Serious Business by Stefan Kanfer
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Serious Business
By Stefan Kanfer

Serious Business

The Art and Commerce of Animation in America from Betty Boop to Toy Story

By (author) See other recent books by Stefan Kanfer
Format: Paperback

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Serious Business by Stefan Kanfer

Book Description

As Roger Rosenblatt put it, "What makes Serious Business a special treat is that it is like the best of the cartoons itself--funny, touching, and infused with thoughtful joy." This generously illustrated history of animation looks at the creation and celluloid careers of such American icons as Felix the Cat, Jiminy Cricket, Mickey and Minnie, Popeye and Olive Oyl, Goofy, Yogi Bear, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Daffy Duck, Tom and Jerry, and the Pink Panther. Art and commerce collide again and again as Stefan Kanfer wittily probes the origins of such diverse cartoon families as the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and the Simpsons and looks at the phenomenal success of feature-length animated films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Lion King. Serious Business is itself a classic of animation, bringing to life an art and an industry whose creations have now worked their way into every corner of American life.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306809187
ISBN-10: 0306809184
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 156mm x 16mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 14-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Stefan Kanfer

Tough Without a Gun by Stefan Kanfer Tough Without a Gun, Paperback / softback (February 2012)

Kanfer delivers the definitive biography of one of the great movie icons of the 20th century, and a wide-reaching appraisal of the actor's singular legacy. Through it all, Kanfer paints a background of the social and cultural context in which Bogart became, for all time, the one and only Bogie.

Somebody by Stefan Kanfer Somebody, Paperback (July 2011)

Marlon Brando will never cease to fascinate us: for his triumphs as an actor as well as his disasters; for the power of the screen portrayals he gave. This title examines each of Brando's films. It brings into focus Brando's self-destructiveness, his lifelong dissembling, his deeply ambivalent feelings towards his chosen vocation.

Essential Groucho by Stefan Kanfer Essential Groucho, Paperback (August 2008)

Presents various examples of Groucho, one of the influential and well-loved figures in the history of comedy. From early scripts to complete screenplays, from magazine funnies to personal correspondence, via books, greedy banks, even greedier lawyers and the coming of television, this collection captures the essence of Groucho's comic genius.

» View all books by Stefan Kanfer


US Kirkus Review » This nicely written and generally informative account provides a cursory though useful history of American animated cartoons. Theater critic and former Time staffer Kanfer (The Last Empire: De Beers, Diamonds, and the World, 1993, etc.) chronicles American cartoons from the silent era to very recent efforts by the Disney Studio, beginning with the primitive, surreal work of innovative legend Windsor McCay, then moving on to document the contributions of the Fleischer Studios (creators of Betty Boop and Popeye), Warner Brothers (Merry Melodies and Loony Tunes), Hanna-Barbera (the Flintstones and others), and, of course, Walt Disney. Kanfer doesn't neglect such lesser known but influential figures as Otto Mesmer (creator of Felix the Cat), Paul Terry (Farmer Al Falfa), Walter Lanz (Woody Woodpecker), and Jay Ward (Rocky and Bullwinkle). Serious Business is a solid introductory text, particularly useful to those with little background in the history and sociology of American animated cartoons, successfully demonstrating Kanfer's proposition that "in their own eccentric way, [cartoons] provide an extraordinary reflection of the society and politics of their time." The problem is that Kanfer wants the book to do more than that: His purpose is, finally, he says, to demonstrate that cartoons also powerfully shape our attitudes, not always for the better. Kanfer addresses such important issues as racism in cartoons, cartoons as war propaganda, and the ways in which cartoons reflect issues of identity, conformity, and even anomie (for instance, Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead). While certainly instructive, Serious Business's pockets of brief analysis on such difficult issues fail to offer sufficient depth or insight. Taken as the less ambitious but valuable work it truly is, Serious Business offers a lively, thought-provoking introduction to the fascinating complexity of seemingly simple animated cartoons. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Stefan Kanfer

Stefan Kanfer is the author of six previous books. His articles and reviews have appeared in many major magazines, particularly Time, for which he was a writer and editor for more than twenty years. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

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