Sign in or register
for additional privileges

Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

Introduction, Page 6

Although blackface is usually thought of as a live performance tradition, it evokes in its tension between surface and interior—between makeup and the face underneath—a fantastic black persona analogous in some ways to the cartoon characters who dwell in the flatlands on the surface of the page, or cel, or at the boundary of the screen onto which they are projected. 

This liminality is the central gag in the nostalgic Disney short Get a Horse (2013), which depicts the boundary between the past and present as between 2-D and 3-D. During a hayride, Mickey and his pals encounter Peg-Leg Pete driving a car and shouting "Make way for the future!" The cartoon soon gestures towards its own 2-dimensionality when Mickey is thrown through the screen by Pete into "our" three-dimensional, color world. 

The rest of the cartoon builds on this gag, moving between the screen and stage, the 2-D of the 1920's style-cartoon and the 3-D richness of contemporary animation, as the characters gambol through the hole between the stage and the screen. Manipulating the screen by turning it upside down and twirling it they manipulate onscreen gravity, and the characters who live in the 3-D world exert much more control over the scene until they all return, except for Pete, to two dimensions.

And all of this is done to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw," also known as "Old Zip Coon," which Mickey first played with great gusto in the famous Disney short Steamboat Willie, in 1928.
Comment on this page
 

Discussion of "Introduction, Page 6"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path Introduction, page 4 of 17 Next page on path

Related:  Conclusion, Page 291Race, Page 225Race, Page 251Labor, Page 123Labor, Page 122Race, Page 213Race, Page 235Race, Page 248Conclusion, Page 286Labor, Page 119Space, Page 165Performance, Page 82Race, Page 252Race, Page 230Introduction, Page 14Race, Page 204Conclusion, Page 284Space, Page 182Race, Page 232Race, Page 247Space, Page 146Race, Page 261Space, Page 150Space, Page 184Race, Page 224Labor, Page 98Performance, Page 70Conclusion, Page 300Space, Page 188Conclusion, Page 292Space, Page 175Space, Page 172Space, Page 178Race, Page 219Space, Page 152Race, Page 253Labor, Page 129Labor, Page 88Space, Page 162Space, Page 177Labor, Page 128Space, Page 194Labor, Page 110Labor, Page 109Race, Page 221Space, Page 148Labor, Page 132Race, Page 239Labor, Page 113Performance, Page 84Introduction, Page 21Conclusion, Page 304Labor, Page 133Space, Page 190Space, Page 193Performance, Page 50Space, Page 143Space, Page 189Conclusion, Page 278Performance, Page 34Space, Page 187Space, Page 197Performance, Page 74Introduction, Page 2Race, Page 231Performance, Page 52Performance, Page 35Labor, Page 112Race, Page 258Introduction, Page 29Conclusion, Page 302Performance, Page 47Race, Page 229Conclusion, Page 290Space, Page 170Conclusion, Page 273Introduction, Page 23Space, Page 183Race, Page 206Conclusion, Page 296Conclusion, Page 289Introduction, Page 16Labor, Page 101Performance, Page 45Performance, Page 46Labor, Page 131Space, Page 141Introduction, Page 4Race, Page 220Conclusion, Page 298Performance, Page 72Space, Page 181Introduction, Page 1Introduction, Page 30Performance, Page 54Performance, Page 42Performance, Page 77Space, Page 163Performance, Page 60Race, Page 245Space, Page 155Performance, Page 44Performance, Page 43Race, Page 254Performance, Page 41Introduction, Page 26Space, Page 138Conclusion, Page 303Space, Page 191Labor, Page 102Conclusion, Page 275Introduction, Page 15