That's All Folks?


That's All Folks?

Ecocritical Readings of American Animated Features

Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann

296 pages
22 illustrations


December 2011


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

December 2011


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Although some credit the environmental movement of the 1970s, with its profound impact on children’s television programs and movies, for paving the way for later eco-films, the history of environmental expression in animated film reaches much further back in American history, as That’s All Folks? makes clear.

Countering the view that the contemporary environmental movement—and the cartoons it influenced—came to life in the 1960s, Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann reveal how environmentalism was already a growing concern in animated films of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. From Felix the Cat cartoons to Disney’s beloved Bambi to Pixar’s Wall-E and James Cameron’s Avatar, this volume shows how animated features with environmental themes are moneymakers on multiple levels—particularly as broad-based family entertainment and conveyors of consumer products. Only Ralph Bakshi’s X-rated Fritz the Cat and R-rated Heavy Traffic and Coonskin, with their violent, dystopic representation of urban environments, avoid this total immersion in an anti-environmental consumer market.

Showing us enviro-toons in their cultural and historical contexts, this book offers fresh insights into the changing perceptions of the relationship between humans and the environment and a new understanding of environmental and animated cinema.

Author Bio

Robin L. Murray is a professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. Joseph K. Heumann is a professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University. They are the coauthors of Ecology and Popular Film: Cinema on the Edge.


"This volume is a welcome addition to the growing scholarship on ecocriticism and film."—Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, ISLE

"Murray and Heumann's research subject is original, and their survey covers a wide spectrum of material. They offer animation studies and ecocritical readings a new and exciting direction."—Özge Samanci, Journal of Film and Video

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 
Introduction: A Foundation for Contemporary Enviro-toons 
1. Bambi and Mr. Bug Goes to Town: Nature with or without Us 
2. Animal Liberation in the 1940s and 1950s: What Disney Does for the Animal Rights Movement 
3. The <SC>upa</SC> and the Environment: A Modernist Look at Urban Nature 
4. Animation and Live Action: A Demonstration of Interdependence? 
5. Rankin/Bass Studios, Nature, and the Supernatural: Where Technology Serves and Destroys 
6. Disney in the 1960s and 1970s: Blurring Boundaries between Human and Nonhuman Nature 
7. Dinosaurs Return: Evolution Outplays Disney's Binaries 
8. DreamWorks and Human and Nonhuman Ecology: Escape or Interdependence in Over the Hedge and Bee Movie 
9. Pixar and the Case of <SC>wall-e</SC>: Moving between Environmental Adaptation and Sentimental Nostalgia 
10. The Simpsons Movie, Happy Feet, and Avatar: The Continuing Influence of Human, Organismic, Economic, and Chaotic Approaches to Ecology 
Conclusion: Animation's Movement to Green? 
Works Cited 

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