Golden Age of Animation
Introduction to the Golden Age of Animation
Spanning for almost three decades, The Golden Age of Animation was a period in history of the animation industry wherein sound cartoons made their presence for the first time. The modern aspiring animators have such a wide range of sources to learn from, ranging from classroom training to online courses in animation. But in earlier days locating a No.1 animation institute was a herculean task. Yet, most of the remarkable and timeless characters dates back to such epoch.
Many characters (apart from Mickey Mouse) like Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Goofy, Betty Boop etc entered the scene. As time went on, feature length movies like Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi also graced their silver screen. We can know more about this era by dividing into the following phases namely:
- Iwerks Era.
- Harman-Ising Era.
- Hanna-Barbera Era.
- Tex Avery Era.
- Walter Lantz era.
- Van Beuren era.
The Iwerks Era spanned from 1930 to 1934 wherein Ubbe Eert “Ub” Iwerks called the shots at the Disney studio. However, in 1930, Iwerks had left Disney to found his own studio despite being associated with that studio from the start. However, Iwerks was not able to match up to the works done either at the Disney or Fleischer studios. When the businessman Patrick ‘Pat’ Powers stopped funding for the Iwerks studio, it was forced to shut shop in 1936.
The team behind the Harman-Ising Era that was in existence from 1934 to 1937 consisted of Hugh Harman and Rudy Carl Ising. They are remembered for founding the Warner Bros. and MGM studios though they had both initially worked under Walt Disney when he operated from Kansas city. Their first work during this period was the ‘Bosko and Happy Harmonies’ cartoons which unfortunately flopped! However later, Fred Quimby hired them to MGM and Ising in particular was responsible for making ‘Barney Bear’ which was the studio’s animated star.
Though Hanna-Barbera were in the animation business for almost six decades, their stint at MGM spanned from 1940 to 1958. It was due to the various hits that they churned on a constant basis that made MGM to take Disney head on. Though Tom and Jerry raked in the moolah for Hanna-Barbera, they found success in one-shot theatrical shorts. From 1955 till the closure of MGM studios, Hanna-Barbera headed the studio.
Tex Avery Era
Frederick Bean was the real name of Tex Avery who gained immense success as an animator, cartoonist as well as a voice artist. His works influenced animation from 1943 to 1953 wherein he is remembered for ‘adult’ cartoons. He was behind the microphone for a decade from 1945 wherein he was the voice for the character Droopy. His animation unit was closed down by MGM in 1953 and his tenure with them came to an end when it closed forever in 1957.
Walter Lantz era
Lantz was not new to cartoons when he took charge as producer at the Universal studios in 1929. In fact, his earlier cartoons had been produced by Disney and Charles Mintz. He is remembered for his experiments in colour cartoons and the 1934 released Jolly Little Elves. However, it was only in 1940 that Lantz tasted success through ‘Woody Woodpecker’.
Van Beuren era
Cartoons made by Amadee J. Van were distributed via the RKO Radio Pictures though it was in 1920 that he had collaborated with Paul Terry for releasing the ‘ Aesop’s Film Fables’. However, the most famous character that emerged from this studio was also called ‘Tom and Jerry’ which now called as ‘Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry’ to distinguish it from the one’s that were created at the MGM studios. This ran from 1931 to 1933. Though this studio produced live-action features and shorts, they were unable to sustain competition from Disney and they fizzled away.
The cartoon characters from the Golden Age of Animation that still finds a place in admirers’ hearts are:
- Chip ‘n’ Dale-
- Saludos Amigos (the film)-
- The Three Caballeros-
- Peter Pan-
- Anchors Aweigh (The 1945 film which is remembered for the dance sequence involving Gene Kelly and Jerry the mouse which is an example of animation blending.)-Achors Weigh Video
- Casper the Friendly Ghost-
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit-
- Mighty Mouse-
- Felix the Cat-
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