The Origins of the First Sound Animation: Songs Series by the Fleischer Brothers

Cover Page

Abstract

With the invention of moving pictures, the creators sought to supplement them with sound. Even before the invention of cinemat, E. Reynaud in the optical theatre gave performances in which moving images were combined with sound. It was pre-cinema experience, which represented the theatre model of audiovisual show. The attempts to synchronize the dynamic images and sound were taken by T. Edison, S. Meshes, L. Gaumont, O. Kellum, E.Tigerstedt, J. Engel, G. Phocht and J. Massol. However, the systems suggested by these inventors were not perfect. An important step towards creation of a sound film was the appearance of the optical sound recording system Phonofilm designed by Lee de Forest. In 1923, he became acquainted with Brothers Fleischer, outstanding American animators. Together with H. Riesenfeld and E. Fadiman they organized Red Seal Pictures Corporation and began to shoot Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes, which consisted of a series of animated shots Sing-alongs (featuring the famous «bouncing ball»). It was a kind of multimedia shots, as there was no plot, no character and no narrative structure. They were created basing on popular songs, but did not illustrate them. The Sing-alongs shots were produced for the audience to sing their favorite songs before the session, while reading the text of the songs from the screen. The animated ball bouncing on the syllables helped them to follow the rhythm of the melody. These films became the prototype of the modern karaoke and music animated shows. The series were released from May 1924 till September 1927. The Fleshers created more than 45 shots, more than 19 of which using the Phonofilm. The first sound animated shots where the images were synchronized with the sound and recorded on the same media, were released in 1925. The film Come to Travel on My Airship was the first where the speech was heard, and in the shot My Old House in Kentucky the Fleischers managed to synchronize the speech with the facial expressions of cartoon characters as they were speaking. When the animating and shooting technology changed, the film structure underwent changes too. Detailed animation parts with the story content appeared. The text animation became variable as well. Since the 1930s, the shots have included scenes with singers and jazz-bands. The animated film series Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes shot by the Brothers Fleischer established the principle of movement and sound synchronism in the animation. They not only out paced the sound films by P. Terry and W. Disney, which were considered to be the first sound animation films for a long time, but also proved that the sound animation had been possible and the thirty-year era of the silent animation came to an end.

Full Text

 Abstract: With the invention of moving pictures, the creators sought to supplement them with sound. Even before the invention of cinemas, E. Reynaud in the optical theatre gave performances in which moving images were combined with sound. It was a pre-cinema experience, which represented the theatre model of the audiovisual show. The attempts to synchronize the dynamic images and sound were taken by T. Edison, S. Meshes, L. Gaumont, O. Kellum, E.Tigerstedt, J. Engel, G. Phocht and J. Massol. However, the systems suggested by these inventors were not perfect.

An important step towards the creation of a sound film was the appearance of the optical sound recording system Phonofilm designed by Lee de Forest. In 1923, he became acquainted with Brothers Fleischer, an outstanding American animator. Together with H. Riesenfeld and E. Fadiman they organized Red Seal Pictures Corporation and began to shoot Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes, which consisted of a series of animated shots Sing-alongs (featuring the famous «bouncing ball»). It was a kind of multimedia shots, as there was no plot, no character, and no narrative structure. They were created basing on popular songs but did not illustrate them. The Sing-alongs shots were produced for the audience to sing their favorite songs before the session while reading the text of the songs from the screen. The animated ball bouncing on the syllables helped them to follow the rhythm of the melody. These films became the prototype of the modern karaoke and music animated shows. The series was released from May 1924 till September 1927. The Fleshers created more than 45 shots, more than 19 of which using the Phonofilm. The first sound animated shots where the images were synchronized with the sound and recorded on the same media were released in 1925.

The film Come to Travel on My Airship was the first where the speech was heard, and in the shot My Old House in Kentucky the Fleischers managed to synchronize the speech with the facial expressions of cartoon characters as they were speaking. When the animating and shooting technology changed, the film structure underwent changes too. Detailed animation parts with the story content appeared. The text animation became variable as well. Since the 1930s, the shots have included scenes with singers and jazz-bands. The animated film series Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes shot by the Brothers Fleischer established the principle of movement and sound synchronism in the animation. They not only outpaced the sound films by P. Terry and W. Disney, which were considered to be the first sound animation films for a long time, but also proved that the sound animation had been possible and the thirty-year era of the silent animation came to an end.

 

×

About the authors

Natalia G Krivulya

MGU (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: editor@vestnik-vgik.com

Doctor of Art Criticism, MGU (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

Russian Federation

References

  1. Bradley E.M. The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926-1931. - McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina. - London, 2005. - 560 p.
  2. Crafton D. Before Mickey: The animated Film 1898-1928. - New York: University of Chicago Press, 1993. - 436 p.
  3. Famous composer and Artist to producer Unique Shorts // Exhibitor's Trade Review, 1924,2 February - P. 27.
  4. Fleischer R. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution. - University Press of Kentucky, 2005. - 184 p.
  5. Hendricks G. Origins of the American Film. - New York: Arno Press, 1972 (1961). - 600 p.
  6. Jenkins H. Koko and His Bouncing Ball//URL.: http://www.atos.org/koko-and-his-bouncing-ball (дата обращения: 15.01.2017).
  7. Lenburg J. Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Televisions. Award Winning and Legendary Animators. - New York: Applause Books, 2006. - 388 p.
  8. Maltin L., Beck J. Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. - New York: Plume Books,: 1989. - 496p.
  9. Pointer R. The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer: American Animation - Pioneer. - Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub., 2016. - 277 р.
  10. Slide А. New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry - Chicago & London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998. - 266 p.
  11. Spenser B. Being in a choir could help the body fight cancer by boosting the immune system/ DAILY MAIL. 2016. 4, April І/ URL.: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3523661/ Choir-singing-help-body-fight-cancer-Just-hour-singing-increase-levels-immune-proteins-body-uses-battle-illnesses.html#ixzz4NHQEB1Fr (дата обращения: 15.01.2017).
  12. Silent Animated Films at the Library of Congress. Prepared by Joy A. McIntire / December 7, 1995 (Updated April 1999)// URL.: https://www.loc. gov/rr/mopic/findaid/ animate.html (дата обращения: 18.01.2017)
  13. Сайт “Silent Era”// URL.: http://www. silentera.com (дата обращения: 15.01.2017)
  14. Система «Фонофильм» использовалась в 19 лентах // URL.: http://www. silentera.com (дата обращения: 15.01.2017)

Statistics

Views

Abstract: 202

PDF (Russian): 148

Dimensions

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

PlumX

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Krivulya N.G.



This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies