April 6th, 2006

b&w typing

"April 06" or "Birthdays..."

If you are Mormon the date of April 6th has special meaning. It is the day the church was founded. It started with a mere 6 members. Today the roster is close to 12 million.

If you are an animator...todays date...specifically the date and year should have special meaning as well.


A brief history:
Born in England in 1875, James Stewart Blackton loved to draw. In his early vaudeville days he was known for his "Lightening Drawing Act." He would lecture and draw simultanously as he talked.

One day he went to see Thomas Edison to see his new Kinetoscope...the motion picture. Blackton doodled Edison while they were talking...one thing led to another (including some dialogue with the still relevant to animators today Edweard Muybridge) Blackton began his own work.

Finally ready, he released "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces". Simple and crude, a man puffs on a cigar, a woman rolls her eyes...a dog jumps through a hoop. It was a sensation.


It was released April 6th, 1906.


Happy birthday, animation.

(Interestingly, Blackwell regarded all of his animation and stopmotion work as rather juvenile and didn't even bother to mention them in his autobiography.)