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