Kausler's Closet
January 2, 2019 posted by Jerry Beck

Little Known Silent Cartoons

Welcome back to our semi-regular visit to Mark Kausler’s film vault. Here’s where we pick through his vast collection and take a look at animated films we’ve never seen or heard of before (or at least, ones I’ve never seen before). These are presented with minimal commentary because — well, because I don’t know much about them myself. Any and all additional information readers can share (in the comments below) is welcome.

This week’s theme is “Little Known Silent Cartoons”.

Leap Year (1916) by Rube Goldberg, or at least written by him. May be from one of the “Boob Weekly” releases, animated by George Stallings at the Barre studios. Kausler adds, “Looks like Rube did the layouts”.

The Seattle Times Animated Supplement This is a fun little reel – mostly live action – created for local Seattle Washington audiences. Says Mr. Kausler. “It contains rare early animation, including Billy DeBeck’s “Aleck and Pauline” characters from his pre-Barney Google strip “Married Life”.

Pen and Ink VaudevilleThe Hoboken Nightengale and The Artist’s Model both by Earl Hurd, inventor of Bobby Bumps and Cel animation. “These are sort of gag anthology cartoons,” says Kausler. “Filled with cycle animation. The series was not well-received – and was cancelled after 13 shorts were produced.” Educational Pictures released these in 1924.

NEXT WEEK: Early Animation From Western Europe


  • Earl Hurd’s jerky “full frame” animation here is a staple that lasts up until his first gig at Disney with ‘Two-Gun Mickey’!

  • In the Seattle Times Animated Supplement’s “Futurist Movies,” I believe the “Guess who this is” is Andrew Carnegie.

  • They are always so frightening to me! I can’t imagine how kids used to watch these animations and feel good about them!

  • Bendazzi refers to the “Pen and Ink Vaudeville” cartoons as being set “in a true puppet theater,” and I’ve found similar references to puppets in a few other places. They’re obviously hand-drawn, though, so they’re not puppets in the literal sense, and there’s no indication in the world of the cartoons that they’re meant to BE puppets. I’m not sure what Bendazzi and others are talking about.

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