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Looking back at the history of cartoons

Credit: ISTOCK (ZU_09)

Look back and learn about the extensive history of cartoons.


Jocelyn Wong | Interrobang | Lifestyles | March 8th, 2019




Saturday cartoons found their early origins in the 19th century and into many household's hearts. From politics, current events, to pure entertainment, cartoons have served informative and entertainment purposes throughout the ages. Interrobang has compiled a list of important dates and events that have led up to modern cartoons.

1604: German scholar, Athanasius Kircher describes a steganographic mirror: a projection system that uses concave mirrors to facilitate long distance communication. This is a precursor to the magic lantern.

1780: Print shops in Britain start hosting caricature exhibitions with copper plate etchings.

1843: Punch Magazine publishes the first “cartoon” — a humorous or satirical illustration.

1921: First successful lawsuit in history against a cartoonist in Britain when J.H. Thomas sues for libel against the magazine of the British Communist Party.

1923: Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio is established by brothers Roy and Walt.

1928: Mickey Mouse is created and is the signature character of The Walt Disney Studios.

1930: Sinkin' in the Bathtub is the first Looney Tunes short released.

1930: The first Mickey Mouse book was published.

1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first animated feature film by Disney to be released. The multiplane camera technology gives the film a three-dimensional quality especially during the scene where the Queen turns into a witch.

1940: The first colour short Merrie Melodies debuts.

1943: The final black and white short by Looney Tunes: Puss n' Booty is produced.

1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is released through Touchstone Pictures and brings interest into the golden age of American animation.

1989: The Simpsons debuts on FOX and is the longest-running Animated sitcom.

1991: Turner Entertainment purchases Hanna-Barbera Productions for $320 million.

1992: Cartoon Network is launched and broadcasts MGM, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Bros. cartoons.

1995: The first feature-length computer animated film, Toy Story, is released.

2006: Pixar is purchased by The Walt Disney Studios.

2013: Top grossing animated film, Frozen, is released with a worldwide gross of $1,290,000,000.

Influential cartoons

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The first animated feature film by Walt Disney Productions. It is based on an original story by the Brothers Grimm. It was nominated for the best musical score in the 10th Academy Awards. Walt Disney wins an honorary Oscar, presented by Shirley Temple. This film is now preserved by the National Film Registry and named one of the 100 greatest American films by the American Film Institute.

Toy Story (1995)

The first installation to the Toy Story franchise, this original film was the first full computer-animated feature length film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It received three Academy Award nominations for best original screenplay, best original score, and best original song (for “You've Got a Friend in Me”), as well as a Special Achievement Academy Award in the 68th Academy Awards.

Spirited Away (2001)

The crowning Miyazaki film, Spirited Away, was the top grossing film in Japanese history in 2001, with over $331 million in ticket sales worldwide. It won best animated film at the 75th Academy Awards and is scored by Joe Hisaishi, a Japanese Academy Award-winning composer.
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