It's very rare indeed for a single DVD to function as pure entertainment and a valuable archive of animation history, but this award-winning Lumivision disc offers all that and more. Once hailed as "America's Greatest Cartoonist," Winsor McKay (1869-1934) was a master draftsman and illustrator who began his career as a newspaper illustration artist and editorial cartoonist in the late 1890s and later created the milestone comic strips "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" (1904) and "Little Nemo in Slumberland" (1905). McKay then advanced to become one of animation's true pioneers, and this exemplary DVD collects every surviving film that McKay ever made. His best-known short, Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), not only promoted the public's ongoing fascination with dinosaurs, but its title character (a lovable brontosaurus) was perhaps the first prehistoric creature in movie history to be imbued with expressive behavior and human characteristics. Another highlight is The Sinking of the Lusitania, an anti-German World War I propaganda masterpiece from 1918. Lumivision's DVD spans McKay's creative output from 1911 to 1921, and also includes extensive liner notes by animation historian John Canemaker. Predating Walt Disney's earliest efforts by as much as a decade, McKay's amusing and finely crafted films offer a perfectly preserved treat for animation lovers and general viewers alike. --Jeff Shannon
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