Norman McLaren (1940)

Boogie-Doodle is a 1940 drawn-on-film visual music short by Norman McLaren, set to the boogie-woogie music of African-American jazz pianist Albert Ammons.

Though released by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in 1941, Boogie-Doodle was actually made by McLaren in New York City in 1940, a year before he was invited by John Grierson to Canada to found the NFB’s animation unit. McLaren, who had been influenced by the hand-painted films of Len Lye, was in New York exploring the technique on a grant from the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, creating Boogie-Doodle along with three other cameraless films: DotsLoops and Stars and Stripes.

The animation in Boogie-Doodle coincides exactly with Ammon’s musical piece, with McLaren’s animation beginning at the very first bar and concluding at the final note.

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