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Animation Timeline (1940-1949)
Includes Animation Experiments, Studio and Independent Work, and Cultural Events
Select a time period: 

1600 - 1699 1900 - 1909 1930 - 1939 1960 - 1969 1990 - 1999
1700 - 1799 1910 - 1919 1940 - 1949 1970 - 1979 2000 - 2009
1800 - 1899 1920 - 1929 1950 - 1959 1980 - 1989
1940 - 1949 A Decade of Conflict


 World War II
Countries all over the world are at war with each other. Total deaths as a result of the war total over 50 million. The consequences of this conflict are still being dealt with today. (1939-1945)

 Sept. 12, stone age Lascaux cave paintings discovered in France

 Oct. 24, 40 hour work week standardized in US


 Pinocchio is the second animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. It was produced by Walt Disney and was originally released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on February 7. It was based on the book Pinocchio: Tale of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi.

  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia
  • Puppetoons

     George Pal and "Puppetoons", Hungarian animator George Pal created the Puppetoons under the Paramount banner, seven of which were nominated for Academy Awards for best animated film. In the late 40s, Pal evolved into feature film production, incorporating puppet animation into alive action setting.

  • AWN
  • Wikipedia
  •  Dots, by Norman Mclaren is released in 1940 and wins Canadian Film Award 9 years later in 1949.

  • Dots on YouTube
  •  Puss gets the Boot, is released Feb 10, 1940 by MGM was done by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The animation lost the academy award to Ising’s "Milky Way".

     Fantasia, Disney, USA, 1940, (81 min)
    Fantasia was a Disney film that brought visual life to several classical musical compositions. The movie was originally panned by critics but over the years received much praise. Many think that the animation audience wasn't ready to take an animation seriously. It was a great departure from what Disney had produced before.

  • Fantasia - Disney Online
  •  A Wild Hare, Fred 'Tex' Avery, USA, July 27th
    Animated by Tex Avery. This is considered to be the first cartoon of the well-known version of Bugs Bunny.

  • The Genius of Tex Avery
  •  Run Adolph Run, Joe Noble, United Kingdom


     A bitter animators' strike at Walt Disney Studios occurs. As the USA enters World War II, the studio begins making morale-boosting propaganda films for the government.

  • The Disney Strike
  • Disney Animators Strike
  • Tom and Jerry

     The Midnight Snack - The Tom and Jerry series went into production with The Midnight Snack in 1941, and Hanna and Barbera rarely directed anything but the cat-and-mouse cartoons for the rest of their tenure at MGM.

  • Wikipedia
  • Great Cheese Chase
  •  Superman, Sept 26, 1941 Max Fleischer releases first animated "Superman" through Paramount Pictures.


     Bambi, Disney, USA, 1942
    Disney moved from stylized animals to a more realistic approach for "Bambi." The animators spent countless hours studying live animals for reference. Even with animation achievements, "Bambi" did not do well in the box office due to the War taking away the European audience. "Bambi" also received controversy about being disrespectful to hunters. Again, over time it became a large success and has been re-released 7 times.

  • Disney Online Bambi
  • 1943

     Silly Putty accidentally made in a GE lab to replace rubber, but later became released as a children’s toy.


     Droopy is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic dog (a basset hound), created by Tex Avery for theatrical cartoon shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in 1943.

  • Wikipedia
  • Big Cartoon Database
  • 1944

     Mark 1 digital computer
    Created by a Howard H. Aiken, a Harvard Graduate, it is thought to be the beginning of modern computers. The machine computed math problems and weighed approximately 5 tons.

  • Howard Aiken's the Harvard Mark 1
  •  Schlesinger sells his studio to Warner Bros., who renamed the company Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc.

  • Point of View
  •  C'est l'aviron, Norman McLaren, France, (3min 18sec)

  • Movie Info - IMDB
  •  Alouette, Norman McLaren and Rene Jodoin, Canada Film Board, (2min 23sec)


     Detonation of Atomic Bomb
    World War 2 ends and the Nuclear Age begins. Warfare and politics are forever changed. Total global destruction is capable. The Manhatten Project (code name for the top secret US nuclear weapons research program) was from 1942-1946. The first successful detonation of a nuclear bomb was on July 16th, 1945. The first use of the nuclear bombs was a few weeks later. The bombing of Hiroshima was on August 6, 1945. 3 days later, August 8, 1945. Nagasaki was bombed as well.


     Of Thee I Sting, Friz Freleng, USA, (7min.)


    Wile Coyote

     Wile E. Coyote, (also known simply as "The Coyote") and the Road Runner are cartoon characters from a series of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, created by animation director Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Brothers.

  • Wikipedia
  • Looney Tunes
  •  The Little Orphan, MGM, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, USA, (7min 50sec)
    This film featured Tom and Jerry in a short cartoon and won an Oscar. An animation called "Life With Tom" used some of the animation from "The Little Orphan."

  • The Oscar Site
  •  Back Alley Uproar, Friz Freleng, 1948, USA, 7min


    Mighty Joe Young

     Mighty Joe Young, Mighty Joe Young is an RKO Radio Pictures film made in 1949 by the same creative team responsible for King Kong. The models (constructed by Kong's builder Marcel Delgado) and animation are more sophisticated than Kong's.

  • IMDB Site
  • Wikipedia Site
  •  Begone Dull Care, Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, England, (7 min 48sec.)
    This is an abstract animation that interprets selected jazz numbers. The animators painted straight on to the film.

  • Video of Begone Dull Care
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    Research conducted by Karly Yohe, Jon Flynn & Alan Debelek, Bowling Green State Univeristy