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J. Stuart Blackton

James Stuart Blackton (January 5, 1875 – August 13, 1941), usually known as J. Stuart Blackton, was an Anglo-American film producer of the Silent Era, the founder of Vitagraph Studios and among the first filmmakers to use the techniques of stop-motion and drawn animation. He is considered the father of American animation. Blackton was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, in 1875. At the age of ten, he and his family immigrated to New York City. In 1894, Blackton and two fellow English émigrés, Albert E. Smith and Ronald A. Reader, formed a partnership to break into vaudeville. Smith called himself the "Komikal Konjurer", Blackton was the "Komikal Kartoonist", and Reader operated an early version of the slide projector called a "magic lantern". Blackton's act consisted of "lightning sketches", where Blackton drew and rapidly modified drawings on an easel pad before the audience's eyes, accompanying this with a stream of talk nearly as rapid. The act failed to make enough money and the trio broke up to get regular jobs. Blackton ended up as a reporter/artist for the New York Evening World newspaper.

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