Gertie on Tour

Winsor McCay’s film version of Gertie the Dinosaurus, released late 1914, was a huge success, bringing fame to both McCay and his amiable Brontosaurus. (See Introducing Gertie the Dinosaur). McCay planned a sequel Gertie on Tour but the film was never released and there are just a few minutes of the animation remaining that can be seen here.

In it, McCay plays fast and loose with the scale of Gertie, she can be seen here playing with a trolley carriage. The animation is more sophisticated with a much more detailed background than the original, with several different layers to the landscape.

After playing with her tail, and then the trolley, she falls asleep and dreams.. She is with others of her kind and is dancing for them. I find this incredibly sad – the only time that Gertie is with other dinosaurs is in her dreams, and she and other dinosaurs McCay used in his comic strips and political cartoons, are always alone.

There are two surviving drawings from McCay exploring his initial ideas for the film, showing that the ‘on tour’ part of the film would be Gertie interacting with well-known American landmarks.

She uses the Brooklyn Bridge as a trampoline, but is not very good at it so she and the cars are bounced into the river.


In the other drawing, she picks up the Washington Monument, rather like the way she uproots the tree in Gertie the Dinosaurus, but thinks better of it and puts it back.

In both cases, the size of Gertie is comparable to the monuments themselves.

McCay uses a dinosaur very similar to Gertie in his comic strips and political cartoons..

But that’s a separate blog to come soon!