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The Romance of WALL-E (2008)

Our friends at Wonders in the Dark are currently hosting their annual film countdown. This year, it’s all about the romance, with a wide selection of talented writers posting articles on the top one hundred romantic films as voted by the site’s contributors. This week, it’s my turn, with the first of my four pieces going live…

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet Moo (1956)

In 1956, UPA released the final of four cartoons featuring Dr. Seuss’s adorably strange, noise-making little boy, Gerald McBoing-Boing. This last cartoon in the series deviates from the typical McBoing-Boing short in one important way: the creative, sometimes nonsensical rhyming meter of the previous Gerald entries is gone, replaced by a straightforward narrative. And while I find myself…

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This Looks Like a Job for … Max Fleischer’s Superman

In 1941, Paramount approached Max and Dave Fleischer, heads of their in-house animation production, with a proposal: to adapt the increasingly popular Superman comic book into an animated series for the big screen. But the Fleischers were reluctant. As Dave later admitted (as recounted in Les Daniels’ Superman: The Complete History), the idea of animating Superman was a daunting…

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Donald Duck: 80 Years of the “Sweetest Disposition”

On June 9, 1934, the Walt Disney animation studios released The Wise Little Hen, a Silly Symphony adapted from a classic fairy tale. As with most of the Silly Symphonies, the cartoon did not feature any of Disney’s stock recurring characters, such as the already-legendary Mickey Mouse. But one member of Hen’s supporting cast–a petulant, musical, sailor suit-clad duck–would…

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)

When it comes to theatrical animation in the 1950s, there were no greater innovators than the talented artists at United Productions of America. UPA’s highly stylized, modern aesthetic was visually appealing; the cartoons were creative and fresh, with entertaining characters and funny, unexpected new ways of storytelling. One of those new characters came directly from…