The collection of animation at UCLA Film & Television Archive from the years 1930-1950 is practically without peer. Nitrate prints of classic cartoons abound, as do original negatives or best-surviving printing elements for many of the films from animation’s “golden era.” Included here are most of the Max Fleischer and Famous Studios Paramount subjects; the George Pal “Puppetoons”; the independent productions of Ub Iwerks; many of the Van Beuren “Rainbow Parade” shorts; a large number of Warner Bros. cartoons; and a recent acquisition of “Terrytoons” still being sorted through as of this writing.
By contrast, the pre-1930 silent animation holdings at UCLA are less extensive and, correspondingly, less impressive. However, with the extremely low survival rate for cartoons from the silent film era, this is to be expected. It has been estimated that eighty- to ninety-percent of all silent films--not just animation, but feature films and other short subjects, as well--have been lost to neglect, mishandling, vault fires, and nitrate decomposition. Given those figures, it’s fortunate that UCLA has as much silent animation as it does. That includes a sizeable number of “Aesop’s Film Fables”; original negatives to several dozen “Inkwell Imps” and “Out of the Inkwell” cartoons; scatterings of prints and elements from other series, such as “Felix the Cat” and Disney’s “Alice Comedies”; and the occasional one-shot subject that survives today only as a single print.
Although best-known for its restoration of feature films, UCLA Film & Television Archive has been preserving animated films for more than three decades, with over one hundred titles to its credit. The short subjects, trailers, and promotional films presented here provide a representative sampling of that work. They have been preserved from best-surviving and sole-surviving 35mm nitrate and 16mm prints, showcasing many forms of animation spanning the entire silent film era.
Mark Langer teaches film at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and is the President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations in Toronto. He has curated numerous animation retrospectives at archives and festivals internationally, and is the author of articles on animation in journals such as Screen, Cinema Journal and Animation Journal. Professor Langer is on the editorial boards of Animation Journal and Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Jerry Beck is an animation historian with twelve books on the subject including The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. He is a former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney, and has programmed retrospectives for the Annecy and Ottawa Animation Festivals, The Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He has taught animation history at NYU, SVA, the AFI and UCLA. He is co-writer of the animation industry blog, Cartoon Brew, http://www.cartoonbrew.com/
Michael Mortilla is an award-winning composer and sound designer with over 600 produced scores to his credit. His improvisational skills encompass the styles of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, as well as modern and popular idioms. Mortilla has conducted, accompanied, and composed extensively for dance and theater, having collaborated and toured with choreographer Martha Graham, and having penned music and lyrics for several produced musicals. For more information, please visit http://www.MIDILifeCrisis.com
Jere Guldin is a Senior Film Preservationist at UCLA Film & Television Archive. He holds a B.A. in Film and an M.A. in Theatre, and has been employed at the Archive since 1984. In addition to animated short subjects, he has overseen the preservation of hundreds of silent and sound feature films and live-action shorts.
Funded in part by an access grant from
The National Film Preservation Foundation
The non-audio versions of the silent films presented here are presumed to be in the Public Domain. The silent versions of these films, without any music or audio, have been published with a Creative Commons license to encourage free and unlimited repurpose for educational use or remix. Note that all music presented on this site © by Michael D. Mortilla and published by MIDI Life Crisis (BMI). For music licensing information contact: licensing@MIDILifeCrisis.com.
The written text on this website is published with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The license grants permission for non-commercial, attributed re-use of all written text on the Silent Animation Project webpages. Any text usage is to be attributed as follows: Created by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and used with permission. The Regents of the University of California continue to hold copyright for all written text.
Visitors to the site are encouraged to download the films presented here (silent, with music, or commentary) to enjoy on portable devices or to burn to DVD. The smaller size MPEG4 files here should easily migrate to desktop video players, iPhones, iPods, and/or other portable video players. The higher quality, larger size MPEG2 files here may be useful for importing into editing programs for remixing or for burning to DVD. The Internet Archive has a useful public forum where users share tips on how to convert MPEG2 files at http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=26467.