Thursday 26 June 2014

Day-Night Fight

How did the Jay Ward production crew fill seven seconds of screen time with just six drawings? Let Mr. Peabody provide the answer.

During the climax, if you want to call it that, of “The First Indian-Head Nickel,” engraver Talbot Heffelfinger fights a bear. The fight consists of three drawings of clouds, stars and fists, shots over and over again (two frames per drawing). They’re used over two background drawings, one depicting day, and the other night. The camera simply fades one background over the other, making day become night and night become day. Peabody and Sherman are on a separate cel that simply stays put.3 + 2 + 1 = 6 drawings.

By the way, “Improbable History” is putting it mildly. The Peabody cartoons are based on historical figures—but not this one. The Indian Head nickel was designed by James Earle Fraser and not by some guy named Heffelfinger. And it was done after the turn of the century, not 1869 like in the cartoon. We await a huge outcry on the internet about the lack of factuality just like that which greeted the Disney-P.L. Travers movie.

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