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

By Paul Wells (auth.)

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For example, ‘In a classic Disney cartoon, Goofy, a considerate and gentle being, becomes a monstrous killer when he gets behind the steering wheel’ (Bergan 1982:82). And that’s it. Introduction 25 No mention that this is likely to be Motor Mania (Dir: Jack Kinney, USA, 1950), and no reference to the extensive series of sports-related Goofy cartoons between 1941 and 1951 (see Chapter 2). Equally, Bergan highlights Donald’s Golf Game (Dir: Jack King, USA, 1938), a Disney cartoon featuring Donald Duck, and his nephews, Huey, Dewy and Louie, who cause havoc for their uncle by substituting a fish net or an umbrella for his golf clubs and inserting a cricket in the golf ball he uses.

Sport as sport actually doesn’t engage – it’s this transformational aspect of it that is physically tangible, emotionally and psychologically and intellectually perceived – that’s what interests me about the athletic experience. (Jenifer Levin in Denison & Markula (eds) 2003:183) What I wish to achieve in my own approach is to evidence the way in which animation achieves the transformational revelation of sport as a practice and a cultural metaphor, whilst at the same time making self-evident the propositional and creative dynamics of animation as a form.

This ‘strategic’ sporting body emerged from the competing novelties and nuances of early cinema; the product of the animator, and the animated, as they came together in the first animation films produced in Britain. Robinson has argued: The firm of Bing produced a toy cinematograph in 1897. The film passed through the projector horizontally; hence the images are printed on it sideways. The films produced for this device may be considered the earliest examples of animation in the cinema. The cartoons were printed by lithography directly on to the film.

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