Milestones Of The Animation Industry In The 20th Century
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1951-52 A purge of employees at UPA suspected of being communists (or being sympathetic toward communism) is probably the industry's blackest moment.

Disney's Melody. © Disney.

1953 Disney's Melody and Working for Peanuts with Donald Duck, Walter Lantz's Hypnotic Hick with Woody Woodpecker and Famous Studio's The Ace of Space with Popeye are the first theatrical cartoons to be released in 3-D. One wore Polaroid glasses to see them. (Melody was the first film released, but all were in production about the same time.)

1953 Interactive TV was born when Winky Dink and You, a show with a limited amount of animation in it, encouraged kids to complete cartoon drawings at home by drawing on a sheet of plastic placed over the TV screen.

1955 Annecy, the oldest international animation festival, was formed.

1956 The Gerald McBoing Boing Show (made by UPA for CBS) was the first half-hour network show commissioned that included new animation made for TV. It also included older UPA cartoons.

1956 Floyd Norman becomes the first African American artist at Disney.

1957 Bill Hanna calls his version of limited animation, introduced in his first TV series Ruff and Reddy, "the system." It wasn't the first limited animation on TV, but it did refine the production process.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty. © Disney.

1958 Disney completes Sleeping Beauty and then downsizes his animation staff from 551 to 75. Staffing levels would not return to that level until 1990. At the same time MGM closes their animation department. Many people feared they might see the end of the animation industry.

1958 The first all new half-hour cartoon show was The Huckleberry Hound Show. It featured three short cartoon segments: Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie. Ruff and Reddy was a new made-for TV cartoon, but the show also contained older Columbia theatrical cartoons.

1959 Rocky and his Friends (Rocky and Bullwinkle) has the dubious honor of being the first TV series to be animated abroad. The lack of quality control at the studio in Mexico was an obvious problem.

1960 The Flintstones (made by Hanna-Barbera for ABC) becomes the first prime time animated series using all new material made for an animated half-hour show. The program introduced the format of telling one long story rather than having a series of short cartoons.

Disney's Goliath II. © Disney.

1960 Disney's Goliath II, a theatrical short, was the first film to use a Xerox type of process to ink cels. 101 Dalmations (1961) was the first feature to use the system.

1960 ASIFA founded. It is as an international organization that furthers interest in animation. There are chapters in the U.S. in New York, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Internationally the organization spans from Mongolia to the U.K. and almost everywhere in between.

John Whitney at work on the first computer-graphics engine. Photo by
Charles Eames.

1961 John Whitney completes Catalog, a visual catalog of analog computer effects.

1961 Several parent groups complain about violence in kids TV shows with UPA's The Dick Tracy Show (1961), and grow with such productions as Hanna-Barbera's The Adventures of Jonny Quest (1964) and The Fantastic Four (1967). Fists, knives and guns that shoot bullets were all used in the shows. Parents also complained about showing Roadrunner cartoons and other classics on TV. Animated violence was eventually avoided in kids shows, but it returned in Marvel Action Universe (X-Men, RoboCop, etc.), a syndicated show that began in 1988.

1961 Japanese animation was first introduced in the U.S. in the features Magic Boy, Panda and the Magic Serpent and Alakazam the Great. TV introduced a lot more people to it with Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy in 1963.

1962 Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol was the first made-for-TV animated special and the first animated TV musical. It was in color and sponsored by Timex. The next animated TV special starred Charlie Brown in 1965. It was so popular that it was aired the following year and eventually led to the production of other Charlie Brown specials. It became the longest running series of animated specials on TV.

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