This collection of essays explores the link between comedy and animation in studio-era cartoons, from filmdom's earliest days through the twentieth century. Written by a who's who of animation authorities, "Funny Pictures" offers a stimulating range of views on why animation became associated with comedy so early and so indelibly, and illustrates how animation and humor came together at a pivotal stage in the development of the motion picture industry. To examine some of the central assumptions about comedy and cartoons and to explore the key factors that promoted their fusion, the book analyzes many of the key filmic texts from the studio years that exemplify animated comedy. "Funny Pictures" also looks ahead to show how this vital American entertainment tradition still thrives today in works ranging from The Simpsons to the output of Pixar.
Daniel Goldmark is Associate Professor of Music at Case Western Reserve University and the author of Tunes for 'Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (UC Press). Charlie Keil is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto and the author of Early American Cinema in Transition and American Cinema's Transitional Era (UC Press).
List of Figures Introduction: What Makes These Pictures So Funny? Charlie Keil and Daniel Goldmark Part One. The (Filmic) Roots of Early Animation 1. The Chaplin Effect: Ghosts in the Machine and Animated Gags Paul Wells 2. Polyphony and Heterogeneity in Early Fleischer Films: Comic Strips, Vaudeville, and the New York Style Mark Langer 3. The Heir Apparent J. B. Kaufman Part Two. Systems and Effects: Making Cartoons Funny 4. Infectious Laughter: Cartoons' Cure for the Depression Don Crafton 5. "We're Happy When We're Sad": Comedy, Gags, and 1930s Cartoon Narration Richard Neupert 6. Laughter by Numbers: The Science of Comedy at the Walt Disney Studio Susan Ohmer Part Three. Retheorizing Animated Comedy 7. "Who Dat Say Who Dat?" Racial Masquerade, Humor, and the Rise of American Animation Nicholas Sammond 8. "I Like to Sock Myself in the Face": Reconsidering "Vulgar Modernism" Henry Jenkins 9. Auralis Sexualis: How Cartoons Conduct Paraphilia Philip Brophy Part Four. Comic Inspiration: Animation Auteurs 10. The Art of Diddling: Slapstick, Science, and Antimodernism in the Films of Charley Bowers Rob King 11. Tex Avery's Prison House of Animation, or Humor and Boredom in Studio Cartoons Scott Curtis 12. Tish-Tash in Cartoonland Ethan de Seife Part Five. Beyond the Studio Era: Building on Tradition 13. Sounds Funny/Funny Sounds: Theorizing Cartoon Music Daniel Goldmark 14. The Revival of the Studio-Era Cartoon in the 1990s Linda Simensky Bibliography List of Contributors Index