The Enchanted Drawing
If you were watching a film in the early 1900s, you were likely doing so at a vaudeville house. The earliest films were often shown interspersed with newsreels and live acts (such as magicians, singers, and acrobats).
The Enchanted Drawing (c. 1901) is an early predecessor of animation and shows the way that vaudeville influenced early film. Cartoonist Stuart Blackton, who had a brief stint in vaudeville, created this early trick film. It’s inspired by a stage act called “lightning sketches,” where a performer would entertain the audience with clever chatter while quickly drawing portraits and landscapes on a large sheet of paper. Often, what would appear to be a drawing of one thing would become something else, once the performer turned the image upside down.
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