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