How the first color cartoons were made

Sometimes, we need to look back at the past and learn our history.  I don’t really know why, but I hear that if we don’t, we’ll repeat it.  Not, mind you, that I’d have problems repeating some of my past.  But then, there are things from my past that I’d rather not repeat – mononucleosis ranks high on the I’d rather not repeat that part of my past list.  Although I guess that’s not what people mean.  But I digress…

So, let’s look at the information the January 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine had to tell us about cartooning and how these magical mystical marvels of modern movement are made (yeah, baby – high five for decent alliteration there).


After years of a successful black-and-white career, animated cartoons are due to take on the additional appeal of color, thanks to the perfection of a process which is explained in detail in this article.

THE first of 13 one-reel animated cartoon comedies in color have just been completed in Hollywood, marking the beginning of a new era in this popular form of entertainment which has already made Mickey Mouse and his cohorts the highest paid actors in the movie world, although they draw no salaries. Ted Eshbaugh, a Boston artist, is the man who has at last succeeded in producing animateds in color. Making the colored comics duplicates the manufacture of black-white comics excepting the intricate application of color to the characters and transferring that color to the double negative that creeps through the recording camera a frame at a time. When you consider that 15,000 separate drawings on celluloid must be made by a staff of artists for a single reeler, composed of 16,000 frames, and that each figure or group of figures on each celluloid will display possibly six color combinations, you get some idea of the intricacy and tediousness of the process.

It’s a rather lengthy article, and in a rare showing of restraint on my part, I’ll pass on copying a large part of it and filling up my page with things you have to skip over if you aren’t interested in seeing.  Instead, head over to the Modern Mechanix web site if you want to view the complete article and image.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, How color cartoons are made[/tags]