|Humpty Dumpty Circus|
|Directed by||J. Stuart Blackton|
|Produced by||Albert E. Smith|
|Distributed by||Kalem Company|
Albert E. Smith claimed in his 1952 book Two reels and a crank: "I used my little daughter's set of wooden circus performers and animals, whose movable joints enabled us to place them in balanced positions. It was a tedious process inasmuch as the movement could be achieved only by photographing separately each change of position. I suggested we obtain a patent on the process; Blackton felt it wasn't important enough. However, others quickly borrowed the technique, improving on it greatly."
The Moving Picture World - Volume 3 reviewed the 885 feet short in 1908: "It opens with a crowd of children leaving school and marching through the streets to the "Humpty Dumpty Circus." We see them crowd into the tent and at the end of each act they vociferously applaud the performers These are the little wooden toys that are familiar to all, and which are made to perform all the usual acrobatic stunts of the circus performer in a remarkably realistic manner. Some of the scenes are really comical and it is hard to believe that the elephants and donkeys are not alive." Followed by an explanation of how the photographer worked for several months on the negative. Cinematographer F. Dobson was said to be "an adept at this kind of work".
The used toy set was most likely the popular Humpty Dumpty Circus produced by Schoenhut Piano Company between 1903 and 1930. Images that have been thought to be stills from the film may well be pictures of the popular toy set.
The short has been thought to have been the first film to use the stop-motion technique, based on an estimated release date of 1897 or 1898. This early release date, the use of stop-motion animation and even the existence of the film have been doubted as no proper documentation was known.
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