(I’ve decided to start announcing the winners of the previous week’s trivia contest in a separate post, since my comments on them are getting longer.)
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were driving home and listening to a story on NPR about the 2009 selections for the National Film Registry. Every year, the National Film Preservation Board selects up to twenty-five films to be preserved for posterity at the Library of Congress. NPR mentioned a few of this year’s particularly interesting picks, including the Muppets’ big screen debut The Muppet Movie and Michael Jackson’s game-changing music video Thriller. Another film that got a brief mention was “a 1911 mix of live action and animation that influenced Walt Disney.” Curious, and slightly embarrassed that I didn’t immediately know what film was being described, I looked it up online once we got home. I discovered that the short in question was Little Nemo, which left me feeling both glad that the film would be preserved to be enjoyed by future generations and slightly annoyed at NPR. It turned out that their description was a very condensed version of the National Film Preservation Board’s own blurb on the short, but I still felt that it missed much of the point. I like Disney plenty, but I’m not a fan of the idea that in the world of animation, all roads lead to Disney. To suggest that animator Winsor McCay and his work are important chiefly because of their influence on Walt Disney is far from the whole story.