Milestones Of The Animation Industry In The 20th Century
(continued from page 4)

Disney's Mary Poppins. © Disney.

1964 Disney's Mary Poppins was the first feature to use a sodium loss process to make special effects mattes.

1965 The Tournee of Animation is founded in Los Angeles to bring exceptional animation from around the world to U.S. shores.

1966 James Whitney completes Lapis using his brother John's camera. It is the first motion control film.

The Yellow Submarine.

1968 The Yellow Submarine influences popular culture and revitalizes the animated commercial industry when sponsors demand advertisements inspired by the feature.

1968 The first animation riot was in Singapore. When The Yellow Submarine was first shown there the audience thought they had paid to see the actual band. Disappointed fans tore-up the theater.

1969 The Federal Trade Commission takes Linus, the Lion-Hearted off the air stating that characters in a TV commercial could not appear in the program. They felt some children could not distinguish the advertisements from the show. Linus was first and foremost a General Foods cereal symbol so the shows were considered half-hour advertisements by the FTC. (See 1981, Strawberry Shortcake.)

1969 Sesame Street begins, and creates a market for creative segments by independent animators and animation studios.

1969 Marv Newland makes Bambi Meets Godzilla as a student at the Art Center of Design in Los Angeles. It became the best known title of an animated short by an independent artist. The title has even become a popular generic phrase, i.e.: a writer for Jane's Fighting Ships described a battle as "Bambi meets Godzilla." The film has had a greater return on its investment than any other film in animation history. Newland says he spent under $300 to make it and it has grossed tens of thousands of dollars.

1969 Hollywood animators demand residuals similar to rights that had already been won by voice actors and writers. The studios skillfully split the union's ranks and defeat the effort. Animation artists still do not get residuals while all other performing artists get them. Runaway productions and work being sent abroad to cut costs is also an issue.

1972 Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat becomes the first X-rated animated feature successfully released in the US.

1972 ASIFA-Hollywood begins the Annie Awards.

1973 Westworld was the first feature to use computer generated images.

1979 The "Run-A-Way Wars" strike was won by the union. It gave artists some protection from jobs going overseas. In 1982 a second strike resulted in the loss of the rights gained in 1979. As a result most TV series have been animated abroad since 1982.

1979 Don Bluth leaves Disney and takes about a third of the creative talent with him when he sets up his own studio.

1980 Lucasfilm forms a computer division. In 1986 Steve Jobs buys it from Lucas and it becomes Pixar, a separate corporation with Jobs as chairman of the board.

1981 Strawberry Shortcake in the Big Apple City was the first "modern" half-hour advertisement for a toy line. Although the Federal Trade Commission had clamped down on programs that starred merchandise spokesmen in 1969, the political climate changed when Reagan became president. The FTC still watched network shows carefully, but they seemed less interested in syndicated programs.

1981 MTV goes into 2 million homes -- a new animation marketplace and aesthetic is born.

MTV brought a new aesthetic to the world. © MTV: Music Television.

1982 Perpetual Motion makes the first animated ad for MTV. Some people may remember the line, "I want my MTV."

1983 John Lasseter leaves Disney and joins Lucasfilm's computer unit. His first credit there is character designer and animator on Andre and Wally B, 1984.

1984 Michael Eisner takes the helm at Disney, ushering in a new reign of profitability.

1984 Robert Abel & Associates creates the Sexy Robot TV commercial for the Canned Food Information Council. This was the beginning of computer generated 3-D character animation in TV spots.

1985 The first made-for-TV animation series designed as a "strip show" (a show that is on 5 days a week) was the syndicated He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He-Man was based on a popular action figure toy line and its popularity challenged the network dominance of afternoon kids shows. In the early `60s a few popular weekly shows became strip shows in some markets (The Huckleberry Hound Show), and in the `50s shows showing older theatrical cartoons were sometimes shown 5 days a week.

1985 The first computer generated 3D dinosaurs that were seen by the public were in Pacific Data Images' (PDI) Chromasaurus, a short film.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to