Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer L. Peterson

Second Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Third Advisor

Suzanne Magnanini


This thesis explores the ways in which early sound animation, from approximately 1928 to 1937, can be seen in relation to Tom Gunning’s theory of “The Cinema of Attractions.” “The Cinema of Attractions” argues that film before 1906 was focused on display rather than storytelling. But, after that point Gunning argues that the “cinema of narrative integration” takes over, and bourgeois didacticism becomes the primary force in filmmaking. This period of animation also focuses on display and spectacle in lieu of classical narrative, and this can be seen through four components: original attractions, rubber hose animation, animals, and sound. However, similar to the process that happened in early cinema, the animation studios moved toward narrative integration in the mid–1930s, and realism and storytelling became goals. The cinema of attractions does not completely disappear in animation after this point; it continues today in various forms.