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This is a social history and aesthetics of the "controlled anarchy" of the cartoon, from the first talking Mickeys to the demise of Warners and MGM theatrical productions in 1960. Norman M. Klein follows the scrambling graphics and upside-down ballet of Fleischer's Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman of the Wolfie cartoons by Tex Avery, of the Bugs and Daffy, Tweetie and Roadrunner cartoons from Warners, of full animation at Disney, of the "whiteness of Snow White", and of how Mickey Mouse became a logo. Reviewing the graphics, scripts and marketing of each era, he discovers the links between cartoons and live action movies, newspapers, popular illustration, and the entertainment architecture coming out of Disneyland. Klein shows that the cartoon was a perverse juggling act, invaded constantly by economic and political pressures, by marketing for sound, by licensing characters to stave off bankruptcies, by Prohibition, the Great Depression, the World War II and the first wave of television. Norman Klein is the editor of "Lost Boundaries: A History of Media-Induced Experience", and authors of "Stories in an English I Don't Speak: The History of Forgetting in Los Angeles".
Norman M. Klein is a critic and historian of mass culture, editor of Fragile Moments: A History of Media-induced Experience, and Author of Stories in an English I Don't Speak: The History of Forgetting in Los Angeles as well as numerous articles on media and the arts. He teaches at California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles