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Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    art critique of influential 1950's cartoons with many bright illustrations

    The many and varied cartoons appearing in the 1950s--which could be called the Golden Age of Cartoons, following not too long after TV was becoming common in American households--were so entertaining and lively that most would not have noticed how their artists 'conceived a bold visual style that was derived from the modern arts, assimilating and adapting the principles of Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism.' Amidi, publisher/editor of the magazine Animation Blast and co- founder of the animation blog, highlights these influences by connecting cartoons with the studios where they were created. The well-known studios Walt Disney Productions, Terrytoons, Walter Lanz Productions, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers appear with the less widely known Keitz & Herndon, Playhouse Pictures, Grantray-Lawrence, Elektra Films, and Ray Patin Productions. The inclusion of these and other lesser- known studios decidedly broadens appreciation of the era's inventive, distinctive cartoon styles beyond those familiar because of their popularity. In some cases, cartoons were for commercials and got only limited exposure. One finds also preliminary sketches of some characters and for parts of cartoon films which gives one a deeper picture into the animators' assimilation and adaptation of the distinctive elements of modern art into the popular art of cartoons. With Amidi's succinct, revealing commentary and the plentiful, bright cartoon illustrations, the book is a delightful presentation of this seminal period in cartoon art.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer


    As a push against the Disney style, this super simple, often abstract movement in animation and advertising really exploded. Interesting read and many great pictures.

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