On April 6, 1906, 12 days before the San Francisco earthquake, cartoonist James Stuart Blackton and Thomas Edison released the first animation – a film of a man puffing cigar smoke while his sweetheart rolled her eyes in disapproval, a dog jumping through a hoop, and a juggler. They used Edison’s newly invented Kinestoscope (which Edison had patented the same year, 1897, as the phonograph ), and called the film The Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. Blackton had studied Edweard Muybridge’s pioneering sequential photographs for inspiration.
You can study the book, Animation, The Whole Story by Howard Beckerman , animation professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Or you can read all kinds of stuff , the blog of Ren Hoek and Stimpson J. Cat creator and animator extraordinare John Kricfalusi (pronounced like my name, ‘JohnK’ :-O, he also happens to be of Hungarian origin, though he was born in Canada – ‘falusi’ means ‘from the town of’ and ‘s’ is pronounced ‘sh’ in Hungarian).
Ren was fashioned after Hungarian actor Peter Lorre , an inspiration for many cartoons (see Tex Avery’s wonderful rendition). During the Hayes Commission investigation of the late 40s, Lorre was asked to name anyone suspicious he had met since coming to the United States. Lorre responded with a list of everyone he knew. As a young man in Vienna, Lorre was a student of Sigmund Freud. Alice was a student of Sophie Freud, Sigmund’s granddaughter.