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

Nicholas Sammond, Author

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Space, Page 150

Many animation studios played with moving between the drawn world and the live.

Sullivan Studio's Felix Saves the Day (1922) depicts a white baseball team playing against a black team, intercut with live footage of a crowd at a baseball game. And its Comicalamities (1928) features Felix transforming himself, and his environment, all with the help of the animator's hand. 

Dinky Doodle's Bedtime Story (1926) has the animated character Dinky escaping from the "real" world into an animated screen to chase after Mary and her little lamb. 

Walter Lantz's Petering Out (1927) opens a tug of war between Pete the Pup and Lantz. In this short, the line between the two worlds blurs as Pete throws pieces of drawn wallpaper into the live world, magically transforming them into a 3-D bridge. 

In Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly? (1926), Koko the Clown leads his Koko Kwartet through a rendition of a British music hall song about an Irish girl who gets lost in New York and tries to find her boyfriend, Kelly. The main animated segment features Koko assembling his "Kwartet". The rest is done in sing-along fashion, with an animated "bouncing ball" guiding the audience through the lyrics. This technique hearkens back to vaudeville, which sometimes encouraged audience participation. 

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