History of U.S. Animation (1900-1939)

  • First use of Animation in a U.S. Film

    First use of Animation in a U.S. Film
    Enchanted Drawings was the title of the first U.S. film that used animation. The film was recorded on standard picture film and included animated sequences.
  • First Entirely Animated Film

    First Entirely Animated Film
    "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" by James Stuart Blackton was the first entirely animated U.S. film.
  • Little Nemo

    Little Nemo
    Winsor McCay, famous cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald makes his first film, "Little Nemo". McCay would subsequently produce "Gertie the Dinosaur" in 1914 and "The Sinking of the Litsuania" in 1918.
  • The Artist's Dream

    The Artist's Dream
    John Bray's first film, "The Artist's Dream", is released.
  • Fonding of the Bray-Hurd Process Company

    Fonding of the Bray-Hurd Process Company
    Soon after John Bray founded Bray Productions, he and Earl Hurd teamed up to create the Bray-Hurd Process Company. Together they developed methods to allow animation studios to mass produce films which previously had required inefficient amounts of time and labor. From 1914, the bulk of America's animation industry operated under licenses issued by the Bray-Hurd Process Company. *Note: 1 December 1914 is not an accurate date. The year and month, however, are accurate.
  • Founding of Bray Productions

    Founding of Bray Productions
    One of the first full-fledged animation studios in Hollywood is founded and incorporated by John Bray. He calls the company: Bray Productions. *Note: Although I have indicated 1 December 1914 as the founding date the specific day was not actually found. December 1914, however, is accurate.
  • U.S.A. Declares War on Germany

    U.S.A. Declares War on Germany
    U.S.A. formally engaged in World War 1 with this declaration of war on Germany.
  • The Sinking of the Lusitania

    The Sinking of the Lusitania
    In "The Sinking of the Lusitania", McCay tried to recreate the ship’s destruction as faithfully as possible. The film might very well be the first instance in which animation is used for propaganda value; to manipulate and enhance anti-war sentiment during the First World War.
  • Formal End of WWI

    Formal End of WWI
    With the Treaty of Versaille signed on this day, WWI comes to an end. Unlike animation in Europe, American animation during WWI continued unabated which attributed to its status as one of the, if not the only, strongest animation industry. A large inventory of animated films were ready for international distribution by the end of the conflict.
  • Felix the Cat

    Felix the Cat
    Felix the Cat first hit the screen on this day in "Feline Follies". Created by Otto Messmer for the Pat Sullivan studio, the feline character held a spot as the world's most popular cartoon character until the advent of Mickey Mouse.
  • Walter Elias Disney

    Walter Elias Disney
    At 19 years old, Walter Elias Disney starts working in animation at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, with his friend Ubbe Iwerks. At the Company, Disney becomes interested in animation. *Note: The month and year are accurate but not the day.
  • The Flying House

    The Flying House
    Windsor McCay's last major contribution to animation on the big screen.
  • Disney Incorporates Laugh-O-Gram Studio

    Disney Incorporates Laugh-O-Gram Studio
    The Laugh-O-Gram Studio was located in Kansas City, Missouri and is the place in which Disney created his first professional independent film. Mickey Mouse, who was created at the Studio, was inspired by a flesh and blood mouse Walt Disney kept as a pet in the building. By 1923, however, the Studio goes bankrupt. Today, the Laugh-O-Grams building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Warner Bros. Founded

    Warner Bros. Founded
    On this day, the Warner Bros. movie studio was founded by Albert, Harry, Sam, and Jack Warner. Their original series Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies would only be released in 1930 and 1931, respectively.
  • The Walt Disney Company

    The Walt Disney Company
    On this day, Walt Disney signs the contract for "The Alice Comedies" under his new company. The date is thus seen as the official founding date of The Walt Disney Company.
  • Warner Bros. Animation Release their First Animation Short

    Warner Bros. Animation Release their First Animation Short
    "Sinkin' in the Bathtub" was released on this day by Warner Bros. Animation. The short, which features a main character named Bosko who looked very similar to Mickey Mouse, was produced and directed by Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, with animation by Friz Freleng. This was the first animation film of the Looney Tunes Series.
  • Donald Duck in The Wise Little Hen

    Donald Duck in The Wise Little Hen
    From Disney's "Silly Symphonies" cartoon series, the Wise Little Hen is the first picture in which the character of Donald Duck is used.
  • Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated film to be shown in America. It was a huge risk but turned out to be the highest grossing film that year. Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar for his Snow White innovation.
  • Daffy Duck in Porky's Duck Hunt

    Daffy Duck in Porky's Duck Hunt
    Directed by Tex Avery, "Porky's Duck Hunt" is the first Looney Tunes episode that features Daffy Duck.
  • World War II Begins

    World War II Begins
    WIth the German invasion of Poland on this day, World War II begins.
  • MGM's Peace on Earth

    MGM's Peace on Earth
    With the Second World War on the brink of becoming a reality, Peace on Earth was an animated short which told a cautionary tale of man's last war.