Jerry Garcia directs this concert film of highlights from the five-night run at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom that capped off the Grateful Dead’s 1974 tour. The film is distinguished among concert films for its unusual focus on the band’s fans and their often extreme commitment to the Deadhead lifestyle. The documentary also features interviews with band members, including Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Phil Lesh, and includes a short but lively recap of the group’s history.
Winsor McCay was an American cartoonist and animator. He is best known for the comic strip Little Nemo and the animated film Gertie the Dinosaur. For contractual reasons, he worked under the pen name Silas on the comic strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend.
From a young age, McCay was a quick, prolific, and technically dextrous artist. He started his professional career making posters and performing for dime museums, and in 1898 began illustrating newspapers and magazines. In 1903 he joined the New York Herald, where he created popular comic strips such as Little Sammy Sneeze and Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. In 1905 his signature strip Little Nemo in Slumberland debuted—a fantasy strip in an Art Nouveau style about a young boy and his adventurous dreams. The strip demonstrated McCay’s strong graphic sense and mastery of color and linear perspective. McCay experimented with the formal elements of the comic strip page, arranging and sizing panels to increase impact and enhance the narrative. McCay also produced numerous detailed editorial cartoons and was a popular performer of chalk talks on the vaudeville circuit.
McCay was an early animation pioneer; between 1911 and 1921 he self-financed and animated ten films, some of which survive only as fragments. The first three served in his vaudeville act; Gertie the Dinosaur was an interactive routine in which McCay appeared to give orders to a trained dinosaur. McCay and his assistants worked for twenty-two months on his most ambitious film, The Sinking of the Lusitania, a patriotic recreation of the German torpedoing in 1915 of the RMS Lusitania.Lusitania did not enjoy as much commercial success as the earlier films, and McCay’s later movies attracted little attention. His animation, vaudeville, and comic strip work was gradually curtailed as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, his employer since 1911, expected McCay to devote his energies to editorial illustrations.
In his drawing, McCay made bold, prodigious use of linear perspective, particularly in detailed architecture and cityscapes. He textured his editorial cartoons with copious fine hatching, and made color a central element in Little Nemo. His comic strip work has influenced generations of cartoonists and illustrators. The technical level of McCay’s animation—its naturalism, smoothness, and scale—was unmatched until the work of Fleischer Studios in the late 1920s, followed by Walt Disney’s feature films in the 1930s. He pioneered inbetweening, the use of registration marks, cycling, and other animation techniques that were to become standard.
It’s a timeless classic of children’s literature and the third most-quoted book in English after the Bible and Shakespeare. But what lies behind the extraordinary appeal of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to generations of adults and children alike? To mark the 150th anniversary of its publication, this documentary explores the life and imagination of the man who wrote it, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll. Broadcaster and journalist Martha Kearney delves into the biographies of both Carroll himself and of the young girl, Alice Liddell, who inspired his most famous creation. Kearney’s lifelong passion for Carroll’s work began as a young girl, when she starred as Carroll’s heroine Alice in her local village play. She discusses the book with a range of experts, biographers and distinguished cultural figures – from the actor Richard E Grant to children’s author Philip Pullman – and explores with them the mystery of how a retiring, buttoned-up and meticulous mathematics don, who spent almost his entire life within the cloistered confines of Christ Church Oxford, was able to capture the world of childhood in such a captivating way.
Alice in Wonderland is said to be the most quoted book in print, second only to The Bible, with a passionate army of fans who regularly congregate around the world to celebrate its rich and playful world. But what of its creator, the mild-mannered and unassuming Oxford University Math Don, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka. Lewis Carroll?
Famed not only for his wonderful stories, Carroll is also known for his ambiguous relationship with the young girl who inspired his most beloved creation, Alice Liddell, a seemingly innocent infatuation that he documented in his pioneering photography.
With contributions from the likes of thespian Richard E. Grant, social commentator Will Self and author Philip Pullman, at once adoring and provocative this documentary casts a conflicted eye over the creation of Wonderland. Pouring through historical evidence and stories passed down through generations, hear the tale of Carroll’s first encounter with the three Liddell girls and the first telling of Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole one summer’s afternoon in a boat upon the River Thames. Documentary first broadcast in 2015.
Ray Harryhausen was an American filmmaker best known for his pioneering use of stop-motion animation effects. Unfortunately, he died May 7, 2013 in London, England at the age of 93.
Harryhausen grew up in Los Angeles, acquiring a love of dinosaurs and fantasy at a young age. His parents encouraged his interests in films and in models, and he was inspired by the cinematic effects in such movies as The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933). After seeing the latter, he began experimenting with marionettes and stop-motion animation, making short films in his parents’ garage. At about age 18 he met noted animator Willis O’Brien, with whom he would later work on several projects. On O’Brien’s advice to refine his abilities, Harryhausen enrolled in art and anatomy courses at Los Angeles City College and later in film courses at the University of Southern California. It was around this time that he began developing the technique that became known as “Dynamation,” used to make it appear that actors on film are interacting with animated models.
In 1940 Harryhausen landed his first animating job, working for producer George Pal on a number of “Puppetoons”—short films that animated puppets by using a type of stop-motion. He subsequently served in the U.S. Army, where he worked with director Frank Capra on propaganda films for the war effort. After being discharged in 1946, Harryhausen created a series of short nursery rhyme-based films that he distributed to schools. He was soon contacted by O’Brien to help on Mighty Joe Young (1949), an adventure drama featuring an enormous ape, in the style of King Kong. The film, for which Harryhausen did much of the animation, received an Academy Award for special effects. Harryhausen’s work on The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), which was based on a story by his friend Ray Bradbury, caught the attention of producer Charles Schneer, with whom he would work on the majority of his films advertisement
Harryhausen contributed effects to more than a dozen movies, including It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Mysterious Island (1961), and Hammer Films’ One Million Years B.C.(1966). He was well known for the Sinbad films: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), his first colour feature; The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973); and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). He also created the special effects for the star-studded Clash of the Titans (1981), which was remade with animatronic and computer effects in 2010. Though he effectively retired from animation in the mid-1980s, Harryhausen continued to work on small projects into the 21st century. In 1992 he received the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for technical contributions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His published works include Film Fantasy Scrapbook (1972) and the autobiography An Animated Life: Adventures in Fantasy (2003; cowritten with Tony Dalton).
The success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? rekindled an interest in the Golden Age of American animation, and sparked the modern animation scene. In 1991, Walt Disney Imagineering began to develop Mickey’s Toontown for Disneyland, based on the Toontown that appeared in the film. The attraction also features a ride called Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. Three theatrical animated shorts were also produced: Tummy Trouble, played in front of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Roller Coaster Rabbit was shown with Dick Tracy; and Trail Mix-Up was included with A Far Off Place.The film also inspired a short-lived comic-book and video-game spin-offs, including two PC games, the Japanese version of The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (which features Roger instead of Bugs), a 1989 game released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and a 1991 game released on the Game Boy.
In December 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The film is based on Gary K. Wolf’s 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?