John Randolph Bray (1913)

During the 1910s, the production of animated short films, typically referred to as “cartoons”, became an industry of its own and cartoon shorts were produced for showing in movie theaters. The most successful producer at the time was John Randolph Bray, who, along with animator Earl Hurd, patented the cel animation process that dominated the animation industry for the rest of the decade.

Bray’s first completed cartoon animation was released in 1913. Accepted and released by well-known producer Charles Pathe, The Artist’s Dream (or The Dachshund and the Sausage) portrayed an artist drawing a chest of drawers with a dog sleeping next to it. As the artist completes a drawing of a bowl of sausages on the chest of drawers, his wife enters and calls him away. After the artist leaves, the drawing comes to life: The dog jumps up, climbs up the drawers, and wolfs down the sausages until ultimately it explodes. The venture resulted in a contract with Pathe for six more films in six months, with a new film to be released each month. Considering it had taken Bray at least six months to create The Artist’s Dream, the contract provided a challenge that Bray would be unable to meet. However, even though production times had to be extended, the need for streamlined production forced Bray to find creative solutions to the problem of how to make animated cartoons financially successful.