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Fantasmagorie: The ‘Bob’s Burgers’ of 1908

Watch what historians consider to be the first animated cartoon in history.

Animated characters have been entertaining us since way back in 1908, when the world’s very first animated cartoon was put out into the world. This is that film, Fantasmagorie, a French animation by caricaturist Émile Cohl.

Fantasmagorie is a largely confusing series of frames. The video follows a stick man through his interactions with various morphing objects, such as an elephant that turns into a house. The artist’s hands appear various times through the short film, bringing the fantastical shots back into reality for a few moments.

Fantasmagorie is so named after the Victorian-era “fantasmograph,” another name for the magic lanterns that projected ghostly images onto the walls.

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.