Monday, September 3, 2012

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics.

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, is a book written and illustrated by Norton Juster, published by Random House in 1963. The story was inspired by Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, in which the protagonist visits a one-dimensional universe called Lineland, where women are dots and men are lines.

In 1965, animator Chuck Jones and the MGM Animation/Visual Arts studio adapted The Dot and the Line into a 10-minute animated short film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, narrated by Robert Morley. The Dot and the Line won the 1965 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. It was entered into the Short Film Palme d'Or competition at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.

The cartoon was released as a special feature on the The Glass Bottom Boat DVD in 2005. The cartoon is also featured on the 2008 release of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection and the 2011 release of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 Blu-ray box-set on the third disc as a special feature.

In 2005, Robert Xavier Rodriguez made a musical setting of the book for narrator and chamber ensemble with projected images, and in 2011 he made a version for full orchestra.

The story is about a straight line, who falls in love with a dot. The dot, quickly becomes bored with the line and falls madly in love with a wild squiggle. The line, will do anything to win back the heart of his beloved dot and he bends himself into an angle. He then works and works at creating interesting shapes so complex that he has to label his sides and angles to keep his place.

It's not long before the dot realizes that she has made a huge mistake and what she thought she had seen in the squiggle to be freedom and fun was nothing more than chaos. She leaves with the line, realizing that he is better suited for her.

This was one of only two non-Tom and Jerry animated short subjects to be released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer post-1958. The other one is The Bear That Wasn't, released in 1967 as the last-ever MGM animated short.

The Bear That Wasn't is a 1946 children's book by film director and Looney Tunes alumnus Frank Tashlin. In 1967, Tashlin's former Termite Terrace colleague Chuck Jones directed an animated short film based upon the book for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Incidentally, The Bear That Wasn't was the final animated short subject made by MGM and the second-to-last animated project for MGM (The Phantom Tollbooth would be the last). Despite being credited as a producer, Tashlin had no involvement in the short. Chuck Jones credited him as a producer, so if the film won the Oscar for Best Short, Tashlin would receive an Oscar (in those days, Oscars for Best Short were given to producers, not the director). Frank Tashlin was dissatisfied with this film adaptation of his own book. Feeling that the film did not present the book's message .

The story begins, when a  bear settles into hibernation and while he sleeps in side his den, the progress of man continues. He wakes up to find himself in the middle of an industrial complex. He then gets mistaken by the foreman for a worker and is told to get to work.

He tells the foreman, "But I'm not a man, I'm a bear". He is then taken to each of his successive bosses, who try to convince him that he is just a "silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat", reaching all the way up to the president of the factory who tells him he cannot be a bear because "all bears live in the zoo". "You are not a bear; you are a "silly man" who needs a shave and wears a fur coat." The bear is taken to the zoo, hoping to gain support from his own species, but even the zoo bears claim he is not a bear, because if he was "he'd be behind bars like us". He is now convinced that he is a "silly man" and works hard at the factory .

Things are going well until winter comes again and he wants to go into hibernation . He finds a cave and enters, feeling comfortable and bear-like once more. As the bear is sleeping, he reflects on the events of the year, as the narrator concludes that because all the bosses and even the zoo bears disbelieved he was a bear, did not make it so. "The truth is he was not a silly man...and he was not a silly bear, either".

Though a person may change for someone else, they revert back to old habits. What is fact or fiction, it is what it is ....



  1. I consider animation to be pure cinema and the examples here, and your blog, are a pure pleasure.

  2. Thank you, very much Caftan Woman.


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