The Enchanted Drawing is a pioneering mix of live-action and stop-motion-style editing. It was made by British filmmakers J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith, founders of the Brooklyn-based Vitagraph Studios. Blackton is the featured illustrator.
The silent film is shared online by The Library of Congress with a piano score composed and performed by Philip Carli. From LOC.gov:
“Although this is not an animated film, the origins of animated film can be glimpsed here. J. Stuart Blackton, then a cartoonist for the New York Evening World, is photographed in Thomas Edison’s New Jersey “Black Maria” studio performing a vaudeville routine known as the ‘lightning sketch,’ supplemented by stop-camera tricks that bring the drawn objects to life. Copyrighted in 1900, it was probably filmed three or four years earlier.”
“Upon a large sheet of white paper, a cartoonist is seen at work rapidly sketching the portrait of an elderly gentleman of most comical feature and expression. After completing the likeness the artist rapidly draws on the paper a clever sketch of a bottle of wine and a goblet, and then, to the surprise of all, actually removes them from the paper on which they were drawn and pours actual wine out of the bottle into a real glass. Surprising effects quickly follow after this; and the numerous changes of expression which flit over the face in the sketch cause a vast amount of amusement and at the same time give a splendid illustration of the caricaturist’s art.”
Watch more pioneering films on TKSST, including:
• L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901) – Georges Méliès
• Out of the Inkwell: The Tantalizing Fly (1919)
• Animated Hair Cartoon, No. 18 (1925)
• Oskar Fischinger’s Optical Poem (1938)
• The Story Of King Midas, a stop-motion classic by Ray Harryhausen (1953)
• Block City (1980) by Al Jarnow
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