While mentioning such precursors as the nineteenth century's zoetrope and the lantern slides that afforded crude animated effects as early as the seventeenth century, Beck and his contributors concentrate on the history of film animation and provide a comprehensive overview. The pioneers here include Winsor McCay, Walt Disney, and a variety of European and Asian auteurs whose work tended to be less populist. This dichotomy between the medium's high-art potential and its commercial appeal has persisted into the present, with such innovators as Pixar, on the one hand, and Jan Svankmajer, on the other. The two strands met in the career of Oskar Fischinger, a German émigré to California, whose abstract animations elaborating his concept of "visual music" were influential but who lasted just nine months on Disney's "Fantasia."
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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