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.