The Oldest Surviving Animated Films

The Oldest Surviving Animated Films by Sarah Nour at Reel Rundown.

The Oldest Surviving Animated Films Part I (1892-1909)

Charles-Émile Reynaud was the inventor of optical theatre, an animated moving-picture system that he patented in 1888. In October of 1892, he screened three of his own animated films in a demonstration at the Musée Grévin, a museum in Paris.

In addition to Reynaud there is J. Stuart Blackton and Émile Cohl, plus an unknown Japanese animator.


The Oldest Surviving Animated Films Part II (1909-1915)

Keeping Up With the Joneses (1915) was an animated series based on a newspaper comic strip by Pop Momand. Only two short films were made of this series, as its animator, Harry S. Palmer, lost a patent infringement suit in February 1916 over the use of transparent celluloid sheets.

More Émile Cohl, plus Winsor McCay and Wallace Carlson.


The Oldest Surviving Animated Films Part III (1915-1922)

Starting in 1918, animator, director, producer, and inventor Max Fleischer created a series of shorts entitled Out of the Inkwell while working for Bray Studio. The series began with three experimental shorts that Fleischer used to demonstrate the Rotoscope, a device he invented consisting of a film projector and an easel.

The studios take over. Bray Studios (Paul Terry’s Farmer Alfalfa, Max Fleischer’s Out of the Inkwell); Barré Studio (Bud Fisher’s Mutt andd Jeff); International Film Service (George Herriman’s Krazy Kat); and Fable Studios (Paul Terry’s Aesop’s Fables). Also Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat, and even more Winsor McCay.