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

Nicholas Sammond, Author

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Performance, Page 42

Like many early film creators, J. S. Blackton had multiple talents. He was an artist, vaudeville performer, and film producer. In the Lightning Sketch (1907), he performs how the sketch act involved the artist’s intervention into and disruption of the seemingly stable world of his own drawing, and the pleasure that came from revealing meanings hidden within an apparently stable image or word. Early animation drew on this performance, which intimated a connection between alternate planes of existence (such as between the sketch board and the 'real' space of the artist), in which the animator would performatively manipulate the boundaries between real and ideal.

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