Little Nemo, or Winsor McCay: The Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics (1911) – Short Film

Winsor McCay, the famous cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald, presents his idea of drawing pictures in a way that will make them move. All he has to do is make four thousand pen drawings, and he will accomplish this in a months time. His creation becomes one of the earliest animated films.

The premise is interesting and meta for the time. Little Nemo is not just an animated film, but a mixture of animation and live action. The concept is that Little Nemo, is an animated film about the making of Little Nemo. McCay and his friends are played by McCay and his friends and the process in which he creates the animated feature is explained and demonstrated.

Seeing how this was done is not something any modern day person would need to see or need to be explained, but back in 1911 it was probably well received. The time and skill required to pull off hand drawn animation is incredible and so weaving that aspect into the animated film itself highlights the effort and skill that is needed and adds a really cool touch to the experience.

The animation actions range from pretty simple and repetitive to advanced. For example, there is a 40 second sequence of two characters getting taller and shorter, like an accordion, but that is followed by another character drawing out another intricately dressed character.

I was also unaware going into this one that there was a precursor for the 1989 Japanese-American animated film Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, a childhood classic.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Directed by: Winsor McCay (Animation) & J. Stuart Blackton (Live Action)

Cinematography: Walter Arthur

Written by: Winsor McCay

Starring: Winsor McCay, John Bunny, Maurice Costello, & George McManus

Runtime: 10m

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Short

Distributed by: Vitagraph

Link to Video Below:

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