Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Last week, when I was browsing through the television channels trying to figure out the best one to engage my 18- month old little girl, her favourite tamil cartoon channel ‘Chutti TV’ popped up.

The four children from ‘Little Einsteins’ show were asking the viewers to clap their hands so as to encourage the rocket to fly higher. I was staring at my daughter who was clapping her hands hard and smiling at me. How much have the cartoons changed from the yesteryear characters!

In the early 1990’s when doordarshan seemed to be the only audio-visual mode of home entertainment, children got glued to their seats, mouths wide open, on sunday mornings to watch the adventures of Mowgli, raised by wolves in the jungle with the help of Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther to fight the tiger Shere Khan. Not forgetting to mention, Uncle Scrooge and his nephews in the Donald duck series! One show, once a week and yes no retelecast too!!

Today, powerpuff girls and Julie ,the brave little girl who accompanies Jackie chan in his adventures, have taken the place of the soft and sombre Snowwhite or Cinderella. Tom and Jerry donot mesmerize kids as much as Doraemon, the robotic cat does.

Traveling back through history, it is interesting to know that the first animated projection was not photographed, but drawn directly onto a transparent strip and projected in a screen. Wikipedia claims that one of the very first successful animated cartoons was Gertie the Dinosaur (1914). It is considered the first example of true character animation. Some historians consider the first animated feature movie to be El Apóstol,released in 1917, with a duration of 70 min, and which is considered a lost film.

In the United States of America, from the 1930s to 1960s, theatrical cartoons were produced in huge numbers, and usually shown before a feature film in a movie theatre. MGM, Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers were the largest studios producing these 5 to 10-minute "shorts".
Competition from television drew audiences away from movie theaters in the late 1950s, and shifted the producers interest to the television media.

In India, with the advent of Big Animation Pvt Limited in the animation industry, cartoon characters have transformed into three-dimentional figures. Little Krishna series has broken the age-barrier for cartoon viewing thereby making it universally appealing.

The cartoon characters replicate the social stature of their respective times. For instance, Mowgli represents child abandonment, Tom and Jerry brings out rivalry and Pinocchio stands for bravery, truthfulness, selflessness. Today’s cartoon characters are mostly magical, adventurous and cool. But as long as the core value or theme remains the same, which is victory of good over the evil, wont it be wise to admire these contemporary cartoon characters and go with the order of the day??


  1. very well narrated...brought back the memories of the He-man days..

  2. whaooo.... an article in simple words but with lot of information with it. Thanks Vaish...