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