Eric’s Insomniac Theater presents: “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914) and “Gertie on Tour” (1921)

I took a stroll through animation history last night with Eric’s Insomniac Theater —  I watched Winsor McCay’s “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914) and his unfinished sequel, “Gertie on Tour” (1921).

“Gertie the Dinosaur” is often thought of as the earliest animated film, but that’s incorrect — McCay himself had made earlier animated shorts, while the work of other creators preceded even these.  “Gertie” was, however, the first cartoon to feature a dinosaur.

A version of it was actually part of McCay’s earlier vaudeville act; he “interacted” with his artistic creation on stage.  The version you see here shows McCay presenting his character to some friends at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  (It was shot on location — and that made this short a little neater for me, as the museum was my favorite place to go as a boy.)

Can you imagine what McCay, a pioneering animator of his time, would think of the modern “Jurassic World” movies?  Or what about today’s mind-numbing animation on “Love, Death + Robots?”


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