James Stuart Blackton was known in vaudeville as the “Komikal Kartoonist” because of his ability to sketch drawings on an easel so rapidly right in front of the audience. Today we see something similar to this commonly referred to as “speed painting”. In the late 1890’s Blackton began collaborating with Thomas Edison, who at the time had the first film studio in America – The Black Maria. James Stuart Blackton went on to form his own film studio called Vitagraph Studios. In the year 1900, Blackton and Edison collaborated on a project called The Enchanted Drawing.
One of the major reasons I love this particular film, aside from being entertaining and innovative, is that it involves the magical quality of a drawing coming to life. I have always loved that premise. The “drawing to life” concept has many variations in magic – of drawings animating, taking on a life of their own – I think it is so cool to see this brought to life in a film made in 1900.
Enjoy THE ENCHANTED DRAWING: