Happy 100th Birthday, Animated Film

Oops, we forgot to mention that yesterday marked the centennial of animated film. The animated film that started it all: Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie, premiered on August 17, 1908. And just to recap, here’s where the art form currently stands after a hundred years of progress.

Perhaps the next hundred years will be kinder to the art form.

(Thanks, Craig Clark, for reminding us about the anniversary)


  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    CBS’s “Sunday Morning” didn’t forget. They did a nice little focus in their Almanac feature. . .

  • http://vincemusacchia.blogspot.com Vince Musacchia

    A hundred years isn’t a long time when an artform is concerned. Just look at how far cave drawings have come.

    Stay snarky, my friend.

  • http://themovierats.com Ian V.

    Um…shouldn’t you actually done a feature of the acheivements made since then instead of this? If you honestly think that Family Guy alone completely overrides EVERYTHING…why are you even writing an animation blog? Everything that made you love animation was made within the last 100 years (unless you only like those funny-faces-on-chalkboard animations from way back when).

    I know you like to be all snooty and sarcastic, but even as a joke this isn’t funny.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    FAMILY GUY do it for me. It thinks like I do. Is that bad?

  • http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/drew/ Drew Litton

    Nice to know that somebody has the same opinion on the current state of animation, at least when it comes to TV. Love your website (I’m a daily visitor) and two of my favorite books are “Cartoon Modern” and the “Hanna-Barbera Treasury”. Thanks for keeping us all up to date on the latest and greatest. Or in the case of Family Guy…not so great.

  • http://jgchan.blogspot.com/ Jerry Chan

    I suddenly became very, very depressed.

    Thanks.

    I think.

    :[

  • Paul N

    Personally, I think the state of the “artform” is pretty good, when you consider the work of people like Plympton, Park, Pat Smith, Hertzfeld, Back… Your example is like holding up the “Scary Movie” franchise as the pinnacle of live action filmmaking.

  • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com gavin mouldey

    Family Guy’s more a radio show really. The visuals are just to keep your eyes busy.

  • Fuzzy Dunlop

    What — no love for 1906′s “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces”?!?!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dRe85cNXwg

  • Bryan
  • Tira

    And now for my one trick pony’s next act…

  • Kevin

    Amid, this is just dumb and insulting. You don’t have to like Family Guy (I myself am marginal on it), but still, like Ian said, using this to slam Family Guy for no reason other than existing and not being a Spumco to insinuate that it’s somehow negates 100 years of animation evolution. Don’t we already get enough of that from John K.?

  • amid

    Bryan – You win the prize for understanding the post :)

  • Bryan

    Well thanks Amid! How about that new Ray Harryhausen Presents DVD as my reward. Mouth-watering!

  • http://www.lakupo.com/grblitz ManekiNeko

    Careful… you guys are just one cynical, snobbish article away from becoming indistinguishable from that parody on Something Awful.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com/ Craig Clark

    Must be another Craig Clark.

  • Chuck R.

    A curious post coming from a guy who’s spending so much time writing and promoting a book for Pixar. Not very classy.

  • Saturnome

    Why is Fantasmagorie always cited as the first animated film? Charles-Emile Reynaud’s films from the 1890s are exactly that, animated films.

  • Andrew

    Oh that is low.

    However, Happy Anniversary!

  • http://www.moremojo.blogspot.com Jose Saenz

    FP, I’m with you. Family Guy makes me laugh. Is that so bad? Does every cartoon need to push the art forward?…not necessarily, but actually, I think FG does. FG pushes the boundaries of what the general public is used to seeing on prime time. It helps in creating an audience that “accepts” animation as a medium that isn’t just for kids. Sure, South Park has already done that (and a far better job at it), but it doesn’t hurt to have more shows with adult humor and content to break animation from this horrible “kiddy niche” rut that it’s stuck in here in the US.

  • Half

    Family Guy is for adults?

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    What a miserable post. And spot-on.

    I believe there’s hope. When the computers die (probably during the zombie apocalypse), and people lose interest in kung fu (probably when they realise it’s useless against zombies) and we’re all living in shanty towns with nothing but pencils, paper, a line tester and a shotgun, I think we’ll see some really interesting animations.

    Actually, that’s probably unfair. There are really interesting animations out there now. They’re just not in the mainstream. But, hey, that’s why we have sites like this and you guys have a lot of support here so it’s not all bad.

  • Roger

    Hilarious Amid, though animation celebrated its centennial LAST year.

  • Bill C

    Of course, there are many, many bright spots in the animated world. But I belive Amid is simply commenting on the somewhat baffling poularity of a throughly mediocre show. So much of so-called entertainment today is simply trying to be as crude as one can. That takes far less talent than some may suppose.

    But then “Family Guy’s” popularity (as it relates to the field of animation in general) is no more baffling to me than the popularity of “Scooby Doo” a generation ago.

  • k. Borcz

    lol.
    At least Family Guy has people watching animation. Some form of it anyway.

  • Jason

    I’m surprised the “Something Awful” dude parodied THIS cartoon website. A site far more ripe for parody is Frederator’s. Have you SEEN that place? Some of the most gawdawful scribbles and eye-assaulting artwork ever inflicted on film emulsion can be viewed there. And the guy behind it encourages and celebrates such crud. THAT site truly represents the sad state of television animation IMO. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason it hasn’t been lampooned. It’s so intrinsically absurd, it defies parody.

  • http://asteriskpix.blogspot.com Richard O’Connor

    Animation’s 100 year aniversary is soooooo 2006.

  • http://captainwrong.net Captain Wrong

    HAHAHAHA! It’s funny because it’s a pop culture reference.

    PS, who let all the cranks out in the comments today? Geez, lighten up people.

  • http://siskavard.blogspot.com Corey

    Way to piss all over all the good stuff !

  • Fred Sparrman

    amid says: “Bryan – You win the prize for understanding the post :)”

    Don’cha see guys? Amid isn’t a hardened, bitter, rude, childish cynic; he’s just *misunderstood*! The problem is *us*! We just don’t *understand* him!

  • Adam

    One of the funnest things about Amid’s posts is reading the comments from the people who take it upon themselves to tell him how things should be done around here.
    Also, Family Guy can suck it.

  • Jason

    I also don’t get the Hanna-Barbera love on some of these toon websites. Hanna-Barbera made schlock. I knew it was crap when I watched it as a kid. Why did I watch it, then? What the hell else was on? Hanna-Barbera pretty much owned TV animation. If you wanted to watch cartoons, H-B was all there was. The only alternative was puppets, which automatically equal lameness. TV animation today, despite stuff like “Family Guy”, is so much better than it was when I was a kid. There’s much more variety and more choices. And shows like Spongebob prove that “all-ages” cartoons really are possible; I love that show. Can’t imagine watching “Scooby Doo” now and getting anything out of it.

  • http://jasonswickportfolio.blogspot.com/ Jason Swick

    Don’t you people understand Amid was making fun of himself? Yeesh, no wonder Family Guy’s so popular.

  • http://octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    Mark my words, there will be a day when somebody on the family guy crew will go haywire and make their own version of the movie “Falling Down”. And they’ll fall down. Hard.

  • http://www.alanrhodes.com protogenes

    “Family Guy” doesn’t so much show up the state of animation today (an art form that is very healthy), but the sad, depressed state of comedy.

    “Family Guy” does work, as long as the viewer has little or no knowledge of comedy and film made before 1980.

  • Graham

    Oh come now guys. Can’t we all just have some peanut butter jelly time together?

    http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/banana

  • Aaron Schneiderman

    Consider me one of the less-than-snooty, “great unwashed” who often finds “The Family Guy” hilarious.

  • Atticus

    FP: Family Guy not do it for me. Me like cartoons good. Me come home to cave want good cartoon. Me no like Family Guy.

    Here to 100 years with more no Family Guy. Cartoon friend!

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Amid, you can do better than that.

    I mean, this is the 100th Anniversary of Animated Film! Do something a little more special! If you *have* to use FAMILY GUY as an example of bad animation, can’t you at least focus on the positives and use an example of *good* animation? Like, I dunno, THE INCREDIBLES or WALL-E? Even THE X’s kicks FAMILY GUY’s ass any day (despite it lasting only one season)!

  • P.C. Unfunny

    How far we’ve come…I am sorry.. I’m getting a bit choked up.

    “I dunno, THE INCREDIBLES or WALL-E?”

    You got one right

  • http://www.tomsito.com Tom Sito

    It’s not too late to consider a career in air-conditioning repair….

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

    It didn’t actually mark the centennial; that was 1992.

    Unless only animation on film stock is counted as animation, in which case it would be 2006 (but that would be ridiculous, because most of today’s animation isn’t created on film either)

  • purin

    I mean, Family Guy ain’t exactly aht, and animation may have seen better days, but I don’t this is exactly fair. I mean, it’s like taking a cave painting, and then saying “This is where two dimensional art currently stands,” and pointing to Rob Liefeld.

  • Mike Russo

    “Family Guy” does work, as long as the viewer has little or no knowledge of comedy and film made before 1980.”

    Some (if not most) of my favorite films were made long before the 1980s, and I STILL find Family Guy to be funny. That there’s goes that piece of brilliant logic.

  • Iain Robbins

    So right about the “progress” of highly-successful animation with Family Guy. I think nobody in the Fox meeting room with half-a-brain could have watched the season 4 to 6 episodes and thought they were the best of Family Guy, most notably season 6, that season was the worst so far. Not to mention it’s the modern day version of limited animation, like Hanna-Barbera’s 60′s animation, and at times in each newer episode it’s crossed together with Clutch Cargo.

    But at least the world of animated features is still going swimmingly… Well, until DreamWorks’ upcoming Shrek 6 and 42.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kustomkool Kevin Dougherty

    Aww hell, I spent the first several years hating on “Family Guy” like most of you. I would listen (out of the corner of my ear) as my friends kids would watch it repeatedly via Tivo. Eventually, it just became to hard to stifle the laughs. It’s dumb as hell and sometimes it’s pretty smart (in a dumb way) – but it is funny. And I guess that is what it is trying to be.

    The animation (the design mostly) still gives me a headache. But the popularity of “Family Guy” doesnt stop anyone else from doing something better. If it’s lowering the bar of acceptable TV animation standards (and I dont think it is) then we all have something to shoot for.

  • EatRune

    Damn, I wish I had known this yesterday. I would have celebrated.

    I actually think the sense you used the Family Guy clip made this post funny.

  • Anna

    RE: purin’s comment
    “and then saying “This is where two dimensional art currently stands,” and pointing to Rob Liefeld”

    this just made me laugh for 10 minutes straight!! *wipes away tear* thanx man, I needed that today