History of Brooklyn Animation

Winthrop Archivist David Kay moderated a discussion and screening on The Amazing and Incredible History and Future of Brooklyn Animation at the Brooklyn Historical Society on July 25th.

Long before Walt Disney’s name became synonymous with animated cartoons, American animation was born and bred in Brooklyn.  Many significant technical and thematic innovations in animation that began in Brooklyn influence the animation industry to this day. 

  • When Winsor McCay created Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914, he created the first female protagonist in the history of cinema.  
  • In 1915, the Fleischer brothers invented and patented rotoscoping, a short-cut animation technique that simplifies animation by tracing over motion picture film frame by frame when realistic action is required.  
  • More recently, Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson established 100 Chickens Productions (formerly 9 ate 7 Productions) in Brooklyn to produce Peg + Cat, an Emmy award winning TV program in which characters use math and logic and music to solve problems of all shapes and sizes.

These animators and studios represent the history, development, growth and future of Brooklyn’s animation legacy, one few people know.


July 25, 2017 at 6:30 PM

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street, 11201

and features: Oscar- and Emmy-Award winner JOHN CANEMAKER
Daytime Emmy-Award winner JENNIFER OXLEY 100 Chickens Productions (formerly 9 ate 7 Productions)
Animated Film Collector TOMMY JOSE STATHES and
Winthrop Group's DAVID KAY

Films to be screened by:
Winsor McCay: (1867-1934): More than 100 years ago, Brooklyn-based New York Herald cartoonist Winsor McCay charted new ground with his invention of animated drawing.  He then self-financed his first animated films including Little Nemo, How a Mosquito Operates, Gertie the Dinosaur, The Sinking of the Lusitania and others.    Acknowledged as the “Father of American Animation,” Winsor McCay was responsible for many technical innovations that are still widely used today including keyframes and the split system.  For this program, we will have renowned animator, historian, and NYU Professor John Canemaker give a Special Presentation on Winsor McCay.

Out of the Inkwell Films, Inc./Fleischer Studios (1921-1942):  Max Fleischer’s family emigrated to the USA and settled in Brownsville, Brooklyn in the 1880s.  Max began his career at The Brooklyn Daily Eagle as Photographer, Photoengraver and staff cartoonist.  He invented rotoscoping to pair live action with animated drawings based on his brother Dave’s work as a sideshow clown at Coney Island. 

100 Chickens Productions (formerly 9 ate 7 Productions) (2010-Present): Born in Hollywood, Jennifer Oxley made her first film at the age of seven.  She attended NYU Tisch School for animation and studied with John Canemaker, the Academy Award-winning animator.  After graduation, she worked as Animation Director for Nick Jr. on Little Bill and Blue’s Clues and then helped establish Little Airplane Productions, an independent animation studio, in Manhattan and was Creative Director of The Wonder Pets! and 3rd and Bird (aired on CBeebies in UK).  

Here's the Poster