Colonel Heeza Liar

John Bray (1915)

At the Bat

Foils the Enemy

in 1914, John Bray opened John Bray Studios, which revolutionized the way animation was created. Earl Hurd, one of Bray’s employees patented the cel technique. This involved animating moving objects on transparent celluloid sheets. Animators photographed the sheets over a stationary background image to generate the sequence of images. This, as well as Bray’s innovative use of the assembly line method, allowed John Bray Studios to create Colonel Heeza Liar, the first animated series.

Colonel Heeza Liar is the star of the first animated series featuring a recurring character. He was created by John Randolph Bray and is mainly based on Theodore Roosevelt and the general stereotype of the 19th and early 20th century former adventurer and lion hunter. The series ran from 1913 to 1917 and restarted in 1922 until 1924. It was produced by Bray Productions and directed by Vernon Stallings. The series was animated by Walter Lantz from 1922 to 1924 and featured live-action segments interacting with the animation, much like the popular contemporary series Out of the Inkwell.

10 Comments

  1. Ha ha. Well, that depends on one’s personal perspective, but I try, I try….lol.

  2. No, it’s done! Part 2 in a series of a paranormal comedy. It went to the publisher in January but unfortunately now everything’s delayed ’cause of the virus. Thanks for asking.

  3. Wow, really cool stuff! I love watching them in action doing the drawings. And the French one–leave it to the French having characters disappearing behind things and/or walking in and out of doors that appear in solid walls, ha ha. But they look so good! Like the sort of psychedelic one from 1833–so colorful and integrated!
    I love it. You really ARE a nerd!
    I did a little research for my book and discovered that one of the first movies ever made–if not the first?–was in Lumiere, France, from 1885. Jeez, it’s crazy. I love that historical stuff–so fascinating.

  4. I’ll take a gander. I can already see the year 1908 in one….and now you say 1833. NO WAY. Holy cow and a half!

  5. Wow. I had no idea there was animation in 1915. Amazing.

  6. You know that Colonel Heeza Liar was loosely based on Teddy Roosevelt, right? (I just watched At The Bat and can’t tell whether it’s done with cels or using the older slash technique, but either way it’s very sophisticated for 1915.)

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