Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) by Winsor McCay

Thursday, December 10, 1987, 8:00 pm

The Dream World of Winsor McCay

America’s Master Animator & Comic Strip Artist


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

Biographer/Animator John Canemaker in person

Winsor McCay was one of the most remarkable American artists at the turn-of-the-century. A pioneer in two new visual mediums — the animated film and the newspaper comic strip — McCay achieved heights of graphic brilliance and imagination which have rarely been equalled in the eighty years since his peak. McCay’s two comic-strip masterpieces, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo In Slumberland are timeless in the urgent world of childhood they capture, ‘‘a profusion of extreme fantasy images rendered with such explicit definition that the dream is captured in all its surrealistic exactitude” (Maurice Sendak). McCay was also the earliest American animator to bring his drawn creations to moving life with a delicate expressiveness which remains as fresh today as when the films were first shown. Tonight’s program will offer all of the extant films by McCay (Gertie the Dinosaur, Little Nemo, How a Mosquito Operates, The Sinking of the Lusitania, The Pet, and 5 more), introduced by John Canemaker, the pre-eminent McCay scholar and himself an animator. Canemaker’s recently published Winsor McCay: His Life and Art (Abbeville) is the most authoritative and lavishly illustrated book ever done on McCay. Presented in conjunction with Make*A*Circus, whose production of Little Nemo plays in Marin and San Francisco through December 20th.