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GOLDEN AGE OF ANIMATION
Read the passage given below:
1. A Golden Age of animation began in the 1930s when theatrical animations like Looney Tunes became massively popular, especially due to a boost from World War II when cartoons adopted relevant and topical subject matter. The period is also marked by the success of feature-length Disney productions such as Snow White. By the mid-1960s, however, most of the excitement around animation had fizzled out, and cartoons had moved from the big screen to a newer medium: television. Most televised cartoon shows were produced by Hanna-Barbera and at extremely low budgets. Animation work was kept to a minimum, which marred the medium’s reputation. Due to a decline in demand and profitability, Warner Brothers shut down their animation department. In 1966, Walt Disney died, leaving his company without any certain direction for the future. For the next twenty years, most cartoons were outsourced Asia and were continuously made at very low budgets.
2. By the turn of the decade, the doomsday clock was ticking on the animation industry, but from the darkness came a new era. Rather than die out, the animation industry entered a renaissance, where the ideals of the golden era were revived and restored to new heights Michael Eisner became. The desire for a revival struck the cinema industry when to put Disney animation back Disney’s new chairman in 1987. Eisner was determined up its is a pedestal and did so with features such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid. These mainstream successes affirmed that cartoons were a profitable and respectable business once again.
3. In 1989, the animated sitcom emerged when a cartoon short by Matt Groening made the move from the Tracy Ullman Show to primetime television. Almost 20 years later, The Simpsons remain on the air. Northwestern History Professor and pop-culture blogger Michael Kramer recalls the irony of the situation: “The most realistic show on television was a cartoon show, the one that got the essence of how [teens] were feeling.”
4. While some cartoons became more like live-action shows, some became all the more surreal. Ren and Stimpy (1991) best reflected the latter subset of 90s cartoons. It was violent, strange and graphics. It had blotchy white backgrounds in place of typical backdrop art. Kramer adds that the show represents “people trying to bring what was marginalized, the civic stuff, into the commercial realm.”
5. The show could target children with its aesthetic and adults with its odd subject matter.
6. Professor Kramer sees the popular interest in both types of the cartoon as an attempt to come to grips with human experience. He suggests that it reflects people’s questions about reality: “What is reality? Is it completely surreal and cartoonish or is it hyper-real? Hence, this is the same period you have the reality show emerge. It’s all about how technology represents the real and the tone or mood of what life was like.”
7. In the early 90s, television airwaves divided up amongst new cable networks that appealed to much more specific audiences, an effect Kramer calls the “nichification” of television. Entire channels could commit to one theme, a bold idea in a time before there were eight HBOs and ten ESPN. The booming public interest in animation was evidenced by the creation of an exclusively
Choose the correct alternatives from the options given below:
(a) Animation became popular in the 1930s because
(i) of World War II
(ii) of its relevant and topical subject matter
(iii) of the Disney production Snow White
(iv) none of the above
(b) Warner Brothers shut down their animation department because of
(i) the low budget
(ii) the rise of the TV shows
(iii) the death of Walt Disney
(iv) a decline in the profit and demand for such shows
Answer the following questions briefly in your own words:
(c) What was the irony in the popularity of the cartoon show, ‘The Simpsons’?
(d) How do cartoons affect the value system of society?
(e) What did Michael Eisner prove to the film industry?
(f) What is meant by the term nichefication’?
(g) What lay behind the setting of Cartoon Network?
(h) What were the reasons that helped Ren and Stimpy to become popular?
Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following:
(i) spoilt (para 1)
(j) marked/discoloured (para-4)
(This passage has words like thingy’ and `a couple of pints’!)
(c) The irony about the popularity of The Simpsons was that while it was a cartoon sitcom, it was the most realistic show on television, as explained by Northwestern History Professor and pop-culture blogger, Michael Kramer.
(d) Cartoons bring to the fore what people think about reality. If reality is in fact, cartoonish. Cartoons show how people can use technology to highlight the serious and real issues of society and make people reflect upon them.
(e) When Michael Eisner became Disney’s chairman in 1987, he spearheaded the renaissance of the animation industry. By creating mainstream successes such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid, he proved that cartoons were a profitable and respectable business once again.
(f) ‘Nichification’ refers to the television phenomena of the early ’90s wherein television airwaves were divided among various cable networks that appealed to much more specific audiences. Entire channels committed to one theme. (g) The exclusively animated channel Cartoon Network was created because of booming public interest in animated works.
(h) Ren and Stimpy were a strange, violent and graphic animated series. It used blotchy white backdrops instead of typical backdrop art. Michael Kramer said that the show represented people trying to bring marginalized civic issues into the commercial arena. These were the reasons behind the series’ popularity.
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