On the origin of cartoons.

On this day in 1955, Disneyland officially opened in Anaheim, California. And while I am not a fan of Disney cartoons or theme parks, there is no denying the influence that the Disney corporation has played in both media and culture. And it all started with cartoons.

But where did the word “cartoon” come from?

Well, it has French roots as “carton” or Italian roots as “cartone” and dates from the 1670’s. Originally, it referred to the “strong, heavy paper, pasteboard” that artists would use to make preliminary sketches. It wasn’t used to describe the comical drawings from newspapers and magazines that we know and love today until 1843. Of course, today, the word is synonymous with the animated variety that Walt Disney helped birth into modern culture.

So, Happy Anniversary Disneyland, and thank you 17th century paper manufacturers for giving the world cartoons.

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