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January 1995, Week 2


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"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 11 Jan 1995 16:42:58 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
On 1/10/95 Barbara Bernstein wrote:
>Can anyone guide me toward classic animated shorts that refer in some way
>to movies or moviemaking? I'm thinking of cartoons that contain caricatures
>of stars, scenes of moviemaking or of Hollywood life, the use of
>catch-phrases (how many of us first heard the line "Tell me about the
>rabbits,George" in a Warners cartoon?), the cartoon characters referring to
>their own status as culture heroes, etc.  Most helpful would be the actual name
>of the cartoon, but any leads, as specific as possible, will be appreciated.
This is a huge topic:  this particular phenomenon permeates animated
cartoons from the very beginning.  Don Larsson gave an adequate thumbnail
overview suggesting general areas to review, so I'll just add a few
specific references which might be helpful:
Concerning self-referentiality in silent cartoons:
  TITLE:      Felix : the twisted tale of the world's most famous cat /
                 John Canemaker.
  EDITION:    1st ed.
  PUBL.:      New York : Pantheon Books,
  FORMAT:     xi, 177 p., (8) p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
  DATE:       1991
  ISBN:       0679728090
              067940127X :
  TITLE:      Winsor McCay, his life and art / by John Canemaker ; foreword
                 by Maurice Sendak.
  EDITION:    1st ed.
  PUBL.:      New York : Abbeville Press,
  FORMAT:     223 p. : ill., ports. (some col.) ; 34 cm.
  DATE:       1987
  ISBN:       0896596877
  TITLE:      Before Mickey : the animated film, 1898-1928 / Donald Crafton.
  PUBL.:      Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press,
  FORMAT:     xx, 413 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
  DATE:       1982
  ISBN:       0262030837
  [There is a videotape anthology available of many titles discussed in the
  TITLE:      Walt in wonderland : the silent films of Walt Disney /
                 Russell Merritt, J.B. Kaufman.
              The silent films of Walt Disney.
  EDITION:    Rev. English ed.
  PUBL.:      Pordenone, Italy : Giornate del Cinema Muto ; Baltimore :
                 Distributed by Johns Hopkins Univ. Press,
  FORMAT:     164 p. : ill., ports. ; 29 cm.
  DATE:       1993
  ISBN:       8886155026
For a variety of essays/anecdotes/capsule reviews giving some insight into
this and other aspects of the sound cartoons:
  TITLE:      Looney tunes and merrie melodies : a complete illustrated
                 guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons / by Jerry Beck & Will
  EDITION:    1st ed.
  PUBL.:      New York : H. Holt,
  FORMAT:     (390) p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
  DATE:       1989
  ISBN:       0805008942
  TITLE:      Of mice and magic : a history of American animated cartoons /
                 $Leonard Maltin ; research associate, Jerry Beck.
  EDITION:    Rev. ed.
  PUBL.:      New York : New American Library,
  FORMAT:     ix, 485 p., (8) p. of plates : ill. ; 23 cm.
  DATE:       1987
  ISBN:       0452259932
  TITLE:      The American animated cartoon : a critical anthology / edited
                 by Danny Peary and Gerald Peary.
  PUBL.:      New York : Dutton,
  FORMAT:     x, 310 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
  DATE:       1980
  ISBN:       0525476393 :
And in particular for Hollywood figures appearing in cartoons, see:
Donald Crafton, "The view from termite terrace:  Caricature and parody in
Warner Bros. animation"  FILM HISTORY: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL, vol. 5,
no. 2, 204-230, 1993.
All of these (even the most scholarly: Crafton and Merritt & Kaufman) are
very readable, and none require a backbground in semiology, deconstruction,
or other contemporary schools of abstruse theory. This list will give you a
good basis for further inquiry into self-reflexive cartoons.
--Richard j. Leskosky
Richard J. Leskosky                     office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                      FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                 University of Illinois