The World’s First Cartoon: Fantasmagorie (1908)

On August 17, 1908, Cohl released the cartoon “Fantasmagorie”

Fantasmagorie is a 1908 French animated film by Émile Cohl. It is one of the earliest examples of traditional (hand-drawn) animation, and considered by film historians to be the first animated cartoon.

Émile Cohl is one of the earliest pioneers of animation, along with John Stuart Blackton. Together they laid the foundations of the medium in the early 1900s, with simple caricatures and stick figures. Cohl goes down in history as the creator of the first genuine fully animated cartoon: ‘Fantasmagorie’ (1908). He was also the first to adapt a comic strip into a regular animated film series. Cohl was furthermore a well-known caricaturist in his day and made a few comics himself.


Myron Waldman: Born on April 23, 1908

Myron Waldman (April 23, 1908-February 4, 2006) was an American animator, best known for his work at Fleischer Studio…He started his first career work in 1930 at Fleischer Studio. At Fleischer he worked on Betty Boop, Raggedy Ann, Gulliver’s Travels, the animated adaptations of Superman, and Popeye. He was head animator on two Academy Award nominated shorts, Educated Fish (1937) and Hunky and Spunky (1939).

Premiered April 8, 1876: “La Gioconda”

Composer Amilcare Ponchielli was born in Italy in 1834. He started composing operas while still a student at the Milan Conservatory. After graduating in 1854, he held various positions over the years, including professor of composition at the Conservatory; his pupils included Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni. His most famous opera is “La Gioconda”, written in 1876. It is mainly remembered for its ballet, Dance of the Hours.

The Dance of the Hours is probably the only opera ballet that has established a life of its own in both the concert hall as a stand-alone orchestral work…and in pop culture: Walt Disney’s 1940 animated film Fantasia, for example, used the music for a ballet performed by tutu-clad hippos, ostriches, alligators and elephants. And in 1963, parodist Alan Sherman set words to the tune of Ponchielli’s day music with its all-too-familiar four-note theme. Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)” hit No. 2 on the pop charts.

Ponchielli’s biography~

Synopsis of “La Gioconda“~