Animation, Sport and Culture by Paul Wells (auth.)

By Paul Wells (auth.)

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Extra resources for Animation, Sport and Culture

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These techniques were taken up more explicitly in Donald in Mathemagic Land (Dirs: Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman, Les Clark, Joshua Meador, 44 Animation, Sport and Culture USA, 1959), particularly in explaining three cushion billiards, but also in relation to other games such as chess, basketball, baseball, football and the children’s pastime hopscotch). Melbourne Inman had been a stalwart of Tom Webster’s sporting cartoons for the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard, a seemingly easy figure to caricature given his large nose and always suave appearance.

David Robinson has suggested that animation as a form long precedes cinema as it is usually configured, and that some of the early developments in primitive optical technologies should not merely be understood as evolving mechanisms in the inevitable development of film, but as technologies which could produce ‘masterpieces of animation’ in their own right. As Robinson explains, ‘the art of animation did not begin with the cinema proper. Although the cartoon film-makers were using a new medium – in the camera and the celluloid film – they were employing basic animation techniques that had been practised and developed for upwards of sixty years before the cinema’ (Robinson 1991:8).

The mere depiction of volleyball or cricket carried with it the storytelling element of the conduct of the game, the core focus of ‘the play’. The figures use a much bigger ball than proper scale would permit; the wicket in the cricket film, for example, is essentially the same size, but the action itself embodies the Body Languages – Early Sporting Animation 41 intrinsic movement cycle in the returning or bowling of a ball. Essentially, then, these films – seemingly early commercial pieces for Bryant and May, a company producing matches – are essentially experiments, informally après Marey, that are exploring the formal movement in sport as an exemplar of the possibilities of abstracted motion in animation.

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