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Stop the Motion!: The best thing about the crop of online video storage sites (YouTube, Google Video, et al.) is that it's a perfect medium for sharing, on someone else's dime, old short films that otherwise no one would ever see. There's the old proto-Muppet coffee commercials, and yesterday Andy Baio pointed to an Art Clokey pre-Gumby film which has a great Lovecraftian Roadside Picnic feel.

Gumbasia reminded me of old films like the ones I saw at the Exploratorium, so I went digging. I found Norman McLaren's Synchromy, which is still excellent though on my computer it was slightly... out of sync. Oskar Fischinger's Composition in Blue I could not find, but there is another film of his, seemingly a commercial that anthropomorphizes cigarettes. It's fun except it was made in 1934 and you're all the time worried it's going to turn into a cigarette Nuremberg rally. Which is totally unfair because Oskar Fischinger's art was degenerate and unwelcome, and he left Germany for Hollywood in 1936, so why am I thinking that?

There's also Norman McLaren's Neighbors, which some crackpot Wired article claimed was one of the inspirations for Star Wars. Why, because there's a swordfight? (Note: I don't feel like finding the reference because the Wired article might actually have a point, and then where would I be?)

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