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Page 6 POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 8, 2014 r,.~. THOUGHTS BY DAN ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso THE DAWN OF THE AMERICAN CARTOON: The Silent Da s Dispute remains about when the Golden Age of ani- mation ended, though the era has been narrowed down to when Warner shut down its animation unit in the late '50s. But, all animation his- torians can agree on when it began, the day Mickey spoke in Steamboat Willie. Neither is there any dispute when classic animation reached its peak within those years; the late '30s to '40s when the major studios (Walt Disney, Warner Bros, and MGM) elevated the cartoon short to an art form. But comparatively little is said about the early silent years of animation, prima- rily because it went by so quickly. On its dawn, anima- tion became a tight race between the two pioneers, Walter Elias Disney and Max Fleischer, both testing the possibilities of the new medium and pushing them to the limit. Cartoons were innovating so fast that the coming of sound could not be far off and before the busy '20s were done, Lind- bergh flew, Jolson sang, and Mickey spoke. But animation was really sparked by a name that has largely been forgotten, even by casual fans. Thon-nas Edison deserves some credit for developing the primitive forms of drawing movement, but if the American ani- mated cartoon's creator had to be narrowed down to one name, it's Winsor McCay or, rather, it's Winsor McCay and a dinosaur named Gertie. McCay got his start as an editorial cartoonist before making his name with his comic strips, the most popular of which was Little Nemo. Perhaps inspired by D.W. Griffith's Biography films, McCay realized the possibilities of marrying cartoons with motion pic- tures. He experimented with a short film here and there but, a showman at heart, McCay's big break- through and, for my money, the starting point of the American cartoon was an innovative and ingenious little film about a spoiled lady dinosaur. But Gertie the Dinosaur cannot easily be called a film. It's a curi- ous little vaudeville inspira- tion combining animation, theater, and camera magic. McCay toured theaters across the country, present- ing his cartoon star, who would come crashing into audience view on a screen Gertie next to her creator. With per- fect timing, McCay would throw food at the screen; the real food prop would disap- pear into the darkness of the stage while an animated fruit would appear on screen, flying toward the giant beast which would gobble it up. From the stage, McCay would give his prehistoric pet commands and, on cue, the dinosaur would take a bow, wave her front leg, and shake her long neck. The show would culminate with McCay walking behind the screen and an animated double of him would appear on screen, mount the dino- saur and they would both ride away into the sunset. Walt Disney was always honest about the influence Winsor McCay had on his own work (devoting an epi- sode of his Dtsneyland TV show on him), but both Disney and his rival Max Fleischer took a note of McCay. In the first years of animation it was anyone's guess if Walt Disney or Max Fleischer would be the one to dominate the new art. Both pioneers were experi- menting wildly with their drawings, both having become fond of combining live-action and animation. Fleischer Studios' big gim- mick was the Out of the Inkwell series (later Inkwell Imps) in which an animator {played by a live actor) would Koko the Clown ••••••••••••••• 0000000•000000000 ntin Indoor / Outdoor Free Estimates * Fully Insured Daytime * Nighttime * Weekends 617.312.7084 J Boston and North Shore Areas 0•0000000•000000000000••00000••O come to a drawing board and with his pen and inkwell would control and manipu- late the world of the cartoon character he brought to life, who also took a figurative life of his own and became Koko the Clown. Disney's Start was more traditional, but the Laugh- O-Gram shorts he was pro- ducing in the early '20s (most putting a new spin on classic fairy tales) set the groundwork for an empire. Two of these shorts, Tommy Tucker' s Tooth and Alice's Wonderland, did combine live-action and animation and the latter was the start of the Alice Comedies which solidified Walt Disney and partner Ub lwerks as lead- ing animators. In them, a young girl (Virginia Davis) would enter a cartoon land where she would cavort with wacky characters, among them a mischievous named Julius and a meah- bullying feline who would develop into the only char- acter from the Alice series to appear in the classic Disney stable, Mickey's archenemy Peg-Leg Pete. Perhaps the greatest thing the Alice Comedies did for young Walt was prove the importance of establishing defined characters that would connect with the audience. The novelty of camera magic would soon wear off; such is the way of gimmicks. But characters Oswald that the public would love, those last forever. Walt found his first in 1927 with a playful rabbit named Oswald, both as an answer to Fleischer's Felix the Cat and as part of a deal with Universal which was also trying to jump into the car- toon industry. For a while this worked well and Oswald became the first true Disney star. Walt, in fact, had so much faith in the character that he began to demand a bigger cut of the profits from distributor Charles M.intz. But things soured, and Disney parted ways with Mintz, leaving his rabbit creation in his hands. But, as it turns out, this was the best thing that could have happened to Walt Disney for he had a new rodent up his sleeve and later in 1928 he introduced the world to his Mouse for the first time. The rest, as they say, is his- tory. Mickey not only made Walt a legend but ushered animation's greatest era. But that's another story for another article. Art THAT ZAZZ by Mary N. DiZazzo CUTICLE OIL -- A Must for Healthy Nails/ Ciao Bella, I have been practicing Natural Nail Care for over 30 years, and quite success- fully I may add. I use Cuticle Oil after every manicure ser- vice religiously. It is an essential part of the mani- cure. It should also be used daily. You may ask "What is Natural Nail Care?" From experience it is not practiced by many nail techs. It is the practice of manicuring the nails while promoting and maintaining natural healthy nail growth. Whether the tech is apply- ing enhancements (tips and wraps preferred) or a polish covering as shellac, consid- eration of future nail health should be observed as well as performing a regular manicure. Using Cuticle Oil and en- couraging its use is manda- tory for healthier nails. Mas- saging the oil into the cu- ticles and nails stimulates blood circulation promoting and maintaining healthy cuticles and naris. Also when a client is using a nail strengthening polish which tends to "dry" the natural nail while hardening the nail a Cuticle Oil must be massaged in daily to replen- ish lost moisture. A nail will harden with a flexibility to bounce back instead of frac- turing from dryness while using a nail strengthener and Cuticle Oil. Cuticle Oil is a very inte- gral part of also keeping the nail polish pliable elimi- nating brittleness therefore promoting longevity of pol- ish. As for cuticles the oil helps to shrink and tighten preventing hang- nails. Cuticle Oil was first formulated to meet these needs for flexible coatings and additional moisture. Many different kinds of oils make up an array of Cuticle Oils. Vitamin E oil is nature's anti-aging ingredi- ent repairing and preserving skin cells. Jojoba oil pen- etrates skin's pores prepar- ing skin to accept other important ingredients for moisturizing and healing benefits. Rice bran oil is a well-known beauty secret that softens and conditions. There are also anti-bacterial ingredients in some Cuticle Oils such as Tea Tree Oil. So don't forget to use your Cuticle Oil to maintain healthy nails and cuticlesl Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America -- Mary DiZazzo-Trumbull Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns at Mary is a third-generation cosmetolo- gist and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183 or • Stirpe Nostra (Continued combined. Nyx, the goddess of Night, was often repre- sented riding in a chariot, preceded by groups of stars (constellations), and with wings to denote the speed of her flight. At other times her floating black veil was stud- ded with stars. Gaea, who came next, was called Mother Earth. Her realm included the Oceans and Sky as well as the Earth from Page 2) itself. She was honored as mother of all, who nourishes her offspring and heaps blessings upon them. In an- cient Athens she was also worshiped as the goddess of death who eventually sum- moned all of her creates back to her, hiding them in her bosom. NEXT WEEK: Hemera, Aether and Charon Agency Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO • HOMEOWNERS • TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building