The cartoonist, Winsor McCay, brings the Dinosaurus back to life in the figure of his latest creation, Gertie the Dinosaur.The cartoonist, Winsor McCay, brings the Dinosaurus back to life in the figure of his latest creation, Gertie the Dinosaur.The cartoonist, Winsor McCay, brings the Dinosaurus back to life in the figure of his latest creation, Gertie the Dinosaur.
McCay realized how time consuming it was to produce a moving cartoon. With John Bray's introduction of backgrounds to animation films, he realized he would have to step up his game. McCay hired an assistant to draw and retrace the stationary backgrounds on each piece of rice paper while he concentrated on the moving images. During the course of etching a total of 10,000 paintings for his six-minute movie, McCay devised several innovations in animation. Inspired by extinct humongous creatures walking the earth millions of years earlier, he created the first animated dinosaur. To make sure his prints with the drawn backgrounds would align perfectly for each film frame photographed, McCay invented registration marks placed on the four corners of each drawing. He also pioneered what later was called the "McCay Split System. " McCay decided to draw the major moves of Gertie and the other creatures in the film, to which he would later fill in the subtle progressive movements from Point A to Point B. To save time and to extend the length of his film, he incorporated the technique he used in "Mosquito," the "cycle of drawings," which was a sequence of prints that would repeat a particular movement several times.
McCay designed "Gertie the Dinosaur" to be part of his vaudeville act showcasing his speed drawing. These performances were proving to be very popular and becoming a good source of income for him. McCay intended to interact with the projected cartoon, giving instructions to Gertie, who would obediently follow them.
Even though McCay was creating his animation movies and staging his acts during his spare time, Hearst was flustered at his cartoonist spending so much time on his sideline hobby instead of concentrating on his New York American newspaper job. Hearst set strict limits on McCay's acts to the point where he couldn't perform outside of New York City. Film producer William Fox approached McCay to finance and distribute a live-action prologue to the cartoon for a longer 14-minute movie. McCay agreed and the picture was released for theater showings later in 1914.
Because of the realism displayed in "Gertie the Dinosaur" and the personality reflected in the drawn animal, McCay's animated film proved to become a huge Influence for later animators. Walt Disney would use the live action combination with a cartoon later in the next decade. The commercial success of McCay's work proved to early film animators the viability of financial profits to this artistic medium. Gertie's historical track record was so impactful that a canvass of 1,000 animation professionals voted McCay's pioneering movie as the #6 Greatest Cartoon of All-Time.
- May 15, 2021