Mesmerizing Animation, Made of Photos from Early-1900s America, Lets You Travel in a Steampunk Time Machine

Sure­ly you remem­ber Cheers, if only from the sit­com’s syn­di­cat­ed reruns cease­less­ly aired around the world. And if you remem­ber Cheers, you’ll remem­ber no part of it more vivid­ly than its open­ing cred­its sequence, which broke from the well-estab­lished tra­di­tion of show­ing the faces of the series’ cast mem­bers.

Instead, writes Stephen Cole at Fonts in Use, the stu­dio charged with cre­at­ing the sequence “col­lect­ed archival illus­tra­tions and pho­tographs of bar life, culled from books, pri­vate col­lec­tions, and his­tor­i­cal soci­eties. They hand-tint­ed the images and paired them with typog­ra­phy inspired by a turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry aes­thet­ic.”

The Old New World

As fond­ly as we remem­ber their work, the art of bring­ing turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry pho­tos to life has come a long way indeed since Cheers debuted in 1982. Take, for instance, the short above: The Old New World by Russ­ian pho­tog­ra­ph­er and ani­ma­tor Alex­ey Zakharov, who in just over three and a half min­utes takes us right back to ear­ly-1900s Amer­i­ca. “The pho­tos show New York, Boston, Detroit, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and Bal­ti­more between 1900 and 1940, and were obtained from the web­site Shorpy,” writes Petapix­el’s Michael Zhang, quot­ing Zakharov’s own descrip­tion of the work as a “pho­to-based ani­ma­tion project” as well as a chance to “trav­el back in time with a lit­tle steam­punk time machine.”

The Old New World 2

You can see a gallery of more of the mate­ri­als that went into The Old New World at Behance. Just as those Cheers open­ing cred­its evoked the con­vivi­al­i­ty of old-time tav­ern cul­ture, Zakharov’s film evokes what it meant — or at least, to all of us cur­rent­ly alive and thus with­out any liv­ing mem­o­ry of that era, what we think it meant — to live in the head­i­est cities going in the head­i­est coun­try going, places whose boom­ing indus­try and cul­ture held out seem­ing­ly infi­nite promise, even on qui­et days.

The Old New World 3

Should Net­flix picks Cheers as their next beloved sit­com to revive, they might con­sid­er going to Zakharov for a new title sequence. He’s cer­tain­ly got all the pic­tures of Boston he’d need.

The Old New World 4

via Petapix­el

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 2,000 Mag­nif­i­cent Turn-of-the-Cen­tu­ry Art Posters, Cour­tesy of the New York Pub­lic Library

Lon­don Mashed Up: Footage of the City from 1924 Lay­ered Onto Footage from 2013

James Joyce’s Dublin Cap­tured in Vin­tage Pho­tos from 1897 to 1904

Watch 1920s “City Sym­phonies” Star­ring the Great Cities of the World: From New York to Berlin to São Paulo

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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