Teri Wilson
Updated June 02, 2016 4:11 pm
Lotte Reiniger/YouTube

If you haven’t logged onto Google today, you need to do so right now. Make sure and press the play button on today’s Google Doodle. Go ahead. We’ll wait. (No really.)

The doodle is a tribute to Lotte Reiniger, an animator who would have turned 117 years old today. Maybe you’ve heard of Reiniger. She’s the artist behind the world first feature-length animated film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, which debuted in 1926. Bu even if you’ve never heard her name, some of your favorite animated classics were heavily influenced by Reiniger’s work.

She used scissors and cut paper silhouettes to create gorgeous stop-motion animation films long before Walt Disney ever got his start. Disney’s first animated feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, was released in 1937, over a decade after Reiniger’s Prince Achmed. It’s impossible to look at Reiniger’s work and fail to appreciate the impact she had on Disney favorites.

Like Cinderella

Lotte Reiniger/YouTube

The Frog Prince

Lotte Reiniger/YouTube

And Aladdin

Lotte Reiniger/YouTube

Reiniger, born in Berlin in 1899, began cutting silhouettes when she was just a little girl. According to Vox, she once wrote, “I could cut out silhouettes almost as soon as I could manage to hold a pair of scissors. I could paint, too, and read and recite; but these things did not surprise anyone very much. But everybody was astonished about the scissor cuts.”

She originally wanted to be an actress, but when when she was a drama student, she used her special artistic talents to create title art for films. Once she learned animation, her art became the centerpiece of later movies. Many of her films are available on YouTube, and they are glorious! (Caution: if you go there, chances are high that you’ll fall into an internet hole that will be almost impossible to climb out of. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Our favorite might be Cinderella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

You can learn more about Lotte Reiniger’s work and how Google created her gorgeous Doodle tribute here.