pat Sullivan Studios and was practically allowed to make the cartoons he wanted and had the opportunity to realize.
In 1917, Messmer made the cartoon Tail of Thomas Kat, and the main character in this film had the same basic features as later Felix The Cat. Thus, Thomas Kat also used his tail for his dumb "speech", and to help himself out of the unfortunate situations in which he often found himself. Thomas Kat was created jointly by Sullivan and Messmer, and as an idea probably inspired by George Herriman's and Frank Moser's Krazy Kat, which at the time was produced by the legendary cartoon company International Film Service, for which Gregory la Cava was artistic director. (Note 8)
The time was during World War I, and like so many others, Otto Messmer was also called up for military service. He was sent to France as a member of the Signal Corps and stayed here until the end of the war in 1919. It was also here that another and later well-known young and aspiring cartoonist served as a volunteer ambulance driver: His name was Walt Disney, and he must we and will of course hear significantly more about later.
However, Pat Sullivan could not offer his former top man permanent employment when he returned home from the war. Instead, Otto Messmer came to work for Bray Studios, where he in collaboration with Earl Hurd, Frank Moser and John Terry, among others. was commissioned to make a cartoon series with a cartoon Charlie Chaplin as the main character. The cartoon Chaplin character was already known to comic book readers at the time, with the cartoonist Ed Carey in 1915 transferring the world-famous film comedian's vagabond character to the comic book medium. That series continued until well into the century. (Note 9)
In 1919, Messmer was offered a freelance job by Pat Sullivan, directing a cartoon series entitled Feline Follies (or Feline Frolics). It was the Thomas Cat character that was reused in these movies, and the cat was still named Tom. But already the same year, the cat was renamed and presented in Felix the Cat., And as such, it soon became the world's most popular cartoon character with a status that 8 years later was taken over and surpassed by Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, probably not least thanks to the fact that Disney in this series took advantage of the possibilities that the invention of the speech film meant. (Note 10)
Under the leadership of Otto Messmer, a large number of cartoons were produced throughout the 1920s with Felix the Cat in all possible and especially impossible situations, and some of the animators who worked on the series included Al Hurter, Hal Walker and - Raoul Barré. The latter had, for a brief remark, returned to the cartoon industry in 1926, but already the following year he stopped again.
Otto Messmer began drawing a Sunday newspaper series with the now famous Felix in 1923, and he continued to do so until 1954. In the period 1944-45, Messmer worked for Famous Studios in Miami. His role was co-story writer on cartoon series such as Popeye, Little Lulu and Snuffy Smith. But here we have chronologically come a little far ahead in time, and must therefore in the following chapter take a closer look at some of the cartoonists who also prevailed around 1914 to 1920. (Note 11)
The second decade of the 20th century could muster relatively many cartoonists who became interested in and experimented with cartoons. One of these was the American Wallace Carlson (1894 – 1967), who in 1914 made his first cartoon, the title of which is unknown. Carlson lived and worked in Chicago, where the film company Essanay also had its then domicile and its film studios. Here the film comedian Charlie Chaplin's first film for this company was shot during 1915. Chaplin had left Mack Sennett's famous Keystone Studios in sunny California, where during the year 1914 he had shot his first 35 films in total. It was during his time at Essanay that Chaplin began to seriously develop his vagabond character, which, however, did not gain its fixed characteristics until 1916-17, when Chaplin worked for the film company Mutual in Hollywood. (Note 12)
Wallace Carlson approached Essanay in 1915, and here his little cartoon was so well-liked that he was encouraged to make a cartoon series about a little ordinary man who daydreams into all possible and impossible situations. The man was named Dreamy Dud, and his always loyal dog was named Wag, and it was no small thing this worldly daydreamer and his faithful dog friend came across during the many films Carlson produced in the series in the years 1915-16. Interestingly, one of the films called Dreamy Dud is seen Charlie Chaplin, in which the poor Dreamy Dud is so lucky to find a ten cent on the street so he can go to the cinema and see a Chaplin movie.
Carlson, however, abandoned the Dreamy Dud series after a year, and instead threw himself into other cartoon series. One of these was probably inspired by Chaplin's vagabond character and was named Goodrich Dirt - literally translated: good, rich dirt. He was a skinny, untidy and unruly pimple who did not go out of his way for anything in his daily search for a hearty meal and a dishonestly earned dollar. During his life, Goodrich Dirt encountered many kinds of adventures, and although he always maintained his unsightly appearance, he even acted as a railway officer. Carlson abandoned the series in 1919, and then concentrated on the production of the cartoon The Gumps, which, however, did not achieve the same success as his previous cartoons.
In 1923, Wallace Carlson gave up working more on cartoons and returned to work as a cartoonist. In retrospect, it has been noted that Carlson's cartoons were well drawn, finely timed and with a successful animation, which demonstrates that American cartoons could already at that time perform excellently within this genre. (Note 13)
Around the same time that Wallace Carlson was producing his cartoons in Chicago, there was a younger newspaper and cartoonist in San Francisco who also wanted to make cartoons. His name was Paul Terry (1887-1971) and he made his first small, 5-minute cartoon in 1915. It was named after the film's main character, Little Herman. The time was during World War I, and like so many of the other Americans - and by the way also the French and English cartoonists at the time - Terry was given the task of working for the government and the armed forces. Paul Terry thus made a series of cartoons about surgical technique, which was much needed given the many seriously wounded soldiers at the fronts in Europe. (Note 14)
During 1916, Paul Terry also embarked on a series of cartoons that, over the next many years, were to achieve reasonable success with cinemagoers worldwide. The title of the series was Farmer Al Falfa, which was initially produced for the Thomas A. Edison Corporation, later for the Pathé Exchange. In 1919, Paul Terry began a collaboration with Paramount, and for this company he produced i.a. cartoon series Aesop’s Film Fables. The first film in the series was called The Cat and the Mice, 1921, so once again the cat was after the mouse, or vice versa, in American cartoons, as had been the case and was in the Krazy Kat series and the Felix the Cat series. But in collaboration with Frank Moser in particular, Paul Terry was to create a number of popular cartoon characters and cartoon series under the common title Terrytoon Cartoons some years later. We will return to that later.
During World War I, entertainment cartoons were also produced in France and England. The former place by cartoonists and animators like the already mentioned Emile Cohl, and also by Benjamin Rabier and Marius Roussillon. In England, it was names like Anson Dyer, Dudley Buxton, G. E. Studdy, Joe Noble and Sid Griffiths.
The French cartoonist and animator Benjamin Armand Rabier (1869-1939) became known from 1904 for his pictorial history Caramel, Histoire d’un Singe ("Caramel, the Story of a Monkey"). Over time, he added more and more animals to his stories, which of course were really about humans and their folly. Rabier began a collaboration with Emile Cohl after he returned from the United States in 1914. Together they made the two cartoons Flambeau, Chien Perdu, and Les Fiancailles de Flambeau. In 1918, they co-produced Les Aventures des Pieds-Nickelés.
In the 1920s, Rabier directed a number of cartoons based on his popular animal figures, including films such as Animaux de Benjamin Rabier and La Queue en Trompette ("The Turned-Up Tail"). The films were unsuccessful, and with the introduction of sound film in 1928, Rabier left the cartoon industry. One of Rabier's most popular animal characters was the comic duck Gédéon, who many years later was to have his successors in Donald Duck and Daffy Duck. (Note 15)
Marius Roussillon (ca. 1880-1946) was a cartoonist for satirical French magazines under the artist name "O'Galop" ("in Galop"), when in 1912 he produced his first and social reformist cartoons: Le Circuit d'Alcool ("The Path of Alcohol ”) and Le Taudis Doit Etre Vaincu (“ The Slums Must Be Vanquished”). After his military service during World War I, Roussillon returned to his profession and made a series of fable cartoons, such as The Tortoise and the Hare, The Fox and the Stork, etc. Roussillon's cartoons were all silent films, and he obviously could not reconcile himself with the soundtrack, for he left similar to e.g. Benjamin Rabier the cartoon industry when the soundtrack was introduced. (Note 16)
In England, from around 1914, there were also some cartoonists who began to take an interest in cartoons. They were first and foremost Ernest Anson Dyer (1876-1962), who until the end of the 1940s was to have great significance and influence on English cartoons. (Note 17)
Anson Dyer, who was educated at The Brighton School of Art, specializes in stained glass for churches, and after his education he also worked for many years as a stained glass artist. But besides his serious work, he was also interested in drawing funny animal figures for children. That was probably what also got him interested in cartoons. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Anson Dyer enlisted in the military but was discarded. As a film enthusiast, he then tried to get a job as a film actor at The British And Colonial Kinematograph Company, but this was not thought to be suitable due to his extraordinarily tall figure. But when the director heard about his interest in cartoons and saw his funny cartoons, he was offered a contract for a series of 3 cartoons called Dicky Dee’s Cartoons. The films were completed at the end of the year 1915.
In 1916, Anson Dyer worked for The Cartoon Film Company, making a series of a total of 8 cartoons, the main character of which was a caricature of a famous Music Hall comedian, George Robey. Anson Dyer's cartoons alternated with Dudley Buxton's series John Bull ’Animated Sketchbook. (See about this later). In 1917, Anson Dyer began working for Kine Comedy Cartoons, incidentally with Dudley Buxton and Ernest H. Mills. The cartoons here were of course characterized by the war situation, which i.a. can be seen by the title of his first film for the company, namely The Kaiser’s Record. From June to October 1918, Anson Dyer completed a total of 10 cartoons.
After the war, satirical cartoon commentaries were no longer needed for current events. Anson Dyer therefore changed subject and style and started making cartoons specifically for children. He called his first series Phillip's Philm Phables, and the subject was Uncle Remus, based on the stories of Joel Chandler Harris, of which 3 films were made during 1919. Anson Dyer was then commissioned to animate the battle scenes for the live action film Nelson, and then switched to working for English film great pioneer Cecil M. Hepworth (1874-1953) at his Walton-On-Thames Studio. Here, Anson Dyer produced a series called Cartoon Burlesques, which were parodies of Shakespeare's plays, e.g. The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Amlet, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew. These films were made during 1919-22. (Note 18)
In 1922, Anson Dyer embarked on a cartoon series with his own original character, Bobby the Scout, from which three films were made. At that time, Hepworth and his company unfortunately went bankrupt, and it also affected Anson Dyer's career, at least for a time. Nevertheless, he managed to produce a few hilarious children's cartoons about well-known folk tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood ("Little Red Riding Hood") and "The Three Little Pigs". Here we write 1922. The following year, the newly started Walt Disney made his cartoon version of "Little Red Riding Hood", and about ten years later, in 1933, his "The Three Little Pigs", which became world famous. (Note 19)
Anson Dyer made a comeback in 1935 with his Color Cartoon Studio Anglia Films, which partly produced a series of short cartoons about musketeers Sam Small, and partly commercial cartoons. We must return to this in a chronological context, especially since it was in this study and these cartoons that two of Danish cartoonists' pioneers, Jørgen Myller and Henning Dahl Mikkelsen came to play a role.
Winsor McCay (1867-1934) was born in Canada, but made a career in the United States. as a cartoonist for the New York Herald. He gained great acclaim with his imaginative and highly detailed comics: "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend". McCay experimented with animation, and in 1911 he made a very impressive cartoon: "Little Nemo", which he even hand-colored directly on the film strip. The film was an experiment, with no real action, but even with today's eyes, it must be said that the animation is of a high class.
See here Little Nemo:
Winsor McCay appeared on varieties as a so-called 'lightning cartoonist', and on these occasions he showed the film: "Little Nemo". However, he achieved the greatest success with the cartoon "Gertie The Dinosaur" (1914), with which he performed interactively for an impressed audience. McCay, who was standing at the movie screen, commanded the dinosaur Gertie, and it did what was said.
Watch Gertie The Dinosaur here:
More seriousness was behind the cartoon: "The Sinking of Lusitania" from 1918. The film depicted one of the tragedies of World War I, in which many people died when the steamship Lusitania in 1915 was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.
See here The Sinking of Lusitania:
The British cartoonist, animator, producer and director, Dudley Buxton (1884-1951)., began in 1914 as a 'lightning cartoonist' in a series of short films, called Tressograph Cartoons. In this he used the same shooting technique that many of both former and contemporary film pioneers had used, namely, to record fewer pictures of e.g. the artist's hand, drawing some figure on a sheet of paper, and then showing the film at normal speed, which at the time was 16 frames per second. SEC. (Note 20)
In November 1914, Buxton made three cartoons in the War Cartoons series, and the following spring he was hired by the Cartoon Film Company, where he came to work with Anson Dyer on their joint project John Bull's Animated Sketchbook. A total of 21 films were made in this series, which ended in November 1916. As his recurring character, Anson Dyer had, as mentioned, used a caricature of a famous Music Hall comedian, George Robey. Buxton, on the other hand, drew a caricature of Charlie Chaplin's vagabond as his main character in the series. But that Buxton could also be highly serious and make dramatic cartoons, he showed with The Sinking of the German Battleship Blucher, which was made three years before Winsor McCay made his excellent The Sinking of Lusitania, 1918.
In 1917 Buxton was hired by Kine Komedy Kartoons, and here he produced a series of 8 short cartoons. Among these was Ever Been Had ?, a humorous, satirical film about the lonely man in the moon who comes down to earth, only to meet a single Englishman who has survived the war. In 1918, Buxton made another serious cartoon, The Raid On Zeebrugge, which was a dramatic reconstruction of real warfare. In 1919 Buxton made the cartoon series The Cheerio Chums, and in 1920 Bucky's Burlesques and The Memoirs of Miffy. One of the films in the latter series, Running a Cinema, marks a shift in English cartoons, which until now had made extensive use of the old cut-out system, but which here for the first time have switched to using only the American invented technique in which the animation drawings are copied onto celluloid sheets.
In 1924, Dudley Buxton made his last cartoon series, entitled Pongo the Pup. It was the Pathé Pictorial that distributed these films, which were intended to alternate with the equally English Sid Griffiths cartoon series Jerry, the Troublesome Tyke ("Jerry, the troublesome meat"). About this later. After finishing the Pongo series, Dudley Buxton does not seem to have played any role in English cartoons, and he therefore disappeared into oblivion. (Note 21)
It seems that dogs or puppies had a certain appeal to English cartoonists, for the next cartoonist to be mentioned here is the cartoonist George Ernest Studdy (1878 – 1948) . He will be best known for his creation of the dog Bonzo, which in the period 1940-45 (?) could be seen in compilations for Rich's Album, and as a cover figure on the weekly magazine "Familie Journalen". But before it got there, in 1915, G. E. Studdy had made a series of three short cartoons for British Gaumont. These were called Studdy's War Studies, and they were distributed in December 1915, January, and February 1916, respectively. (Note 22)
It was after World War I that Studdy drew some illustrations with dogs, and among these there was in particular a small spotted male dog, which became his favorite object. He christened the dog Bonzo and made it the main character in a series of drawings that aroused the interest and enthusiasm of readers. The little game maker Bonzo also won interest from the director of New Era Films, Gordon Craig, who got Studdy interested in letting Bonzo appear in cartoons. Studdy agreed, and from October 1924 to January 1926, a total of 26 short cartoons about Bonzo's merits were made under the production supervision of William (‘Bill’) A. Ward. Titles include Playing Dickens in an Old Curiosity Shop, Bonzolino, Detective Bonzo and The Black Hand Gang, Tally Ho Bonzo. Among the cartoonists and animators who worked on the Bonzo films are H. Brian White and Sid Griffiths. Around 1928-30, these two gentlemen became teachers for the first man of commercial Danish cartoons, Jørgen Myller. We will return to the latter in the chapter DANSK TEGNEFILM 1930-1942.
The British illustrator, animator, author and film director Charles (‘Joe’) Noble (1894-1985) states that it was his fascination with Raoul Barré's The Animated Grouch Chasers and J. R. Brays Colonel Heezaliar that piqued his interest in the cartoon medium. In 1919, Noble worked as an illustrator for the Daily Cinema News, designing the titles for the weekly movie reviews that were common in theaters both then and later. Here he was commissioned to make the title design for the film The Gypsy Cavalier, which film pioneer J. Stewart Blackton was filming in London for his own company, Vitagraph.
However, Joe Noble's real acquaintance with cartoon production did not come until 1920, when he came in contact with Kine Komedy Kartoons, which had offices and drawing studios above the Daily Cinema News' offices. Here, Noble became an assistant to the reigning Dudley Buxton, who taught him what he himself knew and had learned about cartoon technique. Noble later moved to Brentford, where he worked for Broda-Jenkins. Here he animated on the basis of key drawings by the two newspaper cartoonists Tom Titt and W. D. Ford. Joe Noble also took over and completed a cartoon about Tom Webster's Tishy, a racing mare who had broken her legs. Then, in 1923, Noble became production manager for Visual Education, Ltd., where he animated diagram films for various purposes. In 1924, he again worked for Dudley Buxton on a series called Bongo, but it was abandoned.
At the urging of Tom Webster, Noble worked in 1925 with the American animator Dick Friel on the series Alf and Steve, which was about a horse and its jockey. Webster and Noble then produced some animated sequences for a unique musical revue, Cartoons, at the Criterion Theater, Piccadilly, London.
Joe Noble worked mainly for Pathé Pictures, and in 1928-29 he produced the first British tone and speech cartoon: Orace the Armonious Ound, in which he used his own invented lip-sync system. He also produced the first English commercial cartoon with tone and speech, namely Mr. York of York, Yorks. In 1933, he joined Brian White and Sid Griffiths, who both produced cartoons and cartoons for the Pathé Pictorial. In 1945, he left Pathé for The Directorate of Naval Training, for which he produced instructional films with cartoon features. In addition, he also made a number of commercials, and according to the available information, he animated some fantasy sequences in the feature film Mr. H.C. Andersen (1950). Here we temporarily leave Joe Noble, whose career in the English cartoon industry stretched from 1920 to 1950. (Note 23)
Unfortunately, there is not much information about the life and career of the cartoonist, animator and production supervisor Sidney (‘Sid’) Griffiths ’(1901-1967) other than what you can read about in some books about animation and on the internet. But since his actual cartoon career only begins around 1925, namely with the series about Jerry, the Troublesome Tyke, he must first be mentioned in more detail in chronological order.
In particular, it must be said that the Swedish newspaper cartoonist Gustav Victor Bergdahl (1878-1939) in 1915 created his anti-hero, Captain Grogg. The figure was clearly, indeed, almost more than clearly, inspired by the American C. W. Kahle's cartoon The Yarns of Captain Fibb, which was just at that time published by the Swedish weekly Veckan.
In Victor Bergdahl's case, the interest in the cartoon medium was allegedly due to Winsor McCay's cartoon, which made such a big impression on him that he felt like trying it for himself. To that end, he created his cheerful, drunken sea owl, whose adventures took place all over the earth. It began with Grogg's Wonderful Journey ("Grogg's Wonderful Journey"), and when it was well received by the audience, Bergdahl decided to make a whole series with the drunken captain, who from 1915 to the early 1920s made conditions unsafe everywhere in the places where he appeared. It became known to 13 films in the series.
See here Captain Grogg's wonderful journey:
Bergdahl's "Captain Grogg" cartoons are remarkable, especially because they are and were unique in Scandinavia at the time, but also because the films can in every respect be compared to the best made of cartoons in the rest of Europe and America at that time . (Note 24)
Speaking of America, we must return to the mention of American cartoons in the silent film era. This is about the cartoon company Hearst International Film Service, which was established in 1916 by the magazine king W. R. Hearst (1863-1951). As production supervisor and artistic director, he hired the previously mentioned Gregory la Cava (1892-1949), who at least the year before, in 1915, had worked for Barré-Bowers Studios. The purpose of setting up the International Film Service was to transfer some of the most popular comics in Hearst’s newspapers to the cartoon media. These were primarily the series Krazy Kat, Happy Hooligan, Maggie and Jiggs, Silk Hat Harry and Katzenjammer Kids. (Note 25)
George Herriman's Krazy Kat has already been mentioned under Frank Moser, and the reader should therefore be referred to it. On the Krazy Kat series, which was supervised by its creator, George Herriman, and directed by Leon Searl, people like Frank Moser, Bill Nolan and Bert Green worked. (Note 26)
The cartoon Happy Hooligan exhibits a farce style and a character gallery, which was obvious for both cartoons and movie farces. The author of the series is the cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper (1857-1937). In 1899 he was employed by Hearst's "Journal", and it was in this that his comics, Happy Hooligan (1999), And Her Name Was Maud (1905) and Alphonse and Gaston (1905) were published. Oppers' favorite characters were day laborers and vagabonds. Maud, however, was not a human, but a stubborn donkey. There is no information on how many cartoons were made in the series with Happy Hooligan. (Note 27)
The cartoon series Maggie and Jiggs was a sequel to The Newlyweds, 1904, and the cartoon itself is actually called Bringing Up Father, 1913, one of the most elegant comics that has ever seen the light of day. In Danish, the series and its main character were christened with the glorious name Gyldenspjæt. The author of the mentioned series was the cartoonist George McManus (1884-1954), who as mentioned under Emile Cohl, and in collaboration with this, in 1912-14 among others. had produced a cartoon series entitled Snookums (Note 28)
There is no further information about the cartoon series Silk Hat Harry, except that one was produced at Hearst International Film Service 1916-18, when the company closed and many of the cartoon series were taken over and continued by Bray's company, now called Bray Productions, Inc.
One would have thought that the cartoon The Katzenjammer Kids (1897), in Danish: Knold og Tot, by the cartoonist Rudolph Dirks (1877-1968), would have been an obvious subject for a series of entertaining cartoons. But although a number of such films were produced at Hearst International Film Service 1916-18, and later at Bray Studios, none of these films rose above the mediocre. It was otherwise a skilled animator like John Foster and his assistant Walter Lantz who, under