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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 45

Toward the end of his life, the creator of Felix the Cat, Otto Messmer, reminisced almost seventy years after about the first performances of animation he saw as a child, particularly Winsor McCay's How a Mosquito Operates (1912) and James Blackton's The Enchanted Drawing (1900).

The performative connection between the vaudeville stage and cartoons continued for decades, in part because of the work of animators such as Messmer. For example, Felix in Hollywood (1923) features an appearance from the star of stage and screen, comedian Charlie Chaplin, suggesting a continuity between the performative traditions of vaudeville and the British music  hall and the animated spaces of cartoons. 

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