America the Psychedelic 
Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 4:31PM
W. R. in 1976, 200, Bicentennial, US, Video, Vincent Collins, psychedelic, trippy
This unbelievably psychedelic (and campy) short film, made by San Francisco animator Vincent Collins, was funded with a Bicentennial Project Grant and produced by the United States Information Agency. Intended to celebrate America's 200th anniversary, this groovy animation ran on public TV though until July 4th, 1976. The original guideline for the project was simply "to animate symbols of USA," which Collin's piece certainly achieved.
Featuring images of Independence Hall, American Gothic, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell, the Jefferson Memorial, Washington crossing the Delaware, Whistler's Mother, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty and even Smokey the bear and KFC's Colonel Sanders, as well as numerous bald eagles, US flags, Ford Model T's, cheeseburgers and hotdogs -- this little animation packs quite a punch and should be considered quintessential Americana kitsch.
It certainly seems drug induced but whether Collins on hallucinogens at the time is not necessarily known --those with epilepsy should be forewarned, this is not for the light of heart and might have even made Hunter Thompson feel a little woozy after viewing. This should be comforting to those with young kids: Collins also produced various animations for Sesame Street. Far out!
Unfortunately for Collins, demand for these trippy projects vanished fast: "Somewhere in the 70's they [the government] stopped buying films - about the time everything sort of stopped for avant-garde underground scene," he said.
Article originally appeared on Will Rabbe, Producer, Journalist & Historian (
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