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The Fourth Dimension. With movies, we see just one frame at a time. What we have seen is the past, what we are watching is the present, and what we haven't seen yet is the future. With the zoetrope, we are seeing Past, Present and Future all at once. At least a shadow of the Fourth Dimension.note 1
London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
1. THE BLACK TURN OVER
2. THE GYMNAST
3. THE WILD IRISHMAN
4. A LARGE FEEDER
5. I CHEWS
6. BASE BALL
"We here see the upper halves of a figure, seated as it were in a gallery which cuts off its lower halves ; by an apparent movement of its arm one ball seems to be thrown from its hand after another ; and the balls appear to roll down an inclined plane towards the spectator. Now whilst the appearances of the dropping of the balls, their descent, and their revolution, are produced by the means already explained, the notion of their approach towards the spectator as they fall is entirely due to the suggestion conveyed by a consecutive increase in the actual sizes of the figures of the balls as they approach the bottm, corresponding with the suggestion of approach of the object that is given by the increase in the size of its image in the Phantasmagoria. And is it not a little curious that, whilst this notion does not always spontaneously occur to those who look at the picture for the first time, it seems uniformly to recur when it has been once suggested ; the observer even coming to wonder that it did not so strike him in the first instance." William Benjamin Carpenter, "On the Zoetrope and its Antecedents", Student and Intellectual Observer, 1868-69.
7. THE LITTLE UMBRELLA MAN
A pictorial representation of the saying "It's raining pitchforks". This phrase apparently originated in Britain, but became popular in America, sometimes as "It's raining pitchforks and barn shovels / bullfrogs / darning needles / sawlogs / grindstones," or even "It's raining pithforks and ni**er babies". [note 2] The illustration below shows a mix of cats, dogs, and pitchforks.
Etching by George Cruikshank. Designed by AE. Original edition 1820, this could be the 2nd (final) edition, 1835.
8. A JOLLY DOG
9. FOOT BALL
10. PADDY AT DONNYBROOK
"Paddy", in the stereotypical green coat and hat, is waving a shillelagh or fighting stick. I had thought that this artwork might have originally been intended to respresent a man waving an Indian Club (a very popular excercising technique at that time), but if so he wouldn't be running. Donnybrook, near Dublin, Ireland, was once the location of Donnybrook Fair, held from the time of King John onwards, which became notorious for drunkenness and violent disorder. This gave rise to the term a donnybrook, meaning a brawl or fracas. The fair was banned in 1855, more than ten years before this strip was drawn - but by then the term had passed into folklore.
Comic valentine's card printed with a handcoloured caricature portrait of an Irishman. Below is printed a 10 line cruel Valentine's verse 'The song that's now heard everywhere About, is Paddy sure don't care, But tell me Paddy do you think It's right to care for naught but drink? To waste your money, health and time, No doubt to you is very prime; No girl of sense would e'er incline To have an Irish Valentine, For, if for me you were to try I'd say no Irish need apply'.
11. FISH AND FOWL
12. NOBODY'S LITTLE GAME
NOTES1. Hall, George C. Zoetrope Renaissance. 2010. Rutherford House: Jerome, Az. The original passage has "L'Affirmatrope not "zoetrope", but the principle discussed is the same.
2. Ohio State University. Humanities Institute. Midwest Encyclopedia, Ch 3: Society and Culture. V: Language
For the more common "It's raining cats and dogs," see: