Sunday, April 19, 2009
On September 15, 1914, cartoonist Windsor McCay debut his animated masterpiece, GERTIE THE DINOSAUR to thrilled audiences of early cinema. As he so often did in other areas, McCay left his colleagues in the dust, advancing animation in one fell swoop from a crude novelty to a potentially sophisticated art-form. McCay single-handedly brought Gertie to life crafting an unprecedented number of drawings of equally unprecedented detail. His creature did not merely move; she breathed, danced, laughed and cried in fluid real time, like no other 2-dimensional character had ever done before. It was an artistic landmark unmatched for years to come.
Recently however, a rival film by an obscure contemporary has been discovered and verified as premiering just hours after GERTIE gave her initial bow. Are the similarities coincidental, or did an unscrupulous competitor merely view GERTIE, and then rush home and scribble out a copy? View the restored version (below) and judge for yourself.