flashback

Meet the first dinosaurs to have run amok on the big screen

There’s a pesky Ceratosaurus from 1914 and beasts based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel from 1925.

In 2015 alone, there have been two dinosaur movies, Jurassic World and the animated The Good Dinosaur, proof that Hollywood simply cannot get enough of the lumbering giants who walked on the earth millions of years ago.

Ever since the beginning of cinema, filmmakers have been working on bringing dinosaurs to the big screen. Possibly the first animated film about them was titled Gertie and was made by Windsor McCay in 1914. Gertie was also the first to use the technique known as key frame animation. The dinosaur in this silent short is a cute and cuddly sort, who prances around for the benefit of the audience. One of the placards reads, “Come out Gertie, and make a pretty bow”, and she merrily obliges.

Play

Also made in 1914 was pioneering American director DW Griffith’s Brute Force, credited with being possibly the first live action film to feature dinosaurs in the background. An all-male tribe of cave dwellers sets out to capture wives for themselves. A droll placard reads, “One of the perils of prehistoric apartment life,” followed by scenes of a Ceratosaurus disturbing the peace. The women-capturing tribe proves to be far deadlier than the beast.

Play

In 1918 came the first serious dinosaur-themed movie. Most of Willis O’Brien’s Ghost of Slumber Mountain has been lost, but whatever survives of the silent film shows its creator’s pioneering use of stop-motion effects. A man tells his young nephews of his encounters with the animals in the Slumber Mountain region. The theme and special effects set the stage for The Lost World seven years later.

Play

Harry Hoyt’s The Lost World is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel of the same name. The 1925 movie created an enduring template for dinosaur dramas as well as creature features: a team of explorers led by a “mad scientist” wanders into a land in which the animals have survived extinction. The explorers bring back a specimen, only to watch it escape and lay waste to the city. The destruction justifies the ravings of the scientist. The Lost World was reworked as King Kong in 1933, with a gigantic gorilla replacing the dinosaur. Michael Crichton re-used the title for his 1995 novel, which was a sequel to Jurassic Park (1990). The novels inspired the hugely successful Steven Spielberg movies.

In the 1925 silent production, billed as “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Stupendous Story of Adventure and Romance,” a team travels to the Amazon to locate a missing scientist. There, they find a dinosaur-eat-dinosaur world. The movie has plenty of action, far-reaching for its time, as well as a romance between the missing scientist’s daughter and a reporter who conveniently forgets that he is engaged. The stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien, which he later replicated in King Kong, include placing dinosaurs on the top of mountains, getting the animals to battle one another, and transplanting a vengeful Brontosaurus to London, where it destroys the Tower Bridge. Sounds familiar?

Play
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.