Clay Animation

The Sculptor’s Nightmare
R: Wallace McCutcheon. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Mack Sennett, Harry L. Solter, Tony O’Sullivan, Edward Dillon, David Wark Griffith. P: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. USA 1908
Print: Library of Congress (Paper Print Collection)

“At a political club, the members debate whose bust will replace that of Theodore Roosevelt. Unable to agree, each goes to a sculptor’s studio and bribes him to sculpt a bust of the individual favorite. Instead, the sculptor spends their fees on a dinner with his model during which he becomes so inebriated that he is taken to jail. There he has a nightmare, wherein three busts are created and animated from clay (through stop-motion photography) in the likenesses of Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republicans Charles W. Fairbanks and William Howard Taft. Finally an animated bust of Roosevelt appears.”
Library of Congress

“Clay animation is a technique of making clay characters and using stop motion animation to make the clay come to life and have movement in the film. Claymation has been used for many years and it seems to be used less and less in today’s society with the advances in CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). Claymation has had a long history and has made some major successes in its years of being in use. The first clay animation film was made in 1908 by Thomas Edison. This film was called The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend*, this was known as a trick film that used some claymation throughout. Another early clay animation film was called the The Sculptor’s Nightmare which was also released in 1908. Claymation started becoming more and more popular and by the time 1916 came along it was everywhere. Willie Hopkins and Helena Smith Dayton produced a lot of different clay animation films in the early 1916’s. The first feature length clay animation film was called I go Pogo and it was directed by Marc Paul Chinoy in 1980.”
Kim Cullian

* produced in 1906 by E.S. Porter!

Clay animation by Walter R. Booth:

Animated Putty
R: Walter R. Booth. P: Kineto Films. UK 1911

“Ancient ancestors of Wallace, Gromit and Morph abound in this trick film filled with malleable magic. Walter Booth made a number of films that began to explore the potential of stop-motion to bring cut-outs, string, and here clay to life. Many of these scenes are also filmed backwards adding to the uncanny effect, with the devilish, gargoyle faces towards the end of the film being particularly delightful.”

>>> The Obsessions of Walter R. Booth