The ‘?’ Motorist is a 1906 British short silent comedy film,commonly called “The Mad Motorist” or “Questionmark Motorist” and directed by Walter R. Booth. Released in October of 1906, the film features a couple on the run from the police. While running from the police, they end up driving over the policeman, who magically recovers seconds after and continues to run after the car. Soon the couple comes to a building and their car magically drives up the wall, evading the stunned policeman and leaving an amazed crowd behind. The car drives past stars on clouds, around the Moon, and around the rings of Saturn before crashing through the roof of Handover Courthouse. The car drives through the courthouse and outside once more, interrupting the hearing. Outside on the road, a policeman and court officials stop the car which suddenly turns into a horse and carriage. The couple drives off in the carriage victoriously having escaped a ticket. The trick film is “one of the last films that W.R. Booth made for the producer-inventor R.W. Paul,” and, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “looks forward to the more elaborate fantasies that Booth would make for Charles Urban between 1907 and 1911, as well as drawing on a wide range of the visual tricks that Booth had developed over the preceding half-decade.”
Booth later remade the film as The Automatic Motorist in 1911.
The film has also been compared to the work of Georges Méliès and “The Impossible Voyage.”
The Automatic Motorist
Walter R. Booth (1911)
A Trip to the Moon
Georges Méliès (1902)
A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. It’s considered one of the first science fiction film.
The Impossible Voyage
Georges Méliès (1904)
The Impossible Voyage (French: Voyage à travers l’impossible) is a 1904 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Based in part on Jules Verne’s play Journey Through the Impossible and modeled in style and format on Méliès’s earlier, highly successful A Trip to the Moon, the film is a satire of scientific exploration in which a group of geographers attempt a journey into the interior of the sun. Since the film is silent and has no intertitles, the proper names and quotations below are taken from the English-language description of the film published by Méliès in the catalog of the Star Film Company’s New York Branch.
Take a surreal journey into the realm of The Rabbit Hole and find a collection of animation, cartoons, film, music, art, and literature by artists from yesteryear and today, as well as some of my own work. Please, take a look and enjoy.
Excerpt from a bizarre 1930 stop-motion animation piece featuring Charley R. Bowers, Lowell Thomas, and a metal-eating bird. The creature devours junk from an auto scrapyard, then lays an egg that hatches and grows into a brand new car! Very impressive effects for pre-CGI animation. Directed by Harold L. Muller.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a 1926 German animated fairytale film by Lotte Reiniger. It is the oldest surviving animated feature film. The Adventures of Prince Achmed features a silhouette animation technique Reiniger had invented which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera. The technique she used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though hers were animated frame by frame, not manipulated in live action. The original prints featured color tinting.
Several famous avant-garde animators worked on this film with Lotte Reiniger, among them Walter Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosch, and Carl Koch.
The story is based on elements taken from the One Thousand and One Nights, specifically “The Story of Prince Achmed and the Fairy Paribanou” featured in Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book.
I have recently had the pleasure of reading Richard Adams’ 1978 novel Watership Down, and have decided that it is now among my top-three favorite novels of all time. I highly recommend reading the novel and then watching this beautifully done animation. Thanks for watching!
Richard Adams was an English novelist and writer of the books Watership Down, Shardik, and The Plague Dogs. Adams originally began telling the story that would become Watership Down to his two daughters on a long car trip. They eventually insisted that he publish it as a book. He began writing in 1966, taking two years to complete it. In 1972, after four publishers and three writers’ agencies turned down the manuscript, Rex Collings agreed to publish the work. The book gained international acclaim almost immediately for reinvigorating anthropomorphic fiction with naturalism. In 1974, two years after Watership Down was published, Adams became a full-time author.
Watership Down is a survival and adventure novel set in southern England, around Hampshire. The story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in burrows in their natural wild environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.
The British animated adventure-drama film adaptation of Watership Down was released in 1978 and was written, produced, and directed by Martin Rosen and based on the 1972 novel by Richard Adams. It was financed by a consortium of British financial institutions and was distributed by Cinema International Corporation in the United Kingdom.
It features the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Harry Andrews, Simon Cadell, Nigel Hawthorne and Roy Kinnear, among others, and was the last film work of Zero Mostel, as the voice of Kehaar the gull. The musical score was by Angela Morley and Malcolm Williamson. Art Garfunkel’s hit song Bright Eyes was written by songwriter Mike Batt.
Animation Supervisor: Philip Duncan
Animation Director: Tony Guy
Senior Animators: Arthur Humberstone, George Jackson, Tony Guy, and Philip Duncan
Animators: Edric Raddage, Bill Littlejohn, Ruth Kissane, John Perkins, Ralph Ayres, Brian Foster, Chris Evans, Marie Szmichowska, Alan Simpson, Colin White, Doug Jensen, Bill Geach, Spud Houston, and Barrie Nelson
Following an unsuccessful yacht robbery, Harley Quinn is sent to Arkham Asylum; though she firmly believes that her boss and lover the Joker will break her out. A year later, her best friend, Poison Ivy, gets her out during a prison break and tries to convince her that he does not love her. Despite Ivy’s support, Harley’s attempt to break up with the Joker fails after he sweet-talks her into staying with him. The Riddler, who also escaped Arkham, provokes the Joker into sending Harley to kill him. The Riddler captures her and Batman before giving the Joker the choice to save one while the other dies. When Joker ultimately chooses Batman, Harley finally realizes she never meant anything to him. After learning Ivy and Riddler devised the death trap to drive that point home and she was never really in any danger, Harley undergoes a costume change and officially breaks up with the Joker and declares her intention to make a name for herself in the criminal underworld.
The series follows Harley Quinn’s adventures after she breaks up with the Joker and her attempt to join the Legion of Doom, forming her own crew consisting of Poison Ivy, Clayface, Doctor Psycho, King Shark, and Sy Borgman. When she finally achieves this goal however, she inadvertently distances herself from her newfound friends and continues to face problems from the Joker, who refuses to accept the idea of Harley becoming a supervillain on her own.
This Saturday, August 9, we can all sing “Happy Birthday” to our favorite cartoon sweetheart, Betty Boop! Created by legendary animator Max Fleischer, Betty Boop made her first appearance in the 1930 animated short called “Dizzy Dishes,” which was part of Fleischer Studios’ Talkartoon series. Set in a nightclub, the cartoon introduces Betty Boop as a cabaret singer. She only makes a brief appearance, but it is long enough to captivate Bimbo the waiter and the big star of the film.
Interestingly, Betty never speaks in her first appearance. Instead, she sings I Have to Have You.
The Little Match Girl is a literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. It was originally published in 1845. This version, produced by Charles Mintz Productions, is set in 1937 modern day in a city that appears to be New York. It is New Year’s Eve, and revelers are out at midnight celebrating the New Year. None of the people drinking and partying notice a little girl, clad in nothing but a ragged shirt, barefoot in the winter cold. The little girl tries to sell her matches, but no one buys any. The little girl is homeless, so when she fails to sell her matches she retreats to her regular spot in an alley. Lighting the matches one at a time for warmth, she imagines all the things she doesn’t have, like a warm hearth, food, and a comfy bed. Eventually she has a dream of heaven.
Hans Christian Andersen (1845)
Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.
One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.
She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!
The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year’s Eve; yes, of that she thought.
In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.
Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. “Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.
She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house.
Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.
“Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.
She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.
“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.
But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. “She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.
Characters Created & Voiced (Archive) by Mike Judge Directed, Written & Animated by Steven Anderson Produced & Additional Voice by Ruhi Bhalla
Comedy Central on Wednesday announced “Beavis and Butt-Head” creator Mike Judge will reimagine the Gen X MTV series in two new seasons. Judge also will create additional spinoffs and specials of the animated series.
“Beavis and Butt-Head,” which first aired in 1993, quickly became a pop culture hit. It centered around two oddball teenage couch potatoes whose commentary is anything but wise.
Judge is set to write, produce and provide voice-over for both characters for Comedy Central.
“We are thrilled to be working with Mike Judge and the great team at 3 Arts again as we double down on Adult Animation at Comedy Central” Chris McCarthy, president of Entertainment & Youth Group, said in a statement. “Beavis and Butt-Head were a defining voice of a generation, and we can’t wait to watch as they navigate the treacherous waters of a world light-years from their own.”
“It seemed like the time was right to get stupid again,” Judge said in a statement.
A large factory complex struggles to produce a single package, which is rushed to a toy store. The box opens, and out steps a Betty Boop doll. The other toys come to life, parade around to the music of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and crown her their queen. But a large stuffed toy of King Kong begins breaking things up by kidnapping Betty. Eventually, the big ape is defeated, and the somewhat damaged toys resume their parade, and afterwards fall still on a counter in a store selling damaged toys.
The instrumental title theme, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (also known as Parade of the Tin Soldiers), was composed by Leon Jessel.