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You might be interested to know that Orrin G. Cocks, of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (based in NYC) in 1917 divided "children" vs. "boys and girls" at the age of 10, and thought that children under 10 should not watch films at all and therefore advised that filmmakers and exhibitors abstain from catering to this age group. Whether or not the studios were listening to the National Board in 1917 is another question. But the fact that he felt the need to make the distinction suggests that there were at least some rumblings about trying to make films for this young crowd, if not actual films already produced, as early as 1917 in the U.S. 
I'm getting this info from a press release I encountered in the papers of the National Board of Review in the New York Public Library, but it's likely that he published these opinions somewhere that would be accessible via proquest or the like. 
-beth

Beth Corzo-Duchardt
doctoral candidate
Screen Cultures
Northwestern University

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On Aug 6, 2011, at 4:39 PM, Doc Britto wrote:

> Hello,
> 
> I am trying to find some historical "firsts" concerning young/preschool children's cartoons (TV and film), both one-time or series, for the US. I"m defining preschool rather losely as younger than 7.
> 
> Here is my difficulty so far: books usually employ simply the word "children" as in "children's program," children's film, etc., but only in recent decades has the division between older kids and preschoolers been emphasized. Before the late 60s (in particular with Sesame Street), I have not found a specific reference to a preschool cartoon, a preschool animation movie for theater release, or a preschool TV cartoon series in the US.
> 
> What is considered to be the first preschool children's television cartoon series on (American) television?
> 
> I am specifically looking for a series that was conceived for children under 7, so not an unspecified children's program that is geared to include all children (both preschool and elementary school children).
> 
> The same for an animated movie in theaters-- is there anything in American film history that is equivalent to the German "Moonbeam Bear and His Friends," for example? This movie is aimed at younger children (losely defined).
> 
> I am also interested in finding any hand-drawn cartoons (even if not series) or other animation techniques (like marionettes ) before the late 1960s that were conceived primarily for a preschool audience, or any articles on the subject.
> 
> Thank you for any references or tips.
> 
> Regards,
> V. Britto
> 
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