What’s the first cartoon ever made? (UPDATED)


Ok, so I first answered this question almost 3 years ago and its become one of my most viewed and talked about post.

In saying that, I thought it was only proper to expand on this considering I’ve gotten several different responses of confusion and negativity. Before I begin, if you want to read my original post click here.

Now, I’ve read several comments that points to the 1900, Enchanted Drawing which was the first film recorded on standard picture film that included animated sequences. To expand on this, the two minute  film shows J. Stuart Blackton drawing a cartoonish face of a man. He makes the cartoon react by giving it wine, cigars, and a top hat. Objects magically go into the drawing, becoming part of the cartoon image, and out of the drawing, becoming physical objects again. But once again, this is the first standard picture film that included animated sequences. The key word here is animated sequences, not a fully animated cartoon.

So here’s where the confusion comes in, I stated in my original post that the first modern animation (with no sound) was The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). When I stated no sound, I meant no spoken word but there was an orchestrated soundtrack. Then the film, Humorous Phases of Funny Faces from 1906, was also mentioned to me. The short silent animated cartoon, also directed by Blackton, is generally regarded by film historians as the first animated film recorded on standard picture film. But the key word here is standard picture film.

Although, Humorous Phases of Funny Faces came ten years prior, The Adventures of Prince Achmed wasn’t done on standard picture film. In fact, what the film’s director, Lotte Reiniger, used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though hers were animated frame by frame, not manipulated in live action. The original prints featured color tinting, which is the process of adding color to black-and-white film, usually by means of soaking the film in dye and staining the film emulsion.

So basically one cartoon was first in being recorded on standard picture and the other was first at being the first feature-length, fully animated feature.

And last but not least, for all of you who mentioned to me the film, Fantasmagorie from 1908; the film was created by drawing each frame on paper and then shooting each frame onto negative film, which gave the picture a blackboard look. It has the title of the first animated film and while that’s true, it was created on negative film, not standard picture film.

So what comes first? Well it depends on how you look at it. You can look at it in terms of year of release, what constitutes as, “animated film”, innovation, etc. Take your pick.

Your Thoughts?


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