The first animated cartoon appeared in 1908. It was a hand drawn animation by Emile Cohl. Cohl was a Frenchman credited for the first full-length animation. The cartoon was successful. However, the cost and amount of work involved in animation lead to its decline. It was simpler and cheaper to work with live actors at that point in film history.
Photo: a scene from Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon (source: Fantasmagorie).
Émile Eugène Jean Louis Courtet was born in 1857 in Paris, France. His father was a salesman. The Courtet family lead a modest life. At the age of 7, young Emile was placed in a boarding school. There, his artistic talents were encouraged. The boy was also influenced by the puppet theater.
At the age of 15, he became an apprentice to a jeweler. That did not work out well. He then entered into an apprenticeship with an insurance broker. That was not a success either. The young boy eventually obtained work with a philatelist. That job did not pay well but gave him more time to work on his drawings.
Finally, at 21 Cohl became an assistant to caricaturist Andre Gill. He also adopted the pseudonym of Emile Cohl. When Gill died in 1885, Cohl took on a variety of jobs. He wrote for magazines, painted, and continued to drawing caricatures.
In 1907, at the age of 50, he landed a job with a film company. A year later he began production of Fantasmagorie. Cohl went on to make over 250 animated films for several studios. Cohl passed away in 1938.
Video: Fantasmagorie (source: YouTube).
Fantasmagorie – the First Animated Cartoon
Fantasmagorie is considered the first animated cartoon. The title comes from the word ‘fantasmograph’. The fantasmograph was an 1800’s lantern that projected images on the walls in a room.
The cartoon was produced in 1908. The animation consists of 700 drawings on paper. Each drawing was then photographed on negative film. The negative film produced a blackboard effect of white lines on a black surface. The completed film ran for about two minutes.
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Émile Cohl Biography, IMDb.