Back in 1957, a couple by the names of John and Faith Hubley created one the decade's most endearingly simple animated films. Its star is a humble, young asterisk -- hence the short film's title, "The Adventures of *."
The tiny asterisk lives in a square, "where he loves to play and enjoys each new thing he sees." Sounds like your average toddler, yes? Sadly, his father (who, at first, takes the shape of a three-tiered, oblong splotch) has forgotten how to play and see new things.
Throughout the ten-minute piece, little * twirls around his square home, playing with his scribbly dog and his abstract goldfish, interrupting his father's work along the way. Baby asterisk soon grows into a young man and a father in his own right. A new father-son relationship blossoms into a stunning dance of shapes and colors, as * relearns how to see the world the way he once did.
Like a Calder mobile come to life in two-dimensions, or a dada family cartoon, "The Adventures of *" is a clip meant to be passed down from one generation to another.
We're reminded of the beautiful work, made in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum’s director James Johnson Sweeney, vibraphone player Lionel Hampton and Benny Carter’s 18-piece orchestra, courtesy of the Guggenheim, which has recently digitized the animation and added the piece to the the James Johnson Sweeney records in the museum's archives.
Let us know your thoughts on the short film in the comments.