Tag: Found in the Collection

Student Post! Animation cels from The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Student post by Julie Loop, The Ohio State University Class of ’22

Julie Loop graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Honors Integrated Math and English and a minor in creative writing in 2022. She has worked at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum for a year and will continue to learn about libraries through the master’s program in Library and Information Science starting in the fall at Kent State. Her special interests outside of working in libraries are music, cats, and tacos. 

Found in the Collection:
One Animation to Rule Them All

July 29th, 2022 marks the 68th anniversary of the original publication of The Fellowship of the Ring in 1954! In this blog post, we will be featuring a lesser-known collection of animation cels, containing characters from one of the beloved works of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings.

While many are familiar with the books and the early 2000s live-action film series directed by Peter Jackson, there is actually an earlier, animated adaptation of Tolkien’s series. Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 film The Lord of the Rings was the first to bring characters like Frodo and Samwise to life. It was originally intended to be a trilogy, with one movie created per book. However, only a single 133-minute film was ever made, covering most of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. After its release on November 15th, 1978, this movie would go on to gross 30.5 million dollars at the box-office in the U.S. and Canada.

As for the animation cels themselves, not many people request them or even know they are here, despite being artwork based on a series with a gargantuan fanbase. However, they are truly a unique and special part of our collections! Unlike other materials and sketches at the library, animation cels are made from paint on transparent cellulose acetate sheets(thus the term “cel”), so that they can be layered on top of each other and different backgrounds. Below are a few selections from our larger collection of animation cels; to find more, search for “The Lord of the Rings” in our art database.

To see them in person, you can send an email to make an appointment with us at cartoons@osu.edu. Our current reading room hours are 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:30 to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

(All images are animation cels from the 1978 Fantasy Films and Saul Zaentz Film Production of The Lord of the Rings.)

Pippin Took (left) and Merry Brandybuck (right) talking to Treabeard. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY17.001a-b

Samwise Gamgee (left), Pippin Took (middle), and Merry Brandybuck (right) at a tavern. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY18.016

Frodo Baggins. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY18.003

Frodo Baggins (left) and Samwise Gamgee (right) Call Number: CGA.AC.AY19.013

Gimli (left), Legolas (middle), and Aragorn (right) Call Number: CGA.AC.AY19.008a-b

Gimli (left) and Legolas (right). Call Number: CGA.AC.AY18.004a-b

Aragorn. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY19.002a-b

Galadriel. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY19.004

Gandalf. Call Number: CGA.AC.AY16.020

Found in the Collection: Winsor McCay’s “The Tale of the Jungle Imps”

In 2006, a phone call came to the Cartoon Library for curator Lucy Caswell  from a local business woman asking that Lucy take a look at some old cartoon drawings she had found. When the woman arrived the next day with a shabby, portfolio-sized cardboard box, no one could have guessed the magnitude of the discovery she had made in the back of her grandfather’s old shop.

Inside, were eleven large original Winsor McCay drawings of his comic feature The Tale of the Jungle Imps. Unlike the originals from McCay’s other strips, all eleven of the Jungle Imps were fully and beautifully hand-colored with watercolor. This was McCay’s very first color newspaper comic strip–and until the discovery of these eleven pages–no other originals were known to have survived. Over 100 years after the 1903 debut of Jungle Imps in the Cincinnati Enquirer, it’s nothing short of a miracle that these originals would resurface in the one city in America with an academic research library devoted entirely to printed cartoon and comic art.   The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum acquired five of the eleven originals, which joined the rest of our extensive McCay collection including original Gertie the Dinosaur animation drawings, Little Nemo In Slumberland originals, and newspaper tear sheets of McCay’s comic strips and editorial cartoons.

The Tale of the Jungle Imps was a collaboration between McCay and George Randolph Chester, who wrote the rhymes for each comic under the pseudonym “Felix Fiddle.” The premise was a spoof on Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, published the previous year. In each Jungle Imps episode, we are presented with an origin story about how a particular animal came to acquire its unique characteristic.  Each animal falls prey to the teasing of the three jungle imps: Boo-boo, Gack, and Hickey, until it receives a physical feature that helps it defend itself.

How The Quillypig Got His Quills

In the excerpt highlighted here from How The Quillypig Got His Quills,  the story explains that quillypigs (*porcupines) once had colorful quills made of the most delicious candy. Of course, the imps could not resist chasing the pigs around to pull their candy-quills out and eat them. When the quillypigs could no longer take the torture, Verse 4 “Tells How One Well-Plucked Quillypig Went For A Gun.”  Lucky for our jungle imps, the quillypig ended up before a very clever gunsmith, “Mr. Monkey”, who instead suggested a replacement coat of sharp quills with springs on the end to teach the imps a lesson.

The clever Mr. Monkey watches over, as his assistant replaces the quillypigs candy-quills with sharp ones. In the background is Felix Fiddle, the silent observer who appears in each Jungle Imps tale. (click to enlarge)

To see our complete collection of Winsor McCay’s Jungle Imps in more detail, please check out our Jungle Imps Digital Album!


*Porcupines (click to enlarge)