Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 28, 2011

Friday Trivia: Dino-Mite

Did you know that the first popular animated film was made in 1914 by Winsor McCay, of Michigan?

The newspaper cartoonist created the popular Little Nemo in Slumberland, and built a vaudeville routine called a “chalk talk” in which he drew caricatures accompanied by chatter. McCay progressed to creating the lovable Gertie the Dinosaur.

The artist, who studied at Michigan State Normal College (Eastern Michigan University), presented live programs before audiences in which he interacted with his animated characters. His breakthrough was Gertie, cited as “the first cartoon character created especially for film to display a unique, realistic personality.”

In it Gertie interacted with McCay, and at the end of the show a cartoon version of the artist rode off on her back.

Check out the Gertie YouTube video

and rent Disneyland: The Story of Animated Drawing.

I don’t remember studying dinosaurs in grade school, but it was a big part of our kids’ curriculum and they and their friends were ga-ga over the beasts.

Maybe my lack of learning is why I’m skeptical about the study of creatures that supposedly roamed the earth a gazillion years ago—until they were inexplicably eradicated by….well, details on that are sketchy.

In spite of my skepticism I will inform you of some cool exhibits:

Bigger Than T-Rex: Giant Dinosaurs of Argentina, Midland Center for the Arts, through May 15

The World of Dinosaurs, Cranbrook Institute of Science, extended through Labor Day, Bloomfield Hills (Detroit area)

Exhibit Museum of Natural History, University of Michigan, ongoing (Ann Arbor)

Visitor Info Clicks:

Ann Arbor

Detroit

Pure Michigan

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