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factfile1.6 Gertie the dinosaur

 

Gertie'Gertie the Dinosaur' was one of the earliest animations ever made. Created from over 10,000 separate drawings by Winsor McCay, a popular American newspaper cartoonist, it was first released in 1912 and quickly became a huge hit.

Originally part of a stage show in which McCay interacted live with his animated dinosaur, it was promoted as the 'Greatest Animal Act in the World', anticipating by many decades the development of big budget movies that combine live actors with cartoon characters such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and " Mary Poppins".

McCay's film attracted large audiences with an advertising campaign that claimed: "Gertie: she's a scream. She eats, drinks and breathes! She laughs and cries. Dances the tango, answers questions and obeys every command! Yet, she lived millions of years before man inhabited this earth and has never been seen since!!"

McCay later created a second version in which the original cartoon is given a prequel, setting it in a live action scenario that tells the story of how the animation originated from a bet between himself and a rival cartoonist when their car broke down outside the American Museum of Natural History, New York. The silent movie uses title cards to reproduce McCay's stage act instructions to Gertie.

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