In an age of DVDs and You Tube videos – serving up moving pictures and animation at a tap of a finger – I’m still a nut for classic cartoon flip books. There is a magic about them that doesn’t get old.
Flipbooks began appearing long before motion picture film, becoming a popular optical plaything in the mid-to-late 19th Century. I’m no expert on the form’s history, but I do know that flipbooks of popular animated characters began appearing from the 1920s – and are still being produced today (I recently got an Adventure Time promotional flip book – that seems to be their primary use today, as promotional swag).
Sometimes, flip books starring classic cartoon stars get their images and animation directly from a cartoon itself, serving as an invaluable tool for students wishing to study the art frame-by-frame (this was particularly useful back in the pre-home video days). Most times, animation for flip books was wholly original. Usually done by top animators at the studios – an extra, exclusive cartoon for those lucky enough to obtain them.
I loved the original ones done by Disney – sold at Disneyland in the 50s and 60s (still there, for all I know). I recall the one for Mickey Mouse being a cleaned up version of Mickey spinning a rope, as he did on “Round-Up Day” on The Mickey Mouse Club.
Not enough of the Hollywood studio flipbook material has been posted online – as of yet. Below are some sample vintage flip books posted by “Flipbook Collector”. More information on the history of flipbooks can be found at Flipbook.info.com. Let us know in the comments below of your favorite flip book – or fondest flipbook memories.