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Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation Kindle Edition
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About the Author
@ReidMitenbuler --This text refers to the paperback edition.
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"[A] lively history of the first half-century of animation . . . In his prologue, Mitenbuler suggests the story he's about to tell will go from rude to rarefied, but one of the most fascinating things about the history he recounts is that animation, like so much of American culture, continually scrambled all sorts of categories and expectations. The arc of Wild Minds is appropriately weird, full of high-flown aspirations and zany anecdotes." ―Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
"Wild Minds assembles its history with love and a sense of occasion . . . The book's governing idea lies in its heroes' collective intuition that animated films could be a vehicle for grownup expression―erotic, political, and even scientific―rather than the trailing diminutive form they mostly became . . . All art aspires to the condition of music, a wise man said once, and perhaps all cultural history aspires to the condition of a cartoon: a seeming fluidity of movement, made up of countless small stops and starts." ―Adam Gopnik, New Yorker
"Wild Minds is a colorful chronology of the first 50 years of American animated film. Juicy tales abound about the films and the wildly imaginative people who made them. Mr. Mitenbuler tells their stories with relish and clarity." ―John Canemaker, Wall Street Journal
"Superficially, Wild Minds is about the origins of Mickey Mouse, Popeye the Sailor and Bugs Bunny cartoons. But Mitenbuler's real target is a quintessentially American story of daring ambition, personal reinvention and the eternal tug-of-war of between art and business . . . While animation would rise again to find its place in our own era of the long-running Simpsons and the glorious works of Hayao Miyazaki, Mitenbuler's book is a gem for anyone wanting to understand animation's origin story." ―Adam Frank, NPR
"A fast-moving account of the cartoonists, writers, inventors, hucksters, and hopeful moguls who constructed the firmament of American animation and filled it with constellations of talking mice, rabbits, birds, and pigs that have become more nameable than any actual stars in the sky . . . A highly readable overview . . . Generous with fun facts." ―Michael Tisserand, New York Times Book Review
"Film buffs will delight in this exploration of the golden age of animation. Surveying everything from Betty Boop to Popeye, author Reid Mitenbuler argues that a number of the medium's early classics were bolder and more daring than today's animated movies. He paints a delightfully full picture of the artform and its artists." ―Christian Science Monitor
"Mitenbuler shows just how renegade the pioneers of animation were . . . A journey into how animation became cultural insurgency." ―Scott Thomas Anderson, San Francisco Chronicle
"A welcome return to the glory days of Little Nemo and Felix the Cat, Mickey and Donald, Betty Boop and Popeye, Porky, Daffy and Bugs and many others . . . A very enjoyable book. [Mitenbuler is] an indomitable researcher and a great storyteller . . . A refreshing, popular intro to America's cartoon classics." ―Gene Walz, Winnipeg Free Press
"Entertaining history of early cartoon animation. Demonstrating impassioned research and technical know-how, Mitenbuler presents a series of historical anecdotes that, sequenced together, bring to life one of the world's most beloved art forms . . . The narrative crackles with captivating charm, adding color and nuance to a cast of familiar cartoon faces . . . Like a one-man animation department, [Mitenbuler] effortlessly renders both celluloid and background. A finely drawn history of a critical period in the history of animation." ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Journalist Mitenbuler casts the creators of animated cartoons as characters themselves in this rollicking history of the first 50 years of animation . . . In snappy prose, Mitenbuler writes a history rich with personalities. This Technicolor tour de force is impossible to put down." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"While animation is often considered a children's medium, its early days were filled with social commentary, sexuality, satire, and countless creative and financial battles . . . An entertaining and revealing look into the dawn of a revolutionary art form." ―Library Journal
"Wild Minds is a thoroughly captivating behind-the-scenes history of classic American animation, full of breezy stories of the great artists who went crazy making the brilliant cartoons we all know and love. A must-read for all fans of the medium." ―Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama
"If the twentieth century had its court painters, they were the cartoonists and animators employed by Walt Disney and other creative wizards of pop culture. In his engrossing, entertaining, and deeply researched Wild Minds, Reid Mitenbuler recreates the world of these classic animators―the largely unsung Holbeins and Van Dycks of the Magic Kingdom and at Warner Bros., Paramount, and smaller studios. There's a direct evolutionary path, we come to realize, from the genius of Winsor McCay, a century ago, to the subversive tropes of South Park. The legacy of the animators is one we can't escape―and don't want to." ―Cullen Murphy, author of Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe
"In this absorbing history of animation, Reid Mitenbuler illuminates lives both deservedly familiar (Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, Chuck Jones) and tragically forgotten (Winsor McCay, Émile Cohl). The prose is terrific, the insights frequent, and the information fascinating. Mitenbuler deepens one's understanding not only of his subject, but the world itself. It's everything you want a nonfiction book to be." ―Tom Bissell, author of Creative Types and coauthor of The Disaster Artist
"An absolutely vital compendium covering all high points, low points, and pen points of the personalities who hijacked our pop culture―pioneering a now-dominant American industry, ultimately creating characters and films that have stood the test of time. A delightful read―like the cartoons themselves: buoyant, bouncy, and wonderfully entertaining." ―Jerry Beck, animation historian and author --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B085MMQ8N6
- Publisher : Atlantic Monthly Press (December 1, 2020)
- Publication date : December 1, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 12632 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 421 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #477,339 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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So much is clearly off that when the author comes up with a fascinating piece of information—such as Otto Messmer contributing to PUNCH and Charles Addams working at the Fleischer studio—I would like some evidence that it’s actually true. (There’s a long section of notes at the end, but it isn’t very helpful for fact-checking purposes.)
I am also troubled by this statement: “In a handful of places, I extended the details of a scene slightly beyond spoken and written accounts of it, drawing reasonable conclusions from the available information.” I came across at least one seeming example of this, where he has Walt Disney’s voice lowering during a conversation that occurred in the 1930s—apparently a pure literary flourish added on to an account otherwise taken from Shamus Culhane’s book TALKING ANIMALS AND OTHER PEOPLE. But I wonder what other “details” were manufactured.
Wild Minds focuses on the early era of animation and its creators, some of whom were eccentric goof-balls and others who saw a way to cash in on an up-and-coming industry. The book begins during animation's infancy, in the early part of the 20th Century, when animation was intended for a grown-up audience, frequently involving adult themes and displaying risque images (many of which are detailed). It ends in the 1960s, after animation's content had become the much more watered-down source of entertainment for children (in part to appease television advertisers) we are all familiar with now. Along the way, the book highlights the importance of classic characters, including Betty Boop, Felix, and Popeye, to the national psyche; animated features, including Fantasia; the military's interest in animation; the labor disputes that gripped the animation studios along with the rest of the country's industries; the rivalry between Max Fleischer and Walt Disney; the creation of DisneyLand; and the utopian dream of DisneyWorld.
Chock full of a dizzying array of characters (both real and animated) and events, this book will appeal to the serious students of animation. But this is also a must-read for anyone just looking for a good story. Much like the animation that is its focus, the book never loses sight of its paramount goal - to entertain. Highly recommended!
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Australia on April 1, 2021